Posts Tagged ‘2012 Rewind’

With this post we come to the end of the year and it’s the last post in our “2012 Rewind” Series. Hope you guys enjoyed the series. To give a quick recap, you can click here (for “Coming of age for desi indies – Miss Lovely and Ship Of Theseus”), here (So what happened to Agent Vinod? Part 2. Now read the script), here (What kind of bird are YOU?), here (A for Allah duhayee hai, B for Bakchodi, C for Chutiyapa), here (Top 10 Musical gems that you probably haven’t heard), Script of Kahaani is here and Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu is here, and “20 Things we discovered at the movies and 10 unanswered questions” post is here.

So over to Sumit Purohit now who has created this video and whom you most probably know because of all his famous mash-up videos.

I started creating mash-up videos for fun, and to brush up my editing skills, but this year, it seems it got serious. Never thought that something you upload on YouTube casually, at least in India, can get you serious jobs.

So, I thought it would be fitting to end the year by creating a mash-up of the Hindi films I enjoyed watching in 2012. There are many films that I haven’t seen this year, so they might be missing from the mash-up, and like any other list the films in the mash-up are open for debate. The reasons why I liked them are entirely random – great story telling, wonderful visuals, brilliant performances or because friends or people I know were involved in the making.

Of the 17 films in the mashup, Peddlers, Shahid and Ship of Theseus are yet to get theatrical release. But this year they represented the best of Indian cinema in the major film festivals internationally. Hope they get as big a release as possible in 2013. I have included Eega/Makkhi too even though it’s a Telugu film because I saw it in Hindi and also because it was one of the most unique films of the year. And you can kill me for adding those few visuals from Jab Tak Hai Jaan, but then no list is complete without an honorary mention. Also, the mash-up gives little tribute to the finest actor this year who was seen everywhere possible – in a blink-and-you-will-miss role to being the lead.

Hope you enjoy looking back at some of the finest films from 2012.

Watch it in HD.

MUSIC CREDIT:

“He Lives” – Shanghai Film Soundtrack by Mikey McCleary 

“Jiya ho” opening instrumental portion – Gangs Of Wasseyur by Sneha Khanwalkar

Emraan-Hahmi-in-Shanghai

Like the last few years, we are back with the wrap-up post of the year – things we discovered at the movies and the unanswered questions.

20 Things we discovered at the movies

1. Emraan Hashmi CAN act. From lips-that-have-kissed-every-co-star to buck teeth, this was the transition of the year.

2. A Don who asks for “permishan” and cries like a baby. He must be the one who goes to Mumbai, becomes “Mumbai Ka King”, but when he comes home, he gets slapped by his wife.

3. Kids as Kids – the charming Gattu and Sridevi’s son. Dear Balki, you don’t need to make them “sexy” or kill them. Ask Gauri.

4. Ranbir Kapoor doesn’t even need dialogues. At a time when every hero is going for southern remakes loaded with seeti-wala punch lines, he goes in the opposite direction. Barfi!

5. Raj Kumar Yadav is poor man’s Ranbir Kapoor. And i say this with much respect. Apologies if it sounds condescending. Unlike others he has no qualms about appearing in small roles (GoW2, Talaash, Chittagong) but he has so much honesty in his performance that he always leaves a mark. Wait till you see Shahid, you will feel he is Shahid Azmi. So betting my money on this guy.

6. All About My Mother – English Vinglish. Gauri’s Mother. Lyricist Swanand’s mom Neelambari voicing navrai majhi. Vicky Donor’s mom and her mother-in-law.

7. We were wrong about Tigmanshu Dhulia. See point no. 8 in our 2011 post. Plus, he is a terrific actor.

8. Pregnancy before marriage is a blockbuster idea. Kahaani. Vidya Balan.

9. “Slow and Steady” Raghvan can also go wrong. But Raabta has great repeat value.

10. Cliches can be fun too. We define our “cliches” and there’s a way to get it right. Punju. Bong. Marriage. Vicky Donor.

11. Sharman Joshi is not the next Shah Rukh Khan as VVC and company would have liked the world to believe. Also, VVC, Hirani and Co have started talking more about writing than the actual writing they do. Ferrari Ki Sawari.

12. A Don in his bare minimum can become the eye-candy for a bangalan. Talk about reverse commodification. Far far away from the days when gaon ki gori would go to the kuwan to pani bharo and get cheroed.

13. Deepika Padukone can act. Cocktail.

14. We knew nobody can beat Bhai-porn. Add Bhabi and you have the “Fastest 100 crore” orgasm – in just 5 days. Aditya Chopra knows where the money is.

15. Prakash Jha is the new Madhur Bhandarkar.

16. It took as more than two decades to prove Mohnish Behl and Sooraj Barjatya wrong. Ek Ladka aur ek ladki finally dost ho sakte hain. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu.

17. Your friendly LIC agent can be a closet serial killer. Irony could not have been more delicious. Bob Biswas.

18. Sehar was an accident. Kabir Kaushik scores his hattrick – Chamku, Hum Tum Aur Ghost and Maximum this year.

19. Rab will make the jodi but Jesus will break it – Aditya Chopra’s Filmy Funda No. 786.

20. Aditya Chopra exists. Saw him at the last rites of Yash Chopra.

players-blog_thumb1

10 Unanswered Questions

1. Who thought you can “Go For Gold” with Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Bobby Deol, Omi Vaidya, Sikander Kher? Red and White Bravery Award nomination please.

2. What were they trying to do in Aiyyaa?

3. If it’s neither sequel nor franchise, what do you call them? Same name, new numbers. Bhatts? Murder/Raaz/Jism/Jannat – 2,3,4,5…..infinity.

4. Ekk Deewana kyun Tha?

5. What was Madhavan’s weight in Jodi Breakers? Especially when he goes underwater in his suit and is surrounded by bikini babes all round.

6. Why did Gulshan Devaiya say yes to “Hate Story”?

7. Who is still giving money to RGV to make films whatever-you-want-to-call-them?

8. What will be Madhur Bhandarkar’s next?

9. Did Aamir Khan count the average number of tears he shed in each episode of Satyamev Jayate?

10. Finally, Has Ishq In Paris released? (PS – Preity’s name is Ishq in the film)

Do let us know about the things that you discovered at the movies this year and the questions that baffled you.

If the title of the post doesn’t make any sense, please don’t blame us. We are also trying to connect the dots. Since we started the “2012 Rewind” series on the blog, we have been getting many guest posts on our blog mail id. This one comes from an anonymous account. And the writer wanted the same title for the post. If you are not familiar with allah duhayee hai, click here. So over to Mister Anonymous and his A,B,Cs of the year. or should we call him good ol’ Mr Screeny (here & here)?

(PS – It also includes a very embarrassing mention of the blog. Spare us. Had no choice, so letting it go.)

Chaalis Chaurasi

A – AgneepathCry cry cry itna cry karte kai ko hum. I expected to see a power packed revenge drama but got Hrithik’s cheeks shaking in slo-mo in bargain and Sonu Nigam’s melodramatic & painful song (Ab mujhe). Agneepath turned out to be Pursuit of Happyness masquerading as 300! But good to see Brijendra Kala and Pankaj Tripathi in meaty roles.

B -Barfi – Original or not, loved how they made the film such a meandering one. Quite an achievement to make the movie go all over the place and yet hold its own. And what visuals (though I believe the DoP was ‘instructed’ to reciprocate the referencing). And can all those people stop praising PC ? As Raja Sen says, she shouldn’t have played it full retard (ala Tropic Thunder)

CChaalis Chaurasi – No Sir. It is not good to make fun of Blueberry Hunt when you act in movies like 4084. Loved you smoking the pot in ZNMD, sleepwalking in Dirty Picture and even the marathi lines in Deool but sir why why why? Why 4084? And though you may be offended by me being offended at your selections, but sir, with humble hands folded, I concede “ANYBODY I CARE ABOUT IS MY BUSINESS!!!”

D3D wala D, Dheele वाला D. Disaster वाला plot, Dazzling visuals वाला Life of Pi. Dubbing वाला D. Shobhna ही ले लेते? या फिर Tabu से मद्रासी बुला लेते जैसे Kandukondein & Iruvar में किया. And Dhakkan वाला इरफ़ान who claims he is in the 1000 Crore league. Cummon Yaar. Even Naseerudin Shah never took the ‘League’ of Extraordinary Gentlemen seriously. But Richard Parker ने definitely नय्या पार करा दी sir.

EEditing. Did Aarti Bajaj (aided by the Background Score) save Pan Singh Tomar? Only those who had seen the early cut which premiered in 2010 would tell.

And another ‘Yeah’ for Namrata Rao for having edited Kahaani & Shanghai (one of my personal favs). I’m tempted to see Jab Tak Hai Jaan purely for her. No doughnut (but lots of dough) this year for Deepa Bhatia who edited SOTY.

P.S – Also Akiv Ali for Barfi. Now if only I can lay my hands on the script of the film.

P.P.S – Pure Promotion of the sexy mashup videos by Sumit Purohit. Do watch if here you haven’t

Fफर्जी Morality, फ्रॉड फंडे – FUCK YOU Censor Board for screwing up my movie watching experience with the Family Friendly Disclaimer “Ciggarette Smoking is Injurious to Health” in English & Hindi, everytime a character smokes on screen. Fuck you! You might as well, like William H Macy does in Thank You For Smoking, go ahead and ‘tastefully update’ history by putting a Disclaimer like “अनचाही संतान प्राप्ति से बचने के लिए, कृपया संभोग के समय, निरोध का प्रयोग करें” in the jaw droppingly gorgeous Roop Tera Mastana Song from Aaradhna. Hippo-Cracy की औलादें साले !

Gघोटाला (Dilliwai bhasha) or घोची (Bambaiyya) or what the hell happened (Universal). Why is Balki grating us with his irritating pun-figure-of-speech lyrics (Manhattan from Engish-Vinglish) in an otherwise Gauri Shinde film (which even has a marathi equivalent of Alay Payuthe Kanna in Navrai Majhi, or may be I’m glad we’re not made to suffer another Dhol Beats wala Punju Bhangra Folk song for that ocassion)? Why did Homi Adjania (ahhh Being Cyrus) make the infinitely regressive Cocktail? What gun did the industry to point to the takla sir of the very talented Naveen Kaushik (Rocket Singh) and force him to do what he did in KLPD & Ferari ki Sewari? Why does Naaser need to do a Rowdy Rathore (Pritam Pyare mein baincho kar kya raha hai woh? Aur kyun? What happened to Kabeer Kaushik (this time none of the Deols or Warsis were interfering were they?)? When will iRock Sid Jain stop uploading random photos and actually produce his 2nd film (with due payments to the crew) and actually ROCK a Shaadi ? Why did Sanjay Khanduri remake Ek Chalis and set it in Dilli (‘Balaatkar karwayengi‘ Jaats in Tempo seems so ridiculously relevant now in wake of the Dilli Gang Rape)? And of course, what happened with Agent Vinod?

HHaggaBai Halla machaye re – Loud maharashtrians who went Wakda (and as apna भाऊ invokeanand says, he has never heard the term in his entire marathi middle class life), there is something curiously wrong with Aiyya. Subtlety out of the window as a lavani would do away with sharam-o-haya. Kai chaleel? Tula mahatiyi hai ka? Or did you too like us went dreamam wakeupum? Agar batti ukhaadni thi toh Sai Paranjpe ki tarah ukhaadthey Bhau….Bhandarkar kyun ghola beech beech mein ? Raat ki Raani ki Gandha subah morning shift pe ‘differences’ le ke aati hai kya set pe?

Iइंकलाब. Independent Cinema. PVR Director’s Rare? A good initiative but 250 bucks for The Last Act at PVR Juhu (Reduced prices)? And wow Shahid, Ship of Theusus, Miss Lovely, Peddlers, and the released ones like Love Wrinkle Free, Supermen of Malegaon, Kshay.

बस यारों इन्तेजाम ऐसा हो की Inzamam-Style रिलीस हो बडे परदे पर. Ignoble या Ignorable तरीके से नही. कहीं ये इल्जाम ना लगे audience पे की इंक़लाब शुरू होने से पेहले Single Screen भाई लोगो ने उसे indoctrinate कर दिया है.

P.S – Dear director of the awesome looking Mizo film Khawnglung run. Can you please provide English subtitles for your film (Which is already uploaded on youtube by the way).

JJoker. How we missed him when we saw Bane in TDKR. TDKR was even more disappointing than the existential heist Inception. Probably for the first time, I didn’t want to see a Nolan film again. Although Skyfall made up for it to quite an extent with a (Bisexual?) Bardem. The rat story goes up there right there with the Jokers’s ‘Scars’ one. और साला क्या single shot intro है. If the father was a “drinker & a fiend” then, “Mommy was not good” in this one.

KKamal Swaroop‘s FB status. Even though it might take me a lifetime to appreciate his much ‘cultified’ Om Dar Ba Dar, the man’s FB statuses are legendary. And of course he shares some of the most mindfuck photos/articles you could find.

“ftii cinema began with bonga.met kudan today”

“if you are bad at every thing,.join films”

“The best firecrackers are always sold by people with 3 fingers.”

The stuff of nightmares! 15 Creepy Images of Ventriloquist Dummies

This bizzare photo

Kamal’s conversation with a certain Mr X filmmaker –

“Mr X. Aap 7 janmon mein film nahi bana sakte hain”

Reply from Mr X – “Agar aap filmmaker hain toh main filmmaker banna bhi nahi chahta hoon”

And because he is on FB & not twitter, you must be-Friend him even if you don’t follow him (Oh God!)

L Lingo, लेहजा, लिबास. Ishaqzaade’s ‘Musalli”, Kahaani’s ‘daknaam’, Vicky Donor’s Chadhdha, GoW’s ‘Kasai mohalla’ & ‘Kalkutta’, Shanghai’s handling of multiple worlds of lingo correctly and the mother of them – Pan Singh Tomar with the Chambal key ‘Mooda-Moodi’. Bhai Waah! Now if only a Vishal Bhardwaj written film had released this year as well.

M Maniratnam. Rangan’s Book. Hands down must read. Buy now! Read now. Even if it is non controversial and tries to read too much, but Rangan gets it 70% right (the subtext). The book is littered with trivia, insights, anecdotes, and gems like this

Rangan – How come the heroes in your films never use swear words ?

Ratnam – May be I save them for real life instead

N – Another Zimply south ‘controversy of sorts’ with the Kamal first calling the producer of NAYAGAN as ‘old school‘ and later the poor man retaliating by downplaying Kamal’s contributions. And eventually an extract from Ratnam’s book with Maniratnam saying “Kamal too didn’t expect much from the film”. Full on Rashomon in Rameshwaram.

O Obituary – (Mandatory Serious & Obligatory point) This year saw its fair share of filmy personalities passing away. Jagjit Singh, Pt Ravi Shankar, Jaspal Bhatti, Yash Chopra, Dinesh Thakur, AK Hangal, Ashok Mehta, Rajesh Khanna, Dara Singh, Mehdi Hassan, Achla Sachdeva, Raj Kanwar, Nikhat Kazmi, Anthony Gonsalves, Ravi, Joy Mukherjee and yesterday we lost Bobby Singh. RIP

Irrfan Khan (4)

PPAKAU – Every once in a while comes a world wide acclaimed BORING PAKAU JHELU film which wows everybody everywhere. If earlier it was ‘Uncle Bonhomee Who Can’t Remember The Film Title’ or Kinatay (the one QT loved and wrote this letter for), or Adaminte-Gareeb-Mallu-Abu, then this year it is AMOUR, hands down. Though it was well recieved even by the intelligent bloggers, critics all around, I however tend to agree more with this piece. ‘VAPID’ & ‘BANAL’ are right words for this film

And if there any Amour fans around, please do pass on my message to Mr Haneke – (NOTHING HAPPENS IN THE REAL WORLD?)

Q – ‘Q-tiyapa Hai‘ guys who do all those viral videos (TheViralFever led by Arunabh Kumar). It began with one on Roadies (must watch), Guide to Bollywood Balaatkaar and later created the Gaana wala song. Also in line are The Golden Kelas and The Bollywood Ghantas (hopefully the one for 2013 is better)

R – for all the Rajesh Sharmas of the year! (Bakwaas Na Kar Titu) from Luv Shuv (Along with an inspired Vinod Nagpal & restrained Rajendir Sethi); the often under utilized Anant Jog & Pitobhash Tripathy (in Shanghai), Jahangir Khan(Irrfan’s Dadda), Ravi Bhushan Bhartiya (his bhatija), the Corrupt Cop (Rajeev Gupta – who also apparently owns a mechanics shop in Delhi apart from being a Tishu regular since Dil Se, Charas, SBG) all in Paan Singh Tomar; Gauhar Khan in Ishaqzaade; Pankaj Tripathi in Agneepath (Cilemasnob‘s new Yashpal Sharma – who is good in every bad film), the entire cast of GoW; Sheeba Chadhdha (someone cast this woman in a big role now please) & Aditi Vasudeva (unrecognizable in Talaash, stellar in Do Dooni Chaar) from Talaash; – this year boasted of some awesome ‘chhipey huey actors’ performances. And of course Bob-Nomashkaar-Ek-minute-Biswas.

P.S – the heart goes out to talented actors like Ashraf-ul-Haque who unlike the Adil Hussains, Nawaz, Irrfan have been struggling since ages but are always relegated to Sujit Kumar type roles even in ‘art house’ films. One wonders who is the next Nawaz ?

SSci Fi film of the year – Rian Johnson’s Looper. After the disappointing Prometheus by Ridley Scott, the Brick director (No Brothers Bloom doesn’t count) made Joseph Gordon Levitt as the younger Bruce Willis, with both men in the hunt for each other, over a span of 20 odd years. Way more inventive than Inception, it goes for a repeat viewing. I’m sure there must be a logical flaw somewhere, I just haven’t found it. Reminded me a lot of Source Code (which was pretty good though more accessible).

And as the year ends, we are treated to the trailer of Shane Carruth’s Upstream Colour. The guy who made the mind boggling Primer on a budget close to 7,000$ 12 yrs ago, is now back. Even if this one disappoints, I’m sure it won’t be disappointing! If only we made better Sci Fi films than Ra-One & Love Story 2050.

T – Did the Twist destroy Talaash? Did the audience Talaash for a Thriller but got a Drama-Horror instead? There’s been a post on this already and I’ve met my share of rabid detractors of the film who yell at the ‘Ghost’ element in it. “Horror/Thriller बना रहे हो तो Horror/Thriller ही बनाओ ना. रोते हुए पती पत्नी की boring slow paced film क्यूं? क्या मॅर मॅर के रो रो के investigate कर रहा है Aamir?”

Does that imply that –

a)(Noir?) Procedurals unlike ‘Detective’ films, are tough to please to some of us? (Remember Manorama Six Feet Under? Police Adjective, MOM ya Anatolia toh marr hi daalenge humein?)

b)Never betray your ‘pitch’. The audience won’t forgive you. OR vice versa – we don’t like being betrayed by our film experiences.

UUkhaad Lo Jo Ukhaadna hai! Dev Saab often said it to the critics before releasing films like Mr Prime Minister & Chargesheet. Ed Wood simply picked up and moved on from film to film. Ram Gopal Varma continues to ignore us. We’ve beaten his films, lampooned his statements, had dispirin at his vodka fuelled twitter-isms (Samples below), and even pretended we don’t care. Yet the man goes onto make films as if nothing happened. Kudos sir. And I mean it with complete honesty & sincerity. You are a living example of how to continue doing work with a ‘Ukhaad Lo‘ attitude towards detractors. I hope someday someone makes a film on you with you delivering an Aviator-ish Climax, chastising everybody in the industry. Move over Pan Singh Tomar, Milka Singh & Mary Kom, you are the role model for us.

“A common man is a common man becos he thinks commonly nd thats why he very rightfully deserves to both live and die commonly”

“Was Gandhiji a gujju?”

“I rate Karan johar far far more higher than Mehboob khan v.shantaram Rajkapor guru Dutt and Bimal Roy”

“I honestly think either the mosquito or the cockroach should be declared as the national insect”

VVaalgey Tamil Vaalgey (Glory to The Tamils). The DMK rhetoric apart, this year two films made in the ‘commercial’ bracket by short filmmakers who regularly uploaded their well made shorts onto youtube, and somehow cracked into the Tamil Film Industry. Kadhalil Sodhapavudu Epidi (How to mess up in Love) by M Balaji, showed his short film (can be seen here) to Siddarth, who immediately decided to act and co-produce the short into a full fledged feature. Hopefully our Hindi Film Heroes can learn a thing or two.

Pizza, a horror-thriller by Karthik Subbaraj is even more audacious in it that it doesn’t have a single ‘known face’, and was made on a low budget. I can’t remember the last good Tamil Horror film. The film is out #YouKnowWhere with English subs. Do watch these films.

Karthik Subbaraj’s short films can be viewed here and M Balaji’s other short can be seen here.

W WTF Versova. The erstwhile ‘struggler Barista’ patrons have graduated to this place, and you will find tons of filmy people hanging out here at nights. And even among the ‘established’, you will always spot the ‘struggling established’ class here – the Sudhir Mishras, Abbas Tyrewalas, RGV, the not so famous Journos, ‘Bandiyaan’, and various well to do Chief ADs (advertising waley). A Mallu Beef Fry worth dying for, and general coteries of cake-painted-faces worth strangulating, that is if you can find space to do that!

X – The ‘XX’ chromosome. Female Power – Along with the two editor’s we have Reema Katgi, Zoya Akhtar (ok, ok, ZNMD was last year but she co-wrote Talaash), Juhi Chaturvedi, Urvi Jurvekar, Sneha Khanwalkar, (no Pooja Bhatt’s Jism 2 doesn’t count), Gauri Shinde. Call me a sexist but Kya baat hai!!! Can we get more such talented women in the industry ?

Yये भी बिकता है. This year saw the announcement/release of tons of ‘literature’ being picked up by movies. Life Of Pi (By Pandit Ang Lee), Reluctant Fundamentalist (Fodu Namesake aur Monsoon Wedding wali Mira Nair), Midnight’s Children (I-Am-Born-To-Sell-India Deepa Mehta), Kai Po Che (if 3 Mistakes of My Life can be considered Literature that is), Oh My God (Paresh Rawal co-produces another Gujju Play into a movie after the disappointing James Hadley Chase Maharathi), and the Realistic Shanghai (from somewhat slapstick Z). Here’s Cilemasnob‘s recco to all filmmakers – The Illicit Happiness of Other People by Manu Joseph. Btw, when is that film on White Tiger coming out?

Z – And finally ZehNaseeb – A self congratulatory, mutual mastrubatory, admirational clique wala Hi-Five to moifightclub for being the coolest Desi Film Blog of the Yr !

कांटो को मुर्झाने का खौफ नही होता,

और MFC का HAT हर एक फिल्म के लिये DOFF नही होता.

Lilaah!

Sam: [In the women’s dressing room] What kind of bird are you?
Sparrow: [Starting to point to the other actresses] I’m a sparrow, she’s a dove…
Sam: [Cutting her off] No. I said…
[Points to Suzy]
Sam: What kind of bird are YOU?
Suzy: I’m a raven.
what-kind-of-bird-are-you

I have stood in front of the mirror, pointed my index finger at my image, just like Sam points at Suzy in that delicious Wes Anderson film, and have asked the same question quite a number of time, using all kind of possible emotions. And whenever i think about the scene, it still makes me smile. Bit of Googling tells me that am not the only one who loves this dialogue so much. Though it’s quite difficult to dissect why such a simple line from the film has turned out to be one of my favourite quotes of the year and has stayed back with me for such a long time.

So i thought about doing a collaborative post on similar lines. Quickly mailed some of the friends/films buffs for a simple exercise –

1. Close your eyes

2. Think of all the films you have seen in 2012…released/unreleased/long/short/docu/anything

3. Think what has stayed back with you…impressed/touched/affected/blew

4. Write on it and tell us why.

And i didn’t tell anyone else what the other person was writing about. Got some very interesting responses on all kinds of films and i have put it all together in this collaborative post – 15 film buffs on 17 movies (memories) of the year. The post has turned out to be bit long but hopefully you will enjoy it. And it can also serve as a movie recco list if you haven’t seen the films.

@CilemsSnob

Joshua #TheActOfKilling

—–> Kushan Nandy on The Act of Killing

I saw this two and a half hour-plus documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2012 and was blown away. Long after the film got over, after Joshua Oppenheimer spoke about it, even much after, weeks later, the film haunted me. It did to me what Incendies had done to me a couple of years back. But much more.

Never before have I seen a film or documentary, where, during the process of film making, the characters go through a life changing process. They metamorphosize into better beings, and this becomes a part of the actual film.

For example, what would happen if someone video interviewed Modi, his political associates or even the people who were the actual executioners of the 2002 Gujarat massacres? And they all accepted their crimes and celebrated this with glee? But suddenly, one of them changed, understanding the repercussions of what he had done?

Anwar, from The Act of Killing, is a person I will never forget. He had butchered thousands. But it was this documentary, and the process of filming it, that showed him who he actually was. He can’t sleep anymore, he stutters, he throws up. He will never be the same again.

And after watching this film, I wont either.

SRK JTHJ1

—–> Varun Grover on Shah Rukh Khan/Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Setting: 7 degree centigrade. Fog. Railway station. A small town in North India where Shatabdi/Rajdhani trains don’t stop.

My fingers are numb and typing out each letter is like feeling the power of it. For some strange reason, the 1st image from Cinema of 2012 that comes to my mind is SRK’s bike rising above the horizon as AR Rahman’s strings go crazy in the background. The theme music of JTHJ (the one they used in promos) it is. Call it the power of music, and it can’t be anything else ‘cos I didn’t even bother to watch the film, or call it my latent romanticism.

My friends from Lucknow – who were there alongside me, fighting for tickets outside Anand cinema hall in 1997 when Dil To Paagal Hai released – watched JTHJ on 1st day in Lucknow and sent me an excited SMS telling me – “Don’t believe the reviews. It’s as good as any Yash Chopra – SRk film you’ve seen. The crowd at Novelty loved it.”

The crowd at Novelty. I was that crowd once. My life’s biggest joys came from being that crowd. Especially on being among the select few who had the matinee show ticket on the 1st day. (1st show was for loafers, matinee was for civilized middle class.)

For Dil Toh Paagal Hai, our friends’ group of 5 was split into 2. Three of us got the evening show, while two fortunate ones got the matinee show. They were clearly the winners – getting to see Maya and Rahul and a new-look Karishma before us. Also they’d get to tease us on their way out, may be telling a couple of spoilers too. So we tried our best to avoid them as their show got over and we were allowed in.

But as it turned out – the theatre owner had cut the film by 15 mins in the 1st and 2nd shows. Apparently he didn’t think the Karishma outrage scene by the river had any merit. But when he saw the audience going crazy with whatever they saw in 1st two shows, he added the cut footage back. And we, the losers till just a few hours ago, were the 1st bunch in Lucknow to watch the entire film.

This scene, Karishma blaming God for complications in love, is almost the crux of Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Though that doesn’t explain why that image of SRK is the 1st that comes to mind. My nostalgia does.

Paan Singh Tomar4

—–> Varun Grover on Paan Singh Tomar

Now inside the train. Cozy and warm. Time to think clearly.

I can’t be a cinema buff by just noting down SRK/ARR as the lasting memory of 2012. But of course there are more. Neeraj Kabi’s intellectual-saint from Ship of Theseus, Denis Lavant and Kylie Minogue singing the existential song of the year (Who Were/Are We) in a post-apocalyptic shopping mall, Sridevi’s eyes full of tears (sprinkled throughout EV), Pi’s uncle swimming in what appears to be sky, the big-screen film print grainy look on Naseer’s face as he looks in the mirror half-seduced, half-confused by Bhakti Barve’s reflection in JBDY (which re-released this year), the spaceship landing smoothly in waters next to a dense mountain in Cloud Atlas, the sad, spent face of Dimple Kapadia at Rajesh Khanna’s funeral (in contrast to a 21-year old Dimple asking Khanna which color sari she should wear for the wedding reception party in the excellent BBC docu resurrected this year due to once-superstar’s death), Gael Garcia Bernal walking away silently, amused and (maybe) depressed amidst the emotionally charged crowds of his nation in Pablo Lorrain’s excellent NO, the trailer of Nikhil Mahajan’s ‘Pune 52’ (though the film didn’t live up to the high expectations and made the trailer look like a red herring), Faisal Khan’s eyes as he lets his gun go crazy on Ramadhir Singh while singer-composer Sneha Khanwalkar screams ‘Teri kah ke loonga‘ in the background……. and I can go on and on.

But one image that will shake me for many more years, the one that is so depressing that I haven’t seen the film again even though it is, for me, one of the best films of the year – Paan Singh Tomar’s sadness at seeing his worst enemy Bhanwar Singh dead. The man who had forced Paan Singh to end his international sporting career to become a dacoit had died. And instead of being relieved, Paan Singh was left purpose-less. The cries of Paan Singh, telling Bhanwar Singh’s dead body that he will chase him in another world and get his answers still give me chills. Those lines are the best lines of the year for me, resonating so much with the cynicism and depression of our times, where one fine morning, without any notice, all good turns into hopeless, impossible bad by the apathy of the system and resident evil of vengeful human kind we are, making Paan Singh Tomar the film, a kind of socio-political version of unrequited love stories.

Talaash

—–> @Anand Kadam on Talaash

This year we saw a gamut of movies from the hilarious yet fresh Vicky Donor, violently poetic Gangs Of Wasseypur,  and a mystery with a pregnant femme fatale  – Kahaani . But the movie that has stayed with me, which still sneaks into my mind and cuddles me, is a strange one. I call it a strange choice since this movie isn’t a great one (to be honest), and i didn’t think of it much when i watched it. But the grief stricken Shekhawat and his wife refuse to leave me. Talaash is like “Rabbit hole” with more guilt. When you lose someone very close to you, really really close, his or her or its memories sticks to you like a parasite, sucking every notion of happiness from you. You become a robot going through your daily chores with only one thing playing inside your head – how things could/would have been different. And when a small ray of hope or redemption comes into your life, even if it defies common sense, you cling on to it, not for a closure which comes later (or does it really comes) but for confronting the loss and accepting life as it is.

This is Talaash for me, not the twist, not Kareena or Aamir Khan, or the underbelly of Mumbai. And as i had said it earlier – A movie is never about its twist and if it is, it’s not worth it.

Kumki

—–> @Vasan Bala on Kumki

This year, I guess, without much fuss some low budget sleeper hits happened down south. Sundarapandian, Pizza, Naduvula Konjam Pakkatha Kaanom (a few pages missing in between). This year’s Paruthiveen-set-in-the-Jungles-with-an-Elephant marked the debut of Sivaji Ganeshan’s grandson, KUMKI! Breathtakingly shot. Directed by Prabhu Solomon, the guy who made Mynaa.

The film was earlier called “Komban” (Big Tusker). It’s about a mahavat and his “timid” Elephant Kumki, which is supposed to keep a wild elephant Komban from straying into the fields. The film is basically Kumki v/s Komban. It almost reads like a Pixar film, doesn’t it? BUT….Like any south RURAL “hit” this too has it’s rugged faced man with a toothy grin walking behind a shy girl “LOU STORY”, this one too has endless walks and shy glances and grins and predictably ends in a bloody tragic battle. An epic elephant battle! and it boils down to Computer Generated Blood and Dust (hmmm..ummmm). It’s a bona fide formula now, it’s a dream debut for any Star before he graduates into City “Criminal and Cop” roles, mouthing punch lines and beating up Telugu Villains. Loved the music though.

take-this-waltz04

—–> Jahan Bakshi on The Sarah Polley Double Bill : Take This Waltz & Stories We Tell

Sarah Polley delivered a double whammy this year with two diametrically different but intrinsically linked films. The first was Take This Waltz, her deeply sensual and feminine take on love, longing and those gaps in life that we try to fill in vain, and those questions about relationships that never have easy answers. Once you get over the affectedness: the overtly twee touches and some clunky dialogue at the start, Take This Waltz is in turns both superbly seductive and devastating. Michelle Williams once again, brilliantly owns her character and her mousy imperfection, and it’s clear that Margot could only spring from the mind of a filmmaker with a distinctive voice, and one who is a woman. And it contains two of the most exhilarating (musical) sequences I’ve seen at the movies this year.

In Stories We Tell, Sarah turns the camera on her own family with a brave, deeply felt documentary/personal detective story about her discovery of her real biological father, but more importantly, the meaning of family, secrets, memory and the very nature of storytelling. This must have been an impossibly hard and emotionally testing project to put together, but Polley pulls it off- life might be messy but Stories We Tell holds together very well as a rich document, revelatory in unexpected ways. Watch it when you can, and you’ll see where Take This Waltz comes from.

Shanghai-Movie-2012-Review

—–> Kartik Krishnan and Fatema Kagalwala on Shanghai

Kartik’s take

He gets to know that the system is rotten, that the investigation he was heading was flawed to start with from beginning, that beyond the scattered red herrings lay the actual ‘villain’, who incidentally is the same person who gave him the power & ‘support’ to start the investigation in the first place, that the ‘villain’ is the CM of the State.

So easy for any protagonist to become an Anna Hazare/Kejriwal in such a case, or to become a whistle blower and later face the inevitable martyrdom (ala the Satyendra Dubeys & Manjunath Shanmughams). What else can a cog in a wheel in such a scenario do? Pickup the gun like Eddie Dunford in Red Riding 1974 and blaze away? Become corrupt like Micheal Corleone or Ram Saran Pandey (Mihir Pandya has written an awesome article on Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar) ? Or run away into overexposed light like Vijay in Pyaasa? Should he accept defeat and get down to some other profession like learning Medicine (like KK Menon in HKA), or resign hopelessly like Vikas Pande in The New Delhi Times? Even Z didn’t have an answer.

He goes to the party and plays a ‘Prisoner’s Dillema‘ of sorts with his Paneer tikka-munching Boss and the other Powerful man. Eventually he somehow manages to ensure that the guilty get their comeuppance. But this ‘victory’ is hollow. As his Boss asks him “Yeh hai tumhari Justice?”, he gives a reply which was there in the promos but sadly cut out from the film – “Justice Ka Sapna Maine Chhod Diya Hai”.

And this was probably my moment of the year which is not there in the film, but there in my memory, for a long time!

Fatema’s take

The cutaway from Dr. Ahmadi’s murder to the item song. It was a stroke of brilliance. Not only technically, but as a comment on our conscience in itself. Physically it’s a jolt, meant to unsettle us and shake us up. We’ve just witnessed a murder we’ve seen hundreds of times before but what we expect to come next is NOT an item song. And so we sit up and take notice. Besides, there is the juxtapositioning of the two warring factions of the film itself, one (the ‘good’) killed like a dog on the street and the other (the ‘bad’) celebrating his decadent power in all its ugliness. And then there is that tenuous mirror to our own conscience – what’s our rtn to this cutaway? Are we glad we are back into an indulgent song-n-dance setting and away from boring Dr Ahmadi? Or gratified by our own lust? Or guilty about feeling so? Or disgusted to watch such sharp contrasts unfolding in front of us? Or do we feel the cut is an over-sighted mistake? That the director doesn’t know what he is doing? The answer to this is a huge part of our response to the film and to think AND achieve something like this is no less than genius.
Beasts of the Southern Wild - 6—–> Shripriya Mahesh on Beasts Of The Southern Wild

The movie of the year for me was Beasts of the Southern Wild. I saw it in Sundance in January 2012 at it’s premier. I knew very little about the movie going in because the filmmakers were careful about not even putting out a trailer before the premier.

It was instantly captivating. I love the world Benh Zeitlin creates. It is constantly surprising, always engaging. All the actors are local and that lends significant authenticity to the world (bigwig directors would do well to take note). It tackles such powerful themes, but all from the perspective of the little girl, Hushpuppy, played to perfection by the adorable Quevenzhané Wallis.

There are no long speeches about government control, environmental disasters or about the right to live freely in a manner you choose. No sermonizing. The visuals speak and the magical realism is very nicely done. The music (also composed by Zeitlin) and the the production design really elevate this movie.

And it’s a debut feature. It won the Camera d’Or and Sundance.

Since the film’s theatrical release, there has been a fair share of haters. But for me, it just worked. Eleven months later, I still think about it.

ScreenShotAlma
—–>Mihir Desai on Fjögur Píanó

There are times when I can’t put things in words, I feel the need to express and communicate in visuals. Visuals stick with me and this year one such visual experiment has been playing in my head for the longest time. Directed by Alma Har’el, the Sigur Rós music video, Fjögur Píanó.

Har’el, director of last year’s surreal documentary Bombay Beach creates this gorgeous portrait about the painful pleasures of love. The couple, addicted to each other only really ‘feel’ the pain when separated. The edit juxtaposes the bruises on the girl with the boy softly touching the butterfly. This image stuck with me and Alma Har’el’s quote sums it up so perfectly, “For me it’s about not knowing how to get out of something without causing pain to somebody else.” Without lyrics Alma Har’el has created this beautiful story which I feel was one of the best, cinematic experiences of the year. Due credit to Sigur Rós’ music that inspired Alma Har’el to create this world. Click here to watch the video if you still haven’t seen it.

Other Picks: Celluloid Man, Last Ride, Rampart, Once Upon A Time In Anatolia, Holy Motors, Your Sister’s Sister.

Supermen Of Malegaon

—–> Neeraj Ghaywan on Supermen Of Malegaon

At the surface it may be about the lives of people dreaming about film-making with empty stomachs and hearts full of passion, it could be about an accidental hero, about a world we have never seen but still seems so close. The director is never interested in milking the tragedy of the crew’s limitations, their poverty or the tragic loss of the lead character. Instead, she turns it all into a celebration of life, we smile along with the characters who are making the film, in a way we reflect upon our own personal constraints and learn to laugh at them. It is a comment on the Bollywood system of over-produced film-making, it is paying homage to films of the 80s/90s, it’s also a drawing lessons about how to keep going at it even when there is no hope, it is philosophical at times, it is laughing at itself too.

A film that is so simple in its structure and still speak at so many levels is remarkable. And above everything, it inspires you to take the plunge without thinking twice. When I saw the film, I wanted to get out of the hall and start shooting a film immediately. The biggest achievement of this film is that it goes beyond the confines of being a documentary and touches you more than a big budget fiction based feature.

 Koormavathara

—–> Ranjib Mazumder on Koormavatara and Makkhi

Be it a random blogger or a certified critic, everyone is Noah on internet and takes no time to float the boat of top ten lists. Like the middle-class father comparing his kids among themselves or with other families, we always manage to make a list of ten best films every year, irrespective of their debatable qualities. I am no exception.

However, when I was asked to contribute for this collaborative piece after shutting the eyelids, a bald man appeared in front of my eyes, riding a fly. So, here I am, writing (only because I have been threatened with sarcasm) on two of the most remarkable Indian films of 2012.

Koormavatara

It starts late at MFF 2012. I am almost certain that I would leave it midway because Hansal Mehta’s Shahid is right after it and almost everyone from my group is going for it. The film opens, Godse shoots Gandhi and my doubts evaporated in no time. This is the world of an old man, disinclined to show emotions and engrossed only in his mundane office work and his little grandson. A Gandhi lookalike, when he is approached to play Gandhi in a TV show, he vehemently opposes but gives in due to the greedy family tentacles. Gandhi, like the fourth passenger in Mumbai locals, slowly invades his life, brings him down to the level of helpless co-passengers. Like a master of swift attack, Girish Kasaravalli breaks down the middle-class system and releases the Gandhi in him, leaving him in the midst of incessant disintegration of his surroundings. Rajkumar Hirani’s Munnabhai MBBS was a joy to behold, but Lage Raho Munnabhi, despite a splendid screenplay, offended the adult in me, with its preachy attitude. Without making him God, Koormavatara makes Gandhi accessible showing the mighty repercussions it can have in a typical family in independent India. As far as breaking down the myth of Mahatma, this is the best we have seen so far.

Makkhi

With scenes dipped in liquid cheese, a boy constantly stalks a girl with trite expressions; Makkhi was loathsome in the first 20 minutes. I wanted that boy to just die. Thankfully he did thanks to the overdramatic villain, soon after I wished. Little shaky special effects took charge. And I witnessed the most inventive revenge drama this year. A fly killing a mighty man is simply an impossible idea! But the way this little soldier choreographs his action scenes in the concrete fort of the villain, you can’t help but root for an insect that you have always detested. The triumph of S S Rajamouli’s film lies in the sheer leap of faith. We are yet to have our Jaws, but this is the one that comes closest to the idea of a fantastically executed concept film.

Kahaani2

—–> Pratim D. Gupta on Kahaani

Parineeta did the same thing for me in 2005. Celebrate Calcutta! And how. It reminded me of the way Mira Nair shot Delhi in Monsoon Wedding and Taj Mahal in The Namesake, almost pausing the narrative to just soak in the sensuality of the space. You sexy! Also what Sujoy Ghosh did brilliantly was inculcate his love for cinema in the many myriad moments of the movie in a way that they never became copie conformes but rambunctious references that served those respective scenes just fine. From Satyajit Ray to Salim-Javed to Bryan Singer. And those eyes of Bidya Balan when she looks up in the twist-revealing scene before unleashing her real self. Eyes filled with hurt, vengeance and rage…Our own Beatrice Kiddo? Present please!

Ship Of Theseus

—–> Svetlana Naudiyal on Ship Of Theseus

I don’t see all films that release in the year (and I am kind of unabashedly arrogant about it; can’t spend moneys contributing to someone’s 100 crores or out of sympathies to so called indie/different films), so my opinion from the very beginning of it, is skewed. The indie film movement (or whatever there is of it) took a whole new leap with PVR Director’s Rare creating a platform for their release. And even though in my personal opinion, indie films are becoming the cinema equivalent of DSLR carrying people with so & so photography facebook pages (read opinion as – ‘people should be banned, either from making films or from expecting people to watch’), there have been moments of pure delight at the movies in 2012 than years before that, much thanks to the few Indie films that released this year.

Some of the favourites this year are Supermen of Malegaon (one of the best, a documentary so delightful, hard hitting and yet nowhere remotely close to being poverty porn), Kshay (for Chhaya), Gattu (for finally bringing to the screen an unpolished, bratty, clever, naive and most importantly, real kid), Shanghai (for creating that discomfort that exists in our world and we do not see) , Anhey Ghorhey Da Daan (for creating a cinema experience like no other, for delving into time space and making the silences speak)

The most favorite of all that I managed to see in 2012 would be Ship of Theseus for its language, for its being able to be so unique, so evolved in thought and yet not have an iota of pretentiousness and be accessible to just anyone. For the benchmark it creates not just for indie filmmakers but Indian cinema, in general. I am dying to point out and quote every single nuance I loved, but that should be saved for the film’s release. For the smallest of elements it picks and for the whole it creates. For repeating itself like a poem long after you’ve seen it. This is Cinema!!

anhey ghorey da daan

—–> Mihir Pandya on  “अन्हें घोड़े दा दान” (पंजाबी), निर्देशक – गुरविंदर सिंह

एका – कदमों का, कराहों का, नांइसाफ़ियों का, नकार का। एका – दुख: का, संघर्ष का, सपनों का, समता का। वही इंसानी पैरों का जत्था जिसकी मूक कदमताल में पलटकर मेलू सिंह के पिता शामिल हो जाते हैं। किसी अभ्रक से चमकते इंसानी इरादों का जत्था, जिसका सीधा मुकाबला समाजसत्ता अौर राज्यसत्ता के मध्य हुए भ्रष्ट समझौते से तैयार हुई दुनाली दुरुभिसंधि से होना है। किसी ख़ास दिशा में सतत बढ़ते चले जा रहे वे कदम कोरी भीड़ भर नहीं, वे जनता हैं। एक अात्मचेतस समूह। निर्देशक गुरविंदर सिंह की ‘अन्हें घोड़े दा दान’ के इस विरल संवादों से बने विस्मयकारी दृश्य में, जिसके अन्त में सरपंच की दुनाली के सामने गाँव के दलित फ़कत लाठियाँ किए खड़े हैं, अाप सोचते हैं कि अाख़िर वो कौनसी अात्महंता चेतना है जिसने उन्हें वहाँ साथ अा खड़े होने का यह गर्वीला माद्दा दिया है?

बराबरी का सपना। समता का सपना। यह खुद अपने में पूरा मूल्य है। गैरबराबरी के अंधेरी सुरंग रूपी वर्तमान के अाख़िर में न्याय अौर समानता रूपी किसी उजले सिरे के होने का यूटोपियाई स्वप्न। बराबरी स्वयं ऐसा मूल्य है जिसके लिए लड़ा जा सकता है, जिसके लिए मरा जा सकता है। अौर जिस दिन एक दलित दूसरे के लिए खड़ा होता है, एक शोषित दूसरे शोषित के हक़ की अावाज़ का साझेदार बनता है, वह सदियों से जड़वत इस सत्ता व्यवस्था के लिए अंत का बिगुल है। यह दलित चेतना सबक है जानने का कि हमारी देश के भीतर की तमाम पुरानी संरचनाएं कहीं गहरे बदल रही हैं। यह शोषित की साझेदारी है। यह दुख का एका है। वो बस एक फ्रेम भर है ़फ़िल्म में। गाँव के सरपंच की दुनाली के सामने डटकर खड़े मेरी पिता की उमर के ये निहत्थे भूमिहीन किसान। लेकिन इस एक फ्रेम में अक्स है मणिपुर की उन तमाम माअों का जिन्होंने अपनी उस एक बेटी के लिए खुद को विद्रोह में उठे जिंदा माँस के झंडों में बदल लिया था। इनमें अक्स है सशस्त्र सेना का सामना पत्थरों से करने का दम रखने वाली उस नौजवान पीढ़ी का जिनकी ज़बान पर बस यही गूँजता रहा, “हम क्या चाहते… अाज़ादी”। इनमें अक्स है खंडवा मध्य प्रदेश के उन किसानों का जिनकी सामूहिक जल समाधि ने एक बहरी सरकार को भी सुनने अौर अपना फैसला बदलने पर मजबूर कर दिया। अौर इनमें मेरी ही उमर के उन दो नौजवान साथियों का भी अक्स है जो रविवार की उस रात उस बस में इंसानी जिस्म की हदों के पार जाकर भी अंत तक लड़ते रहे, एक-दूसरे के लिए। बराबरी के उस अप्राप्य दिखते स्वप्न के लिए जो सदा ‘फेंस के उधर’ रही इन अाँखों ने अब देख लिया है।

So this was our list. Do comment and share your movie memories/thoughts/opinions of this year.

Saif, Sriram - Agent Vinod

For many of us, Sriram Raghavan’s Agent Vinod was one of the most anticipated films of the year. After two thrill-pills – Ek Haseena Thi and Johnny Gaddar, we all were waiting for a hat-trick. But somehow it didn’t work out. And that leads us to a bigger question – how do you know what’s working and what’s not at the script stage. It’s quite a difficult task.

I had read the script first and then saw the film. And this (So what happened to Agent Vinod?) was the post that i wrote after watching the film. At that time many of you had tweeted and sent mails asking for the script of Agent Vinod. I didn’t have the permission then. Now, as we look back, and are compiling year-end posts, i thought it would be a nice idea to share the script with you all. And we must thank Sriram Raghavan for it who quickly agreed and gave a go-ahead to post it.

So here it is, read, share and have fun! It’s written by Sriram Raghavan and Arijit Biswas.

(PS – Don’t forget to check out Sriram’s footnotes in the script 😉

(PS1 – The script shared here is only for educational purpose and is completely non-commercial initiative.)

(PS2 – To check out other scripts that we have posted on the blog, click here for Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan script, click here for Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D script and click here for Dev Benegal’s Road, Movie script.)

Miss Lovely

It’s that time of the year again. You sit back, relax, remember the titles, ponder over it and decide what has stayed back with you.  I have been thinking about writing a post on Ashim Ahluwala’s Miss Lovely and Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Theseus for a long time. But something or other came along and it kept on getting postponed. Now that am thinking about year-end posts, these two films stand out completely from the rest. And strangely, both have many things in common, starting from redefining the “indie” cinema space in its truest nature.

The term “indie” has become quite convoluted in India and we have started using the term broadly for any film which isn’t exactly mainstream. Also, because by conventional rule book, bollywood’s studio system used to be quite different till few years ago. Now, these two films – Miss Lovely and Ship Of Theseus, can be called true blue indies. They have been financed and produced independently, not only outside the studio system but even completely outside the bollywood network. Forget being big stars, the lead actors are not even known faces except for Nawazuddin who was nowhere on the cinema map when he shot Miss Lovely. And most importantly, both the films tell “our” stories – rooted and distinct to the core.

Once you have seen both the films, you realise that it’s finally coming of age moment for desi indies which mostly either look tacky because of lack of budget, or at most we end up giving grace marks and credit to them for at least trying something new. These two films stand strong on their own merit and doesn’t want you to give them “indie sympathy” for just trying to making a different film. They deliver it and how! May i add that these two are easily the best desi films of the year i have seen and they stand on par with the world cinema titles of the year.

As most of you know by now that Miss Lovely is set in the underbelly of Bombay where people churn out B-movies full of sex and horror. The story, as evident from its trailer,  is about rivalry of two brothers as a new actress joins the industry. But the film is so much more than that. It doesn’t follow the conventional narrative rule book, it’s more of an “atmospheric” film. You can smell the walls and feel claustrophobic because of the mood it manages to create with its visuals. It’s documentation of an era, of a time, of history and culture. It’s indulgent with minimal dialogues and will test your patience too, but i don’t remember seeing something so brilliantly crafted on indian screen in a long time.

Ship Of Theseus

Ship Of Theseus is on the other end of the spectrum. It’s verbose but never dull. It’s philosophical but not pretentious. It questions life, death, morality, religion, humanity, existential issues, and if all that makes it sound like a boring and serious film much like its title, then let me assure you that it isn’t. Even though it doesn’t have a known face but Gandhi’s direction is so assured that it keeps you engaged throughout the film. And what impressed me the most was that the filmmaker had so much “empathy” for the characters. That’s quite rare quality in our films.

I have been following Gandhi’s work since his short film, Right Here Right Now which i first saw at a film club in a cafe. He followed it up with brilliant short called Continuum, and i have been hearing about this feature since last 4-5 years. No wonder it took him so long to put it out finally because the film is completely uncompromised, much like Ashim’s film. Gandhi’s producer is one of the actors in the film, and Ashim managed funding through co-production deals in various countries. But unlike their previous generation, these two represents a new breed of filmmakers who are not willing to find a balance between bollywood and the cinema they associate with and want to make. They want to sail in only one boat and am glad that they could find producers who backed them in their vision.

Though Ashim had made the docu John and Jane earlier but Miss Lovely can be counted as a narrative debut of Ashim. And SoT is the first feature of Gandhi. Desi debut film which is ambitious, assured, and shows so much maturity is a rare find. And in a year when we get to see two such films, i think our cinema future is not very bleak.

To quickly check where these two debut films will stand in comparison to others, i tweeted and asked people to name some of the best desi debut films. I got all kind of replies – DCH, KKHH, Udaan, Masoom, Aaranya Kaandam, Makdi, Munnabhai MBBS, Sarfarosh, Socha Na Tha, Salaam Bombay, Ankur, Ishqiya, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Ek Haseena Thi, Black Friday, Ab Tak Chappan, DDLJ, Luck By Chance, Bhavni Bhawai, Hyderabad Blues, Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Neecha Nagar, Dharti Ke Laal, Uski Roti, Musafir, Khamoshi, MPK, Pather Panchali, Ghatashraddha, Om dar-ba-dar and many more.  This was just a fun exercise for me – if i am saying these two are such great films, would they fit in the company of some of these debut films? I think they will and will stand out too because of their distinct narrative and treatment.

But test of time?

Well, that also depends on what they do next. I keep on hearing from people that both of them sound so cocky in their interviews, and are completely dismissive when it comes to bollywood and other kind of films. I think it’s good to be cocky as long as you can deliver a good film, and especially so when you do it by remaining completely outside the system. Or maybe there’s other way, as a filmmaker once said, it’s a great film but just don’t tell the director for his sanity.

It’s also great that both these films managed to get a good round of fest selections and screenings. Our cinema desperately need to go beyond the corporates obsessed with box office numbers and coke-corn-crap movie going audience. We need to tackle new territories and gain new markets on the world cinema map. But it would be sad if these two films don’t get a release in India. If not this year, am hoping it will happen next year because otherwise the loss will be entirely ours.