Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap did AMA on Reddit yesterday. Someone asked him about the state of Indian film criticism. His reply in one word was “terrible”. Well, it doesn’t take much brains to figure this out. Open the papers on Friday and you can see it all over. Not to mention the reviews by trade analysts which industry endorses most vehemently, and who then manipulates box office updates accordingly, the ones with agendas other than films, and then there are the paid and the plugged ones. It’s routine now. Nobody is shocked or surprised. And that’s the worst thing to happen – to get used to it.
With social media getting prominence and becoming at least some kind of parameter to get audience reaction, the game of making a “perceptive hit or classic” starts days before the release. You are blinded by the blitzkrieg, a kind of emperor’s new clothes. And journos who are suppose to tell you otherwise, they are happy to get their pictures clicked with the stars. Well, why am i ranting? Because today is friday. Because a bigger rant follows this one. And because we have always been accused of being biased for/against some films and filmmakers. Not to mention being branded contrarian for the sake of it. From saying Talaash works best when you know the spoiler to defending Shyamalan’s latest to liking Raanjhanaa’s 2nd half more to Ghanchakkar being not that bad what critics are saying. Here’s the latest one in the series – on Lootera. And am saying this even though i liked lot of things in the film, especially the 2nd half. And you have to watch it because it’s made by the same filmmaker who gave us Udaan.
So watch the film and come back to the post. Though it’s a spoiler free and you can read before watching the film too. This one is by a new author called Nicolas Bourbaki. Familiar? You will get to know him soon.
Warning – this is NOT a review of the film. This is a rant. A wannabe brilliant piece in support of brilliant cinema and stemming from the rangat of self conceit. And even though it doesn’t have spoilers, it is recommended to not read this piece of crap before watching the film.
It’s 1.30 am in my bedroom. I’m alone sitting by the almirah with the king sized mirror. I look at my reflection. I have pain anguish angst remorse guilt redemption realization hope despair despondency writ all over my face. The fan whirls 7 ft above my head. It’s a second hand cheap 800 rupees fan which makes a whirrring noise. No PSPO unlike the film I saw. Bedbugs trouble me. I look at my freckled face. Time stands still unhealed by pain and unfettered by the nocturnal twists and turns of a solitary night. Half a drop of tear rolls over my eyelid, brimming over, somewhat reluctant to fall down. Yet it knows, and it can feel my melancholia. It knows it must fall down. But will it or will it not ?
Please bear with me dear reader. This is not another synopsis of Ship of Theseus.
What a brilliant film!
Brilliant cinematography. Such gorgeous frames. Color schemes which would guarantee taciturn unconditional approval by Kie-slow-iski. Yellow when the mood is prosperous. White when characters are fighting inner demons. Dark interiors for people with dark circles. Transitions from Puja/Ramleela fervor to fever-ish asthma attacks that Baradwaj Rangan would love to write thesis & books on. Aesthetics which are carefully calibrated to the exact precision so well that Light appears to meticulously obey both Particle & Wave theory simultaneously at the director (and DOP’s) will.
When the characters come to kiss each other in a Terrance Malick-ian way, there is just about enough background flare to make the moment surreal, yet real without the hyper reality of the scene underscoring the cinematic liberties. Equality Fraternity. That’s the French revolution all the way till 2008’s Entre Les Murs (Class) – maybe the director’s favorite film that year. Sheer class!
Breaths. Pauses. Stays. Beats. Playback songs. Measured. Sure. Nimble footed. Sometimes hurried. Sometimes slow. Asphyxiating. Liberating. Gesticulating. Pontificating. Prepossessing. Repossessing.
“चार बाल सामने चाहिए. सिर्फ़ चार बाल! मुझे एकदम Natural look चाहिए. बिल्कुल made up नही”.” – Steven Kapoor said.
“मैं पिछली picture का print Tirupati (Balaji) ले जाना भूल गया था. इसी लिए नही चली थी” – the producer from Ludhiana reasoned with him.
I suddenly observe. Snowflakes are falling on me. यारी रोड में बर्फ बारी ? हौले हौले धीमे धीमे. I quickly wear my color co-ordinated sweater and stand up with my arms folded out like Andy Dufrene. Epiphany striked, symphony plays – Costume Design and Art Direction should have had top billing over writer/director’s credit.
I scribble my review on a piece of paper with a Chinese fountain pen dipped in a दवात. Then tear it apart. Then do a for-next loop until fade out.
What a performance by the father (Barun Chanda). Ranveer Singh restrains in restraining himself while Sonakshi Sinha has all the reasons to have my sympathy. But for some strange reason my sympathies lie with my bums, which have been lying motionless for over the 2 hours, uninvolved, dis interested, dazed, waiting for a jump in my seat moment, a lump in the throat, a mournful sigh. They perhaps demand too much as they get only assiduously created multi-textured verisimilitude along with a velvet touch of a fabric. Kora kagaz tha yeh bum mera…..
I wanted to cry, to laugh, to be angry, nervously bite my nails, fight with the irritating uncle with the kid asking them to shut up instead of searching for adjectives to define the craft. Even some of the later films directed by Santosh Sivan were … (space left intentionally for background music).
Even a gunshot wound has been brilliantly (decorated) created with 50 shades of grey. Nerolac Nerolac Nerolac! Waah miyaan Henry! Life is a tale told by an idiot. All sound and fury. Signifying nothing. Like this rant perhaps.
As the song goes – (har ek frame ko) Sanwaar loon, Sanwaar loon.
(PS – And now the media blitzkrieg begins. All I can muster up is this –
लबों के सिलवटों से उप्पर सिकुड़ी हुई छोटी सी एक नाक है
रूह ही ना डाली पिक्चर पोस्टकार्ड में तो फिर खुजली मज़ाक है)
(PPS – what’s well shot, needs editing, slow pace and blah blah blah? Here you go.