Friday, February 20, 2009
Nah, this is not a review of movie. If you are looking for a review , I suggest you check this one out on Passion for Cinema but do stay away from Taran Adarsh and his ilk.
This is just a short note on Movie. I have watched it couple of times and possible more and I guess I am gonna watch it couple of times more.
For me, personally, Pardeshi song in Movie pretty much summarizes the whole experience.The setting of the song, the state in which Dev is at that point in life, on cusp of ejecting out from Paro's orbit and falling into Chanda's, the 3 guys dancing in bar, the graffiti on the wall behind them, everything is piece of art and brilliant cinema. Dev D gets drunk and stoned and those who have ever had that sort of experience would know that the scene of Dev walking to loo during the scene and putting his face into water, with blood oozing out of his mouth, the numbness and what follows pretty much says it all. Incredible music and lyrics to match it,.......
"o pardesi, o pardesi,
mitha sa chadha hai bukhar,
he re mai thahra pardesi!"
Umm....That feeling, how well it has been put into words....."Meetha sa bukhar"
Cheers to pain, agony, addiction to self destruction and aimless wandering....... and there is Chanda , with cig in her hand, sitting cross legged, watching Dev stumbling into her room.......WELCOME HOME.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
It is one of those pleasures in life which doesn't cost much. Watching a good movie in near empty cinema hall without being disturbed by noisy college kids or by never ending mobile phone beeps. Added advantage is that you don’t have to jostle at the popcorn counter during interval and you can occupy any seat you want. It feels as if a private screening has been arranaged just for you. When I walked into the hall to watch 1971, I had little expectations and just wanted to kill some time. I was in for a surprise. It turned out to be unusually engaging and well made movie. Movie's plot revolves around attempt of few Indians prisoners of war of 1971 who are lodged in Pakistani jails and are moved to a new camp near the border to avoid their detection by visiting Red Cross. Bollywood has a bad record of making mainstream movies which deal with politics or war and most of such movies end jingoistic, over the top (Border) and sometime unintentionally funny (various) . 1971 is more restraint and except for few cinematic liberties it takes, like in climax scene, it is rather realistically made. For once there are no songs and dances which would have killed the pace of the movie. A good movie is which engages and which makes audience feel the character’s travails. 1971 does it pretty well for most parts. Most of characters are well etched out and acting is also top class. Some of scenes are absolutely fantastic, like the one in which on the run prisoners see Pakistani army marching into the village, the scene where Ravi's character kills himself to let his friends escape and a scene where Manoj Bajpai see the Indian side of border after the day break. Fortunately makers have made sure that characters are not made larger than life like in earlier PoW movie called "Deewar-lets bring our heroes back". The drama behind escape is engaging and creates necessary tension for action to be gripping. Dialogues are sensible and cinematography apt. After the movie I wondered why there was just handful of spectators in theatre to watch such a good movie!! It is far better than many karan Johar movies.
Though the movie has fictional plot, it is based on real facts. During 1971 war,
Thursday, March 8, 2007
What makes Nishabd a landmark movie in context of Bollywood is the fact that it is a mainstream Bollywood movie with megastar Amitabh Bachchan, which deals with quite an unusual topic by Bollywood standards and also does not play in typical format of song and dance routine. For long Bollywood has churned out movies which has always played safe and offered romanticized and glamorized world for audience looking to see some nice dance and sequences and mostly they stayed away from any topic which could be remotely introspective, disruptive, though provoking or disturbing for audience or society. It is only recently in past few years that a new breed of filmmakers has emerged who are experimenting and succeeding with newer and much bolder themes. By bold theme I don’t mean sexuality but anything which is not afraid of dealing with controversial or grayer side of our society. In Bollywood context it also means a deviation from standard, off-the-mill masala ways of making movies where families are always happy, heroines are always beautiful, heroes always win and clichés always prevail.
In India the movie stars have larger than life persona. Masses are so much in awe of stars and their onscreen persona that the even forget that star is merely actor who plays out certain role. This also makes stars to play safe by straitjacketing into a particular image which audiences have found acceptable. For example Shah Rukh Khan has literally played himself for years since it has worked for him with audiences.
Coming back to Nishabd, the movie is about a 60 yrs old photographer's love with an 18 yrs old girl which happens to be his daughter's friend. There are some genuinely great moments in the film like the one where Bachchan can not stop laughing after playing footsie with the young girl on dinner table. Bachchan is first rate like he usually is in most of his movies and Jiah Khan is ok for a first timer. Cinematography is good and enhances the mood of the movie. Bigger question is would Indian audience accept a film where a man old enough to be girl's dad is shown falling in love with her! I think no. The reason is that this is too much of a taboo for us. Some of us might be repelled by such an idea, after all , doesn't it sound like an old man sexually exploiting a young kid! Though there is nothing sexual between the characters in the movie. After the movie released there has been spate of TV interviews where Bachchan had to face all and sundry questions from public and "defend" himself. In one of interviews, a member of public almost castigated Bachchan for spoiling his "image" by doing "such a role" at "his age". Another guy asked him what he would do if he is faced with same circumstance in his real life. As if this is really important what Bachchan does in his private life and considering how conservative Bachchans are, I find it funny that somebody could think that Bachchan is capable of such a thing after all. As expected audience has not been able to accept Bachchan in a role which most of them would consider demeaning and undignified for his stature. This is typical of Indian audience where they can not see the difference between the star and the role he is enacting. And if left to audience, only role Bachchan , who is 65 , should play is that of nice, loving, grandfather. Now how interesting and challenging that would be on screen for an actor who is one of best of our times. For most of Indian audience a hero is always strong and righteous whereas Bachchan’s character would be called “morally weak", something which stars in India are always wary of playing as audiences "reject" such heroes.
Indian society is extremely function and role driven which are clearly defined with corresponding moral codes. Here father of a girl also by default becomes a father for friends of his daughters. And once he is a father that identity (dharma!!) of his becomes paramount over all other identities he might have. So how can we Indian audience ever accept the idea that a father like man is romancing daughter like girl!! In fact I am not surprised that were calls on banning such a movie which is "against Indian cultural values". Also lot of audiences would have complained that this is not a movie they can watch with families as movies should always be made only for families as unit of audience and never for an individual. In India families are sacrosanct and above everything, certainly above an individual.