Archive for April 4, 2013

Thanks to filmmaker Sujoy Ghosh, we had put out the script of Kahaani here. And here’s an interesting post by one of our readers Deepanjali B Sarkar where she compares the script with the film. And also keeps a check on the timeline – what happens where, at what time, and for how long. Over to her.

Kahaani2

KAHAANI

I’ve now seen Kahaani several times, the last time with the script in hand, provided by this blog. Here are some rapid notes I made – mainly on the pacing and plot points (which is what makes it such a gripping film). Sharing it – in case others find it useful. Have listed the run time at which each plot point takes place.

So here goes

  • Hook – introduced within 10  mins: taxi driver says it’s for the first time that he has driven someone to the police station straight from the airport. Add to that – that she is pregnant.
  • Dramatic premise – husband missing: approx. 15.45 mins. Vidya files missing complaint in Kalighat police station. This sequence is packed with information (set up/clues) that will come into critical use as the thriller unfolds (pay off):
    • Husband worked in National Data Centre. Later we get to know the main suspect Milan Damji is an employee of National Data Centre, as is Shridhar, the IT head who assigns Bob Biswas, the hired assassin, his targets.
    • Vidya is a firewall expert. Crucial in her gaining access to IT head’s system, which leads them to IB head, Bhaskaran.
    • Vidya has a dizzy spell when asked to sign the missing person report. Pay off – she never left behind any fingerprints.
  • First red herring: Mona Lisa Hotel. Approx 20 mins.

By the way – had a question here. Did her husband actually stay here? Or how did she know of the decorative piece, the peacock? If he didn’t why this hotel in particular? Because it didn’t keep any records of its guests?

  • Second red herring: Arnav’s uncle’s house. 31 mins
  • Third red herring: Arnav’s school. 31.30 mins
  • Fourth red herring: Kolkata immigration
  • First clue! Milan Damji; Second clue – Bombay blood group. When Vidya meets Agnes Demelo in Mocambo. 35 mins
  • Bob the Killer introduced. 35.58 mins
  • First murder – Agnes Demelo. 37.29 mins
  • Khan – crucial link in plot – introduced. Being from the IB, he will lead Vidya to _____. 38.24 mins. 40 mins
  • Capt. Bajpayee introduced. The Kahaani actually starts with him training three agents. Introduced at 40.07 mins
  • Plot thickens! Vidya remembers that Khan refers to Damji by first name. So he must be familiar with him though he claims not to know him. 44.22 mins
  • Khan inducts Rana into the case (audience doesn’t know of it as yet)
  • Bob’s 2nd assignment: Retrieve Milan Damji’s file. 49.52 mins
  • Third clue! Identity of Milan Damji – from old records of National Data Centre. 50.23 mins
  • Pre-interval climax! Vidya pushed into metro tracks. 55.55 mins
  • NOW – Backstory. 57.38 mins

But why will Bhaskaran approach Bajpayee when he himself is the kingpin of the entire operation?

  • Vidya voices audience’s doubts. Missing from script. (1) Arnab has deserted her (2) Arnab and Milan are one and the same (3) Arnab has been targeted because he looks like Milan Damji.
  • Turning point: Jis din Milan mil jayega, us din, Arnab mil jayega. So hunt on for Milan Damji. No longer for Arnab.  59.07
  • Transition scene: Missing in script. Lovely touch of the playful side of Vidya. The two are travelling in a tram, she accidentally kicks Rana. He touches his forehead (pranam). She is intrigued and playfully kicks him again…and again!
  • Fourth clue! Milan Damji’s house – tea glasses from tea stall outside. Boy at tea stall remembers man with brass corners briefcase. This is the FINAL LINK to Bhaskaran. 1.03 hrs
  • Clue – follow up- Bombay blood required by Milan Damji when he was admitted in Ekbalpur Nursing Home.
  • No records of Milan Damji in Ekbalpur Nursing Home. Next —> Police Informer
  • Kumartuli – locate police informer. Nice touch – Vidya slips, Rana holds her hand. 1.06 mins
  • Police informer – Pal asked to locate who needed Bombay Blood in Ekbalpur Nursing home and why. Pal refuses to help. Vidya pleads, appealing on behalf of her unborn child. Vital leads acquired only because she is a helpless pregnant woman. Police wouldn’t have been able to extract the information. 1.07 hrs
  • Police informer Pal talks of shoot-out. Next clue – doctor who treated Milan Damji. Bob receives next job – kill Doctor Ganguli. 1.09 hrs
  • Vidya finds details about the shoot-out from Kalighat police station computer records

Rana’s attraction to Vidya grows (proximity as she bends over him to look at computer records)

  • Scene 142: Set up that will lead to the Denouement —> Vidya cleans table. Cleans it off her finger prints
  • Scene 143 – 145: Shoot out explanation by Rana. National Data Centre provides IB agents with cover/double identities
  • Scene 146 – 147: Poltu points out man with Briefcase -> Shridhar. 1.14 hrs
  • Scene 148: Bob’s next job -> Vidya. Shridhar, the Chief Technology Officer of Data Centre scans Vidya’s photo and MMS’ it to Bob
  • Scene 149: Nice touch. Bob is shining his nails when he gets his next job. He looks exasperated and the way he says to rickshaw valla – turn around, it looks as if he’s been given an errand to run to the fish market before leaving for office!
  • Scene 150 – 151: Dramatic scene. Chase! Bob chases Vidya. Kills innocent passerby. Rana chases Bob. Bob is run over by a truck. 1.16 hrs
  • Scene 154: Track Sridhar, handler of Bob/CTO of Data Centre. 1.19 hrs
  • Scene 155:   IP address of sender of MMS to Bob
  • Scene 158:  Sridhar signs out. Set up: peon carries three glasses; visitor’s book is out
  • Scene 162: Sridhar figures out his computer is being hacked. 1.23 hrs
  • Scene 163 – 166: Sridhar runs to his chamber. 1.25 hrs
  • Scene 167 – 168: Shridhar chases Vidya. Fight between Rana and Shridhar. Vidya kills Shridhar.
  • Scene 169: Khan arrives on scene. Says he wanted Shridhar alive to lead them onto Damji.
  • Scene 170: False denouement: Khan tells Vidya she had been used as bait to lead them onto Damji because no one suspects a pregnant woman. TURNING POINT: Khan asks Vidya to hack into Sridhar’s computer to find out who is the kingpin of the entire plot. 1.28 hrs
  • Scene 171: Not present in script. Panchami-idols come at night. Vidya watches a Durga idol. Charulata shot: from window to next window she follows the idol atop a truck. Ekla chalo re song plays in the background. She is readying herself for the final slaying of the demon – Milan Damji. Scene ends with close up of Durga’s lion on beheaded head of Asura Mahishasura and Goddess being bedecked with jewellery. She is being empowered.
  • Montage: not present in script. Vidya trying to hack into Sridhar’s computer to get info about kingpin; sashthi, the first day of Durga puja; women in white and red saris; Vidya cleaning her room meticulously; Vidya calling Bishnu for hot water; Puja in full swing – aarti in evening, dhunuchi dance; Vidya looking at parents with their kids at puja pandals; 1.32 hrs
  • FINAL CLUE! Vidya finds a code in Sridhar’s computer she can’t decipher. Rana realises it might be a phone number. Turns out to be Bhaskaran’s old number. Khan asks Vidya to call Bhaskaran – rest in script.
  • Scene ends with call from Milan Damji. Final link in the chain. (Nice touch – Khan forced to plead with Vidya “please help me”)
  • Pal, the informer warns Rana that Damji is back in the city and will kill Vidya. (didn’t see the point of this bit of information. Audience knows Vidya is in mortal danger). 1.38 hrs
  • “Upping the ante” as they say! Rana begs Khan to call off operation as Vidya’s life is in danger. Khan locks him up. Mocks him – don’t love the wrong person. 1.39 hrs.
  • Pre-climax: Vidya wears red-white sari. She breaks down. 1.40 hrs. Bishu quietly leaves his transistor behind for Vidya
  • Countdown to denouement: Rana escapes (OC helps him). Rushes to Mona Lisa hotel. Told Vidya has checked out. Notices something about Bishu (we still don’t know what)
  • Montage of Durga Puja at Triangular Park. POV of Vidya as she looks at the sea of faces around her trying to guess who might be Milan Damji
  • Shindoor khela: set up for Vidya’s final escape – climax
  • Scene 183 – 185: Milan Damji – jo ab take k kahaani tha. CLIMAX – Milan is killed by Vidya

•    Scene 187: 3 mins –    Denouement 1.50 hrs: Arnab’s school is actually Bishnu’s school; she used to regularly dust her room; She never signed – first time at police station when she was asked to sign missing report, she fainted; at Mona Lisa hotel she refused to sign because register was tattered; She killed Sriharan before IB could get to him; She knew as Khan himself would say, no one would suspect a pregnant woman searching for her missing husband

• Scene 190: Flashbacks. Pyrrhic victory: Vidya realises she had truly started believing she was pregnant and that she would find her husband. 1.53 hrs

• Scenes 191 – 193: Bhaskaran arrested. 1.56 hrs

  • Voice over – Goddess Durga comes to vanquish evil and then leaves; Candlelight remembrances

Notes:

•  Scenes 84 – 87: Deleted

– Vidya meets Rana at his home. This scene is replaced by a scene in front of Kalighat Police station. Vidya sees women in red border sarees going to Kalighat temple and remembers her conversation with Arnab.

– The change of location works – more colour. Also, home would have been too intimate. Would have struck a wrong note – why should Vidya visit him at his home?

IMPORTANT: missing from script – Rana says Milan Damji does not exist. He is just a kahaani

And some additional notes I made

  1. The plot moves because Vidya is pregnant – leading to disclosures. OC says husband got her pregnant and is absconding. IB – Khan reiterates the same. Emphasis on her as a victim of a domestic case. No one takes her missing file report seriously. Rana is of course chivalrous and concerned.
  2. Fun side of Vidya, making her endearing. Our empathy increases: Teases Bishnu about his radio; Gentle with Poltu; Mocks Rana. About his name. Mocks him when she makes him pick locks, twice (Data Centre Office; Damji’s house); Kicks him in tram.
  3. Rana’s growing attraction towards Vidya. Very economically dealt with. No dialogues: Concerned. Caring. Always worried she might hurt herself as she bends down, climbs stairs. Holds her hand. Intrigued, charmed by her playful side when she deliberately kicks him in the tram. Admires her tenacity. Admires her knack with children. Glowingly praises her maternal instinct.  When Vidya bends over him as she checks computer records – he is acutely conscious of his attraction towards her. When Vidya gets to know from Khan that she is being used as a bait she is appalled. Asks – her life, her child’s life was at threat. Immediately Rana says nothing would have happened to her – because he had taken up the case solely to ensure she was safe. Khan gives an amused, meaningful glance at Rana. He knows Rana has fallen for Vidya. Gifts her a sari, on behalf of Arnab. Genuinely cares for her.
  4. Detailing in sets:  (a) Calender of Sri Ramkrishna in Kalighat Police station (b) Trinamool Congress emblems on walls of North Kolkata when Vidya goes to locate Milan Damji’s house (c) Aalna or clothes stand typical of a Bengali house in hotel room
  5. RD Burman influence: Songs being played on radio in several street sequences; Song played on car radio when Sridhar realises his computer is being backed is Lekar hum deewana dil.

(For more posts by Deepanjali, you can check her blog here)

Most probably you haven’t heard about any of these titles mentioned in the header of the post. But they seem to be interesting films, and hopefully we will get to hear more about them in the coming months. So here’s the official synopsis of all these films.

DEKH TAMASHA DEKH

Away from any media attention, Feroze Abbas Khan has completed his next film titled Dekh Tamasha Dekh. He had earlier directed Gandhi, My Father.

Synopsis : The story revolves around the search for the religious identity of a poor man crushed under the weight of a politican’s hoarding. A social and political satire, the film explores the impossible India, where bizarre is normal.

Directed by Feroze Abbas Khan.
India 2012, 108 Minutes, Hindi with English subtitles.
Cast: Satish Kaushik, Tanvi Azmi, Vinay Jain, Sharad Ponkshe, Ganesh Yadav, Apoorva Arora, Alok Rajwade

CHENU

Manjeet Singh’s directorial debut Mumbai Cha Raja did a good round of film fests and now he is working on his next film titled Chenu. It has been selected for the 9th edition of L’Atelier organized by the Cinéfondation of the Cannes Film Festival.

Synopsis : Chenu, a low caste Dalit boy living in rural North India, is drawn into an ongoing war between the extremely violent leftist “Naxal” militia and the fascist landlords’ gang. One day his younger sister Chano’s fingers are chopped off by landlord Teer Singh for plucking mustard leaves from his farm. When Chenu’s family is denied justice, the Naxals come to their rescue. They huntdown Teer Singh forcing him to take refuge under the protection of Bhagwan Sing, the leader of a landlord gang who has just cremated a cart full of dead relatives killed by the Naxals. The Naxals then involve Chenu in their operations and he comes to know where their weapons are hidden. When physically beaten by the rich village kids for playing on their turf, Chenu learns to fire a handgun himself. Meanwhile Bhagwan Singh, in thirst of revenge, consolidates other landlord gangs to form a powerful private army. A bloody cycle of violence unleashes, engulfing Chenu’s innocence while setting him on the cours of his own journey.

OONGA

I have been hearing about Devashish Makhija for a long time. Good to know that he is ready with his debut feature.

Synopsis : Little Oonga missed his village school trip to the faraway big city Lohabad to see a play called ‘Ramayan’. Unable to handle the pressure of being the only kid around who has not seen the fantastic warrior-king ‘Rama’, Oonga runs away. He goes on a perilous journey across forest, river, mountains and roads – bigger than any he’s ever seen, and valleys lain to waste by the mining industry… until he reaches the large, cold, chaotic, blinding city. When he emerges from the play he believes he has become Rama! But he is now returning not to the warm confines of his little village, but to a battlefield where the ‘company’ will do anything to take the adivasi’s land away from them. Only, Oonga doesn’t know it yet.

Directed by Devashish Makhija.
India, 2012, Feature Film, 98 Minutes, Hindi and Oriya with English subtitles.
Cast – Alyy Khan, Anand Tiwari, Nandita Das, Priyanka Bose, Salim Kumar, Seema Biswas, Vipin Sharma

FILMISTAAN

Filmistaan22012 was a good year for Bollywood. But beating all those films, Nitin Kakkar’s debut feature Filmistaan bagged the National Award for the Best Feature Film in Hindi Language. And if you read the synopsis, you might know why. It sounds delicious.

Synopsis : This National Award winning movie is set in Mumbai where, affable Bollywood buff and wanna-be-actor Sunny, who works as an assistant director, fantasizes on becoming a heart-throb star. However, at every audition he is summarily thrown out. Undeterred, he goes with an American crew to remote areas in Rajasthan to work on a documentary. One day an Islamic terrorist group kidnaps him for the American crew-member. Sunny finds himself on enemy border amidst guns and pathani-clad guards, who decide to keep him hostage until they locate their original target. The house in which he is confined belongs to a Pakistani, whose trade stems from pirated Hindi films, which he brings back every time he crosses the border. Soon, the two factions realize that they share a human and cultural bond. The film shows how cinema can be the universal panacea for co-existence.

Directed by Nitin Kakkar.
India 2012, 117 Minutes, Hindi with English subtitles.
Cast – Sharib Hashmi, Kumud Mishra, Gopal Datt, Inaamulhaq

FIREFLIES

Synopsis : ‘Fireflies’ is the story of two estranged brothers – Shiv and Rana. Shiv, a successful banker, lives in the superficial glitter of corporate Bombay. The younger brother, Rana, is a law school dropout who lives by the day. Though worldly experiences and illusions briefly illuminate the brothers’ journeys, a tragedy that befell them fifteen years earlier seems destined to repeat itself, just in new incarnations. Flames suddenly extinguish again, in an eerie heartbeat. The journey ahead echoing with voices and visions from the past, and the magic realism of the years gone by, beckons the brothers to find each other again. And the picture in the puzzle that was scattered so long ago. Fireflies come out in the night, just to light up the darkness. They live as long as the glow lasts. Even if it is a lifetime, being lived in a day.

Directed by Sabal Singh Shekhawat.
India, 2012, 102 Minutes, Hindi & English.
Cast – Arjun Mathur, Monica Dogra, Rahul Khanna, Shivani Ghai, Aadya Bedi