Archive for June, 2012

We’ve seen all kinds of reactions to Gangs Of Wasseypur… and like many would say, what good is a film if it doesn’t spark intense discussion and debate? But the reactions that are most interesting to see are in the form of fan art. Fan Posters is a relatively new trend here and we’ve recently had a whole wave of Bollywood and Indian movie inspired fan posters.

So here are some interesting ‘fanboy’ posters for Gangs Of Wasseypur… Take a look, and do send us your own if you’ve made any of your own. Enjoy!

The 10th, 11th and 12th posters are by Vijesh Rajan, Akshar Pathak and Abhinav Bhatt respectively.

The first 9  are by Neeraj Ghaywan… Who was clearly very bored during post-production for the film. And also the last one, dedicated to the 3 Womaniyas who were a major force behind the film and had to suffer much at the hands of a certain Mr K. Here they have their revenge. This one is our favorite!

(Update: Added Sumit Purohit‘s Minimalist Poster as well. Keem ’em coming!)

(Update 2: Added  अमित aka @hypnosh‘s fantastic new minimal poster. We love this!)

Gangs OF Wasseypur by Vijesh Rajan

Gangs Of Wasseypur by Vijesh Rajan

Gangs Of Wasseypur Minimal Poster by Akshar Pathak

Gangs Of Wasseypur Minimal Poster by Akshar Pathak

Gangs Of Wasseypur Minimal Movie Poster by Abhinav Bhatt

Gangs Of Wasseypur Minimal Movie Poster by Abhinav Bhatt

Gangs Of Wasseypur Minimal Poster by Sumit Purohit

 

Gangs of Wasseypur Minimal Poster by @hypnosh

 

Gals Of Wasseypur

Anubhuti, Shweta and Sneha. Hell yeah.

Lot of us have been talking about the characters of Gangs Of Wasseypur and how they are confusing at times as they keep on entering and vanishing from the main plot. And then film critic Anupama Chopra pointed out in her review that it would have been good if there was a booklet with all the main characters and the family trees. Talk started on social networking platforms and our man from Wasseypur, Neeraj Ghaywan came to the rescue. This is also going to help you in understanding the family dynamics in Part2. So here it is.

Have a look and spread the good word to your confused friends. There are two pages – 1st one is Khan tree and click on the arrow which appears on the tree to take you to 2nd page – that’s Singh and Qureshi clan.

Growing up in a small colliery town in Dhanbad district, the first tax that i learnt about was called rangdaari tax. That was much before the “tax and debentures” chapter in school. As a kid it seemed fun. You demand and someone pays you. Also, everything was related and dictated by coal there. The two important trains to Calcutta, the closest metro town, were Coalfield Express and Black Diamond Express. With so much coal dust floating all around, all the trees in our area were black in colour. My aunts and relatives would even compare Dad’s dark complexion with coal mines to tease us when we were kids. (Similar emotions are there in a terrific song in part 2 of Gangs Of Wasseypur). Vishwakarma puja – celebration of God of architecture and engineering was a household thing. Have rarely seen that anywhere. Worshipping your bicycles and scooters!

The area had a local don called D N Singh. That rangdaari tax! And as filmy legends go, the guy was good at heart too. Donating generous amounts for Durga Puja and other local festivities. And had a filmy end too. With the posting of a new police chief, he was attacked and beaten up in the middle of the market on a broad day light and was literally stripped off his power.  Since Dad was posted as Welfare Officer there, we used to hear all kind of stories revolving around miners welfare. And film conversations with Dad or his friends meant someone will surely talk about Amitabh Bachchan starrer Kala Patthar. Everyone used to claim that it was shot in their area and they had seen its shooting. I never bothered to check where exactly it was shot. There is no fun in killing that joy of nostalgia with little bit of knowledge.

But Anurag Kashyap’s two-parter Gangs of Wasseypur is more than just nostalgia for me. Though i was happy that finally we have some new tales beyond the legend of Kala Patthar. We moved out of Dhanbad after Dad’s retirement but am going to call him and tell about a new film from the land of Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL).

Gangs Of Wasseypur is quite an ambitious film in every possible way and Kashyap is in top form with his craft. He was never this good! To tame and deliver a beast of this epic proportion is a mammoth task.

I first saw the film when it was in edit. Still don’t have the talent to gauge the final film from its rough cut. Could figure out that individual scenes and humour was working. After that, 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.

Then a call at 1am.

Film dekhega? Dikhao. Kab se bol raha hoon.

Abhi dekhega? Abhi? Kahaan?

PVR aa ja. 10 min me. Kya? Haan. aa ja.

It started around 1:30 am and got over by 4:30 am or so. In an empty cinema hall with just 10-12 of us and Manoj Tiwari’s voice blasting in the early morning hours, my morning never started on such a high note. It was pure cinematic orgasm on big screen! Jiya ho bihar ke lala kept on playing in loop in my head.

I saw the film today again. The opening credits still looked the coolest in the B-town! It still felt bit long and indulgent. But as i have often believed and contradicted myself too – if filmmakers and artists don’t indulge, who will? My kiranawala? Finally it all depends on you – what indulgence by which artists you can connect to.

Piyush Mishra’s voiceover still sounds bad. The beginning is too hotchpotch. Too many characters criss-crossing each others paths and confusing at times. Hopefully we will put a family chart soon to have more clarity there.

But what an epic filmmaker’s masterclass is this!

With the terrific talents of Rajeev Ravi and Wasiq Khan, Kashyap has managed to create a whole new world all together. A world where men are beasts but are stripped down to their bare minimum and are eyed and hunted by the womaniyas! I don’t remember seeing a Gang leader in his underwear and eyed by the woman in any film. Or when they need to take permishan to even touch the girl. Playing with gangs and guns but tears roll down when denied permishan. There are many such cinematic kinks, flavours and reasons why this film by Kashyap stands out easily. And like others, he doesn’t even claim to write strong female characters.

The humour is distinct like in any other Kashyap film. I still laugh thinking about that No Smoking scene – tum ja rahe ho? Tum aa rahi ho? Main aa rahi hoon. Main ja raha hoon. Here, a woman in labour pain while delivering the baby gets you a chuckle. Or an impromptu race between two people after a loot, when the older person shouts out hum phirst, hum phirst. I am not going to write about the rest and spoil it for you. You will be left wondering about them because these are people from a different world that we have never seen on our screen.

Now, I guess everyone knows that GoW i’s a revenge saga spanning across few generations in the backdrop of coal mafia. Having seen both the parts, what i can tell you is that the first part takes time to set up as everyone is doomed and is busy sowing the seeds for their ends, either with love or hate. 2nd part is more action, more drama and more revenge. First is like wine, you can’t treat it like junk food. You need time to savour it. There’s no takeaway from it. In the business of guns and groins, coal is just the excuse. Enjoy it till it lasts. Kyunki yahan last me kuch nahi hota hai! Because the beginning is the end. Kyunki Saans Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi – That’s it! And in that way it’s unlike other desi films we see these days. So even in your viewing, you can’t treat it like any other film – start, beginning and end!

Nothing makes me more cringe that seeing a bad scene on screen. That breakdown scene by Kumud Mishra in TGIYB still haunts me because it’s atrociously bad. In Gangs Of Wasseypur, you can’t point a single scene which is badly acted or directed. The actors, each one of them, from the main lead (Manoj Bajpayee, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Nawazuddin, Richha Chaddha, Jaideep Ahlawat, Piyush Mishra, Jameel Khan, Huma Quereshi, Reema Sen and rest) to the extras, they all make it look so real. They don’t act, they *are* the characters. Once inside their world, you forget the real world that you belong to – that’s a rare achievement. But my favourite is Pankaj Tripathy. He has such a strong presence and am happy that he finally gets his due.

But it would have been better if it was bit shorter, no?

Why only shorter, it should have been just one film. Right.

And if there was no voice-over in the beginning. True.

And would have been better without all that history of Bihar and Jharkhand.

It’s also so self indulgent!

And you don’t emotionally connect with the characters.

May be then it would have been my film and not a film by Anurag Kashyap. Having seen all his film in the last few years, i have made peace with his art and craft. You can’t beat him in craft and in the budget that he delivers, it’s almost impossible. As for his art, it’s not easy to digest. It’s never going to be your regular fare. And i hope it remains that way. Once in a while I like being restless. There’s a thrill in getting out of your comfort zone and figuring out things in the dark – where the wild things are! It’s time you do the same. It will take some time but you will get used to it. If you can afford, why should your cinema be just for escapism? And if you are worried, don’t think because we have enough Imtiaz Alis and Raj Kumar Hiranis to take us back to those comfort zones.

(Update – I hate it when people like a film but forget to mention the writing credits. And i just did the same. So here it is – Zeishan Quadri, Akhilesh, Sachin Ladia and AK.  This is via wiki, so am not sure about the right credits. Deadly lyrics by Varun Grover and Piyush Mishra & Music – Sneha Khanwalkar. Background –  G V Prakash. And all of them contribute immensely to this experience)

In her twitter bio, Svetlana Naudiyal describes herself as Murphy’s favourite child. So over to the child who is just back from a country where there is almost no cinema culture and she was trying to make them understand what is the point of a film festival. Back to India and here’s her recco of the film Kshay, which has been doing the rounds of film festivals since quite sometime.

There is no local popular cinema in the theaters. The only theaters are the ones in the malls. From malls to pirated dvd stores – all you’d prominently see is Hollywood. I’ve just returned from Cebu City, so to say, the second largest city in Philippines. The townesque city is burgeoning with Malls, Multiplexes, BPOs and all possible American Chains. The city glistens, roads are well done, cab drivers never say no and their peso is better placed against dollar than the rupee. In this seemingly ‘developing’ state of affairs, local cinema has no ground beneath its feet. I get to meet a few Cebuano Filmmakers and see their films. Great work and talented, no doubt! But what do they do?

Cut to – my country, my crazy cinephile country.

Here back home, I see Kshay on the big screen, and I am moved by the mere thought that here someone can not only make the film they want to but also hope that it would see the light of theatrical release someday.

But is that why you should support it? Just because someone really struggled to make an Indie film and then eventually managed to get it to the box office?

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Kshay, as the very poetic title suggests, corrodes.

Corrodes the being.

Chhaya, a simple housewife, becomes strangely obsessed with an unfinished idol of Goddess Lakshmi. Her husband, Arvind, works for a reckless building contractor and struggles to make ends meet while reeling under the guilt of not being able to give Chhaya the life he promised to. Their lives are thrown in a downwards spiral as Chhaya slowly becomes oblivious of their circumstance and succumbs to faith turned into obsession.

It is not often that the frames and sequences of a film hover in your mind for long after you see it. They corrode the mind, resonate with life and create a surreal-real world of obsession, hopelessness and love. It’s beautiful how the textures, lights and score accentuate the psychological corrosion of Chhaya. Together with Arvind’s frustrations and the hopelessness a viewer sees in their situation, the film builds a strange tempo as it progresses; it might not be evident in the pace but most certainly so in the feeling it leaves one with.

Shot in black and white, the cinematography by Abhinay Khoparzi, is highlight of the film. The eerie absurdity of dreams, delusions, reality and the textures, all stand out in black & white frames. The background score is by director Karan Gour himself is the perfect companion to it. Rasika is unbelievably real as Chhaya and beautifully brings out her pain, coldness, obsession; Alekh complements her as much in portraying Arvind’s frustrations, hope and hopelessness. Even the small roles of building contractor and neighbour lady, are marked by really fine performances.

To me, story apart, Kshay also questions – questions faith, questions reason and questions the merciless set up we live in. It’s a world where WTC crash becomes table-top merchandise.. Exploiters continue to have their cake and eat it too.. Exploited barely find a way.. It’s a world of faith becoming obsession and obsession ending only in….

Coming back to the question – Don’t watch it because it’s another oh-so-poor-striving-for-support indie film, watch it because it’s good cinema, that totally deserves your time and money.

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– Here’s a preview of Kshay’s hauntingly gorgeous music –

Kshay OST – Home

Kshay OST – Everywhere

– And the trailer

– To know more about the film click here. And click here for the FB page of the film.

– PVR JUHU (Mumbai) will have one show running in the next week at 6:35PM. Don’t miss this one!

– And if our recco isn’t enough to convince you, here are some more reviews – Namrata Joshi of Outlook rates it 3.5/4, Karan Anshuman (Mumbai Mirror) has rated it 3.5/5 and Aseem Chhabra (Rediff) has also given it 3.5/5.

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“What is any good film without the extreme reactions it sparks? What’s any bad film without the guilty pleasures it gives?” said Peddlers director Vasan Bala after watching the debate around Shanghai. So many of us loved it, and a surprisingly big number hated it. Surprisingly because it’s a Dibakar Banerjee film. The man who reinvents himself every time, makes films so technically brilliant and well-detailed that rest of Hindi film industry must feel like Salieri in front of him, whose films are at that rare edge of feel-good and feel-bad and has not yet seen many bad reviews for his 3 earlier films.

While we wait for a long juicy post from someone who hated the film, (here’s a medium-sized one by Bikas Mishra on Dear Cinema), Varun Grover, writes one on why he loved it. Debate is still open though.

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नोट: इस लेख में कदम-कदम पर spoilers हैं. बेहतर यही होगा कि फिल्म देख के पढ़ें. (हाँ, फिल्म देखने लायक है.) आगे आपकी श्रद्धा.

मुझे नहीं पता मैं लेफ्टिस्ट हूँ या राइटिस्ट. मेरे दो बहुत करीबी, दुनिया में सबसे करीबी, दोस्त हैं. एक लेफ्टिस्ट है एक राइटिस्ट. (वैसे दोनों को ही शायद यह categorization ख़ासा पसंद नहीं.) जब मैं लेफ्टिस्ट के साथ होता हूँ तो undercover-rightist होता हूँ. जब राइटिस्ट के साथ होता हूँ तो undercover-leftist. दोनों के हर तर्क को, दुनिया देखने के तरीके को, उनकी political understanding को, अपने अंदर लगे इस cynic-spray से झाड़ता रहता हूँ. दोनों की समाज और राजनीति की समझ बहुत पैनी है, बहुत नयी भी. अपने अपने क्षेत्र में दोनों शायद सबसे revolutionary, सबसे संजीदा विचार लेकर आयेंगे. और बहुत हद तक मेरी अपनी राजनीतिक समझ ने भी इन दोनों दोस्तों से घंटों हुई बातों के बाद भस्म होकर पुनर्जन्म लिया है. मैं अब हर बड़े मुद्दे (अन्ना, inflation, मोदी, कश्मीर, और काम की फिल्मों) पर उनके विचार जानने की कोशिश करता हूँ. और बहुत कन्फ्यूज रहता हूँ. क्योंकि अब मेरे पास हर सच के कम से कम दो version होते हैं. क्योंकि आज के इस दौर में हर सच के कम से कम दो version मौजूद हैं.

इस अजब हालात की बदौलत मैं हर चीज़ को दो नज़रियों से देखता हूँ, देख पाता हूँ. अक्सर ना चाहते हुए भी. यह दिव्य-शक्ति मुझे मेरा political satire शो (जय हिंद) लिखने में बहुत मदद करती है लेकिन मेरी बाकी की ज़िंदगी हराम हो गयी है. अब मैं किसी एक की साइड नहीं ले सकता. (मुझे याद है बचपन में मैं और मेरा छोटा भाई क्रिकेट के फ़ालतू मैचों में भी, जैसे कि जिम्बाब्वे बनाम श्रीलंका, अपनी अपनी साइड चुन लेते थे. इससे मैच का मज़ा कई गुना बढ़ जाता था. और देखने का एक मकसद मिलता था.) और साइड न ले सकना बहुत बड़ा श्राप है.

यह सब इसलिए बता रहा हूँ क्योंकि शांघाई में भी ऐसे ही ढेर सारे सच हैं. यह आज के शापित समय की कहानी है. ढेर सारे Conflicting सच जो पूरी फिल्म में एक दूसरे से बोतल में बंद जिन्नों की तरह आपस में टकराते रहते हैं. आज के हिंदुस्तान की तरह, आप इस फिल्म में भी किसी एक की साइड नहीं ले सकते. उस डॉक्टर अहमदी की नहीं जो अमेरिका में प्रोफेसरी कर रहे हैं और अपने लेफ्टिस्ट विचारों से एक बस्ती के आंदोलन को हवा देने चार्टर्ड फ्लाईट पकड़ के आते हैं. वो जो निडर हैं और सबसे नीचे तबके के हक की बात बोलते हैं लेकिन सच में आज तक एक भी displaced को rehabilitate नहीं कर पाए हैं.

डॉक्टर अहमदी की बीच चौक में हुई हत्या (सफ़दर हाशमी?) जिसे एक्सीडेंट साबित करना कोई मुश्किल काम नहीं, जगाता है उनकी पूर्व-छात्रा और प्रेमिका शालिनी को. लेकिन आप शालिनी की भी साइड नहीं ले सकते क्योंकि वो एक अजीब से idealism में जीती है. वो idealism जो ढेर सी किताबें पढ़ के, दुनिया देखे बिना आता है. वो idealism जो अक्सर छात्रों में होता है, तब तक जब तक नौकरी ढूँढने का वक्त नहीं आ जाता.

शालिनी का idealism उसको अपनी कामवाली बाई की बेटी को पढाने के लिए पैसे देने को तो कहता है लेकिन कभी उसके घर के अंदर नहीं ले जाता. और इसलिए जब शालिनी पहली बार अपनी बाई के घर के अंदर जाती है तो उसकी टक्कर एक दूसरी दुनिया के सच से होती है और शालिनी को उस सच पे हमला करना पड़ता है. उसकी किताबें कोने में धरी रह जाती हैं और वार करने के लिए हाथ में जो आता है वो है खाने की एक थाली. Poetically देखें तो, दुनिया का अंतिम सच.

हम middle-class वालों के लिए सबसे आसान जिसकी साइड लेना है वो है IAS अफसर कृष्णन. उसे अहमदी की मौत की रपट बनाने के लिए one-man enquiry commission का चीफ बनाया गया है. (“हमारे देश में ऐसे कमीशन अक्सर बैठते हैं. फिर लेट जाते हैं. और फिर सो जाते हैं.”, ऐसा मैंने देहरादून में १९८९ में एक कवि सम्मेलन में सुना था.) कृष्णन IIT का है. IITs देश की और इस फिल्म की आखिरी उम्मीद हैं. अगर इन्साफ मिला तो कृष्णन ही उसे लाएगा. लेकिन अंत आते आते कृष्णन का इन्साफ भी बेमानी लगने लगता है. वो दो चोरों में से एक को ही पकड़ सकता है. एक चोर को इस्तेमाल कर के दूसरे को पकड़ सकता है. कौन सा चोर बड़ा है यह ना हम जानते हैं ना वो. और पकड़ भी क्या सकता है, इशारा कर सकता है कि भई ये चोर है इसे पकड़ लो. उसे हिंदुस्तान की कछुआ-छाप अदालतें पकड़ेंगी या नहीं इसपर सट्टा लगाया जा सकता है. (आप किसपर सट्टा लगाएंगे? बोफोर्स मामले में किसी पे लगाया था कभी?) कृष्णन का इन्साफ एक मरीचिका है. जैसे बाकी का shining India और उसके IIT-IIM हैं. (एक लाइन जो फिल्म के ट्रेलर में थी लेकिन फाइनल प्रिंट में नहीं – कृष्णन की कही हुई- ‘सर जस्टिस का सपना मैंने छोड़ दिया है .’)

शांघाई के बाकी किरदार भी इतने ही flawed हैं. इतने ही उलझे हुए. (शायद इसीलिए Comedy Circus को अपनी आत्मा बेचे हुए हमारे देश को यह फिल्म समझ ही नहीं आ रही.) लेकिन इन सब के बावजूद शांघाई एक serious फिल्म नहीं है. Depressing है, डरावनी भी…लेकिन उतनी ही जितना कोई भी well-written political satire होता है. दो हिस्सा ‘जाने भी दो यारों’ में एक हिस्सा ‘दो बीघा ज़मीन’ घोली हुई. ’दो बीघा ज़मीन’ से थोड़ी ज़्यादा भयावह… ‘जाने भी दो यारों’ से काफी ज़्यादा tongue in cheek. (‘जाने भी दो यारों’ से कुछ और धागे भी मिलते हैं. Politician-builder lobby, एक हत्या, अधमने पत्रकार, ह्त्या की जाँच, और एक अंतिम दृश्य जो कह दे ‘यहाँ कुछ नहीं हो सकता.’)

दिबाकर की नज़र

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दिबाकर बनर्जी को बहुत से लोग हमारे समय का सबसे intellectual फिल्म-मेकर मानते हैं. वैसे मेरे हिसाब से intellectual आज के समय की सबसे भद्र गाली है लेकिन जो मानते हैं वो शायद इसलिए मानते हैं कि उनके अलावा कोई और है ही नहीं जो कहानी नहीं, concepts पर फिल्म बना रहा हो. दिबाकर की दूसरी फिल्म ‘ओए लक्की लक्की ओए’ देखने वाले बहुतों को लगा कि कहानी नहीं थी. या कहानी पूरी नहीं हुई. हाल ही में प्रकाशित ‘शहर और सिनेमा वाया दिल्ली’ के लेखक मिहिर पंड्या के शब्दों में “‘ओए लक्की..’ शहरी नागरिक समाज की आलोचना है. इस समाज की आधुनिकता की परिभाषा कुछ इस तरह गढ़ी गयी है कि उसमें हाशिए का व्यक्ति चाह कर भी शामिल नहीं हो पाता.”

उनकी पिछली फिल्म ‘लव, सेक्स, और धोखा’ voyeursim को तीन दिशाओं से छुप के देखती एक चुपचाप नज़र थी. यानी कि voyeurism पर एक voyeuristic नज़र.

अब आप बताइये, आज कल के किस और निर्देशक की फिल्मों को इस तरह के सटीक concepts पे बिछाया जा सकता है? और क्योंकि वो concepts पर फिल्में बनाते हैं इसलिए उनकी हर फिल्म एक नयी दुनिया में घुसती है, एक नया genre पकडती है.

लेकिन उनकी जो बात सबसे unique है वो है उनकी detailing. शर्तिया उनके level की detailing पूरे हिंदुस्तान के सिनेमा में कोई नहीं कर रहा. उनके satire की चाबी भी वहीँ है. बिना दो-पैसा farcical हुए भी वो सर्वोच्च दर्ज़े का satire लाते हैं. Observation इतना तगड़ा होता है, और इतनी realistic detailing के साथ आता है कि वही satire बन जाता है. और शांघाई में ऐसे observations किलो के भाव हैं. कुछ मासूम हैं और कुछ morbid, लेकिन सब के सब effortless.

स्टेज शो में चल रहे Item song का एक नेता जी की entry पर रुक जाना, और item girl का झुक कर नेता को नमस्ते करना, कृष्णन का अपने laptop पर भजन चलाकर पूजा करना, चीफ मिनिस्टर के कमरे के बाहर बिना जूतों के जुराबें पहन कर बैठे इंतज़ार करता IAS अफसर और कमरे में जाते हुए रास्ते में एक कोने में पड़े गिफ्ट्स के डब्बों का अम्बार, सुबह gym और शाम को हलवे-पनीर की दावत  की रोजाना साइकल में उलझा सत्ता का एक प्रतिनिधि, तराजू पर मुफ्त में बांटे जाने वाले laptops से तुलता एक ज़मीनी नेता, हस्पताल में अपने मरते हुए प्रोफेसर को देख बिफरी सी शालिनी के चिल्लाने पर नर्स का कहना ‘आपको fighting करना है तो बाहर जाकर कीजिये’, अंग्रेजी स्पीकिंग कोर्स की क्लास में दीवार पर मूँछ वाले सुपरमैन की पेन्टिंग, एक पूरी बस्ती ढहा देने के पक्ष में lobbying कर रहे दल का नारा ‘जय प्रगति’ होना, अपने टेम्पो से एक आदमी को उड़ा देने के बाद भी टेम्पो वाले को दुनिया की सबसे बड़ी फ़िक्र ये होना कि उसका टेम्पो पुलिस से वापस मिलेगा या नहीं – यह सब हमारे सुगन्धित कीचड़ भरे देश के छींटे ही हैं.

दिबाकर के पास वो cynical नज़र है जो हमें अपने सारे flaws के साथ अधनंगा पकड़ लेती है और थोड़ा सा मुस्कुरा कर परदे पर भी डाल देती है. शांघाई के एक-एक टूटे फ्रेम से हमारे देश का गुड-मिश्रित-गोबर रिस रहा है. आप इसपर हँस सकते हैं, रो सकते हैं, या जैसा ज्यादातर ने किया – इसे छोड़ के आगे बढ़ सकते हैं यह कहते हुए कि ‘बड़ी complicated पिच्चर है यार.’

फिल्म की आत्मा

जग्गू और भग्गू इस फिल्म की आत्मा होने के लिए थोड़े अजीब किरदार हैं. इन दोनों ने सिर्फ पैसों के लिए उस आदमी को अपने टेम्पो के नीचे कुचल दिया जो असल में उन्हीं की लड़ाई लड़ रहा था. और उसके मरने के बाद भी कम से कम भग्गू को तो कोई अफ़सोस नहीं है. उसे बस यही चिंता है कि जग्गू मामा जेल से कब छूटेगा और उन्हें उनका टेम्पो वापस कब मिलेगा.

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ऐसे morally खोखले प्राणी इस फिल्म की आत्मा हैं. और यही इस फिल्म का मास्टर-स्ट्रोक भी है. फिल्म इन्हीं से शुरू होती है, और इनपर ही खत्म होती है. पहले सीन में भग्गू अपने मामा जग्गू से पूछ रहा है कि मटन को अंग्रेजी में क्या कहते हैं. उसने सुना है कि मिलिट्री में लड़ाई पे जाने से पहले मटन खिलाया जाता है. उसके इस सवाल का अर्थ थोड़ी देर में समझ आता है. प्रोफेसर अहमदी को मारने के काम को भग्गू युद्ध से कम नहीं मान रहा, और इसलिए वो मटन की सोच रहा है. वो एक कोचिंग में अंग्रेजी भी सीख रहा है, ताकि इस गुरबत की ज़िंदगी से बाहर निकले. कहाँ, उसे नहीं पता, पर बाहर कुछ तो होगा शायद ये धुंधला ख्याल उसके दिमाग में है. लेकिन अंग्रेजी सीख रहा है इसलिए भी मटन की अंग्रेजी सोच रहा है. (संवादों में इस detailing का जादू दिबाकर के अलावा किसकी फिल्म में दिखता है? और इसके लिए फिल्म की सह-लेखिका उर्मी जुवेकर को भी सलाम.)

भग्गू फिल्म में (और देश में) दिखने वाले हर उग्र aimless युवा का representative है. हर उस भीड़ का collective face जो भंडारकर ओरिएंटल रिसर्च इंस्टीट्यूट में घुसकर तोड़फोड़ करती है क्योंकि किसी ने उन्हें कह दिया है कि शिवाजी के खिलाफ लिखी गयी किताब की रिसर्च यहीं हुई थी. भग्गू को नहीं जानना है शिवाजी कौन थे, या किताब में उनपर क्या बुरा लिखा गया था. उसे बस तेज़ी से दौड़ती इस भीड़ में अपना हिस्सा चाहिए. उसे दुनिया के शोर में अपनी आवाज़ चाहिए. उसे थोड़े पैसे चाहिए और कुछ पलों के लिए यह एहसास चाहिए कि वो कुछ ऐतेहासिक कर रहा है. किसी म्यूजियम या पेंटिंग exhibition पर हमला करना, किसी किताबों की दुकान जला देना, किसी पर ट्रक चढ़ा देना…सब ऐतेहासिक है, और भग्गू ये सब करेगा. क्योंकि भग्गू वैसे भी क्या ही कर रहा है?

जग्गू मामा थोड़ा बूढा है. वो शायद जवानी में भग्गू जैसा ही था. लेकिन अब वो दौर गुज़र गया. अब वो बोलता नहीं. लेकिन वो मना भी नहीं करता. फिल्म की सबसे यादगार लाइन में, शालिनी के हाथों बेहिसाब पिटने के बाद और ये पूछे जाने के बाद कि ‘तुम्हें शर्म नहीं आई सबके सामने एक आदमी को मारते हुए?’, जग्गू कहता है – ‘आपने भी तो मारा मुझे. मेरी बेटी के सामने. मैने आपका क्या कर लिया?’ जग्गू सर्वहारा है. जग्गू ‘पीपली लाइव’ के बाद एक बार फिर प्रेमचंद के ‘गोदान’ का होरी महतो है. जग्गू को हर सुबह अपना ही घर तोडना है और रात में उसे बनाना है. क्योंकि उसी में बाकी की दुनिया का फायदा है.

बाकी की फिल्म…

बाकी की फिल्म में ढेर सारे और किरदार हैं…हमारे आस-पास से निकले हुए. जात के बाहर शादी ना कर पाया, जोधपुर से भागा एक लड़का है, जो अभी चीज़ें समझ ही रहा है. प्रोफेसर अहमदी की बीवी है जो फिल्म के अंत में एक hording पर नज़र आती है और कालचक्र का एक चक्र पूरा करती है, IAS अफसर कृष्णन का बॉस है जो बिलकुल वैसा है जैसा हम आँख बंद कर के सोच सकते हैं. और हमेशा की तरह दिबाकर बनर्जी के कास्टिंग डायरेक्टर अतुल मोंगिया का चुनाव हर रोल के लिए गज़ब-फिट है.

इतनी अद्भुत कास्टिंग है कि फिल्म का realism का वादा आधा तो यूँ ही पूरा हो जाता है. इमरान हाशमी तक से वो काम निकाला गया है कि आने वाली पुश्तें हैरान फिरेंगी देख कर. फारुख शेख (जिनका ‘चश्मे बद्दूर’ का एक फोटो मेरे डेस्कटॉप पर बहुत दिनों से लगा हुआ है), कलकी, तिलोत्तमा शोम, पितोबाश, और अभय देओल ने अपने-अपने किरदार को अमृत पिलाया है अमृत. लेकिन सबसे कमाल रहे अनंत जोग (जग्गू मामा) और सुप्रिया पाठक कपूर (मुख्य मंत्री). अनंत जोग, जिनके बारे में वासन बाला ने इंटरवल में कहा कि ‘ये तो पुलिस कमिश्नर भी बनता है तो छिछोरी हरकतें करता है’ इस फिल्म में किसी दूसरे ही प्लेन पर थे. इतनी ठहरी हुई, खोई आँखें ही चाहिए थीं फिल्म को मुकम्मल करने को. और सुप्रिया पाठक, जो पूरी फिल्म में hoardings और banners से दिखती रहीं अंत में सिर्फ एक ३-४ मिनट के सीन के लिए दिखीं लेकिन उसमें उन्होंने सब नाप लिया. बेरुखी, formality, shrewdness, controlled relief…पता नहीं कितने सारे expressions थे उस छोटे से सीन में.

जाते जाते…

फिल्म में कुछ कमजोरियां हैं. खास कर के अंत के १०-१५ मिनट जल्दी में समेटे हुए लगते हैं, और कहीं थोड़े से compromised भी. लेकिन अगर इसे satire की नज़र से देखा जाए तो वो भी बहुत अखरते नहीं. बाकी बहुतों को पसंद नहीं आ रही…और जिन्हें नहीं आ रही, उनसे कोई शिकायत नहीं. क्योंकि जैसा कि मेरे दो मित्रों ने मुझे सिखाया है – सच के कम से कम दो version तो होते ही हैं.

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….wonders filmmaker Kushan Nandy. And if you are smart and well aware of the discussions in social media platforms, you can connect the dots too.

Last night I watched Shanghai.

The entire 114 minutes of its running time, I did not flinch. Brilliantly scripted, performed and directed, it is a film where every department competes with each other to underplay. A rarity in Indian Cinema today.

I was truly entertained.

There were twenty-four people watching the Friday evening show along with me, a few had dozed off, three men sitting behind me were giggling and farting away and another gentleman was screaming and spitting into his cellphone.

Obviously they weren’t entertained.

Back home, I read the trade reports that claimed a 15% opening. The film hadn’t entertained a soul.

I was the idiot.

Indian Cinema, now almost 100 years old, the largest movie industry in the world says entertainment is the only driving factor that persuades people to go to a movie theatre.

Sad. Because porn entertains too. And you don’t need to pay for it.

Sad. Because even one of the most stressed out, autocratic, poverty-stricken countries, Iran, doesn’t say that. They go out and make A Separation instead.

Sad. Because, entertainment has a new name. Constipation-remedy.

Poverty. Corruption. Quality of Life. Our audience is stressed out, they say. They need a release. Which makes it sound a bit like constipation looking for relief.

And what hits me every Friday, in the name of this entertainment or laxative is more frightening. I see men flying at ninety-six frames per second, defying gravity. I see inane, asinine humor, which doesn’t even make my driver laugh. I see the same item number, repackaged with different breasts every time.

And all these films have not made a penny less than a 100 crores. They have obviously entertained someone, somewhere. Well, quite a few someones who belong to an India I don’t understand. These someones who have discovered laxative and named it entertainment and vice versa.

And yes, I love entertaining cinema. I love Sholay. I love Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. I love Hrishikesh Mukherjee. I love Parinda. I love Paan Singh Tomar. I love the Ram Gopal Verma films which were made before the dinosaurs went extinct.

So I will go out and watch Shanghai again. I will hope it picks up. Makes money. So that more people make more Shanghais. So that I get the weekly dose of entertainment I prefer.

Because sir, I am not constipated.

Are you?

(PS – You can read his earlier post here.)

This barter of bloody blows will make you cry, you’ll know my name when I fuck you dry.

There have been a lot of requests for the translations for Gangs of Wasseypur lyrics ( Written by apna Varun Grover and Piyush Mishra). So here are the ‘adaptions’ of the lyrics in English (as the team would like to call it).

English adaptations by:  Renuka Kunzru, Neeraj Ghaywan, and Varun Grover.

Renuka Kunzru (with Neeraj Ghaywan) has done the subtitling of both the parts of Gangs of Wasseypur and you have seen her in a cameo in ‘Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na’. She’s the girl (Mala) at the airport the friends’ gang narrates the love story of Jai and Aditi to.

1.     EK BAGAL MEIN CHAND HOGA:

(Lyrics: Piyush Mishra)
Ek bagal mein chand hoga, ek bagal mein rotiyan  I dream of a bejeweled moon, some warm bread,
Ek bagal mein neend hogi, ek bagal mein loriyan  I dream of gentle sleep, and a lullaby in my head.
Hum chaand pe, roti ki chaadar, daal kar so jayenge Dear moon, I’ll cover you with my bread warm
Aur neend se keh denge lori kal sunane aynege And soon, dear sleep, I will sing thee my song.
Ek bagal mein khankhanati seepiyan ho jayngi | My dream sees shells bobbing,
Ek bagal mein kuch rulati sisikiyan ho jayengi  | My dream hears muffled sobbing…
Hum seepiyon mein bhar ke saare tare chu ke aayenge | So I’ll ride my shells to my dream,
Aur siskiyon ko gudgudi kar kar key un bahlayenge |and tickle my tears till they beam.
Amma teri siskiyon pe koi rone aayega | Fear not, mother, your plight will not go unwept
Gham na kar jo ayega  woh phir kabhi naa jayega |The friendly shoulder will stay, and your tears will be kept.
Yaad rakh par koi anhoni nahin tu layegi | But dearest mother, just wish for no doom,
Layegi t phir kahani aur kuch ho jayegi  | Or my simple dream, will be my tomb.
Honi aur anhoni ki parwah kisie hai  meri jaan | Not that I fear ill luck or a doomed end
Hadh se jyaada ye hi hoga hum yahin mar jayenge  | If the worst is death, he is an old friend.
Hum maut ko sapna bata kar , uth khade honge yahin| I guess I’ll charm death with my dream-like riddle
Aur honi ko thenga dikha kar  khil khilate jayenge | And con fate,  with a wink and a giggle

2. Womaniya

(Lyrics: Varun Grover)

Taare jo babuna, tarti babuni | He ogles, stares and waits
Babuna ke hathe na chadti babuni | While she teases, taunts and baits.
Maange jo babuna prem nisaniya | He asks, ‘A loving bite on my chin, dear?’
Bole jo thodi, kattti ho kaniya | So she leans over and nibbles his ear.
Badle rupaya ke dena chawaniya | She gives him a quarter if he asks for a rupee
Saiyaan ji jhapte to ho na hiraniyan | And when he lunges, she flees like a flea
Rah rah ke maange choli bataniyan | Don’t let him play with your buttons, it’s a trick;
Jee mey lukaaye lot lotaniyan | The innocent game will end on his prick

Chaahe muh-jhaunsa jab haath sikaniya | When the bastard tries to warm his hands,
Kandha mein dena ji daant bhukaniya | Play along and bite his shoulder
 Bolega babuna, chal jai-ho Patna, | The fiancé will offer you a ride to Patna,
Patna bahaane wo chaahega satna, | And will see this as a chance to get close…
Dai-ho na pahuna ko ticket kataniya… | Don’t go all the way (to Patna) with him..
Patna naa jaana chaahe jaana Sivaniya… | Go only up to (Distt.) Sivan, dear.

3.     KEH KE LOONGA

(Lyrics: Piyush Mishra)

Ras bheege saude ka ye, khooni anjam teri keh ke loonga | This barter of bloody blows will make you cry,
Teri keh ke loonga  | you’ll know my name when I fuck you dry
Khanjar se doodh gire yaan, ho katle aam teri keh ke loonga | Sweet milk or blood my dagger shall reap
Teri keh ke loonga (2) | You’ll know my name when I fuck you deep
Saason ko saanp sunghan ke, jangli til chatta la ke, keh ke loonga | I’m a  scorpion’s kiss, a toxic lullaby at night
Bichu se hoth katta ke, lori jahreeli gaa ke keh ke looonga | It is I, sir, that has fucked you right.
Panghat ko bechunga main, mar mar ghat ke daam teri keh ke loonga |  Your fancy estate, I’ll sell at a graveyard’s price. Ain’t I nice, I just fucked you twice.
Khuli ho sadke, tambu thane chahe mil vil ho ya baaz mekhkama, mekhamaa aaaa | Hit the road, find a remote hut, prison or fort,
Jisme bachna ho bach le, yee, jisme bachna ho bach le, bach meri jaan teri keh ke loonga | Hide, take cover, run, my man, run, I’ll still fuck you, just for fun!

4.     JIYA HO BIHAR KE LAALA

(Lyrics: Varun Grover)

Jiya ho bihar ke laal, | Long live, Son of Bihar…
jiya tu hajaar saal, |  May you live a thousand years
Tani naachi ke, tani gaayi ke, | So sing and dance
Tani naachi gaayi, sabke mann behlaava re bhaiyya…| May you always sing and dance and make us smile, son.
Tu maati ka laal re laala, Bhaiyya-3| You’re the son of the soil, dear son…
Tohra magahi saan niraala,Bhaiyya-3 | May every breath you take be as majestic as this royal state, dear son…
Tere purkhey jiye andhera,aur tuney jana ujaala…| Your ancestors lived in darkness, but with you, may light be born, my son
Tere god pakhaarey ganga, tere tej se aag jhulasta |May the Holy Ganges keep washing your feet,  I pray that your aura be fiercer than even fire
Tere kandhey chadh ke sooraj, aakas mein roj pahunchta…|May your shoulders be so mighty, my son, that the sun rises by standing over them
Jiyaa tu honhaaaaaaar….| Aren’t you my good son, dear son?
Tani ghoom-ghaam ke, tani dhoomdhaam se…May everyone dance, rejoice and celebrate…
Tani taan kheench ke, taansen, kehlaawa re bhaiyya…. and open their hearts and sing to the skies.
Tani naachi gaayi sabke mann behlawa re bhaiyya,May you always sing and dance  and make us smile, son.
Tani neeke-neeke bol pe geet sunaava re bhaiyya…Tani teekhe-teekhe bol pe dhol bajaawa re bhaiyya…May your sweet words turn into songs…
Tani jhaal utha ke, taal se taal milaava re bhaiyya…may your sharp words turn  into drum beats.
Tani dholak, maandar, matka, chammach, laava re bhaiyya…Pick up any instrument and  join the others …And let the melody flow.
Tani oka-boka-teen-tadoka…
Tani chandan-maati-chauka-kaathi…
Tani oka-boka-teen-tadoka gaava re bhaiyya..We wait for your crazy music…
Tani chandan-maati-chauka-kaathi laava re bhaiyya…we know you will bring us light.
Tani saans fula ke phoonk se dhool udaava re bhaiyya, Only your mighty breath can blow the dust off our lives.
Tani jaan jala ke geet ke tel pilaava re bhaiyya...Only you can re-light our dying lamp.

5.     Bhoos ke dher mein 

(Lyrics: Varun Grover)

Bhoos ke dher mein raai ka daana, | Like looking for a pin in a haystack,
Rang biranga bail sayaana, | Like spotting a smart, colorful buffalo,
Bhoos ke dher mein raai ka daana,
Rang biranga bail sayaana,
Dooje pahar mein toot-ta taara, | Like seeing a falling star mid-afternoon,
Paani pe tirta pakka paara… | Like having mercury float on water…
Naa….
Naa milihey…| You won’t find it…
Naa milihey…naa…| Won’t find…
Na soch, Na khoj, | Don’t even think, Or try…
Ud jayi-ho, jag hai toap…| The world will vanish like a cannon…
Hai kohra rakh sab haath taan, | It’s vague ahead, so stick your hands out…
Imaan na dayi-ho hili-hey…| Just don’t let your faith wither…
Naa milihey…
Naa milihey…naa…
Naa milihey…
Naa milihey…naa…
Batiyaati haathon ki lakeera, | Like fate talking without ambiguity,
Mahal duwaarey, khada fakeera…| Like an ascetic waiting at a palace gate…
Ghaath laga le, Raat jaga le, | By hook or by crook,
Suruj ka sab ghoda bhaga le, baba..| Or by capturing the horses of Sun,
Dhar le chaahe bhoot ki dhoti, | Or by latching on to the ghost’s fabric,
Paa le ashwathhama ka moti, | Or by acquiring the mythical pearl of eternity,
Paani mein…

Paani mein, maati mein, | Or in water or mud,
Loha mein, kaathi mein, | Or in iron or wood,
Jiya ke jod mein, aankhan ki paati mein… | Or in the joint of hearts or crack of eyes,
Aakaas khuley mein, mann ki gaanthi mein…| Or in the vast skies or closed minds…
 Naa… Not a chance!
Batiyaati haathon ki lakeera, | Like fate talking without ambiguity,
Mahal duwaarey, khada fakeera…| Like an ascetic waiting at a palace gate…
Bhari dupahari naachey mayura, | Like a peacock dancing in blazing sun,
Yam se chatur, gaanv ka moora….| Like a village idiot more wicked than the Devil…
Na milihey… You won’t find it.
Hai kohra rakh sab haath taan,
Imaan na dayi-ho hili-hey…
Naa milihey…
Naa milihey…naa…
Naa milihey…
Naa milihey…naa…


6.     Humni Ke…

(Lyrics: Folk/Traditional)

Humni ke chhori ke nagariya ae baba… You have abandoned us, father,
Ki arre baba chhori dihala ghar-parivaar kahun banwa maayi gayili ho…| You have forsaken your town and family,
Ki aaho baba soooni kayi ke gharwa-duvaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho, | And now the empty walls of our home echo with loneliness, just like dear mother’s heart
Gaunwaan ke logawa, kehu…kehu se na bolein..|The little one refuses to speak to anyone,
Chhotaka laikawaa, bhora-hi se aankh nahin kholey..|He even refuses to see the morning sun…
Sunsaan bhaiyili dagariya ae baba…|Every road, every possible way is deserted, father,
Ki arre baba nimiya ho gayil patjhaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho..| Even the family tree has slipped into a long winter, much like dear mother’s heart.
Kaisa-hoo ae baba, humaraa maayi se milaa da | Father, bring our mother back…
Saparo tajaa ke humro araj sunaa da…| Only you can convey our message to her far away ears.
Chhutka ke chhote-ba umiriya re baba..| I implore you for the sake of the little boy and his tiny life,
Ki arre baba, pari lin hum pauwwaan tohaar kawan banwa maayi gayi li ho..| I do beg you, father, please bring his mother back.
Ki aaho baba soooni kayi ke anganwa-duvaar, kawan banwa maayi gayili ho, | For you have deserted us father, And made our home an empty shell, much like dear mother’s heart. 


If the header is not self-explanatory, then over to Navjot Gulati for the rest. Read on.

THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILER. DO NOT READ, No, wait. READ IT IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS FILM.

I often hear an argument by filmmakers and film Buffs that masala films generate money for the smaller (better) films to be made, and they provide good time pass fun. Not so very long ago I also believed that, but on 1st June my belief went for a toss – from Andheri to Malad to Filmcity to some studio in the outskirts of Bombay(that’s where the most of this piece of crap was shot). I wasn’t mighty impressed by Rowdy Rathore’s (RR) promos but somewhere I could see the wickedness which Prabhudeva portrayed in Wanted and that gave me a hope that RR might be a good fun, but alas.

I firmly believe that staying true to the genre is the most difficult thing to do, and if you succeed in doing that, then a Singham or a Wanted is born. For me, Singham and Wanted are true to the genre. I have been using this word too much I guess. Yes, I’m. I like to call it the Punjabi Dosa (ok, I just coined it).

The ingredients are as follows :

1. An emotional story ‘inspired’ or ‘lifted’ or ‘officially bought’ from a Southie Film.

2. A big star who is famous in North India, has six packs to show and shirts to take off.

3. 5 well-directed action sequences.

4. Humorous dialogues.

5. An item number.

6. Peppy Music.

7. A very strong villain.

8. Standout performances by supporting cast.

By no means I’m endorsing these kinds of films. I’m just stating a fact. Now, let’s analyze Raddi Rathore on these parameters.

1. Emotional Story

A pickpocketeer doppelganger of a cop takes revenge from a crime lord in Devgarh. This revenge is for the cop’s murder after he is tricked into becoming the guardian of cop’s little daughter, who still has a walkman in 2012! Because? Precisely, there’s no reason. Nostalgia, i say. Well, whatever rest happens in the film is because of only one reason – that is what happens in the original film which they have got the right to remake.

And they also have a homage to Jadu, the alien from Koi Milgaya, as the Cop is suffering from a tumor and can only fight like a Hulk when water is sprayed on his head.

2. A big star with six packs who takes his shirt off.

I disappoint. No Bhaai. No Duggu. No Devgn. No Shirt off. Probably Akki was not prepared since this is his 1st action film in AGES (CCTC, Tasveer,Tashan, Singh is King, Family had NO ACTION).

3. 5 well directed Action sequences.

I will give a 5star to anyone who can point out those to me I as was busy yawning throughout the slow-mo punches and the blasting cars in CG, all lifted from the original film (Vikramarkudu).

4. Humorous dialogues.

An example of film’s humor?

Well, it was nonexistent.

5. An item number

Wanted and Dabbang had better. Even Singham for that matter.

6. Peppy Music

The music by Sajid-Wajid is functional. Won’t last beyond the weekend of the film.

7. A very Strong Villain

They cast a guy from Southie films called Nasseer, who is trying to hard do a Prakash Raj, and he is playing a Bihari guy whose voice has been dubbed. #Enoughsaid

8. Standout performances by supporting cast

The guy who played the photographer, he has made a living out of the phrase, Bhaiyya Ji Ismile. Singham had Prakash Raj’s comic act towards the end. I crack up whenever he says, “Yeh Cheating hain”. Wanted had Prakash Raj again. Also, it had Vinod Khanna in an unintentionally funny performance. In this film, we have Yashpal Sharma visiting Baapji, played by Nasseer, with his kids and begging him to help find his wife. Later on he sees her as the sex slave of the son of Baapji, and keeps quiet to avoid his irk. As pointed by Karan Anshuman in his Mumbai Mirror review, this has to be the most regressive scene in hindi cinema history. For me, the character of Yashpal Sharma defines the film.

Now, coming to my biggest problem with the film – the ‘sur’ of the film. The reason all the films I have mentioned have worked is because they didn’t take themselves seriously, but strangely for good 50 minutes Rowdy Rathore is cringe worthy with its stupid take on all sorts of regressive films that Dharam Paaji used to do with B-grade directors. And suddenly towards the last 30 minutes, it becomes a goof ball comedy where the villain is now scared of the Police Inspector, and it miserably fails while trying to pull off a Prakash Raj.

Why It should Flop.

If this film also goes on to have a steady run from Monday, then it will give rise to many clones which will take our cinema nowhere. The ‘virus’ started with Bhaai, moved to Devgn, and now has reached Akki. I won’t be shocked if we see SRK doing such a film and making an ass of himself soon. Shahid Kapoor is already doing the remake of Vettai. And even bigger fear I have is that somewhere an aspiring filmmaker, after seeing the success of the film, will believe that the film is not about the script but the star (although it’s true but there are many who are trying to change that).

The day is not far away when Tushar Kapoor will ask Ekta Kapoor to ‘relaunch’ him in a southie remake, or for that matter, even, ‘Uday Chopra’. Be prepared for it or spread the word and make Raddi Rathore a weekend phenomenon which tanks Monday onwards.

(P.S – I’m not against masala films but the ones made ‘Badly’ like Buddha Hoga Tera Baap and now Raddi Rathore. Also, I have intentionally left out many points mentioned in other reviews/posts because I am also trying to be original 😉

She didn’t have a big role in Dibakar Banerjee’s delicious ode to Delhi, Oye Luck Lucky Oye. But say Dolly, and people still remember her. Remember, Main tujhe hoat nahi lagti? That hoat one is Richa Chadda, who will next be seen in Anurag Kashyap’s two-parter Gangs Of Wasseypur which premiered in Cannes Directors Fortnight Section. She shares her Cannes experience in this post.

The Artist

It was my last day at Cannes and I had an afternoon flight back to Mumbai. I spent my time walking around and catching up with friends from Cairo and L.A.

I took a cab from the Carlton Hotel, at the Croisette, for the airport. Throughout the way the cabbie chatted me up in faltering English. Probably in his mid seventies, he was genial and had a flush on his cheeks that could only come from tomatoes or happiness, at that age.

“That building looks like a ship”, I exclaimed when I saw one designed like a deck, over looking the sea. “No, it’s quite expensive!” I explained that I meant ship and not cheap. He laughed for twenty seconds. We Indians seem to care a lot more for the official language that is necessary because of the inferiority complex we associate with our own culture. This Frenchman didn’t care. It was because of the cabbies contagious laughter that I forgave him and his GPRS easily. (I almost missed my flight because he had mistakenly taken me to the Villenieve Loubet village instead of a town by the same name.

Just as we entered the airport premises, he told me, “Miss, you have pretty eyes, and long lashes, also you eat more for a skinny person, and I think you come for festival”. “Oh, thank you, Sir, and how did you guess?” I don’t concur with the skinny remark.

Then he replied in a manner almost shy. “I think, may be, you are an artist”.

People always ask me upfront if I am an actor or a model. But this was the first time anyone called me an artist. (No, this doesn’t include the Mumbai Cine-Artist Association type slang) I was touched. There was respect in his eyes. I reached out to my ticket and wanted to tear it. I experienced a sudden cheap-thrill at the idea that I CONSIDERED the idea of wanting to tear it. Just the previous week, some ex-bureaucratic octogenarian type secretaries of my housing society in Mumbai had expressed displeasure over residents that worked in the film industry. This was indeed another world, an evolved one, where people with a creative bent of mind were not pariahs or a nuisance. I don’t mean to generalise, but it can be tiresome to try and explain your species to the world. Here I was, in a foreign country, with a man who didn’t understand my language, but understood me perfectly.

“Yes, I am an artist”, said I. He smiled suddenly and have me a Toblerone.

🙂

PS – My trip was also successful because I saw another artist! Jean Dujardin crossed my car and winked at the Croisette, in front of the Grey Goose party. Salt and pepper hair, generous smile and a black tuxedo. That you won an Oscar, is secondary. You held the audience in a silent film! Respect.

You can follow Richa’s posts here. And to read more about her Cannes experience, click here and here.

Sinus is a great equaliser. That’s the first thought which came to my mind when i met Shah Rukh Khan. I thought it was for lesser mortals like us. A superstar with a sinus problem and no solution? Plus, pain in the knees. Blame it on the jumping, dancing and cartwheeling. And when my nose gets irritating, i have the luxury to shut everything and go to bed quietly. But SRK doesn’t have that luxury – meetings, back to back interviews, photo-ops. Black coffee is his source of energy. He picks another cup and settles down to talk.

I pointed to the other big cup in the room – IPL one, and asked if that’s the source of energy these days even when he has bad cold? Having faced all kind of criticism because of KKR’s performance in the last few years, he could see it as a pitch for another one. And so quickly clarified it with a smiling face –  It’s completely wrong for me to be sitting with this cup for two days because it actually deserves to be with Gautam and the boys. So I was just asking before I sat with you that this needs to be sent back otherwise they will think the owner has stolen the cup and run away.

Since Vishal Bhardwaj is one of my favourite filmmakers and there has been talks about him working with VB, i could not control myself from starting the conversation by asking if they are ever going to work together. He said, we were discussing Two States. And then i heard from few other actors and actresses that they are also doing Two States. I thought arre we all are doing Two States kya? Also, there was some issue with the copyright of the book. So that’s not happening. But we are going to meet soon and inshahallah, let’s see.

We also discussed his school of cinema and where he belongs now. So without wasting any more time, over to him for what he does best – conversation. And for his other talent – spreading those arms and let the love flow? He promises he will deliver that soon in Yash Chopra’s film.

Still Flying High?

I am always high during the process of things. Once the process has been ended or achieved, I move on to other things. But, yes, we are very thrilled for this set of boys and the whole team, Venky and Jay, everyone who has been working so hard for 4-5 years. I sometimes feel it is a little unfortunate that KKR is strongly associated with me by virtue of being a film star but actually what happens in KKR is extremely and tightly associated with the people who run it, which is the staff, the administration, the on-ground staff, the cricketers and these 20-24 boys of the team. But its alright, now that we have won it, it’s an extremely happy feeling. I feel like a proud father for all the youngster who played for the team.

Criticism because of me

See, I don’t play the game. So what was difficult is to accept the fact that here is a set of team like any other team, which will do well and do badly, like all teams do, but, yes, I do feel responsible, but unfortunately a lot of the criticism is due to me. A lot of things which should not be attributed to cricket or the boys who are playing it, got attributed to them because I happen to be one of the owners of the team. And there is no other way that I can turn around and tell them ever that i am really sorry guys, people talk more about them, it’s over-hyped for its victory, it’s over-hyped for its defeat.

My involvement?

A lot of time I have heard  people turn around and say that I involve myself in the cricket. I have never done that. But there’s no way to explain it when you are losing. Because nobody gives you a chance or believes that. The decisions that the team has taken, when anyone asks me, why was this decision taken? I say I didn’t take it. You know there’s a whole set of good minds who know their cricket and they take it and they are still with us from day one. There are boys like Andrew and Adrian and Joydeep and Joy and Mathew and the Coaches that have come in and of course, the team. They take all the decisions, they believe in certain things, they design the strategy, so don’t blame them if that strategy have gone wrong. Ya, it’s just gone wrong but don’t blame them more than they should be held responsible for it just because a movie star happens to own the team.

Criticism of Kolkata celebrations & Sports as a career

Now, i don’t know how to say, may be I get hurt with the little things and I remain unhurt by the big things sometimes. Being the focus of attention twenty four hours a day for all good things and some bad, it does start making you a different person. We went there to share happiness and I have said this often enough that it’s alright to be happy. It’s an important aspect for sports in our country that if there is celebration, there will be lot of parents and guardians who will say that it’s a good thing if my son also takes to sports. It makes you famous, it makes you sing, it makes you dance, people come out on the streets. They will believe that they will be in good hands if they play sports. And I am not taking away from any other profession but I am a big believer that sport should be, as a profession, available to youngsters. And they should have the choice . Not just cricket, football, hockey, chess, but everything. We have some great achievements in that and that greatness would be multiplied or will go multifold only if we give the impression to everyone that it’s a great job to do. So when people  say that, Oo there are only 4 or 5 Bengalis in the team, why should Bengal celebrate? Come on, it’s a part of India. Its an integral part of India. We are Indians! If there is a club or city which wins on that day let them celebrate.

Next year when they win, be it Chennai, Insaallah, they celebrate. And let me tell you if they win it in Mumbai, I will come for it. I will not stay away from it.

If the Chief Minister wants to come for it, they are most welcome. Let me just tell you if we start looking for propriety in happiness, it will not be as free flowing and as beautiful as happiness should be. You can question everything it from a cartwheel to a bus ride to anything. I remember when I was shooting for Chak De India, there was a scene when the team wins and I didn’t know how to play it. Then i saw a Japanese coach winning an Olympic gold and through out the game he was most animated and shouting and abusing in Japanese. I could not tell, I was seeing the documentary and suddenly they won the gold. When they won he just sat down quietly. So everybody has their own way of expressing happiness. If I was to keep on questioning individually and pass judgement on how in happiness some people jump, some people sit.

My son jumped on the bed, broke the bed. I didn’t reprimand him. I think its alright to jump on the bed and be happy. I jumped on the field, my kids have not yet reprimanded me. And people came out on the street in lakhs to celebrate the fact there is an attachment to KKR and Gautam Gambhir. I think its fantastic.

Daddy as embarrassment

I don’t know how true it is for other star children but I think star children go through a lot of embarrassment. But on the other hand a lot of children go through the fact that parents say, you know what, its alright to be an actor. And you know what, let me see, if my Dad behaved like that, then? (He thinks for a bit and smiles) I ask my children many times, are you embarrassed? They say, no, its ok, Papa. Sometimes they say, sometimes they just say ok just to keep my heart. They might be embarrassed. But its alright, you know, I turn around and say, you know what, there are times when you embarrassed me but I still love you as much. It’s love.

Me and Mamtadi

 Oh, i think she is just a wonderful lady. You know, I heard some criticism that why is she telling people to move away, we were her guests, she wanted there to be no crowd. I think she is very earthy, she is very normal. I think she is amazingly appealing because you know, you normally assume that we have been trained to believe that people in high posts and important areas should be of a certain manner. It’s alright if you don’t wear a tie.

I’ll tell you, I met the Premier of Malaysia once, Dr. Mahathir, one of the most respected names in the world. I went to see him near his parliament and he held my hand, walked out of the parliament without any police around him, and he started showing me the gardens. And there were people who were waving out and he looks at me and he says, you know Shah Rukh, I think I am really famous, people are waving at me. And whenever I go to Malaysia, he has got a small shop, which is a beautiful shop and he makes breads there. And he always takes me by the hand from the 80th floor of the Petronas Towers, where he sits. He takes me there and says, come, lets have some bread. So I find it amazingly charming. So all these ideologies and all, I don’t know. Sometimes I believe, may be, it is a throw-back from the times when we were not free, you know, behave in a certain manner. If you are an officer on duty, behave like this. If you are an official, then treat everyone as if they are inferior. You know, I think it’s a bit of the babu culture that is remaining. But I think its time we change that and leaders talking, being wonderful and warm, because we forget anyone, whether anybody, a king or a person, just about manages in life. First, they are normal human beings with normal emotions, and allow that freedom to everyone. Don’t sit on judgement, don’t sit on a high horse, don’t believe that you can undermine somebody’s emotions just because the person happens to be important and you can do so.

Video you didn’t see – It’s all about the family (Winning mantra)

You know,  for 5 years people tell me that do you talk to your boys, do you say something to them? No, I hardly say anything to them. Whenever you finish a match or begin a match, you know, sometimes a boy comes down. Yusuf will come and sit with me, Iqbal will come, Manoj Tiwary or Debabrata. A couple of times I have been called by the Coach when he sees me, he calls me and says, Shah Rukh, come here, you know what, sit down with Bisla and have a chat with him. He’ll feel confident and good because they are young boys.  They are going on a  very big arena and maybe because i have the experience of myself on big arenas, so they feel if I can chat with them and make them comfortable.

Gautam sometimes tells me,  Shah Rukh Bhaiyya, isse paanch minute baat kar lena, khud apne aap main jab aapka dil kare. So I do and I remember when Sunil Narine had come in, initially he was very quiet. He was a young boy, so Gautam told me, Shahrukh Bhai speak to him and make him feel comfortable. So I just speak to them at that level and then the last match was on, and I just felt that these guys have been away from their families for more than two months. If I am able to make sure that their whole families talk to them, and send a message, they must be missing them too. So we sent cameras all over the world. We are filmi people, so that is something that lies in our domain, so we sent cameras and got messages from their children, their sisters, their brothers, their mothers, their fathers  and the whole idea was that the team plays for the team, the team plays for the fans, this time just go and play for the people who love you inspite of winning or losing. So, it was very touching to see. We never get to see the people behind the scenes of these great achievers. So it was wonderful to see Pradeep Sangwan’s parents, it was fantastic to see Debabrata’s dad, lovely to see Bisla, it was nice to see McCullum’s family and Marchant De Lange’s aunt from somewhere and Sunil Narine’s mom and dad talking. It was beautiful, it was fantastic. It was very touching to me, so I am sure they felt that this team is like a family because their family was there to cheer them on for the finals.

Wankhede

I have no stand on it. I don’t know why people think it’s a stand. I said so that I do not in any which way mix two things together. Like if I am doing something good or bad, does not mean I represent everyone in Bollywood and they are like that. I don’t think so. They are wonderful people, here there are much better people than me. Really nice guys. If you misbehave with me, does not mean the whole of your community is like you. An individual’s action or reaction does not hold true for the whole association or the organization he or she works for and my reaction is to an individual, in no which way to any organization or association. And on the other hand, an organization or association, if it feels the right thing to do, if an individual from our team has been subjected to an abuse, which I did, and even if you did the same, but its alright to stand by them. I think its absolutely alright and its absolutely clean and its the way and the rules of the organisation. I don’t know, may be, I would do the same if somebody came and got angry.

Suppose there was a boy in my office and he said something to instigate you, and you got angry with him. I’ll still stand by that individual, so its absolutely right. So I don’t think individually I would never pick on that gentlemen and say, look its okay what you said. I don’t think so. I don’t think it was okay what he said. And I will stand by that. And I hope it gets resolved in a nice manner because personally my behavior in front of my own children and viewers is not good because that’s not what I stand for.

B-A-N

It’s the first time I have had a ban, so I don’t really know how to react to it. I don’t know, if I had a few more, maybe I’ll be able to gauge is five too much or three little or should it be a lifetime ban? I don’t know, I’m really completely ill at ease about discussing the fact that does it bother me, doesn’t it bother me. This is the second time I have been there in 10 years, so by that calculation it’s kinda be alright. But not by any other calculation. Just by respectability, it’s not a good thing to have. And I don’t know the legality of all this and I don’t want to get into it but if I can’t go to watch a match, I wont go. Maybe I’ll wear a disguise and go, and nobody finds out. No, I am just being naughty.

If an association has decided to respect the individuals, who perhaps, who according to them are not spoken rightly to, its their decision but I lovingly say that anyone from that Association to come and watch my films whenever they want.

Yash Chopra Film

Yashji’s film is untitled yet, it’s with Katrina and Anushka. Yeah, we are shooting it from day after tomorrow. 50% is over and Inshahallah, it should be out by Eid. Lovely songs by Gulzar Sahab and Rahman Sahab, really nice. I think it’s a good thing that I have worked with them for long, so it feels nice. I feel at home working with them. And you know, when you’re doing a romantic film, it’s a little easy on the joints. Its just easier on the joints and muscles, that’s all. So it’ll be nice. Hopefully I’ll be able to present romantic film in a different way as an actor and I think Yashji and Adi have taken care that I play something different and still the film has something new, some new romantic quality to it and just the fact that the two girls are new and I have hardly worked with them. With Anushka i have done just one film, and with Katrina, have never worked, and that itself will be a high point for me as an actor, plus for the film. It will be really fresh and nice. I am really glad to work with them. I learn a lot from them. It’s wonderful to work with them and I learn a lot from them. They are really kind and gentle and they are really sweet girls and really wonderful actors because when we sit down and discuss things, they come out straight forward with what they think of the scene and that helps me in interpreting. I myself may be jaded sometimes, having done similar scenes, so when they have an interpretation, I think not only it is youthful but it is also, Ohhh, you could do it like this. It is also a big challenge for me to get out of my what you said tricks of romance and say do it differently. And I think a couple of scenes have been really helped by Katrina and even with Anushka I have worked with her before. Even Rab ne Bana di Jodi, its honest, its direct and its great fun. So I am really looking forward to it and

Chennai Express starts, I think, we are still in process of casting and recc-eing the locations. So I’ll take a month off after shooting for Yashiji’s film and I’ll get to Chennai Express and a couple of months later we’ll get into Happy New Year.

Give me a quiet dinner

I don’t know wherever I am taken by life. I have never planned, I am very disorganized. I whatever I am doing at the moment in my life is the most important thing. I haven’t shot for a month for this film, I am back to shooting. I look forward to that. I have a few injuries and hurt, not because of my cartwheel but otherwise. I’ll repair that in London, I think. I’ll have to spend some time with my children, I think, which is important. They have holidays now, play a little football in Hyde park. Wait for the other two films to come, come back to Mumbai and uhh, now you remind me, get tensed again because in Sept-Oct we have to play Champions League. So that will be one another roller-coaster ride but InshahAllah, the team now must be feeling extremely confident and unpressurized. Normally if a team just wins, there is a chance of them getting over-confident. Our team, because it had been so negatively portrayed, I think they must have just come to now as being the starting players. So it’ll be nice to see them.

I really, really feel I have to leave for London but I wish I could just sit down with Gautam and his wife, and all the boys, Jacque, Bisla, Rajat, you know, sit down and just have a quiet dinner with them. So hopefully I’ll just try and call them to London if they are not too busy playing cricket somewhere, I’d like to call them. If they are busy, I wont call them lest that becomes a controversy. But I’d call them and say, come have dinner, and just sit down and talk with them of other things than cricket and winning or losing, other things things which are more important than winning and losing, that is, being happy. So I’d like to sit down and talk to them .

4am Tweets

I don’t tweet now so much because I got a little heart-broken. You know, I used to use the twitter as something I thought would be a personal messaging platform but then the media picks it up and puts it out of context and its like, I didn’t mean it. This is about this and why are you writing this about this? Some little things happening somewhere and somebody said something about my film release and suddenly I have a tweet and they just say, he’s just saying this because of that and I’m like, oh, not again. why would they do it? And I’d like to request everyone that Twitter is just to express yourself, which does not necessarily mean that you need to get abusive. Sorry (smiles), it seems that I am the wrong guy to be giving advice about abuses but I don’t think you need to do that and take out some kind of an angst on people that you don’t know. Expressing yourself is wonderful but sometimes I feel I have these wonderful people I am sending what I think is important, which maybe completely unimportant, but I think I have said my heart.  And then suddenly you get these retaliations which are not related to that message.

And a couple of times I have spoken about innocent children and somebody has retaliated and I’m like why? Why this man, I mean you don’t need to do this. I got a little, how do you say thwarted, I got a little taken aback that you know that even on a place where I thought I could share something personal without a mediator, without media between, somehow it is not working out the way I want and is it because I just come too close too fast, should I just refrain? So I have been away. Today I tweeted I think. And I’d like to request everyone on twitter, just respect it, like it, dislike it, don’t get personal. Because I am not getting personal with you and I have to request everyone to get personal, do it face to face. Its more honest. If you wanna say something to me, come meet me, we’ll sit down and chat over a cup of coffee and see where the conversation goes after that. And don’t do it without any reason just because it’s good to say, leave that to the socialites. Leave that to analysts, pop psychologists. Don’t make yourself that to lend yourself to the analysts. So I’ll tweet maybe once in a week.

Why i do it at night is because I finish work by 9pm normally on a shooting day. I come in and like to be with my kids till I put them to bed. Then I just sit with the family, hang out for some time and I sleep late. So everyone kinda desserts me by 2.30-3, so I say this is the time. I don’t use the telephone, the internet, I don’t use emails when I am in the house. Once I am in the house, I have no way that anyone can communicate with me, except for my kids, my wife and my sister shouting and screaming at me, nobody else can communicate with me. And that’s a rule I have had for 20 years. So when they are kind, if out of sight, than I say, its alright, its not on their time, so I tweet late. I sleep a little late, so I do it at that time. I don’t do it in the car and all unless its something that I want to do. So I do it late night because I don’t think I should encroach upon my family time.

And with this we came to the end of conversation as the time given to us was over. Hopefully next time we will get to talk about his school of cinema and more. As i packed up, he was ready to move to another meeting. Sinus? A smoke break. Another cup of black coffee. And he must be all set.