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*LOTS of spoilers*

“Hello Jack, Thanks for saving our little girl.” says Joan Allen upon seeing her grandson Jacob Tremblay (who play Jack so astonishingly that you want to cleave through the screen and smother him with hugs and kisses) for the first time in a hospital. This line defines the heart of the film. How a 5 year old kid saves his mother’s life. That is what the film is about, not about their heroic escape from the clutches of a psychopath.

A kid that came into being 2 years after his mother became a sex slave, and had been held captive for two years. He talks to the inanimate objects in the room (Good morning ‘lamp’, Good morning ‘sink’, Good morning ‘chair’), talks to his imaginary dog, does stretches with his mother to keep his muscles agile, listens to the ‘Big Rock Candy Mountain’ that his mother sings for him, makes toys with egg shells, and celebrates his birthday with a cake without candles, and stares out of the skylight where aliens live. That is what he’s been doing for 5 years until one fine day his mother decides that its about time he escaped. The instructions are clear – “Wiggle out, jump, run, somebody.”

He is scared shitless coz he literally has not seen anything out of that room and he is 5 years old! His world was a small room with a bed, wardrobe (where he was supposed to hide when ‘Old Nick” visited Mom, the name aptly refers to the devil as I read somewhere), a bathtub, a chair-table and a TV with bad reception. He literally is not aware that there exists a world outside these four walls full of trees and dogs and people and oceans and endless earth, which is round, he later gets to know confounded by the fact that if it is, why we don’t fall off. So when Mom tries to tell him the truth, he screams. (a scene he had the most difficulty performing)

She was all of 17 when this happened, she tells him, when she was tricked to fall down down down this rabbit hole. She tells him of Grandma’s house with a backyard and a hammock. He understands her story, coz he is five (Jacob was actually 7 at the time of the shoot) now. He is a grown up boy capable of understanding complex things, is what she makes him believe so that he can escape. And the moment he does, your heart, along with Mom’s, skip a beat. You literally want to run and save that kid from this monster driving the truck. Jack’s eyes, the moment he comes out of the carpet, are going to haunt me for a long long time.

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Ideally, this is where a conventional film would have ended. The kid escapes, saves his mother with the help of the police, and they live happily ever after, but that is where this film actually starts, and post their escape it is an intense emotional rollercoaster ride that leaves you gasping  for air by the time it ends.

“You’re gonna love it.” She tells him.

“What?” he asks.

“The World” she says.

But what she didn’t know that will she be able to love it?

“I am supposed to be happy.” says Joy (Brie Larson, I would not mind you taking that trophy home, at all.) to her mother at the beginning of a heated argument. She doesn’t know how to deal with her freedom. Everything has changed, from her own family to the world around her. People moved on, life went on. Living for 7 years in a contained space with a crushing hope that one day you might be able to look as far as your eyes can see instead of an impenetrable steel wall four feet away can leave you with severe PTSD. Plus she is worried about her child. She wants him to play with toys and connect with people, of which he is not capable of, not yet. Her mother and step father (Tom McCamus, a brief but wonderful cameo) are patient. They know he will come around, but Joy is impatient, and her interview with a news channels doesn’t really help things.

This film, in terms of narrative, explored an unchartered territory. We are used to seeing the victorious (or sometimes failed) escape of our heroes and that’s when the credits starts to roll. We are not used to seeing these people getting assimilated in the world again, and that’s where the magic lies. Showing us the struggle of Joy and Jake getting used to ‘space’ is where Emma Donoghue’s screenplay shines bright. For Jake, it’s easier coz he is still ‘plastic’ (read moldable) as per the doctor (“I am not plastic” he opposes in Ma’ ear) but Ma is not plastic, and she has to deal with not only her own loneliness but Jake’s as well.

The world is too much for Jake. He can’t handle this vast expanse of nothingness around him at such a tender age (“There’s so much of place in the world. There’s less time because the time has to be spread extra thin over all the places, like butter.”). He, at multiple times, asks if they can go back to the room coz he misses it sometimes. They do visit it one last time before saying their final goodbyes. “Say Bye to the room, Ma” tells Jake to Ma, and Brie Larson lets out an almost silent “Bye Room” under her breath. This time they don’t see the Room as the world they inhabited for 5 years but as a cell stripped off of everything that could have reminded them of their past. The flush, Jack’s ocean with boats and ships is gone, and so is the bed and mattress on which they used to sleep. The door is ajar, and the kitchen is ruined. This cathartic visit ends their ordeal coz Room literally doesn’t exist anymore.

The film leaves you emotionally drained with wet eyes and a runny nose but happy. Happy to have witnessed such an incredibly moving parable of an inexplicably strong bond between parent and child. This film rests at top with “Mad Max” and “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” (another tear jerker) as my personal favorite from last year, and I don’t think any other film would be able to come close because I don’t think any other film will be able to have as much soul as these three.

Would like to leave you with this featurette that should tell you how amazing a chemistry these two share, even in real life

Go watch it for the kid, we don’t get to see such prodigies that often.

–  Avinash Verma

Q’s latest film Brahman Naman premiered at the recently concluded Sundance Festival. Here’s all the buzz that the film generated at the fest – The fridge, the fish, and the fan!

Brahman Naman

– For Twitch Interview of Q and the cast, click here.

– Guardian has given it a three-star rating. Review is here

– Variety review is here

– Hollywood Reporter review is here

– Review on Twitch Film is here. Calls it a “fantastic facre”

– Netflix scooped up worldwide SVOD rights. Details here

– Interview on Film Companion where Q reveals that the film is really about caste system.

– Pillow Talk with Q and Shashank Arora (they are literally on the bed)

 

Its been a while since we have posted a new film in our Sunday Shorts segment. But this week, we got a new short by writer and filmmaker Devashish Makhija. This film has Manoj Bajpayee in the lead, and he is in terrific form here, even if it is just a glance here, and a reaction there. Music is by Nucleya. Watch it.

And if you didn’t get the film, the description on the youtube page dissects it all. Here you go..

TaandavHead constable Tambe isn’t having the best of days.

His wife slams doors in his face.

His little daughter won’t speak to him.

His only friends, havaldaars Sawant and Shilwant, feel cheated by him.

And to make matters worse, he’s been given nightlong Ganpati visarjan bandobast duty.

The lights are blinding.
The drums are deafening.
Explosions.
Clanging.
Flashing.
Thrashing.
His senses are being attacked from every which way.
Every screaming face seems to be mocking him tonight.

His blood…
slowly…
rises…
to a…
boil…
Until he snaps, plunges into the crowd, pulls his gun out, and as jaws drop around him…
he unleashes a TAANDAV!

 

राष्ट्रकवी प्रदीप के बारे में मैंने ज्यादा पढ़ा नहीं है, लेकिन माँ पापा की वजह से बचपन में इनके काफी गीत सुनें. मैं इनको ‘रुलाने वाले अंकल’ कहता था क्यूंकि इनके गाने सुनते वक़्त मुझ पर काफी अलग तरह का प्रभाव पड़ता था और एक निराशा सी होती थी. आज कवी प्रदीप का जन्मदिन है. सोचा कुछ यादें ताज़ा कर लू क्यूंकि कल मेरे पापा का जन्मदिन है और इसी बहाने पापा से नम्बर भी कमा लूँगा और शायद आप में से कुछ लोग प्रदीप को भी सुन लें. कवी प्रदीप का असली नाम रामचंद्र नारायणजी दिवेदी था. उनकी आवाज़ में वो ही खनक थी जो हम पुराने कवियों की आवाज़ में सुनते आये हैं. उन्होंने कुछ ऐसे हिंदी गाने लिखे हैं, जो हमारे ज़हन में घर कर चुके हैं, मगर शायद हम जानते नहीं है की वो प्रदीप की रचनायें हैं. उनके कुछ मशहूर गाने हैं

चल चल रे नौजवान
ए मेरे वतन के लोगों
दूर हटो ए दुनिया वालों हिंदुस्तान हमारा है
आओ बच्चों तुम्हें दिखाए
दे दी हमें आजादी
कितना बदल गया इंसान

उनकी लिखी हुई प्यार की गुहार को ही सुन लीजये. फिल्म थी ‘अमर रहे प्यार’, गाना है ‘आज के इस इंसान को’. हिंदू मुस्लिम एकता के लिए शायद इससे मज़बूत गुज़ारिश मैंने नहीं सुनी. एक फ़कीर की तरह गया हुआ प्रदीप का ये गीत आपको बिना रुलाये ख़त्म नहीं होगा ये बात पक्की समझिये.

कैसी ये मनहूस घडी है,
भाइयों में है जंग छिड़ी है
रोती सलमा रोती है सीता ,
रोते है कुरान और गीता

प्रदीप जी को शायद कभी किसी से डर नहीं लगा क्यूंकि अपनी कविताओं या गीतों में वो सरकार या धर्म के ठेकेदारों को उनकी सही जगह दिखने से से चूकते नहीं थे. उस समय जब की हम सब धर्म के ठेकेदारों से घिरने ही लगे थे, प्रदीप ने उनको आड़े हाथों ही लिया था . अब उनके लिखे हुए गाने ‘कितना बदल गया इंसान को ही ले लीजये.

राम के भक्त, रहीम के बन्दे
रचते आज फरेब के धंधे
कितने ये मक्कार ये अंधे
देख लिए इनके भी धंधे
इन्ही की काली करतूतों से बना ये मुल्क मसान (शमशान)
कितना बदल गया इंसान

आज के माहौल में कोई ऐसा लिखे और किसी सियासी या धार्मिक दंड से बच जाये, ऐसा थोडा मुश्किल सा लगता  है.

प्रदीप के गानों में, व्यक्ति को खुद से मिलाने की भी ज़बरदस्त कोशिश रहती थी. हम हमेशा बाहर की ताकतों को ही दोष देते हैं किसी भी बुरी बात के लिए, लेकिन खुद के अन्दर झाँकने से सब ही कतराते हैं. फिल्म दो बहनें के इस गाने को ही सुन कर देखिये..गाना था ‘मुखड़ा देख ले प्राणी, ज़रा दर्पण में’ गाने में मंजीरा इतनी ख़ूबसूरती से बजा है जिसकी तारीफ जितनी की जाए उतनी कम है और शायद इसीलिए ‘भजन’ के नाम से tag कर दिया जाता है ऐसे गानों को. अगर आप एस डी बर्मन के ‘वहां कौन है तेरा’ को पसंद करते हैं, तो इस गाने को भी सुन के देखिये, खुद ही समझ जायेंगे की मैं क्या कहना चाहता हूँ.  

कभी तो पल भर सोच ले प्राणी
क्या है तेरी करम कहानी
पता लगा ले पडे है कितने दाग तेरे दमन में…
मुखड़ा देख ले प्राणी ज़रा दर्पण में..

कुछ और समझ नहीं आ रहा तो प्रदीप की कविता ‘कभी कभी खुद से बात करो’ की कुछ पंक्तियों से ही इस पोस्ट को समाप्त करता हूँ.

ओ नभ में उड़ने वालो, जरा धरती पर आओ।
अपनी पुरानी सरल-सादगी फिर से अपनाओ।
तुम संतो की तपोभूमि पर मत अभिमान में डालो।
अपनी नजर में तुम क्या हो? ये मन की तराजू में तोलो।
कभी कभी खुद से बात करो।
कभी कभी खुद से बोलो।

जन्मदिन मुबारक हो प्रदीप जी, हम सब वही के वही हैं अब तक, लेकिन आपकी कविताओं और गीतों का साथ है, और उसके लिए – धन्यवाद

उनकी कविताओं में भी हर तरह के भाव मिल जाते थें. आप उनकी कुछ रचनाये यहाँ पढ़ सकते है.

 उनके कुछ गीत यहाँ सुन सकते हैं और अगर पोस्ट में कुछ गलतियाँ हैं तो बताइए.

 – रोहित

We have always tried to spread the good word about various crowd-funded projects through our blog. Here’s one more film which looks interesting and you can contribute to its making. In today’s Fund A Film (FaF) initiative, we are putting the spotlight on Ashvin Kumar’s Noor.

Noor

Director

Ashvin Kumar is the director of Road to Ladakh (Irrfan Khan), The Little Terrorist (Oscar nominated), Dazed in Doon, Inshallah, Football (banned in India), Inshallah, Kashmir (also banned) and now he is planning his next, Noor.

Film

Noor is a story about a teenage girl from Britain trying to solve the mystery of her father’s disappearance in Kashmir. Based on true events, it is a story about hope in the middle of a seventy year long conflict, which has left over 100,000 people dead.

It will be a feature length narrative film about the human impact of the crisis in Kashmir. It’s the story of three generations of women who are trapped in one of the world’s forgotten conflicts. All this may sound very dark and serious, but in fact, Noor is filled with light-heartedness and optimism, hope, and the belief in the goodness of the world that informs those teenage years.

Pitch

Target

The makers have less than 30 days from now to reach the target of £74,000.

Information

To know more about the film, the makers, his roadshow in UK, how you can contribute and make a difference, click here.

FB page is here, Twitter is @Noor_movie.

Two new trailers are out recently. One is of Parched, the Leena Yadav film which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.  This has been online for some time now but got spotted recently.

Official Synopsis – Set in the heart of parched rural landscape of Gujarat, it traces the bittersweet tale of four ordinary women Rani, Lajjo, Bijli and Janaki. We see them unapologetically talk about men, sex and life as they struggle with their own individual boundaries.

The cast includes Tannishtha Chatterjee, Radhika Apte, Surveen Chawla, Adil Hussain and Lehar Khan.

Do check it out.

The other trailer is of Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh. Based on the true life story of Professor Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras who faced abject humiliation and persecution at the hands of university authorities and other citizens for being gay, it stars Manoj Bajpayee and Raj Kummar Rao. It’s written by Apurva Asrani.

The film will release on 26th Feb, 2016.

Brahman Naman

Q’s new film is soon going to have its world premiere at the ongoing Sundance Film Festival in World Cinema Dramatic Competition segment. It will compete with 11 other films in that segment.. And just before its screening, the makers have released the teaser of the film. Check it out.

And here’s the official synopsis –

It’s the 1980s and Naman (Shashank Arora, star of Cannes hit TITLI) is a know-it-all nerd driven by the whims of his raging hormones. Heading up Bangalore University’s team of bespectacled misfits (best friends Ajay and Ramu), the trio of lusty intellectuals spend the majority of their time on the quizzing circuit, using their winnings to buy nudie magazines, whiskey, and beer, fantasizing about the buxom neighborhood beauty all the while. When the boys qualify for the National Quiz Championships, they make a booze-fuelled train trip across the country determined to defeat their rivals in Calcutta and desperate to lose their virginities along the way.

Unfolding to the tune of the iconic anthem, “Whiskey Bar,” as Naman and his friends run amok against the colorful backdrop of the Indian landscape, his quest for sex and glory is complicated when he finds his intellectual superior in a stunning female quizzer. Directed by Indian filmmaker Q. (known for his controversial cult hit Gandu) Brahman Naman is a smart, raucous sex comedy that’s raunchy and endearing in equal measure— replete with innovative masturbation methods that put even Philip Roth’s Alexander Portnoy to shame.

Click here to read more about the lead characters of the film.