Archive for March 19, 2010

Now that the post header has made you curious enough to book your tickets, do give the film some time and space. Its not your corn and cola cinema. For that you can wait for pottymaker’s Housefull!

As I returned home after the screening and looked at the bucketful of water in the bathroom and the reflection of the light on its surface, I could not look beyond. A bucketful water never meant so much. Never held my attention. When you go to a theatre to watch a film, its entertainment but when you come back home with a cinema inside you, you know its a masterstroke.

Vihir is one such cinematic masterstroke. Directed by Umesh Kulkrani and written by Girish Kulkarni & Sati Bhave, its devastatingly gorgeous, warm and heartwrenching tale of two freinds and their adolescent days. Of lost and found. Of life and death. Of hide and seek. Of love, lost and longing.

According to the official release, the synopsis of Vihir is as follows…

A story of two adolescent boys Sameer and Nachiket (cousins who are best friends) standing on the crossroads of life… to choose between the life that leads to petty worldly small existence or the life of free existence that would let them spread their wings and soar high in open skies…

They play a game of hide and seek in a rather unusual way. Where one cousin hides in death and the other is looking for him in the life around him. . . . Samir’s search leads him towards the experience of oneness where he can unite with Nachiket again!

Scratch the surface and you will find that the water runs really deep. There is family politics, pain of growing up, existensial crisis, chinese whispers, detachment and finding that “best friend” during one of the most difficult & exciting time of life – adolescent days. When suddenly one day you spot some soft hair strands slowly making a thin line just below your nose, you dont remain the same anymore. You want to talk to someone who belongs to the same club. You try to make sense of the world.

And like me, if you have spent your summer vacations at your nanihaal or mamabadi or mamaghar or Grandma’s place, you will instantly connect with it. Uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents – all under one roof. Things that you should not have known, tales that you should not have heard and incidents that you should not have been part of – you grow up then and there. You become Adult. Vihir moves in similar territory as Sameer & his Nachiketdada try to decipher the meaning of life around them. They are not only cousins but best friends too. One (Sameer) idolises the other but the other is lost. He is also trying to find himself. And its through one’s loss, that the other discovers himself.

But what kind of loss is it ? Is it just being invisible ? Or more than that. Here comes the maturity in the writing and direction part.  And now slowly all the dots connect. The simple game of hide and seek & chinese whispers dont remain the same anymore. Dont want to write more here to spoil the experience for you.

The character actors are all familar faces of marathi cinema. Lead actors Madan Deodhar (Sameer) & Alok Rajwade (Nachiket) say it more through the silences and gestures than the dialogues. Alok was also the lead in Siddharth Sinha’s FTII diploma film Udhedbun which bagged the Silver Bear at Berlin Film Festival in 2008. Shot gorgeously by Sudheer Palsane, the camera takes you straight inside the family affairs. The acting across the board is so natural that it looks like someone just put a camera there. Am not sure if the actors spent some time together before the shoot or what lead to such strong bond on screen but its pure magic.

When the first half got over, I was bit lost wondering if its the end of the film. And it could have been a superb end there. As i came out and met few other film buffs, realised that others also felt the same. So now what ? What will he do in the second half ? How will he wrap up ?

Fuck Syd Field and fuck all plot points. Umesh Kulkarni’s second half is pure visual delight. Mood piece. At one point, some 20 minutes of the film is complete silence. No dialogues. And once you are with the character, you know what that silence means. If you have ever loved and lost someone, you know its difficult to find a way out.  You dont want to hear people talking. They just dont make sense. You need no gyaan. You need that journey to nowhere. Remember last year’s Dev D ?

In the secod half, I felt the same once again. When “the well” scene comes, I thought here is one more end. But then there is some more. Its a journey of self-discovery. So, no point trying to figure out an end to join the dots. Let it go on.

And as a killer line in Rocket Singh song goes…Uljhe nahi to kaise suljhoge…bikhre nahi to kaise nikhroge. Nobody grows up in years, its always in deeds.

Water is life. And death too. In every drop. Everywhere. The subtle hints, the subtext and the layers – by the end it seems nothing is as simple as it looks.

(PS – Its great that AB Corp produced it. All respect. Hope they do more such films. And those of you who still think that am biased against the Bachchans, doesnt this post say enough to shut you up! We all love to champion a film that we like. Rest doesnt matter. It seems Jaya Bachchan was the key person for making this happen. This surely is one tight slap on the face of Raj Thackeray and his supporters who claimed Guddi buddhi zali, tari ajun akkal nahi aali. And do watch it on big screen. You need to dive into that water. The dark theatre and the big screen sets the perfect mood. )

Click on the play button to see the opening scene of Vihir

For more on Vihir, click here.