Archive for March, 2013

 

SRK Swades

We love films for various reasons. There are those rare films that seem flawless, every bit crafted to almost impossible perfection. Then there are those even rarer films- with jagged edges and ‘flaws’ that make them so alive and human, they become a part of you.

Swades, for me, is just that kind of film. Its sheer lack of guile- perceived by many as a problem- actually pulls me closer to it; its innate naivety almost seems like a natural companion to the film’s innocent, idealistic spirit. It is this spirit- one that has nearly disappeared from the movies- that Swades gloriously celebrates- and which makes even the ‘imperfections’ in its cinematic artifice a part of its immense beauty.

 Replete with layers and themes that are conveyed through striking imagery and symbolism across its enchantingly languorous narrative, Swades wonderfully blends mythic and fantastical elements within a realistic narrative form.

The most dominant symbol used throughout Swades is that of water- and it is indeed an interesting, though perhaps insignificant coincidence that Ashutosh Gowariker happens to be an Aquarian. 

The preciousness of human life- both denoted by and dependent on water- is something that Swades repeatedly stresses on, and this is evident in the very first sequence of the film that takes place at NASA, which epitomizes the acme of technological and scientific development and stands in sharp contrast to the electricity deprived villages in the heartland of India. After Mohan Bhargava (Shahrukh Khan in arguably, his finest performance) concludes his presentation on the Global Precipitation Measurement Satellite Project that he is handling, a member of the audience asks him whether the massive budget for the project is really justified. 

To this, Mohan replies:

“Globally, there is a danger of water recession in the near future…It will not be unreal to imagine that in the 21st century, cities like Beijing, New Delhi, Santiago… and many others will use up their surrounding water and perish. Water is going to be rare. Is this not reason enough to justify any budget?”

The divisive ancient caste system- one of the main issues that the film addresses- prohibits the sharing of water by people of different castes. Water in Swades is the very elixir of life; the sacred element which unites all those who share it in an unbreakable bond. So water is omnipresent in the film and in its visuals- sometimes subtly, sometimes more conspicuously so.

When the NRI Mohan Bhargava arrives in India, he cautiously avoids drinking anything but mineral water, staying in the sanitized confines of his caravan. As he transforms from an outside observer to an active part(icipant) of the community, we watch Mohan as he bathes, sails through- and then, in the most powerful and memorable scene of the film, drink the water of his country. This moment could well be the called the emotional epicenter of the film. Mohan’s transformation is complete- he can no longer be a detached observer.

Later, during the film’s climax, we see Mohan literally plunge into the water reservoir to make the dam turbine work, and generate hydroelectricity. And finally, of course there is the film’s parting shot- Mohan sitting on the banks of the central village water body washing himself with his feet dipped in. The camera slowly zooms out towards the sky and we see hordes of people moving towards the very same water, almost as if attracted by an invisible, magnetic force.

Swades: Feet in water

Mohan has found his roots, his people… his home. As Fatema Bi says: ‘अपने ही पानी मे पिघल जाना बर्फ का मुक़द्दर होता है…’

PS: As many have pointed out, this has unintentionally coincided with the current and drastic drought conditions here in Maharashtra. Many of us including me, living in our little comfortable bubbles like Mohan, sometimes don’t realize just how bad the situation is. So have a Happy and dry Holi, guys! 🙂

This blog is dead now

Posted: March 17, 2013 by moifightclub in cinema

Because of many reasons which can’t be explained here, am killing the blog now. Don’t think am going to revive it anytime soon. Future? Well, nobody knows. Though i started it myself, but i could run it so smoothly only because of the regular contribution by about more than a dozen close friends who are equally passionate about films – Kartik, Pavansaab, Vasan, Subrat, Neeraj, Fatema, Varun, Jahan, Rohwit, Mihir, Manu, Sunanya, Sakshi, Sumit, Mitch, Manish, Pratim, Prasanth, Aniruddh, Shubhodeep and Screeny. Am sure am missing many more names. Apologies for that. Will keep on adding. Also, much thanks to filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap, Hansal Mehta, Kushan Nandy, Vikramaditya Motwane, Suparn Verma, Jaideep Varma.

We tried to be honest, independent, balanced, with a clear stand on issues, and without any agenda except cinema. And i hope we were able to deliver what we promised.

So those of who regularly contributed to it for making it such a fun place, thanks to all. And thanks to dear readers for making it what it is today, whatever little we could contribute in creating an interesting cinema discussion forum.

Bollywood – 1. moiFC – 0

(ps – if any of the writers want to continue the blog, please do so. You all have the log in and password in your mail box. It’s not my property, you all own it)

– @cilemasnob (or by whatever name you know me. i quit)

When we put out the post on Lootera’s first teaser, i wrote that “close your eyes and watch the teaser again – i think it’s the music.” Well, none of us had any clue that it will turn out to be KLPD.

Why?

Play both the tracks back to back and decide for yourself.

So? Who is the culprit? Who has done the background score? Or have they taken the rights? Can anyone please connect the dots?

Tip – Prosit

(PS – Something similar had happened when Udaan’s trailer came out. The text was plagiarised from the trailer of Where The Wild Things Are and we had mentioned in our post.)

Lootera

The man behind one of the best debuts films in recent times Udaan, Vikramaditya Motwane is back with a new film titled Lootera starring Ranveer Singh and Sonakshi Sinha. And as the latest trend in bollywood goes, the first look of the film is just a teaser and not the full trailer.

The teaser doesn’t tell you much about the film but just gives you a sense of the place and the mood of the film. But close your eyes and watch the teaser again – i think it’s the music. Old world charm, silent glances, character introductions and then those last 30 seconds where it kicks in – snow, gun, letters, light, fire and dhickiyoon, credits and the hero limping on snow! Now, give me the full trailer.

This completely stands out from the garbage that Bollywood is churning out these days. There’s so much silence, and most importantly, there’s NO FUCKING TEXT on screen to explain it. But this also seems to be from school of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Just hope that it’s less grand, less manipulative and more intimate.

The credit list seems to be the same as that of Udaan. DoP is Mahendra Shetty. Screenplay by Vikramaditya Motwane and Bhavani Iyer. Dialogues – Anurag Kashyap. Music – Amit Trivedi. Lyrics – Amitabh Bhattacharya.

Though the makers have been saying it publicly that it’s inspired/based on O Henry’s short The Last Leaf, why isn’t it mentioned in the credit plate?

TheMaster.php

Great cinema always inspires great writing. And going by that rule, the latest one to join the club is P T Anderson’s The Master. And like us, if you also love reading everything possible related to a film once you have seen it and love it, then you have come to the right place. Some of us have seen the film and googled everything on it so that you don’t have to. Also, there are high chances that once you have seen the film, you will have too many questions. This post has links to some of the explanations offered.

But DON’T READ ANYTHING if you have not seen the film.

The Master is finally getting a theatrical release in India this friday. It might not work for everyone but you can’t deny Anderson’s stamp of great film-making all over. So don’t miss it. And for two more reasons – it deserves to be seen on big screen. There’s no other way. If it works out well, we might get to see much better releases in the coming months.

At the end of the scene, Lancaster sings “(I’d Like to Get You On) A Slow Boat to China” to Freddie. And yes, it’s eerie and perhaps more than a little homoerotic, but it also feels like a twisted version of a lullaby — the most domestic and familial of actions turned into something terrifying and strange — making it clear once and for all that Freddie’s dream of becoming a family with Lancaster and Peggy Dodd is an impossibility. And freeing him, ironically, to try and form a new family — perhaps with Winn, the girl he’s met in the final scenes of the film, right before we see him lying next to the female sand sculpture, suggesting that his search goes on.

– Vulture has done a brilliant piece titled “What Is The Master Really About?: Five Interpretations”. Click here to read.

It’s hard to make a lot. That was one thing when I was working on The Master, they kept being like, “well, he’s got a tea kettle, and he’s making gallons of spirit out of it.” I’m like, “Mmm, you might get a shot of spirit out of a tea kettle.” Like that flask setup in the shed in the cabbage field? No way that would have produced a five-gallon glass carboy full of moonshine, unless you were working every day for several weeks. But, you know, movie magic.

– Vulture has also done a piece answering that million dollar question which everyone will surely ask after watching the film – Can You Really Make Booze Out of Paint Thinner? Click here to know the answer.

The haunting, utterly inward stillness of the actors in “The Master” is one of the director Paul Thomas Anderson’s most apparent achievements, and it’s no mere ornament or element of dramatic plausibility—it’s at the core of the film, as is the very question of performance as such.

– New Yorker’s Rochard brody has written a long essay titled “The Astonishing Power Of The Master”. Click here to read.

– And if you want to read about the making of the film, click here for a long interview.
In “The Master,” we’re often left gasping for air, as in the scene when Freddie is required not to  blink for a painfully long stretch of his processing. Or because of the sheer beauty of some of the compositions. Warts, wanderings, reiterations and all, this is a film destined to be processed in many different ways. And hallelujah to that.
– Michael Philips’ 4 star review is here.
There are hints of an erotic relationship between Freddie and Dodd’s daughter (Ambyr Childers) and a not-too-veiled suggestion that Dodd’s paternal yearnings for Freddie are complicated by other desires. But at the risk of issuing a spoiler of sorts, beyond a bewildering point-of-view sequence when Freddie imagines that all the women at a Philadelphia cocktail party are naked, this is a film suffused with sexual desire that has no sex in it. If you look at “The Master” through the lens of Paul Thomas Anderson’s body of work, this is a prelude to the world of “Boogie Nights,” a disordered America where nobody was getting any that led straight to the disordered America where everybody was getting too much.
– Another great piece by Salon’s Andrew O’Hehir. It’s titled “The Master: A forbidding portrait of L. Ron Hubbard’s America” . Click here to read.
All of this striving — absurd, tragic, grotesque and beautiful — can feel like too much. “The Master” is wild and enormous, its scale almost commensurate with Lancaster Dodd’s hubris and its soul nearly as restless as Freddie Quell’s. It is a movie about the lure and folly of greatness that comes as close as anything I’ve seen recently to being a great movie. There will be skeptics, but the cult is already forming. Count me in.
– A O Scott’s article is wickedly titled “There Will Be Megalomania”. Click here to read.
– Time Out Chicago also offers “An Explanation” of the film. Click here to read.

So where does this leave “The Master” on the Anderson landscape, that oddly populated terrain? Few modern films have been as crowded as “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia,” and few have been more lonely than “There Will Be Blood.” The new work sways toward the latter. I kept expecting, and even hoping, that Dodd would acquire a tinge of Elmer Gantry—that he might start to muster large throngs to the Cause, with Freddie employed as the muscle to keep the mob in line. But the scale of the story, for all Dodd’s swagger, remains compact, and the plot slowly condenses into a blend of character studies. Look at Amy Adams in closeup, for instance, all the scarier for being so perky and correct, her features filling the screen as she quizzes the reprobate. Or look at Phoenix, lifting his head high and proud, as Brando used to do, with an added, cranky stiffness that comes from having, or being, a serious pain in the neck. The eyes narrow and the mouth is awry, one corner twisting into an Elvis curl, though it looks too sour for seduction, let alone song.

– Anthony Lane’s review in the New Yorker is here. And it’s a must read.

Why do you make things so difficult? Else it wouldn’t be fun.

–  1 hour long Q & A with Anderson
– The Career of Paul Thomas Anderson in Five Shots
If you read any other brilliant essay on the film, do post it in the comments section.

If you were not among those lucky selected few who were invited to attend the Spielberg-Bachchan session, don’t worry, we have got it for you. Click on the video and enjoy.

Steven Spielberg is currently in India. All thanks to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment. All the prominent filmmakers of the industry were invited to attend the session.

The Hollywood Reporter has also done an extensive report on the session. Click here to read it.

Rediff’s Raja Sen has written a column on “How Steven Spielberg brought Bollywood closer”. Click here to read it.

So, what’s next? Reliance will release Commando. Himmatwala is our next big release. David Dhawan has remade Chashme Baddoor. And Bollywood will keep chasing 100 crore films. Aha, beauty.

Paradesi is the latest film by Tamil filmmaker Bala. Click on the play button and see if you can figure out what is this “reality teaser”. And why would anyone cut a teaser like this? though am not sure if this is an official video or made by some fan. But it seems the crew members are sharing it on social media platforms, so putting it here.

If you don’t know much about Bala and Paradesi, click here to read about his latest film. Anurag Kashyap and Phantom Films are releasing the film nationally with English subtitles.

Click here to watch its theatrical trailer.

Tip – Chinu