36. Yuva (2004) — Mani Ratnam certainly shuns giving the audience a comfortable ride in the cinema. But he’s worth the rough journey. Though maybe a bit of toning down with the overtly poetic violence would be nice. Beautiful, AR Rahman, beautiful songs, even the jerky ones. Moving picture and moving music complemented each other exactly again, as in Dil Se. I didn’t know that Abhishek Bachchan could be so thoroughly scary (though the last bit of scariness was a bit forced, shall we say). Rani Mukherjee does her I-know-I’m-good thing, though sometimes the performance overpowers the character, I think. Ajay Devgan shows the whites of his eyes and the power of understated cool. Esha Deol imbues her role with a welcome contemporaneity. Vivek Oberoi can be endearing. Kareena Kapoor is gorgeous au naturel and gave her part a natural vibe that’s so easy to enjoy. That amazing actor from Monsoon Rain, Vijay Raaz, he’s in this too! Anyway, back to Mani Ratnam. Coupled with Dil Se, it seems to me that his movies, both like and unlike the bread and butter of the industry, are like hearty homecooked food that may require patience, a fair bit of energy and the right frame of mind, but hits all the right spots, gives you sustenance you can’t always get from fast food or MSG-laden hawker fare, and makes you appreciate the whole business of eating all the more.
I tried to watch Jism, in my hurry to run through the six videos I foolishly over-rented, but decided after Disc 1 that John Abraham wasn’t worth it. The 9 1/2 Weeks ice-cube-blindfold lift-off was probably the final turn of the screw! And I suppose I can guess what happens in Discs 2 and 3? Enjoyed knowing how the mesmerising soundtrack by MM Kreem fit in, though. Woo. Had to give up the Rahul Bose title too, which I can’t recall now. Am definitely looking forward to finding out what this “alternative” artiste has to offer.