Thursday, June 30, 2011
Monday, June 27, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
The subject of disability on celluloid has its share of fans but I am certainly not one amongst them. I, for one, could not comprehend Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Black’ and found it quite tedious to sit through. His ‘Guzaarish’ was no masterpiece for me either. So when I decided to watch Sai Paranjpai’s ‘Sparsh’, I was a little apprehensive despite being a great fan of her other noted works- ‘Katha’ and ‘Chashme Buddoor’. It stars Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi- two of the most celebrated actors in Hindi cinema- and after you finish viewing this little gem- you would have no doubts remaining as to why these two are so highly rated. Naseeruddin Shah plays Anirudh, a blind man, who runs an institute for blind children. Shabhana Azmi plays Kavita, a widow, who has not recovered from the death of her husband even three years hence.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
As I promise in the blog description, every now and then I will revisit popular classics for, as I mention, it is hard to stay away from fast food for long. And what better mouth-watering and sumptuous meal than Deewar.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
They spend hours just lazing around at the corner of the street, unfazed by the scorching heat, and oblivious to the snide remarks about their idleness. Every now and then they go and haggle with the roadside ‘paanwallah’ for a cigarette or two. Sometimes they make do with ‘beedis’ to go along the cups of teas they manage to drain into their vacuous selves. Every few minutes they spot a lady going to or coming back from work. Their eyes follow the lady till she gets so far away that their eyes start to water from the strain of straining. The daily news is just an excuse to vent their frustrations- on the Government, on the system, on the society, on themselves. When someone tells them to look for a job, they ignore that someone, they ignore their inner voice, and they ignore the possibilities. Every other day they pick up menial fights with other idle ‘dadas’ of the other streets of their parts of the world. Come the ‘Ganpati’, come any festival- they are the ones who make the most noise- they are the ones who dance with the most gusto…
They are the four protagonists of Ankush, an award winning movie by N Chandra (who later made films like Style and Excuse Me). OR they can even be someone you know. In fact they are the same as thousands of unemployed youth who start their days without having any clue about what they are going to do in the next twelve hours of the day- before they go to sleep again late in the night. In the movie these four are tacitly led by Ravi (Nana Patekar in a characteristic hard hitting avatar).
The story is set in a Mumbai ‘Chawl’ and takes a realistic look at how people with minimum means lead their lives in the busy city that Mumbai is. On the surface they all are busy in their own worlds. But in reality their lives are interconnected and from their hearts they all care for each other. The movie starts with ‘Ganpati visarjan’- one of the biggest days in the year for a ‘Mumbaikar’. And that proves to be a good omen as the movie grows from strength to strength in the scenes to follow. The screenplay for the first thirty or so minutes paints a snapshot of the lives of the four, and sets up the characters and the mood wonderfully. Things take a turn with a young lady and her grandmother coming to live in the ‘chawl’. The movie then basically looks at how these two women change the perspectives of the four idle men and instill a sense of purpose in their lives. Towards the end the movie takes a rather dramatic and tragic turn, and culminates with a thought provoking commentary on the system of justice in India.
“Itni Shakti Humein dena data- mann ka vishwaas kamzor ho naa’
This is one prayer (‘prarthna’) that we all are familiar with. It plays a crucial role in bringing about the transformation in the lives of the four. In the movie it creates a stunning impact, and even I as a viewer was really moved by it. There was one more song in the beginning of the movie which celebrated the wastefulness of the four young men.
The performances are good from everyone. Nana Patekar won the national award for his portrayal of the anguished Ravi. The rest of the cast has no other known names. But more than the performances it is the brilliant dialogues and screenplay by N Chandra that shines through. To conclude- this is very relevant movie from the 1980s when unemployment was rampant in urban cities and lacs of youngsters were wasting away their lives. Even today its relevance has not diminished, although there have been some drastic changes in society. It deserves to be seen by people who like realistic cinema- as it paints a very accurate picture of the society in the 1980s.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
I don’t do drugs. I will never do them. And had it not been for movies like DevD, Shaitaan and London Dreams etc., I would have not even known how to do them...
I don’t think sex is taboo. But I don’t think having casual sex and one night stands is cool either- like many of the modern, cool, hippie, in vogue movies would like us to believe. “How many men have you slept with” wow- liberated youngsters- liberated women- BULLSHIT
The point I am trying to make is what is censorship? Do we need a body for it? Is it really doing a job? Shaitaan is rated A- big deal- its hoardings are everywhere- its promos are everywhere- tweets from the maker claim that this is the new age cinema- intelligent- and liberated- BULLSHIT
I am a 22 yr old- its been just 5 years since I left school- and I am scared to see the transformation in the age group between 12-17 in these past few years- this generation is growing (as makers like A Kashyap would like us to believe) – according to me on the contrary, this generation has just stopped caring. PRECOCIOUS PUBERTY.
Our young generation in the adolescent and pre-adolescent years is being exposed to filth-and wrong notions are being given to them left right and center. So now underage drinking is cool- one who doesn’t do it is labelled as a weirdo- GET A LIFE- he is told- and finally he jumps on the bandwagon-
And the intelligentsia debating on an innocuous BHAAG DK BOSE (Loop)- Common- Hypocrisy of the highest order- Highest order BULLSHIT
No censor board can save us- it is up to the people who have the power- who can make films- to restrain from making India cool and a poor imitation of the western decadence- I would write this as an open letter to the infinitely talented Mr. Anurag Kashyap- but he is too busy re tweeting the praise this new uber cool urban India is lavishing on his new movie- the kind that is taking India forwards- BULLSHIT
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
No one I know knew about this movie from the early 70s. Produced and directed by BR Chopra, a man who gave a series of enthralling mystery movies in the late 1960s, Dhund is amazingly well-knit suspense thriller that may even be termed as the best effort of Mr. Chopra and stars Zeenat Aman, Navin Nischol, Danny Denzongpa, and Sanjay Khan in principal roles.
The movie is essentially a murder mystery and it wastes no time in coming straight to the point (a thing that cannot be said of previous BR Chopra offerings). The first few minutes really set up the interest levels at the zenith and the taut screenplay ensures that they don’t go down till the very end. As in many other suspense movies, the story takes place in serene landscapes and that adds to the overall effect in this case. Giving anything away about the plot will be a disservice and I restrain from doing so.
According to me the star of any mystery movie is its script and Dhund has a ‘Superstar’ in that regards. It is an adaptation of an old Agatha Christie play and stays true to the original, for its own good. And although the screenplay in inherently engaging, the performances of all the actors elevate it to even greater levels. Zeenat Aman is amazing in her portrayal of a damsel in distress. Most of her movies don’t go beyond showcasing her stunning looks but this movie gives her the chance to put her acting abilities to show. Modern day heroines can take a cue from the earnest manner she approaches her character with. Navin Nischol looks the part of an intelligent ‘pardesi babu’ and does well in an understated manner. Danny Dengzongpa is menacing as the brutal husband and evokes hatred from other characters and viewers alike- a feat very few on screen negative characters can accomplish without caricaturizing their performance. Sanjay Khan looks handsome and is decent in his role. The surprise package is Ashok Kumar who pitches in with a cameo that in taken straight out of the earlier BR Chopra classic ‘Kanoon’. Deven Verma manages to garner a few laughs in the role of a wayward servant.
On the whole Dhund is an unknown gem of Hindi cinema and is a must watch for both ardent fans and cynics of our movies. This movie just gave me one reason to complain- it does not rise very high on the musical front which is rare for a movie coming from BR Chopra.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Amitabh Bachchan is the most iconic personality of Hindi cinema. This is the inference I draw after looking at his enviable filmography- which comprises of few of the most popular movies ever and at the same time still includes a range of movies on diverse subjects- covering diverse genres. It is a true testament to his phenomenal range as an actor that in a period in which he was dishing out ‘angry young man’ blockbusters and huge money spinners by the number, he still tried out stuff that gave him the opportunity to indulge different facets of his acting prowess. ‘Jurmana’ by Hrishikesh Mukherjee is his one such endeavor.
Starring him alongside Vinod Mehra and Rakhee Gulzar in lead roles, Jurmana is a romantic drama, kind of stuff that one would associate more with someone like Rajesh Khanna or one of the Kapoor clan. Bachchan plays Inder- a super-rich spoilt brat, a womanizer, and someone who believes in the philosophy that money can buy anything. On a visit to a quiet small town for a construction project, he meets his old college friend Prakash (essayed by Vinod Mehra), who is living a lifestyle that is poles apart from Inder’s own. A few days into his stay he spots Rama (Rakhee in a typical seedhi-saadhi avatar) and gets attracted to her charm, oblivious to the fact that his Prakash has true feelings for her. Just as Inder decides to woo Rama, Prakash gets its inkling- and there ensues a bet. Prakash believes that the simple Rama would in no way get attracted by the charms of the suave and debonair Inder, and would instead teach him a lesson. What Prakash doesn’t realize at that point of time is that it is this presumably harmless bet that would turn their lives upside down.
The sequence of events unfolds in a predictable manner for most parts but that does not take anything away from the intensity of the drama. The scenes where Amitabh turns on the charm of Rakhee are interesting and show him in a different light altogether. Towards the later part of the movie when the story shifts to Mumbai, it loses a bit of steam- but the culmination of the story is good- and there could not have been a better way to end the movie.
The music is good, which is not at all a surprise. The song ‘Saawan ke Jhoole’ is the pick of the lot and graces the narrative more than once. The performances by the actors are top notch- though the character played by Mr. Shreeram Lagoo (of Rama's dad) is a bit hard to digest. Amitabh Bachchan stand head and shoulders above the rest (both literally and figuratively). Rakhee pitches in an earnest performance. I have seen a lot of her work lately and she certainly was amongst the better actresses of her time.
Parting note- The movie is a good watch for a lazy Sunday afternoon, and it is certainly one of the underrated works of the masterful Hrishikesh Mukherjee.