And we are also back with our daily fest diary. As long as our brains keep working after 5 back to back shows, we will try to do a post daily. Here’s Kartik Krishnan‘s to Day 1 wrap.


Matterhorn – a normal middle class devout time table wala Ram Gopal Bajaj (Andaz apna apna – Paresh Rawal) character’s life changes when he takes a mentally challenged drifter as a ‘flatmate’. Dealing with themes of ‘मोह’, church, conformity, redemption, cognitive disability, pity, homosexuality, relationships and a dash of black humor – this dramedy is crisply directed with minimal flab. The usage of BGM is particularly striking.

Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer – This documentary immediately reminded me of Ismat Manto Haazir hain & Howl (the brilliant film screened few years ago at MAMI). Bunch of girls perform anti establishment punk rock songs at the Sacred Cathedral in Moscow and the ‘orthodox’ residents are outraged – following which the administration slaps a case on them. And then we delve into the characters’ of the three girls and the courtroom drama that follows. Gandu-equivalent music (though with more political content), the girls claim they have not done anything blasphemous. Provocative, entertaining, subversive, satirical.

Blackfish – Docu on Killer whales exhibition and how the greed of Seaworld (no different from any of the conscience-less corporates ruling the roost we’ve seen before) led to the death of many trainers. The fondness & familiarity with which everyone talks about the ‘culprit’ whale – Tilakam almost makes this docu like a thriller with an unpredictable eccentric protagonist at the center. Candid videos of training gone wrong – there is a particularly chilling sequence with a trainer being forced entertain Tilakam’s ‘eccentric’ behaviour, and being dragged underwater for as long as 60 seconds – repeatedly.

Wajma – An Afghan Love Story – turned out exactly what the trailer promised. An Afghani Julie. Made with low budget & minimal production values, shot on HDV, candid shooting style. While the film lacked the ‘professional’ touch it had a lot of heart in it. The lead actress gave an arresting performance, and particularly the honor-beating scene stays in your memory more so perhaps due to the rawness of the film. Want to see more films from Afghanistan.

The Weight of Elephants – starts out on a promising note and a mis direction – I was wondering(hoping) perhaps it is going to go in Prisoners’ zone with kids gone missing. But this New Zealand film stays with the drifter protagonist – the young Adrian and his life in an around his school friends, next door neighbors and troubled home, and eventually becomes a coming of age film. The kids look so natural and impressive that their scenes alone tower over the nothingness which is so present in the film. Disappointing except for the lovely Kiwi locales and the Gulzar-ish/Masoom-ish kids.

Tales from an Organ Trade – This docu shot all over the eurasia, middle east, canada, thailand covers the complex nature of the Organ Trade, specifically the kidney racket. Why do slumdwellers in Manila happily become kidney donors for as little as 2000USD? How do the doctors performing such clandestine surgeries look at themselves in the mirror? Is only voluntary organ donation ethical ? What other option does a long suffering renal patient have if he/she has been waiting for 7-8 yrs for a ‘legal’ kidney? The docu puts forth these and many more important questions in an entertaining engaging manner.

The Armstrong Lie – This documentary focuses in detail on the confessions made by the cycling champ cancer survivor famous oprah interview. Slightly long and rambling, it turned out to be nevertheless an eye opener on the life of Lance (I must confess- knew little about him before this docu). How can one be so convincing as a liar for so many years ? Why is every genius a narcissistic aatm-mugdh asshole ? With lots of in depth interviews and candid conversations, this one really made my day. Another must watch.

Locke – Tom Hardy. Driving a car. One night in London. Travelling from one end of town to another. All the time on phone. The premise sounds like a thriller but it is a superlatively shot human drama about a man trying to face his demons. Doesn’t get repetitive despite being a single ‘setup’ film. Wish we could see a hindi film like this but which actor is confident and daring enough to pull off something like this ? I wish subtitles were there because the Brit accent sometimes flew over my head. Now I want to see the writer-director’s Humming bird.

Kartik Krishnan

(PS – If you are wondering how KK managed to watch 8 films on one day, well, he did his homework well. Watched three films from #youknowwhere)

  1. […] Mumbai Film Festival, 2013 – Films we saw [Day 1] […]

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