Archive for February 18, 2011

The day I got to know that Vishal Bhardwaj was adapting another Ruskin Bond short story for the big screen, I went to all the possible book stores, searched desperately for the book with the story Sussana’s Seven Husbands, found it, bought it, read it and then heaved a sigh of relief. How else can you claim to be a Bhardwaj Fanboy!

The short story (just 5 or 6 pages) by Bond is a mood piece, sets an atmosphere where you don’t feel comfortable and there is an eerie feeling that something is lurking around the corner. Things are not explained, deaths are without any reasons and everything else is left to your imagination. Once I and other B-fanboys finished reading it, we all wondered endlessly about how Vishal is going to adapt it for the big screen. Knowing Bond, it should have been easy to predict. Rewind to Rusty days.

But what will compensate for the lack of central drama ? Add to that, our cinema habit of enjoying a “destination film” more than a “journey film”. If the last 20 minutes doesn’t satisfy us, nothing can compensate for the price of the ticket, no matter how brillant the rest of the film is.

And every fear came true with 7 Khoon Maaf. In CBSE curriculum, we had a short story in school titled “Curiosity Killed The Crow”. In case of 7 Khoon Maaf, I was the Crow. Not sure how different my reaction would have been had I not known about all the spoilers. Since the announcement of the film, have been following every bit of news, forcing every possible source to spill out the beans and I even knew about the spoiler in the film. The film’s official synopsis made matters worse where it gave out every detail about the plot. The only thing left to know was – How ?

The film opens with a scene where Priyanka is holding a gun close to her head. And the first thing I noticed was the patchy make-up on her face. You don’t expect to see such a face in a film directed by one of the country’s top five filmmakers. And things got worse from there. Not sure on whom the blame should be put but you can almost feel the layercake of make-up put on Priyanka’s face in many scenes.

If you follow the blog, am guessing you know more than enough about the story. Sussana. Six Marriages. Husbands. Dead. Neil’s character had so much potential but if only fake moustaches could save the day, we all would have been roaming around with those. John, well, I don’t have too many adjectives for wooden blocks. More or less, he remains the same. Naseeruddin Shah doesn’t have much to do, Russian actor Aleksandr Dyachenko has a charming presence and as always,  Annu Kapoor is effortless. Irrfan Khan – benign by day, beast by night and he can go no wrong. But the one who gets to be the dude is Shah Junior – Vivaan. Not conventional good looking but confident and how! An assured debut. Unlike other first timers, not self-conscious of his body language at all. Blame it on the Shah-DNA. But to imagine him as Konkona’s husband, and again with that layer-cake make-up, that was the toughest part. Priyanka is spot-on, whatever she is expected to deliver, she does it well. If only she could get rid of that school-girl giggle, she would be more likeable.

If I ever murder someone, I’ll put the blame on Coen Brothers. Because they make killing look so cool. Wish I could share the blame with Bhardwaj too. But he goes for the emotional baggage. Justifiying every killing of the “dukhi-bechari-badkismat” Maidyum. Looking for love. Settling for blood. Killing just for the sake of killing, what a delicious dish it is! Like that war of whip-lashes (Neil Nitin Mukesh) in an open muddy ground.

And what’s the big picture ? 1,2,3,4,5,6 and then go for the sublime sufi swirls. Count that 7 and bingo!

The brillance of Bhardwaj is there, but too little, the way scenes are set and lit ( Double woot for Ranjan Palit).  The master who has penned some of the best dialogues in the last few years, also drops few few lines here and there. Shaadi jaldi jaldi aur pachtao araam se. But it all boils down to nothing. It’s packed with so much stuff and yet offers so little.

The worst – even the song Tere Liye is not there in the film. At least that would have compensated for some of the pain of seeing one of your favourite filmmakers falter this way.

The first look of Rohan Sippy’s new film Dum Maaro Dum is out. It stars Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu and Rana Daggubati. Prateik is credited as Special Appearance in the teaser. It’s written by Shridhar Raghavan, shot by Amit Roy and has Pritam’s Music. Check it out.

And here is the official synopsis….

Goa. Paradise on Earth. But every Paradise has a few snakes.

Multiple lives collide brutally one day at Goa Airport… and change forever.

Prateik Babbar: Lorry
A student on the verge of following his girlfriend to a US University. But when his scholarship gets rejected, his life threatens to spiral out of control, until he meets a smooth talking hustler who promises to get it back on track. For a small price. His soul.

Abhishek Bachchan: ACP Vishnu Kamath
A self destructive cop fleeing his own past, Kamath is given the job of destroying the brutal local and international drug mafia in Goa. As he begins his ruthless, relentless campaign and takes on the murky drug world… he discovers nothing is what it seems.

Rana Daggubati: DJ Joki
A local musician and mute spectator to what is happening around him, Joki drifts aimlessly through life after an encounter with the drug mafia cost him everything he held dear. Today he discovers history has a nasty habit of repeating itself. Will he finally have the guts to take a stand?

Bipasha Basu: Zoe
An aspiring airhostess who saw her dreams turn to dust, Zoey in a way represents Goa itself. A child of the hippy generation, a mix of local and foreign culture, innocence and beauty have gradually been replaced by cynicism and abuse.

Aditya Pancholi: Lorsa Biscuta aka the Biscuit
A ruthless local businessman, the Biscuit has his finger in every Goan pie, legal or illegal. The point person between all the various Mafias operating in Goa, the Biscuit finds himself pushed to the extreme limit with Kamath’s arrival. But he knows who to turn to:

A mysterious shadow
The ultimate drug kingpin. Many names, many identities but no one knows who he is….

We hurtle into the bylanes, beach shacks and raves of Goa with Lorry as his life spirals out of control, with Joki as he tries to redeem the past and with Kamath as he goes no-holds-barred after the mysterious shadow figure behind it all…

Punctuated with a soundtrack that moves from pulsating dance tracks to haunting Konkani songs, shot right in the midst of the teeming international tourist hotspots, Dum Maaro Dum takes you on a dramatic, thrilling trip filled with twists, turns, suspense… and a shocking finale!

Not sure why and how, but Freida Pinto is surely going places. As if Danny Boyle, Julian Schnabel, Woody Allen, Tarsem Singh and the Apes movie weren’t big enough for her CV, now she also has Michael Winterbottom.

The film is titled Trishna and will also star Riz Ahmed (Four Lions). It’s based on Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles. We haven’t read it but according to IMDB, it’s “The story of the tragic relationship between the son of a property developer and the daughter of an auto rickshaw owner”. And a friend described it as “hopelessly depressing”.

The film will be shot all over Rajasthan and it’s a start to finish schedule. The shooting starts by end of February. Last time when Winterbottom shot A Mighty Heart in India, it was in news for all the wrong reasons. So this time its been kept as a hush-hush affair.

And this is not the first time that Thomas Hardy’s novel is getting adapted for the screen. Tess of the D’Urbervillies was also adapated as a four part mini-series for BBC and had Gemma Arterton in the lead role.

Rajasthan, Frieda Pinto, property developer, rickshaw owner – well, something tells us that it will again be desi exotica for the West. What’s missing ? Bollywood and naach-gaana ? Bet it’s there. Someone will move to Mumbai and dhen tedan! We can’t spill all the beans at one go.

Click here to read the report.