The filmmaker who asked us to set a higher benchmark, why should he get any concession ?

Posted: September 2, 2011 by moifightclub in cinema
Tags: , , , , ,

And worst even, why should Bodyguard be his benchmark?

Is that even a nursery level contest – to make a film better than Bodyguard?

And if it’s so, you are on the wrong page. Like other film buffs, i have been following his campaign to sell 6,50,000 tickets so that he can keep on making his kind of cinema. Well, i hope it happens. And we need it to happen. Because as my twitter buddy @rmanish1 tweeted, kyunki har ek cinema zaroori hota hai.

But that should not be the reason to celebrate a mediocre attempt as the best thing to have happened to our cinema in recent times.

Anurag Kashyap and his brand of cinema needs no introduction. Few directors in this country can claim to have genuine fanboys. And believe it or not, a friend told me that a classmate of his from St Xavier’s even had a poster of AK in his room. To some extent, one of the reason is that everyone loves a good underdog story. He represents that. Everyone loves a good middle finger to be shown to the world that they hate but can’t do. He is been there, done that. And then there’s his filmography. Long list of films written and directed by him.

In the last few years he has almost become the messiah of everything independent. But since we are not sure how to define “indie” in India, let’s just say he is the strongest voice for anyone struggling to make a film. He is also easily the best filmmaking school in the country. Plus his talent to spot and back some of the best talents in front and behind the camera. Amit Trivedi, Amitabh Bhattacharya, Rajeev Ravi, Mahie Gill, Vikramaditya Motwane among many others.

Also, at a time when we are dying to find a connect with the auteurs of the world cinema and the film fests,  he became our window to the world. Name the fests, the actors or the filmmakers, and he is there.  The list is again long – Quentin Tarantino, Michael Winterbottom, Ang Lee, Wong Kar Wai, Tilda Swinton, Danis Tanovic and others.

So what do you expect from the filmmaker?

His last film released almost two years back. And in those two years, the cinema world map and awareness has also changed accordingly. With various legal and illegal means to source the best cinema from across the world, why should our benchmark be so low for any film, made in India or outside? And that’s why That Girl In Yellow Boots fails miserably.

I had read the script too. Well, only because he is one filmmaker who doesn’t fuss about his scripts being read and he will even happily show his unreleased film to anyone. All respect for that. Even when i read the script, i could not believe it was written by AK. Scenes would start and end with, Hi. Hello. Ok. Blah blah blah. Bye. I had to fight with a friend because i could not believe it was written by AK.

Then i saw the film. Twice. For me, it’s his most simplistic tale till date. Shocking? Morality? Huh! And i still can’t find the point of the film. What’s the motive behind making the film? What’s the point of telling this story? Hell yeah, what *exactly* are you trying to tell? I know, all artists have all the rights to do whatever they want. But to ponder and blabber over it, that’s mine.

Selling shock? There are Korean Masters.

Selling sex? There is Lars Von Trier. And then the French are there.

Selling indie? There is Once. Monster.And many many more. It doesn’t even come close.

Selling struggle? Jafar Panahi is in jail.

So where does TGIYB stands in the context of the world cinema, the cinema that we know, talk, discuss, follow, love and get excited by and aspire to be ? Sadly, nowhere.

TGIYB’s magic is only in the making. Someone can get the cast and crew excited about the script and complete the shoot in just two weeks, that’s a great achievement. But why should i count your struggle in my film viewing experience?

Gulshan Devaiya and Puja Sarup are just delicious. The film belongs to them even though they hardly matter in the main story. Dear Bollywood, can we please see them more? Kalki’s acting is uneven. In some scenes she is the perfect Ruth, you can’t think of anyone else, and then there are scenes that make you feel that she is Kashyap’s wife. Taken for granted. Prashant Prakash is so loud and theatrical. Someone needs to tell him that it’s not stage, there is a camera that register every nerve movement. AK’s brand of dry humour elevates the impact of many scenes but he fails in the finale. The scene which is designed to give the final blow, you cringe in your seat wondering how could he let it pass because the actor looks so clueless. It seems nobody was sure about his emotions.

With AK, you don’t need to worry about the craft, the sound or the visuals. Loved the scene where Kalki and Puja are on the phone, both talking to two different persons but it follows so smoothly. That’s the mark of a good director.

But all you worry about is why TGIYB is even a feature film? Why it couldn’t be a short? Some of the best filmmakers worldwide indulge in shorts whenever they feel like. TGIYB’s story even follows the pattern of a short. Then?

Was it designed to woo the fests? He should have sent his Black Friday then. Was it written/directed as a gift to Kalki? People do crazy things in love. It’s ok then. Or was it really written because he and Kalki felt like telling this story? Then it’s quite a lazy piece of writing.

To quote Kashyap’s review of Black, i would say TGIYB is best (or shocking or whatever you want to call) for those who haven’t seen better.

Let me quote few more lines from the same review,

On a day such as this, I can only hope we make better films than statements. Our best is far, far away from the world’s best cinema. They are not even a mile within the threshold of the top 100 films of world cinema.

It was written in 2005. We are still struggling. And the filmmaker who wrote these lines, if he can’t deliver, then whom do we expect to do it? Why should he get a concession?

Though it’s a great thrill to see the names of some of your best friends in the opening credits but why should that be a reason for not shouting out about the emperor’s clothes.

And strangely, for the fans of Salman Khan and Anurag Kashyap, who belong to two different extremes, one thing is common this weekend – disappointment. Both deserve much much better.

  1. Murphy says:

    Well to start with i havent seen the film yet, will catch it tomorrow. Your post is an interesting read. But there is one thing i would like to know…what’s the fuss about world cinema..? Indian cinema in comparison with world cinema…the tarantino’s, the sellers of things…i dont get it..i mean i can only comment on ur review of the moview once i see it..but the other part just seems as if you are trying to make it all interesting and make people read what u write…anyways it was interesting but not new…well i might write again after watching the film…keep writing..i am reading…

  2. Manish says:

    Enjoyed , but found it in the shadow of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

  3. PBS says:

    …and then comes a time when filmmakers start working for themselves…victim of their own image… happened to RGV, happening to AK (haven’t seen the movie yet, just going by your blog)

    Reminds me of a dialogue from luck by chance…”Zafar khan ek image hai, mai Zafar Khan ke liye kam karta hu…”

  4. […] let it pass because the actor looks so clueless. It seems nobody was sure about his emotions.”Read MoreVN:F [1.9.10_1130]please wait…Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)VN:F [1.9.10_1130]Rating: 0 (from 0 […]

  5. Fatema says:

    $%^&&%^^ give the movie (and the audience a chance! Agle hafte daal deta toh kya jaata! 😛

    P.S.: Haven’t read your post yet 😛

  6. Superb Superb Superb Write-up.
    Well, I still haven’t seen this movie. But surely wud catch it pretty soon as I am one of those few..who bridges those 2 extremes.. I watch Sallu’s brand of movies ..just….aivainn..and at heart a big big AK fan.
    Thanks for the write-up!!

  7. darkndusky says:

    I too havent seen this movie but AK ki movie me ek aada baaton ki garanty hoti hai….ki dialogues mashallah hone aur situations bhi bahut khoob honge. Im even more excited because its a woman’s story here ….. ..chalo dekhna baaki hai

  8. Kuldip says:

    Audacious post.
    While I agree on most of the points I disagree on a couple of.

    1) There is nothing wrong in starting/ending dialogues with hi-hello/bye-bye. There can be a script that is mostly of a formal conversations and yet so dramatic. There are some good films where events are removed and the rest moments depicted.
    2) Dialogues did not sound like AK’s : It is a better sign in a way, no? Breaking away from usual.

  9. Kuldip says:

    Forgot to add: I am yet to see Yellow Boots.

  10. mihir says:

    Fucking epic piece, man.

  11. Cool says:

    thank god ,some sense here ,my respect for this blog has grown by many notches,

    some one spoke honestly unlike other fan boys who have to write “good reviews” and RT on twitter other reviews to get their first movie made ,since no one in bollywood give them money to make their masterpiece,so they havve to kiss ass

    on the movie,its the MOST BORING movie i have seen in my life ,nd i watch world cinema,just to shock is not the whole point,and since when does a girl giving her father hand job becomes parameter for “edgy cinema”,

    kurosawa,truffaut,scorcese didnt need to do theese things,

    and wit bout actress ,nutan,madhubala ,madhuri didnt need to speal vulgar dirty dialogues ,to be considered gr8 perfomers,sad sad sad

    and when AB,saif take junior b and bebo ,its called nepotism in bollywood and when AK makes a movie for his wife,its called “artist colloboration”

    lol ,this is wit is edgy cinema,god save indian cinema then

    • PBS says:

      Dare one utters word ‘nepotism’ to the ‘saviors’ of independent cinema in India. Had a bad bad experience when PFC was live. The only fashionable thing is to bash YRF-KJo brand of cinema.

  12. havent watched this one yet. will do so over the weekend and will return to share my thoughts. cheers. keep writing !!!

  13. Chhatrapal says:

    I am no connoisseur of world cinema, but i have seen enough to think TGIYB is among the better film in world cinema if not the best… Dev D is amateurish in front this one. I think it is more Kalki’s film than Anurag’s. Rajiv Ravi and Music is psychedelic.There might be no story but then it is an experience. Acting is terrific. I have met people like Prashant, who are little over actor in their daily lives … and it is not about overacting(which exists only for professionals from film and theater) but it is about believability and evoking my/audience’s response and hence i think acting is top notch. After a certain technical level, Films are not good or bad … it is about how it touches you … if it does it becomes good otherwise a piece of shit. Anurag’s films like represents a counter culture … rejected youths right from their birth or searching for a identity , knowing nothing what do about it. And they shout and indulge in what society call anti social, non conformist and rebellious like Dev and Ruth. And they are just desperately trying to find who they are. I saw the pain being alone through ruth’s eyes. You seems not to connect … but that’s fine, it it not new thing … it happens everyday.

  14. You set your own standards. Call it my disappointment, call it anger or call it my #TGIYB review

  15. @pvijay says:

    That rare film where we disagree, I guess.

    It is an absolute Anurag Kashyap movie. Neither overwhelmed or underwhelmed. It delivers the promises it makes, which is all that one should expect…

  16. Namu says:

    ur writeup is makin me think, if i should spend a part of my day with TGIYB… :\
    and at the same time, don’t want to miss it either…!

  17. Ramana Krishnan says:

    @SumitPurohit: Is that $%#&* as the fanboy in your review? 😀

  18. why should one even care if its made in two weeks or two years?

  19. Ashish Shukla says:

    to be precise…Exactly!

  20. felinei says:

    The movie has awesome cinematography aided by some real good art design,ok music,some good acting( i somehow like prashants acting n gulshan rocks, he is almost unpredictable like the young de niro) n some average (Kalki), and an average story(no complains cause i wasn’t expecting that), some very funny moments but highly unbelievable too( like the chityapah character falling for the dad dying with the gas cylinders story,come on he is a smart guy)….thats all director n writers choice how they want to create situations…naseerudin shah seemed like the most cliched written roles….

    but what the movie lacked is subtlety and those rare cinematic moments….there was not even one worth remembering or worth thinking over for days….such kind of movies depend on moments….like wong kar wai movies which are full of them….funny there is a scene where prashant wears a jim morrison tie n says that he is wearing it for ruth….but when everything in ruths fractured life breaks apart into million ungatherable pieces, there is no feeling of “every thing is broken apart n dances”….and i don’t care if the movie dint have a happy ending or sad ending but it definitely lacked the building up of an ending, and a lot of scenes where they describe what they feel should have been left under the towel, unsaid.

  21. Arthi V says:

    TGIYB will be playing at Facets, Chicago for a week somewhere in mid-Dec…16th to 22nd I think….Haven’t watched this film but apparently, they liked it a lot…. For ppl there and if interested, may chk their site for exact screening details…

  22. […] I first saw the film when it was in edit. Still don’t have the talent to gauge the final film from the rough cut. Could figure that individual scenes and AK’s humour was working. Me and some others have been pestering him to screen the film before he left for Cannes. And unlike others, he scores quite high there. Has no insecurity about showing his films, no matter what you think about it. I hated That Girl In Yellow Boots and wrote about it here. […]

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