Monday, April 2, 2012

Kaash (1987)

There are slight similarities between the basic thread of Aamir Khan starrer Akele Hum Akele Tum and Mahesh Bhatt's Kaash. Both deal with an estranged couple and are largely centered around a father-son relationship. Also, both the movies are set in the world of showbiz.

This is the age for action. Not just the dishum-dishooom kind. The word of movies has become fast paced- see any new trailer- twenty random shots will pass your eyes even before a single second is registered in your mind. Of course, the editing would be slick- people are hard pressed for time anyways- and it makes sense to cram in as much as possible within as less time as possible. Another explanation for it can be that “Hey, let’s not let them make any sense of it... just pack in some great shots and back it with a zany background score and they will be sold to our film”. It is not just our trailers, but even our films are becoming more ambitious in terms of the expanse of time and space they depict. Today, the camera hardly lingers on the face of an actor when he or she is done with the dialogue. It’s pertinent, for impatience is something which is now a virtue. The more impatient you are, the more you will achieve.


In such time and age, watching a film like Mahesh Bhatt’s 1987 feature Kaash can be an extremely novel experience. The film boasts of just four lead characters and almost no one else. The story is simple; the narrative is singularly linear (apart from a few discernable flashbacks). But more than anything else, the most unique thing about the film is that the camera is in no hurry and has a lot of time to capture what the characters feel and what they do. It is an extremely performance oriented movie that tells the story of a dysfunctional couple- a man who has seen the highs of stardom but is now experiencing the lows of obscurity, and a woman who cannot bear to see her once full of life husband taking to the bottle and giving up on life. Caught between them is their school going son; grappling with the acerbic tension between his parents. The story takes a turn when the kid is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

The film basically is a deeply moving account of a father-son relationship. Said to be inspired by a few moments from Mahesh Bhatt’s personal life, the film has been made with a lot of love and effort. That love and effort is visible through the dialogues and the performances that the writer/director has extracted from his two leads- Jackie Shroff and Dimple Kapadia, as well as from the actor playing their son. Some of the scenes are heart-breaking and it would be tough for even the most stubborn hearts to sit through them without getting moist-eyed.

The songs of the movie are innocent- there is no other word to describe them. If seen in isolation however, they might seem childish- but that’s the intention, for more than just songs, they are playful interactions between the young kid and his doting father. The mother, for most parts, is in absentia owing to her quest for being independent and not compromising on her self-respect, and understandably so as her husband becomes a terrible alcoholic loser post his fall from fame. The performances from both Jackie and Dimple are worthy of being described as textbook ones amongst their class. The former, in my opinion is a mightily underrated actor who is amongst the best in carrying off intense roles- at par with Nana Patekar (who being more theatrical grabs more eyeballs). Of course, the fact that Jackie has done innumerable inconsequential films (including B and C grade ones) goes against him. Anupam Kher plays an important role and the fourth lead (albeit peripheral). Despite him having a largely positive role, he strangely comes across as a grey character with the kind of look that he is given. 

After watching this movie, I was going through the filmography of Mahesh Bhatt- and wasn’t he prolific! So many movies and such well remembered ones too. I haven’t seen a lot of them and will watch the better ones soon.

Parting Note: There are a lot of movies made for making you laugh- but here is a semi-autobiographical (allegedly) movie by Mahesh Bhatt that looks like it was designed as one that intended to make people cry. The strong performances and emotional storyline makes it a good watch. Akele Hum Akele Tum (starring Aamir Khan and Manisha Koirala) shares slight similarities with this movie.

6 comments:

  1. I remember watching this a long time ago. Loved it then; now,in retrospect, I can only say that Mahesh Bhatt was a lot less manipulative then, than he became later on.

    I wouldn't put too much reliance on this being 'semi-autobiographical'. His father has gone on record saying that a lot of what Mahesh Bhatt has claimed to be from his own experiences, is tosh. He does have a penchant for exaggerating incidents. :)

    ps: Akele Hum Akele Tum was a ripoff of Kramer vs. Kramer.

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    1. Mahesh Bhatt as a personality has never appealed to me- in all the stuff he does on news channels, he comes across as an arrogant and crass fellow who has an opinion about everything but very little idea about a lot of things. So I can completely understand when you say he has a penchant to exaggerate incidents-

      But as a filmmaker, he is largely unsung. Today we have a Vidhu Vinod Chopra film festival- and how many films has he made? 5 or 6? Mahesh Bhatt has directed 50 films and though a lot of them have been junk- I don't think there is any other director who can boast of such varied films- He has made Arth and Saaransh- he has also made Hum Hain Rahee Pyaar Ke and Dil Hai ki Maanta nahin- also films like Daddy, Sir, Zakhm... as a producer he is still making a lot of films and they do tend to do well (most of them are rip-offs I admit)

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  2. ... and another one I haven't seen, though I've seen both Akele Hum Akele Tum and Kramer vs. Kramer. I do remember hearing about it and watching the songs now and then on Chitrahaar.

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    1. I do tend to see a lot of movies that you haven't seen... and vice versa of course! :)

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  3. Kaash is one of my long-time favorites. I had the good fortune to watch it again, thanks to Youtube. Jackie Shroff, I agree is highly under-rated. This is one of his best performances. Dimple is no less stellar, we do not have any leading lady with her intensity anymore.

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