Court : Chaitanya Tamhane is the cinema snob who delivered. But…

Posted: April 19, 2015 by moifightclub in cinema, film review, Indie, Movie Recco, movie reviews, reviews
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COURT_Pic1_©Zoo_Entertainment copy

I was in two minds about writing this post. Knowing how it goes, how it is received, and how it ends up with any criticism here, it feels futile and exhausting after a point. Mainstream or indies, the tactic remains the same – a new nomenclature, a new way of shaming, a new email, a new threat, or just a new guilt of killing-my-baby. Knowing too many people from both sides, i always get to know what’s coming, how and when. In the last few years, i have discovered that there is nothing bigger than a filmmaker’s ego. And i would surely worship that ego the day I get to know that a film is cure for AIDS or some serious disease like that. Till then, it’s just a film, a fucking film. And since the love for being a vacuous versovian overrules everything, you wonder if you should pick that weary self again, and do it once more, pick one more fight, for old times sake.

As far as films are concerned, I don’t know anyone who is so difficult to please. He never used to like anything. And I mean ANYTHING. Not a single damn film. That used to be our running joke. Maybe a Kusturica on a good day. He was the cinema snob. At least he used to be one few years ago when we used to have interaction. For his young age, he had seen lot of films from across the world.

During a late night cycle-wala-kaafi, once he was discussing whether he should assist any director and start his career as an AD. And then the bigger question came – which director? For him, no one was worthy enough to assist, and there’s not really enough to learn from them. After much deliberation, he came to the conclusion that in the last few years, he has liked just one Hindi film. Maybe he is the only director he can try, but still he wasn’t sure looking at his other films.

So we would always wonder what kind of films would Chaitanya Tamhane make since he doesn’t like (almost) anything – big, small, cult, legends. And I am happy to say that he is the snob who delivered. ‘Court’ shows confidence and bravery. With no film school or AD-ing anyone, CT went ahead by himself. So much international acclaim and national award for your first film, it’s a stupendous achievement and a dream debut. A big, big Congrats!

But if it wasn’t Chaitanya, maybe i would have been happy with this much. Since it’s CT at the helm of affairs, i expected more, much more. And so I am having second thoughts on it – does it deliver anything new? A new cinematic language? A new/hidden India that we weren’t aware of? A new art? A new craft? The answer is no. It’s a new voice that’s assured, makes brave choices but is still following the diktats set by the Top 5-fest-selection-committee.  It felt like what an European art-house director would do if he is asked to direct the film. Even when the lights are switched off one by one in the Court, you knew at that moment that the film won’t be over there. He would go back to the mundane life of one of the characters. And he exactly did that – its predictable in that way, you know whom the film is trying to please. And my fear is coming from that corner. Not specific to Court, but it gives a starting point to ponder over. I see a new generation of filmmakers who have grown up on world cinema culture – from dvd-wallahs to torrents, easy access changed the rules. And so before they get behind the camera, they know what the Cannes-to-Tribeca likes. You know the norms well, breaking away from the desi formula has sadly become another world-cinema-loved-by-fests formula in itself – take Non-actors, take long takes, unnecessarily stay back and hold the shot even when action is over, use no background music, say ok only on 897654897th take of the shots, show no emotional hook, cut it dry, nobody can cry their heart out, keyword is subtle, and other such routine stuff. It’s the Dogme 2015. And when you can see through the formula applied to achieve the desired result, you know where it’s heading. Not saying that all that is easy or not organic, but the calculative means to target in a specific way and to please a few has started worrying me.

I fear a day will come soon when if a character dies in our film, other characters will come in black suits, and would read eulogies. All formal. Nobody will cry their heart out, no wailing, no rudaalis. Because Remember, subtle! Remember, drama is bad. Remember, melodrama is NEVER. Even though that’s what we would do in real life. Death in our society has nothing formal about it. But we would go that suit-and-eulogy route because that’s the accepted norm by the west, by the film fests whose endorsement we crave for. If being feted by them because you are passing the exams on their terms and conditions, we are surely moving away from what was ours. And it reminds me of this incident which I keep quoting. I was in school then. There was a death in the family. My Granny started wailing, she came out, sat on the elevated platform just outside the door, and continued to do so. Neighbors joined in. And i was feeling so embarrassed. How can she do it?  Why is she crying like that? Can’t she do it more formally? It reminds me that we are in similar scenario – we are embarrassed to show our true colours. We are decorating our stories in the colours they like. Even if a woman is dealing with her dead husband, she remains calm and quiet. Felt bit strange. So give me ‘Fandry’ any day.

Nobody confronts the raw emotions of “Dada, aami banchbo” of Ritwik Ghatak’s ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’ anymore. It’s so loud, they new-gen cringe at it, how can you have it? Song and dance are strictly no-no even when we really learn and choreograph steps at many occasions in our life and culture. Why? Because another diktat of the west-fest. If their cinema reflects their stories and culture, why our cinema can’t do the same? And am not talking about mainstream Bollywood here. That’s on different tangent. That’s why i like what a Bhardwaj, Kashyap and Ratnam does with their songs. Or what a Q tries in Tasher Desh.

I believe this was long due. Our cinema getting noticed at the top five film fests of the world. But can we push our envelopes now – our stories in a new cinematic voice? One that doesn’t follow the fest-diktats. Hopefully the new gen kids will lose the fear of rejection by west. A ‘Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi’ or a ‘Vihir’ didn’t really crack the top fest code but they remain an all time favourite. And who doesn’t love those voices when they break the fest-diktats at the biggest fests, be it as fluff and pop as QT’s.

(PS – FOR THOSE WHO THOUGHT WE HAVEN’T WRITTEN ENOUGH ABOUT THE MERITS OF “COURT”, CLICK HERE, and HERE. In Caps, because many seems to be going blind while reading this page)

    • chanya says:

      Where in the constitution is written how we as Indians should behave during death ceremonies and weddings? I know in Andhra, a lot of us do not break into bhangra or random singing during wedding. I am sure north-east too has its thing, so this obsession with desi-ness is absurd. If Tarkovsky was born here and made his thing, some genius from versova will be pissed off. If godard was born in Nagaland and made his thing, some guy shacking in Aaraam nagar will be shitting angry bricks. Not desi enough. WTF! Why should a filmmaker please every John Doe donkey for that matter? Isnt it supposed to be art too? or are we just a bunch of bean counters?

      Court is a movie told in its most natural language and it hits its point, atleast to me.
      May a thousand flowers bloom.
      PS: In case you have never interacted with poor people(maids, daily wage labourers) you should. Because many of of them dont even have the luxury to get upset and cry for ever. Their urgency is dictated by their hungry stomachs.

  1. I loved Court but quite get the point of this article. Important criticism. And it’s surprising how versova is so full of young makers so confident about themselves and importantly also delivering.

  2. Asmit Pathare says:

    I have not seen Court yet. But looking at the responses over social media and generally friends who had seen it, I was feeling a lot skeptical about going and watching it. There was immense pressure of not being able to catch it on the opening day, not even the second day when the world (my limited world) has been going gaga about it for over a month. I was not reading reviews because I did not want to be let in on any tiny aspect of the film as well. I wanted to be surprised, organically. I was only following the ratings and with every new review, the only feeling that rose within me was fear.

    Not a single piece of criticism anywhere. And I wondered ‘is it that perfect and original a film?’ But how can there be a perfect film for we are such a dynamic and hyper sensitive society? There are bound to be conflicting opinions somewhere, if not about what is being said at least about how it is said. And how can it be so original for there can be nothing original in art anymore? All that had to be done, devised has been done, devised. All we can do now is contextualise it in a new way.

    I was discussing this with a friend yesterday when a sad realisation struck me. We are a society craving for individual heroes. We believe deeply in personality cults. We always keep looking for that one person (and almost always a man) who would strike like lightning one day and change the way we look at things, change things if i may say so. And then for some time our entire lives revolve around celebrating the fact that such a ‘man’ was born. He becomes our hero, someone in whose mere existence in our times we feel privileged, so much so that we forget that this is just one person in this one moment that we have come to identify as important. We forget that there are many more of his kind, probably not identified by the west and hence not known to the elite of us here and hence not discussed as much and hence ignored by a history driven by social media. We as a collective voluntarily suspend our vision behind individualistic rise and falls depending on what is ‘trending’. And we have seen it everywhere: for example, in Cricket the baton has passed from Sachin to Dhoni to Kohli. What more proof do we need when we have made a Prime Minister out of a calculated ad campaign called ‘Elections’?

    Nothing of this says anything for or against the film, as I still havent seen it. Nothing of this says anything for or against Chaitanya as well. He has been on an excellent journey and his choices are being received well. But it says a lot about the times we live in and what we have come to make of ourselves, as artists, as cultural contributors, as an audience and more importantly as conscientious citizens of contemporary society. A slightly wide angle view might just put things in a perspective.

    PS: the same friend who I was talking to suggested a filmmaker called Rubert Ostlund. He found Court very much on the lines of his films and was surprised that nobody has mentioned it anywhere.

    • Ravi says:

      Dude, if you can write such a long comment without seeing the movie, I am curious how long will be the comment if you actually see it.

      • Asmit says:

        Dont see what the length of a comment has got to do with anything. Anyway i wasnt talking about the film, was referring to a sub-culture we have all come to be a part of…

        Also, do not overlook the possibility of no comment after i see the film… :p

        • Agree with your both comments:) , I too have not yet seen Court ,,Heard very big things about it,,,but I am a little scared of watching it and hoping it should not come out to be another LUNCH BOX , for which I waited for almost an year to watch and finally discovered it to be quite an average film. But I am hoping for the best before watching COURT .

      • Anonymous says:

        Agree with you

  3. Manas Mittal says:

    Aapne mere muh ki baat chheen li. Lovely!!

    Although all these films are made with loads of passion and love and hope, i do agree with you on the west fest argument. All we need in our society is everything to co-exist. And the not-so-subtle cinema to be appreciated as well by the 5D clan.

  4. Manish says:

    Read it with great interest because I have been reading good reviews about it for a long time now. Missed it in PIFFl, but will watch it soon.

    I generally concur about what you say about subtlety and being apologetic about our own culture, right from eating with hands to being little loud in our festivals to death. That’s what we are – Indians as a culture.

    However, after first few brief paras talking more about Chaitanya Tamhane’s dislikes for everything and brief about the film “Court” itself, I couldn’t find you explaining/elaborating how CT has done what you’re accusing him of – pleasing the fest crowd and the audience in the western countries.

    Let me watch the film first and read review again…thanks for writing after a long time. But frankly, I don’t care if CT hated/disliked every other film and director in India – I am curious to know how well he has made his first film – Court! Khalid Mohammad made fun of most films in his TOI reviews, his debut Fiza was mediocre at best and I think Subhash Ghai had put it quite poiltely at that time in his TOI guest review of Fiza.Anyway!!!

    Let me watch it myself and decide!

  5. Chhatrapal says:

    Bang on article! Cinema and visual language should be free of stereotypes and formulas, mainstream or festival. English killed so many languages and variety of emotions. Dominant culture killed so many local and tribal cultures. On the mission to become global village and global citizen, we lost so much knowledge and expression. I think film festival started with spirit to preserve that diversity, but ended up stereotyping cinematic grammar, if not content. And then how it is different from mainstream hollywood or bollywood. Korean cinema, iranian cinema , and now indian cinema all are stereotypical terms invented to sell films not to celebrate them.

  6. Sunayna N says:

    Have to agree with the author here. Being a sound student, was discussing the sound scape of the film with a friend. The sound mix of the film underlines the carefully constructed European understatement. Have you ever heard Bombay sound so quite and muted? It seems the director has done that to highlight tedium and make the vapidness more apparent . Even the chawls are quite, the police stations are quite, a room full of people in a court are almost silent. If he was so obsessed with social realism then why not use that in the craft with the soundscape of a city that is in a way stifling the characters. The scene when the cops take the activist from the book publication factory, even in close perspective, all dialogues are muted. We see their mouths saying something. That was IMO a deliberate attempt to make it understated. If you are following Dogme, then the soundscape takes a convenient route to deliberately seem Dogme. European countries are very quiet, ours isn’t it.

  7. Zain says:

    Kind of confused where this is coming from. But have been hearing these kind of arguments and discussions since Ship of Theseus came out, most are the variety of “yeh humaara cinema nahi hai”. This one is more “Yeh humaara cinema nahi hona chahiye” (sound the alarm for the invasion of the art house film-makers).
    Made by an Indian film-maker touching on themes that most other film-makers are too politically inert to tangle with in a tone and language that we can see ourselves in, but not Indian enough. Definitely made to manipulate and appease the sensibilities of film festival selectors by dishonest film-makers. They either peddle poverty porn version of India or a Euro-vision of what India represents. Don’t. Trust. Them.
    Only talk about “style” (because most film-makers show up on a set with a pie-chart of average shot lengths and color scheme of the latest Venice or Sundance selection) divorced from any talk about theme that would inform the style. Or the films consumed that would inform the instincts of the film-maker. Or the politics that would inform the film. Or the stories that came before (wherever they came from) that informed the stories that the film-maker wants to tell now.

  8. rahulandrd says:

    CT has mentioned this in all his interviews, why did he opt for this style of movie making. Don’t criticize just for the heck of it.

  9. Annoyed says:

    This is an incredibly ridiculous article. You sound like a little child throwing a tantrum. Here’s why:

    First off – look around – movie theaters are dominated by precisely the same junk in every mainstream bollywood movie. A film made independently can’t even get more than 3 shows in the capital city of this country. (Court has only 3 shows in Delhi – only one show each in three seperate multiplex halls). So that very fact is of the highest importance.

    I beg and plead with you to focus on criticizing the crap that Bollywood shoves our way and doesn’t even give us a chance to REJECT an independently made film because you can’t dislike something that doesn’t even get seen in the first place.

    Also, It is so tragic that you choose to label someone a cinema snob and even dare to suggest that the film was made to please a western audience.

    My point here is simple – a movie like Court tells a very important fucking story. It points so well at the mismatch in our country – to the state of affairs as they bloody well exist. It’s not about having the right sound (as someone here mentioned)… it’s about the STORY – the judiciary is probably the worst of the lot in India and we need to SEE the reality of it. We NEED to see a lawyer talk like a normal human being and not shout “Tareek pe Tareek” for the rest of our lives. And we need to see it in a fictional narrative – it can’t always be a documentary that does that. We are at a point in our filmmaking journey in this country that requires us to OBLITERATE what we have learnt to appreciate. Because we have learnt WRONG. It is time to fix things my friend – this is not a time for you to question independent films and their style and whether they are doing it to please the West. This isn’t about pleasing the west at all. It is about making an effort to erase the past – to simply make the effort to counter the mainstream. I keep hoping that we won’t forget Ray and Ghatak and other brilliant Indian filmmakers but trust me, we are well on our way to erasing those gems from our memories too. So there’s a good chance we will be left with a shitty modern Bollywood history and what’s worse is that nobody will have documented anything worth watching for future generations to look at and LEARN from. So that atleast they can see stories that actually make sense and not listen to computer-generated bollywood music that plays everywhere.

    Again, this is simply about writing and telling a story on film that will wake us up to the stories that this nation urgently needs to SEE. Those stories need to be SEEN in films by the entire country – elites and masses both.

    So I beg you – change the mission of your blog. Do not subject your readers to slander and judgement of a young filmmaker who is basically trying to tell a story that does hit a raw nerve. We need filmmakers to make every effort to hit many more raw nerves in India – that is absolutely the only way that we will begin to address the junk that we keep watching and try to stop it from eating into our society. You really need to change the focus of your blog and start writing negatively only about the mainstream. Raising any questions in the world of independent cinema is not necessary at all because it barely exists. BARELY.

    You need to think about taking “Goliath” down – and I hope you will ponder over this and seriously consider these suggestions. Thanks but no thanks for posting this unfair judgement on your blog. It is quite offensive and childish but it does create a hell of a lot of debate so I suppose that’s the tiny silver lining about this whole thing. And another thing – you come across as quite a snob yourself by the mere fact that you think you have a clear understanding of the kinds of films that Indians need to make and that a film isn’t good enough for your expectations. Hope you realize that… anyway, wish you the best of luck though – there is still plenty of time for you to turn things around.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bhai you mentioned story and that was the issue with me, where is the story, film only portrays a court cases and tries to highlight few more of the same nature, thats it. There was nothing we were unaware of, may be it’s something new and to laugh at for people in Venice are but we all very well know how our judiciary works. If Im paying 150 for my ticket, least I deserve to see a decent story. It’s not that I disliked the film, but around 40-50 others sitting in theatre, everyone was cursing the film in the end, these films will discourage people to venture into theatre with unknown face, specially if the film gets critical acclaim internationally.

      • silentalan says:

        How many films in recent memory have you seen that deals with a character like Narayan Kamble ? The film is not made to entertain you sir. There might be a possibility that frustrating you might have been one of the aims. Because thats the way of life for the characters in the film too. When you say “decent” story, what you really mean is “mazaa aana chahiye”. You speak of the judiciary with such confidence as if you have suffered personally at the hands of it. Have you ? If not, how then do you “know how our judiciary works” ? People cursing a film at the end says little about the film and more about those people. You cynicism bespeaks of an impatience and casual hand waiving of all matters which don’t affect you.

  10. Tom Peters says:

    Loved this piece. This is not just true as an emerging trend among Indian filmmakers but the world over. YES there is a FESTIVAL FORMULA. Accept it.

  11. Ashu says:

    Stopped taking this write-up seriously when I read “Q tries in Tasher Desh”. There hasn’t been a more wannbe (not even using the word film-maker) ever.

  12. BongBut says:

    I get the need for going beyond festival circuit formula, but your solution of bringing melodrama as the more authentic Indian mode of being is incorrect. It seems the whole post is based on the sentiment of “toh kya ukhad liya?” I presume, but very likely you may not have had written this if Tamhane had been more humble in his discussions with you. This festival circuit pleasing tripe was aimed at Ray, and yes he also cut out the melodrama of you remember. But the assumption that Indian are “like this only” is somewhat insulting. There are various cultures that we grow up in India and assuming one of them as more representative than the other is plain wrong.

  13. Anonymous says:

    your worry is genuine.Lots of people may not like it , but it is truth.

  14. Curious to know which Hindi film did CT liked? 🙂

  15. I think my previous comment didnt update successfully. So re-commenting.

    >> It felt like what an European art-house director would do if he is asked to direct the film.
    Isn’t that a good enough achievement for a rookie? What more do you expect in first film?

    Here is my take (only if you know Marathi)

  16. IndianGuy says:

    Extremely well written article Indian article . I totally agree that we indians are not like that whats being show in Court and we are more like what Vishal Bhardawaj and Kashyap shows.

    Vishal Bhardwaj:
    We Indians have women who marries 7 husband and kills all of them. Or to put in american term ‘All of ’em’.
    We Indians have Oedipus complex( fuck this firangi frued) and in the end of our life a terrible violence breaks down and all of them are killed in stylish gun fight.
    We indians are Kaminey where in the end huge gun fight happens and every body gets their own stylistic poetic justice .

    Anurag Kashyap:
    We indians are like that where in a small town gangster boyfriend asks a small town girl:
    Hum tumhare saath saath sex karna chate hai.
    Girl replies- Thappad khaoge?

    By the end of the film In the end of the film a huge gun fight happens and villan gets killed in essh-style.

    Still not sure why we Indian likes gun fight so much .Is it a sign that we are becoming too much Americanised or the whole gun fettish is derived from American tarantino uncle.-the person who defined the ‘indian’ form of these great indian filmmakers? Not sure.
    But one thing I am quite sure that its an authentic Indian style to pull down every person who attempts to do something new and derive great sadistic pleasure out of it.

    • moifightclub says:

      I think you don’t understand the difference between a story and a director’s gaze. Good luck with your understanding if you think the post says Court is not our story. Or if you think criticism means pulling down people who attempts to do something. This kind of stupidity amazes me.

      • IndianGuy says:

        Never said that this post is meant to pull down anyone. I am just just amazed by such simplistic analysis of the film.

        • moifightclub says:

          Really? am i blind or illiterate? whats this – “But one thing I am quite sure that its an authentic Indian style to pull down every person who attempts to do something new and derive great sadistic pleasure out of it.” whats the meaning of this?

          As far as simplistic analysis of the film is concerned, i guess you are new here. we have championed the film since we saw it at MFF. Few links attached in “PS” at the end of the post. Thats why didnt write what has been already covered.

    • cineabhiAbhi says:

      Thanks for your comment, its really sad that now a days to accuse a filmmaker that he attempted to please festival audience is called criticism. If the writer really thinks that Bhardwaj, Kashyap and Q are more successful than Chaitanya and that also after watching his film then I can definitely say he knows nothing about film making except reading a lot about it. To make a film like court you need a strong conviction and that is not available on any torrent site or in festival. The film is far more superior not only in terms of its authentic approach but also in terms of its purpose as a medium of art. In fact the success of film festival more depends on the discovery of films like Court than the film recognition to get a labeled of festival cinema.

  17. Kyu_Batao? says:

    Kyuki aajkal SHEER PAGALPAN se jyada BRAHMIN DIMAAG istemaal karke filmein banayi jaati hai aur appreciate hoti hai. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, FITZCARRALDO, 12 ANGRY MEN banane waale bana gaye. The point was to not give a damn about anyone back then and then work on the SNOBBISHNESS of delivering. Yeh Block shots toh humne SEVENTH CONTINENT (Hanake) aur hazaron filmon meh dekhe he hai pehle (and to much much greater effect). Kayka aisa mind blowing Singular vision tha COURT meh? All it looked like was easy Camera work to me (Gimbal, Dolly ke paise bach gaye Vivek Gomber ke). Aur kyu woh Buddhist Jai Bheem singer he bechara hai iss desh meh? GENERAL CATEGORY ka aadmi peedit nahi hai COURT aur Indian stereotypes se? Humari kahani interesting nahi hai? FANDRY and now COURT discussing the same and getting so much appreciation as if saala GODFATHER banadi ho. National Awards aur festival awards toh milna he tha dono filmon ko. Sab jagah AARAKSHAN hai aajkal shayad. Either ways, COURT Film acchi thi parr bahut darri hui thi. This article is spot on of that limbic undercurrent fear of this festival diktat and more power to you guys for voicing in out whilst the other GANGS and CHATU MOBS are busy sucking up to the COURT gang. Little do they care about constructive criticism or will ever be able to understand it.
    (*Maaf kijiye if Hindi mixed with English made you cringe. Gaali de dijiye iss comment pe, mujhe jh**t bharr ka farak nahi padta na aapko padna chahiye. Dhaniyavaad*).

  18. Brilliant analysis of an equally brilliant film!

    While Chaitanya’s film may typically come across as a courtroom drama, there are many ways to approach the film: as a character study about four distinct but brilliantly sketched out caricatures, as a social commentary on the endless plight of the backward castes in modern India, as a critique on the Indian legal system, as a mockery of the immoral modus operandi of the police, as an exemplum of how a traditional art form can be used to inspire and awaken the masses. The still camerawork, minimalist mise en scène, and the movie‘s deliberate pacing accentuates the slowness of the judicial process in India. The manner in which the songs are woven into the narrative reminded this critic of the films of the great Guru Dutt. Court has something to offer to everyone. The students of cinema most definitely need to study it. It needs to be watched!

    Here’s the link to my review of it:

  19. […] Court : Chaitanya Tamhane is the cinema snob who delivered. But… […]

  20. Chaknya says:

    Another point of view, an articulate appreciation from Ruchir Joshi
    “Silence! court is in session – Pushing things to an extreme”

  21. K. says:

    Which was that only Hindi film he liked in the past few years?

  22. Someone, somewhere says:

    Agree with most points made here in the article.
    Court is poverty porn, a formulaic film made to impress international juries. Kind of like the SOPs and essays people write out of their asses to get into top B-schools. Here, the desperate imagination of a 20 something film-maker has found a way to win awards by celebrating the mediocrity of the judicial system of a country . Will it change the system?..

  23. silentalan says:

    There is a lot of jealousy pouring out of people in this thread. Court is not the perfect film as it should not be from someone making his debut. But criticizing an art work for what it does not have is an old ploy and its quite silly at times.
    Yes Court uses deliberate understatement at times as the article says it does and its made by someone who is obviously influenced by Iranian and French cinema. But before all this discussion of its stylistic details, please think of what the film tries to say. In a world where we have become slavishly obsessed with form, the content has been relegated to a sad corner of our consciousness. And thats what Bollywood gives is too. Just form. Court’s greatest accomplishment will always be the audacity with which it addresses an issue that’s a living reality for thousands of innocent people. Anyone conversant with the current travails of Kabir Kala Manch will recognize that. It says their story with a hard hitting and humane eye. Thats already a lot for a first film. A film maker has to take a stand on the style. If CT decided realism was his style, he has to adopt guidelines for that style too. Vishal Bhardwaj and Anurag Kashyap makes movies which “seem like India” but there is a guideline they are following too. They are more theatrical and larger than life and you can object to that too saying, “Is it how normal people react ? “.
    The idea of normal is not always an apt parameter. All that should be asked is.. Does the style work for the story being told ? If it approaches within a reasonable distance of the ideal style, it is fine. Numbing the sound at the end may be a European style but in the eyes of the director, that might just be the right approach since the content of the talk is hardly important. If the lure of European cinema festivals makes people use different styles which suit the narrative, that should be fine. But imposing intentionality on an artist that he is deliberately trying to appease a foreign audience is a stretch. Its not a sin to be aspirational about wanting to be respected by an elite film audience. All cinephiles agree that good cinema comes out from Europe. And its also true that Cannes or Venice is not obsessed with their own style reflected in the films they enter. Wong kar Wai and Kim ki Duk are two examples. So please stop this needless discussion about why he undermine the dialogue here and why he continued holding the camera beyond a point. Cinema aesthetics have a logic and a cut as Godard a “moral” one. These are conscious or unconscious philosophies that guide every film maker.

    • Someone, somewhere says:

      Intent is what separates the great from the good. Intent can be felt is it stretches for two hours right?

      • silentalan says:

        We all are hideously unaware of whether we can really judge other’s intent or its just something we want to believe the other wants to fit a view. I just think if CT decided on a staid objective style of cinematography for the film, that decision should be judged in the light of the results it produced. A more subjective, inside-the-character approach would have produced different results I am sure. But again, its a debate which will have no answers.

  24. rishabh says:


  25. moifightclub says:

    To all those who shouted agenda and blah blah blah, here’s Rangan’s review of Court – especially the second last para. Chalo at least someone else could also see it and not get blinded by emperor’s new clothes.

  26. amol Kakde says:

    As film makers point of view, Chaintanya copied masters like Tsai Ming liang, Michael haneka, Christian mungui. And used their shots in bad bad manner when its not necessary. Not for a two second I feel engaged. Every shot is unnecessary( like he doesn’t known why director put camera their or why he should stretch the shot) and as usual throw the all information by bad dialogues on audience and actors are no good. Director thought that nobody have seen anything( Romanian cinema, like ‘police adjective’) in Marathi so why not? “If you copy from master’s, it will look good.” But the essence? It’s not going to come in it. Thank you.

  27. […] criticism leveled against his style or, more accurately, his kind of style — that leads to films being classified as ‘festival-bait’ — is that it is deliberately slow and obtuse and, as a result, inaccessible. “When someone […]

  28. […] since my last post on Court created quite a stir and i was accused of many things including having an agenda, Labour […]

  29. Gargi says:

    A little late in the day, but the point being made is thoroughly appreciated. And couldn’t agree more about this generation’s obsession with measuring cinematic (and all other sundry-tic) standards with the ‘West’. Just the other day, I was talking to a friend who is of the opinion that after Satyajit Ray, no one in the Indian Film Industry has made anything worthy of ‘International Standards’…and that coming from a regular chap who takes just about as much interest in Cinema as a vegetarian would take in non-vegetarian dishes when introduced to the latter!

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