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My Unforgettable Movie Moments of 2013

With everyone coming up with their own best and worst lists of Top 10 movies and soundtrack, I decided to forgo doing the same for myself and instead list the most unforgettable moments that I experienced at the movies back in the year that was 2013. Surprisingly it did not take me long to come up with a few, but as I said earlier, this is not another “Top Ten” list. So I narrowed them down to two – one each for Hollywood and Bollywood.

It was an planned decision on my side. Right after Richard Linklater’sBEFORE MIDNIGHT” opened earlier in the year to positive reviews, I had made up my mind to watch all the three films together – back to back – especially given the fact that I had never before been exposed to the world of Jesse and Celine. So I rented “BEFORE SUNRISE”, “BEFORE SUNSET” and “BEFORE MIDNIGHT” and sat down to watch how these two characters, as well as the actors portraying them, had grown over the past 18 years…both on screen as well as off-screen.

For those of you who may not know, all three films were released with a gap of nine years between each one. Sunrise was released in 1995, Sunset in 2004 and Midnight in 2013. All through these years, the two lead characters – Jesse and Celine – played passionately by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, have spent time together, first in Vienna, then in Paris and finally in Greece in the latest installment of the trilogy. And what a fantastic journey this must have been for them, along with their fearless leader….their wonderful director, Richard Linklater.

It is an amazing experience watching the characters talk about their lives, their opinions, their fears, their inhibitions, their desires and their failures throughout these three films. And what’s even more fascinating is the fact the last two films were written together by Linklater, Hawke and Delpy. So they not only represent the metamorphosis of the characters from young kids to a couple in love but, also in a way represent the change over the years in thoughts, views and likes/dislikes of the actors who originally developed these characters and have been brave enough to smartly carry them forward from the nineties through the millennium into the world of Skype and Internet chatting.

Watching the “Before” trilogy back-to-back was my single favorite moment (albeit a fairly “long” moment that lasts about a combined running time of 5 hours :-)) of 2013 spent watching any Hollywood film. I will refrain from giving away anything more related to the plot, for those of you who may wish to enjoy these films at some time in the future. However, all I can hope and pray is that, nine years from now, when both Jesse and Celine are in their fifties (as will be most of us…), and the year is 2022, I wish to check on both of them, once more time, through the same insightful eyes of Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.

I saw the film again this past evening…for the third time. And with every subsequent viewing, my belief in this Bollywood film has strengthened. Vikramaditya Motwane’sLOOTERA” is simply brilliant and I can’t get enough of it!! Even though it did not end up on top of any film critic’s 2013 list (due to an uncanny allegiance the reviewers’ seemed to have pledged towards “THE LUNCHBOX” and “SHIP OF THESEUS”…), it did have a place in almost all of them. To turn a beloved short story into something so cinematically beautiful and poignant requires effort. And Motwane’s efforts are visible in every single frame of the film. This was indeed a true labor of love.

The acting was superlative. Right from the supporting cast to the lead pair, you could see the hard work everyone seemed to have put in into making this click. And how!! The love, pain and anguish of the lead characters was so delicately captured by both Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha that I laughed, cried and sympathized with them at every single point.

The music was ethereal. Right from “Manmarziyaan” and “Shikaayatein” to the heavenly “Ankahi”, “Sanwaar Loon” and “Zinda”…every song and its lyrics were dripping with melody and soul. The lyricist-music director duo of Amitabh Bhattacharya-Amit Trivedi, has rarely made any mistakes in the past. But this one was a true masterpiece from the pair. Haunting and mesmerizing.

As I watched the film again this evening, I could see the flawless camerawork, the lilting background score and the impeccable costumes and set designs on display throughout. Here was a film that should be mandatory viewing for anyone who wishes to see how far Bollywood has come over the years. Every minute of “LOOTERA” was a delight and the film unquestionably represents the other “long” unforgettable moment that I will cherish from 2013 – masterful, delightful and worthy of uninterrupted applauses.

I end this post with a line from the song “Zinda” from LOOTERA…which aptly sums up my feelings as I leave behind 2013 and move into 2014:

            “Kuchh Maangna Baaki Nahin…Jitna Mila Kaafi Hai”

            (There is nothing more left to desire…I am content with whatever I got)

Categories: Bollywood, Hollywood, Movies
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