Archive for January, 2013

TOWPOS2(COMP)

Few months back, we had put a post on “The Other Way“, a film by Aniket Dasgupta and Swathy Sethumadhavan documenting the indie filmmaking scene in India, and they were trying to raise funds for it through crowd-funding. Good news is they have managed to raise the funds for it and have just released its first look.

I have always felt that we have a terrible record when it comes to documenting our cinema and the stories surrounding them. A film like this one, Dungarpur’s Celluloid Man, Jaideep Varma’s film on Sudhir Mishra – we need many more such docus.

So check out the first look.

To know more about the film, click here and to read about he making of the film, you can click here for their blog.

kai-po-che3

Berlin International Film Festival have added few new titles to its programming list in the last few days. And it includes some Indian films as well.

Abhishek Kapoor’s new film Kai Po Che will have its International premiere in the Panorama section. It stars With Sushant Singh Rajput, Raj Kumar, Amit Sadh, Amrita Puri and is based on Chetan Bhagat’s book 3 Mistakes Of My Life. And here’s the official synopsis of the film…

Best friends Ishaan, Omi and Govind – young, ambitious and restless – are trying to make a mark in the India of the early 2000’s. These are exciting times – a new millennium has just dawned, India is a nuclear power and ostensibly shining – a perfect place for the 3 Ahmedabad boys to start a business that could be their ticket to fame and riches. In a country where cricket is religion, they hit upon a brilliant plan – to start a training academy that could produce India’s next sporting superstars! What follows is without doubt the greatest adventure of their lives, as they attempt to navigate the big hurdles in the path of fulfilling their dreams.     Based on Chetan Bhagat’s bestselling novel “The Three Mistakes of My Life”, Kai Po Che (meaning a triumphant yell in Gujarati) is an unforgettable ode to friendship and the magical moments one shares with one’s closest pals – celebrating festivals, drunken dancing, watching cricket matches together, strategizing on how to catch the attention of the cute neighborhood girl, being there to watch each other’s back in troubled times and to celebrate one’s successes by screaming “Kai Po Che”!

The other Indian films include Sourav Sarangi’s Char…The No Man’s Island and Powerless by Fahad Mustafa and Deepti Kakkar which will be screened in Berlinale Forum. DearCinema has more details about these two documentaries –

Powerless is set in Kanpur, a city with 15-hour power cuts, where a nimble young electrician provides robin-hood style services to the poor. Meanwhile, the first female chief of the electricity supply company is on a mission to dismantle the illegal connections, for good. The documentary recently received a grant from Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program and Fund.

Char…The No Man’s Island,about a fourteen year-old boy who smuggles rice from India to Bangladesh, recently won a Special Mention in Muhr Asia Africa Documentary category at Dubai film festival 2012.

The 63rd Berlinale will be held from February 7-17, 2013.

MKBKM

Vishal Bhardwaj is a disturbed man.

At least that’s what it seems. And that’s a good starting point. Filmmakers and artists should feel disturbed by their environment. Great art always comes out of that disturbance. So while rest of the bollywood seems to be living in Tumbuktoo with no connect to the issues that matters, and want you to remain equally stupid, blind and deaf with their corn-cola-crap combo, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola is Vishal Bhardwaj’s first reaction to the changing world around us.

At a recent presser, Bhardwaj said that wo jo ugly malls…meri saansein aani band ho jaati hai wahan…uske andar…wahan ke shor se. As i watched the film where Pankaj and Shabana talk about his dreams on a hill top with dark clouds hovering over them, and a surreal sequence involving giant cranes, industries and malls comes up, it was eerie (wish they had avoided those tacky interior shots of the malls though). That’s the core of this whimsical film by Vishal Bhardwaj – development at what cost?

Land.

That doesn’t feature in our dictionary. The ones who are born and bought up in city never knew that it existed. We, the kids of small towns who moved to smaller houses in bigger towns, used to hear about it from our previous generation. Now, we are either comfortably numb, or understand the size of 1BHK – space is our only connect with “land”. And in this scenario, it’s quite easy to understand how difficult and daring it is to make a film like Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola. Land, farmers, farming, rainfall, pesticides, gobar, anaaz, anaaz ka bhav – they don’t exist in our films anymore. Not that it deserves all the credit just for the dare act.  But, then, the industry and this country doesn’t understand “satire” either. We are still stuck at Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron. Even on the day when the film is out, the makers are selling it as “massy comedy drama”, like they did with the trailer and tried to hide the film. Massy comedy drama? Paincho paincho!

And that’s the tragedy of Vishal Bhardwaj and his films – audience. Maybe the blame lies with him too. Intention is always honest, filmmaking is always top notch, but he wants big budgets. Big budgets means only one thing – big stars. Doesn’t matter if they can act or not. With big stars and big budgets, you need the big box office numbers too. So? Package it as “vitamin ki goli“, or massy comedy drama, as they would like you to believe.

Last time when he made a film without any compromise, he delivered two of the best films of his career which are classics in more than one way – The Blue Umbrella and Maqbool. Since then it’s always been a slippery ground. This balancing act is a tough business. Emir Kusturi-ca’s absurdity is full throttle. Bhardwaj’s absurdity is bollywoodised where every solution lies in hero-heroine ki shaadi. Some of the best cinema across the world never looks for solutions, and trying for a quick fix is unpardonable. Problems/issues – that’s the muse of a true artist. And this is what i found completely indigestible in Matru – how suddenly everything comes together in the end. Maybe they meant it’s “massy comedy drama” by its climax. Aha, the trappings of commerce when the film has an anti-commerce stand. Irony! And watching this film funded by a corporate giant in a multiplex inside a mall. Irony ka baap!

But other than its hurried and hotchpotch climax, the film has so much more to offer and is deliciously wicked. Sit back, relax, and chew it bit by bit like Gulaabo does. This one needs jugaali. (i hope you know what it is) Make sure you watch the film in a theatre which has good audio system. Miss one line and you will miss the joke. But wait, if your idea of being funny is 50 plus actors making faces on the tune of pon pon, this movie is not for you. Call it quirky, whimsical or absurd, i wonder if Mao and moo moo will ever get together in one film. Or you can just buy some species because you like their music. Or a Gulaboo bhains in such a pivotal role. It’s Cattle-ship Communism!

The story is simple – man has a daughter. man has a servant. daughter has a lover with a corrupt mother. It’s a hindi film and so you know the end. In the illustrious filmography of Bhardwaj, this is his first political film. i remember an interview of his where he said script aapko nanga kar deti hai…aap kya sochte ho, wahan sab dikhta hai. And if that’s so, am happy to tell that one of my favourite filmmaker looks smart even when his soch is stark naked. He makes other filmmakers of his generation who are still busy doodling with matters of heart, look like nursery kids. Paincho, ab toh duniya dekho! 

And hand over all, i mean ALL the trophies to Pankaj Kapur. A slur here, a sigh there, a blank stare in this direction – this actor is pure delight on screen. He owns it and how! Forget his Jekyll and Hyde avatar, he is 100 times the Jekyll hidden in one Mr Hyde! The film belongs to him and it’s no wonder that Bhardwaj calls him his most favourite actor on this planet. It’s been ages since an actor made everyone look like lilliput. Even if nothing interests you, just watch the film for him. Actors of his age are put in a bracket called “character actors” in this country and you never know when someone like him can get another terrific role like this one and will do full justice to it. Shabana Azmi is the Politician-who-licks-Lollypop and is a perfect match for Kapur as his footsie partner. And like any other Bhardwaj film, this one also has the entire supporting cast setting up a great ambience and a distinct world where the story unfolds. Any film which has great performances by actors in small roles, or even just for one dialogue – that’s my kind.

Book your tickets now!

– by @CilemaSnob

(PS – Dear VB, why this big dhokha this time?)

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

This is weird. Don’t remember Vishal Bhardwaj mentioning about the Brecht’s play, Mr Puntila and his Man Matti, in any of his interviews. But the basic plot seems to be quite similar.

To quote from wiki page of the play

The story describes the aristocratic land-owner Puntila’s relationship to his servant, Matti, as well as his daughter, Eva, who he wants to marry off to an Attaché. Eva herself loves Matti and so Puntila has to decide whether to marry his daughter to his driver or to an Attaché, while he also deals with a drinking problem.

 In his essay “Notes on the Folk Play” (written in 1940), Brecht warns that “naturalistic acting is not enough in this case” and recommends an approach to staging that draws on the Commedia dell’Arte. The central relationship between Mr Puntila and Matti—in which Puntila is warm, friendly and loving when drunk, but cold, cynical and penny-pinching when sober—echoes the relationship between the Tramp and the Millionaire in Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931).

Now, if you have seen the trailers of MKBKM, it’s easy to guess the basic plot. To quote from its IMDB page

Harry is an industrialist who loves his daughter Bijlee, and the bond they share with Harry’s man friday, Matru. Bijlee’s plan to wed the son of a politician, however, brings twists and turns in the lives of Matru, Bijlee and Mandola.

Though the IMDB synopsis might not be accurate but one thing we are sure about – Pankaj Kapur’s character trait is the same as Puntila in the play. And as mentioned in the wiki page, City Lights is on similar tangent.

Also, if you see the title of the play and the film, both swings the same way. And as a friend mentioned on twitter, VB’s love for giving subtle hat-tips in names/titles is not really new – Iago/Tyagi, Desdemona/Dolly etc.

So what’s the real deal?

If the film is an adaptation of the play or even the basic idea is the same, why is Vishal hiding it? Especially when he is known for doing great adaptations. If not, what are we missing? Enlighten us please! Otherwise friday is not really far.

And going with Bollywood’s norm of Ctrl C+ CtrlV, we are also doing the same with Ghanta’s press release.

About The Ghanta Awards

ghantas-logoThe Ghanta Awards or The Ghantas celebrates and rewards the worst of Bollywood.

The principle was simple: Every year, Bollywood takes our hard earned money and countless hours of life only to leave us feeling older, poorer and supremely frustrated. While there are good movies produced every year, there are several just want us to tear our hair out and dance naked at the producer’s house demanding refunds.

The Ghanta Awards was created as a means to give back to these films, to give back to these film makers – to make them understand that they needed to try harder…

There are more than a dozen film awards to reward the good films but how many to reward the worst of Bollywood? Also, The Razzies are a glorious institution but unfortunately, even after 30 years, they still don’t look at Bollywood at all. We think it is very highly unfair that the world’s most prolific film industry doesn’t get the recognition it deserves. So we decided to rectify the situation.

Once a year, we will give away awards in categories including Worst Film, Worst Actor, Worst Actor, Worst Song, Worst Director and WTF Was That?

The Ghanta Awards was founded by Karan Anshuman and Prashant Rajkhowa in 2010.

GHANTAS 2013

This is the third edition of the Ghantas, having started “rewarding” the worst of Bollywood in 2011. According to founder Karan Anshuman, it was the lack of a refund mechanism in place that prompted him to start the Ghantas three years back. “There are more than a dozen film awards to reward the good films but how many to reward the worst of Bollywood? So we started our own show.”

A jury of eminent film critics and journalists decide the nomination list for the Ghanta Awards. The jury consists of Rajeev Masand (Entertainment Editor & Film Critic, CNN-IBN), Karan Anshuman (Film Critic, Mumbai Mirror), Sudhish Kamath (Film Critic, The Hindu) and Sahil Rizwan (Film Critic,TheVigilIdiot.com). The winners are decided through public voting at TheGhantas.com.

In 2012, more than 1,00,000 people cast their votes in the Ghanta Awards.

Procedure

  1. Bollywood films released between January 2012 and December 2012 are eligible
  2. The nominees in each category will be decided by our jury:
    1. Rajeev Masand, Entertainment Editor & Film Critic, CNN-IBN
    1. Karan Anshuman, Film Critic, Mumbai Mirror
    2. Sudhish Kamath, Film Critic, The Hindu
    3. Sahil Rizwan, Film Critic, TheVigilIdiot.com
    4. MoiFightClub.Wordpress.com
  1. The final winners will be decided by a public online vote.
  2. People will be able to vote using their Facebook or Twitter accounts.
  3. And it all comes down to one night where we present the Ghanta Awards to the deserving winners.

DATE/VENUE :

The Ghanta Awards 2013 will be held at J W Marriott on February 8, 2013. Organisers, INVision Entertainment, along with Shruti Seth’s My Company expect more than 3 lakh people to vote for the winners and are hopeful that several celebrities will be in attendance.

NOMINEES

  1. Worst Film
    1. Housefull 2
    2. Department
    3. Student of the Year
    4. Players
    5. Son of Sardaar
  2. Worst Actor
    1. Salman Khan – Ek Tha Tiger, Dabangg 2
    2. Akshay Kumar – Rowdy Rathore, Khiladi 786, Housefull 2, Joker
    3. Ajay Devgn – Son of Sardaar, Bol Bachchan, Tezz
    4. Abhishek Bachchan – Players, Bol Bachchan
    5. Arjun Rampal – Heroine, Chakravyuh, Ajab Ghazab Love
  1. Worst Actress
    1. Asin – Bol Bachchan, Housefull 2, Khiladi 786
    2. Sonakshi Sinha – Rowdy Rathore, Dabangg 2, Joker, Son of Sardaar
    3. Katrina Kaif – Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Ek Tha Tiger
    4. Bipasha Basu – Raaz 3, Jodi Breakers, Players
    5. Priyanka Chopra – Teri Meri Kahani, Agneepath
  1. Worst Supporting Actor
    1. Boman Irani – Housefull 2, Tezz, Ferrari Ki Sawaari, Cocktail, Joker
    2. Sanjay Dutt – Agneepath, Department, Son of Sardaar, Dabangg 2
    3. Anupam Kher – Chaar Din Ki Chandni, Kya Super Kool Hai Hum, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Chhodo Kal Ki Baatein
    4. Rishi Kapoor – Agneepath, Housefull 2, Jab Tak Hai Jaan
    5. Mithun Chakraborty – Zindagi Tere Naam,Nobel Chor, Housefull 2, Enemmy, Oh My God,Khiladi 786, Buddhuram Dhol Duniya Gol
  2. Worst Supporting Actress
    1. Sonam Kapoor – Players
    2. Minnisha Lamba – Joker
    3. Anushka Sharma – Jab Tak Hai Jaan
    4. Shazahn Padamsee – Housefull 2
    5. Jacqueline Fernandez – Housefull 2
  3. Worst Breakthrough
    1. Alia Bhatt – Student of the Year
    2. Sunny Leone – Jism 2
    3. Esha Gupta – Jannat 2, Chakravyuh, Raaz 3D
    4. Amy Jackson – Ek Deewana Tha
    5. Pulkit Samrat – Bittoo Boss
  4. Worst Director
    1. Abbas-Mustan – Players
    2. Vikram Bhatt – Raaz 3, Dangerous Ishq
    3. Kunal Kohli – Teri Meri Kahani
    4. Samir Karnik – Chaar Din Ki Chandni
    5. RGV – Bhoot Returns, Department
  5. Worst Sequel
    1. Raaz 3D
    2. Jannat 2
    3. Jism 2
    4. Bhoot Returns
    5. Housefull 2
  6. Worst Rip-Off/Remake
    1. Barfi – every classic Hollywood film
    2. Agent Vinod – every Hollywood action film
    3. Teri Meri Kahani – Chaplin meets What’s Your Rashi meets Three Times
    4. Agneepath
    5. Tezz – The Bullet Train / Speed
  7. Worst Couple
    1. Abhishek Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor – Players
    2. Vivek Oberoi and Mallika Sherawat – KLPD
    3. Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra – Teri Meri Kahani
    4. Rajneesh Duggal and Karishma Kapoor – Dangerous Ishq
    5. Prateik Babbar and Amy Jackson – Ek Deewana Tha
  8. Worst Song
    1. Paw Paw Paw Paw – Son of Sardaar
    2. Balma – Khiladi 786
    3. Fevicol – Dabangg 2
    4. Ishq Wala Love – Student of the Year
    5. Chinta Ta Chita Chita – Rowdy Rathore
  9. WTF Was That
    1. Stolen gold being melted into 3 Mini Coopers and driven away to escape in ‘Players’
    2. Actual aliens showing up in ‘Joker’
    3. A ghost using a landline to call up Bipasha with information in ‘Raaz 3D’
    4. A pornstar being recruited by the CBI in ‘Jism 2’ and saving the country
    5. A love quadrangle with Jesus in ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’
  10. Thats Anything But Sexy
    1. Tushaar Kapoor’s Manboobs & Striptease in ‘Kya Super Kool Hai Hum’
    2. 25yr old Sonakshi being made to dance with a MUCH fitter 39 yr old Malaika in ‘Dabangg 2’
    3. Anything in ‘Hate Story’
    4. Esha Gupta stripping naked because of ghost cockroaches in ‘Raaz 3D’
    5. Rani Mukherjee dancing to ‘Dreamum Wakeupum’ in ‘Aiyya

     

So click here and log in with your Facebook or Twitter account and make your vote count!

 

Check out both the trailers and spot the difference. I will start with the lead actor’s look. The spanish title is called La Cara Oculta.

Thanks to Milliblog who spotted it and posted on his site. Click here to read the Milliblog post. Don’t think anyone will be surprised even if the film turns out to be frame by frame copy. If that doesn’t happen with a Bhatt film, that would be shocking!

The film is directed by Vishesh Bhatt and produced by Vishesh Films along with Fox Star India. It stars Randeep Hooda, Sara Loren and Aditi Rao Hydari, and Mahesh Bhatt is credited as the writer.

UPDATE  – Have been informed by Anshul Mohan that the film is an official remake. Strange! They haven’t mentioned it anywhere.

We are back to our “movie recco” posts and will try to be regular this time. This recco post is by lyricist and screenwriter Varun Grover. And let me warn you that by the time you will finish reading this post, you will be desperately searching for the film. So please start your search (#youknowwhere) now. And read on.

searching-for-sugar-man-poster copy

Polite Disagreement of the Sugar Man

Weird connections

Most of the times, how powerful a film (or any piece of art) is can be judged by the simple test of what and how many things it reminds you of. Things that you have read, seen, experienced, or heard about. Like this excellent, meditative Russian film The Return reminded me of my mother’s old Buaa whose husband had returned after 30-years of having gone missing and she didn’t know how to deal with it. She had been living the life of a widow at her brother’s (my Nana’s) house for almost all her life and here was this man she had even forgotten the face of too, standing in front of her shocked, crying face, talking in broken English for some reason, and telling her ‘It’s okay. It’s okay.’ (What happened with Buaa and her husband after that is even more surreal, but that’s for another day.)

Similarly, Terrence Malick films remind of the world I imagined as a child, Vihir reminded me of dealing with a recent death in the family, Holy Motors reminded me of Werner Herzog’s Enigma of Kasper Hauser, Kaufman’s Being John Malkovich, Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd., and many others, and Anish Kapoor’s recent exhibition in Bombay reminded me of Waltz with Bashir and Mughal-E-Azam.

I watched Malik Bendjelloul’s 2012 documentary Searching for Sugar Man last night and the list of things it reminded me of is probably the greatest ever. From Gurudutt’s Pyaasa to Charles Bukowski and Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s poetry and persona, to Bob Dylan (“Bob Dylan was mild to this guy” says one character in the film), to Mirza Ghalib, to many of my friends struggling with the whole commerce-vs-art, indie-vs-massy question hanging over their futures – everybody/thing has flashed past my eyes in the last 12-hours. (And one more man, but about him, later.)

There could be a specific reason, not within the film but within me, that it reminded me of so many things. May be I myself am struggling with the questions of immortality or otherwise of art and my place in the creation process.

Synopsis:

(Spoiler free. Though I’d say watch the film without even reading the synopsis.)

Detorit, 1970s. A construction worker called Rodriquez, who writes poetry of the streets and is a struggling musician, cuts an album. Album sells just “6 copies in all of America” and he goes back to a life of obscurity. Word goes around that he killed himself later after singing some iconic, depressing words like “But thanks for your time and then you can thank me for mine.” But soon after him receding back into the shadows, bootlegged copies of his album reach South Africa, to a people locked away from the world due to apartheid. There, in SA, his songs gain a cult following and a couple of fans decide to find the truth behind his death.

The man who walks

One recurring motif in the film, used brilliantly even in animated portions, is that of a man walking relentlessly – through snow and streets, in a city past its prime (or may be a city that never reached its prime like Rodriguez himself). My guess is this motif, of all the brilliant things this film shows, will stay with me for the longest. Rodriguez was a man who poured his suffering and his observations of the city into his music. (His songs and voice alone are the reasons enough to revere him as one of the greatest musicians ever.) This motif captures the slow rhythm, the effort, and imagery of his music just perfectly.

But another reason, as my wife pointed out after the film, this motif captures Rodriguez’s essence is because his was a life of polite disagreements – with the rules of society, norms of success, recognition and copyright. His lyrics were angry but not bitter in a Pyaasa/Sahir Ludhianvi or Bukowski way nor pessimistic like Ghalib/Batalvi – his anger too was like his persona – easy, sweet, and with a dash of hope. I am sure unknowingly, but he lived by the Gandhian principle of सविनय अवज्ञा (Savinay Avagya ­– polite non-cooperation), and hence the walking motif gets another layer of Gandhi connection. (There’s one more, even bigger Gandhi connection but giving that out will be a spoiler.)

The unsaid

Since it’s a reco-post, there are so many things I am tempted to write but not writing. So will give you a quick ‘10-reasons to watch this film ASAP’ and wrap this up.

  1. A musical docu (with some of the best music you’ll hear in a film) narrated like a thriller. The search for Sugar Man (Rodriguez) is as surprising and twisted as any good, genuine thriller.
  2. An underdog story with so many uplifting moments. Better than in any similar-genre fiction film I have seen last year.
  3. Technically top-notch. Animation, frames, footage from the 70s and 80s, all pieced together absolutely seamlessly.
  4. A mysterious central character that may have been lost to the history forever.
  5. Some of the most articulate interviewees in a docu. One man (called Clarence Avant) looks and talks straight out of a Tarantino film.
  6. In spite of being an almost-thriller, the pace is languorous and easy – like Rodriguez’s music. Very difficult to achieve and done very well.
  7. A terrific statement on the real value of art and artist, and the eternal tussle between business and creative.
  8. One real chunk of footage of a Rodriguez concert. If you don’t have a lump in your throat in that portion of the film, please get your species-test done.
  9. Poetry. Both visual and verbal. (One frame with smoke billowing out of a factory chimney across the river and merging into clouds above while Cold Fact plays in the background is cinema at its ethereal best.)
  10. The message it conveys, subtly but powerfully.

Note: It’s out #youknowwhere. And thanks to documentary lover @AuteurMark for recco-ing this to some of us.

The following TRAILER has SPOILERS. So we would suggest that you should AVOID it and watch the film directly.