Posts Tagged ‘7 Khoon Maaf’

This is in continuation to our “2011 Rewind” posts. You can read our previous posts here (Bollywood songs we looped), here (Non-bollywood hits of the year), here (exciting moments at the movies) and here (films which dared to bend the rules). Also, we are scooping some of the best year-end lists here.

So what is a film poster suppose to do? With so much hype around the release of first look of any film, it’s your first pitch for the audience. It might not make or break your film but it surely starts setting the mood for the film. But do they always tell what the film is all about? A good film poster is a rare thing. And recycling is the funda of the game. Click here to read an interesting piece – thirteen movie poster trends that are here to stay and what they say about their movies. And if you heart posters like we do, here‘s another interesting site for minimal movie posters.

Ok, back to honest movie posters of the year. So here are ten honest movie posters done by Jahan Bakshi, Varun Grover and Rakhi.

And for all the love that Michael Fassbender’s dingdong is getting, here’s a bon(er)us one. This one is a mashup.

This has been a bad terrible year for hindi films. Forget ten, if you can spot even five great very good films this year, you should consider yourself lucky. Try, see how many you can count. And so, we are skipping the list of top films and are counting the exciting moments at the movies this year. Moments that you remembered long after the movie was over, discussion and dissection was done with, and they defined the films. In no particular order.

1. Opening Credit (Stanley Ka Dabba) – I have still not been able to understand why we don’t give much importance to credit roll in bollywood. It’s an ART. And a difficult one too. Click here to check out some of the best credit rolls. And this is where Stanley Ka Dabba scored over all other films. The film was an indie experiment and its delicious opening credit was like a Pixar short film. Done by one of India’s best animator Gitanjali Rao, it sets the perfect mood for the story to follow.


2. Monologue (Pyaar Ka Punchnama) – When the lead actor doesn’t get to kick the villains, he always gets a monologue. But if the actor is a newcomer, who would dare to give him a monologue? And 5minute long monologue? That’s rare, and if it manages to hold your attention, that’s rarest of rare. I have been accused of endorsing a misogynist and myopic view of the world because i like the film 1st half of the film. It’s a long debate but you can click here to read Paromita Vohra’s observation which i agree with. It was a small film with no names, no stars, all newcomers, but the film managed to survive on its own, and everyone who liked the film, talked about two factors – Liquid and the monologue. You can call it brutally sexist but it’s fun too.

3. Slo-mo sequence (Shaitan) – Who would have imagined that a shootout sequence on a classic song would make such a deadly combo. If there is an award for the most imaginative sequence of the year, give it to Bejoy Nambiar for Shaitan. Blazing guns, characters running and jumping around, bodies piling up, blood and gore making the screen red, and Suman Shridhar belting out a classic song, i was watching it wide-eyed. Killing never looked so cool on desi screen.


4. Cunnilingus (Delhi Belly) – Not sure if it re-defined bollywood’s “cool quotient” or “empowerment of mahila mandal” in anyway, but it was surely a welcome change. In a year when bollywood re-discovered machismo by doing zimby zouth remakes and stunts, a hindi film hero going down to pleasure his girlfriend was refreshing. It wasn’t presented as a big deal, it was just matter of fact. As casual as the hero getting a hard-on. Even that’s rare in Bollywood. Isn’t it?

5. The Girl On The Bike who smooched (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara) – Ten years ago if Switzerland was the desi honeymoon fantasy (blame it on YRF), now it’s Katrina Kaif. How else do you explain her success? Just item numbers can’t take you so far.  Zoya Akhtar put her on a bike to chase the hero, grab him and plant a kiss. Was it easy because it was Spain? Or was it because it’s written and directed by a woman filmmaker? Whatever it is, a machine between the legs and a kiss on the lips is much better than dancing in the rain.

6. That Girl On the Phone (That Girl In Yellow Boots) – Pooja Swaroop. Going by the screenwriting rules, telephone conversations are generally boring. But she played a character whose only job was to be on the phone throughout the film. A bit of tease, a dose of humour, a chuckle, she blabbered her away to glory. Interestingly, we never get to see or hear the person on the other side of the line. Well, because there was none. That’s acting. And this was a masterstroke, as delightful as the scene where both characters (Kalki and Pooja) are on the phone at the same time, on two sides of the wall, in the same scene and talking to two different persons.

7. S and M (7 Khoon Maaf) – We got a hint of it in Abhishek Chaubey’s Ishqiya. In 7 Khoon Maaf, Vishal decided to go full throttle with the love story between Irrfan and Priyanka’s character. Benign by day, beast by night, the shayar who loved S&M – is there anything that Irrfan Khan can’t portray and make it look convincing?

8. Tum Ho (Rockstar) – (SPOILER) I had no clue that so many people were confused about the end of Rockstar. The song Tum ho left them clueless – was she dead or wasn’t she? At first instance it looked like a compromise for commercial sake, but once you hear the song carefully, you know it isn’t. As the song played and the credits rolled, i came out of the theater with the visuals of the last song stuck in my head. This was Rumi in Rahman’s song.


9. Booby Balan (The Dirty Picture) – Another monologue. And I don’t remember the last time i was so distracted during a monologue. In the film, there’s a scene where Silk (Vidya Balan) is given an award and then she delivers her acceptance speech. The speech in which she states her moral stand and insults the rest of the industry which is full of people with double standards. But even in that speech, all you remember is booby Balan. Someone should have told us to just hear the scene. Because it turned out to be funny in a weird way, you are hearing something and seeing something else.

10. Videokaaran – I don’t remember watching anything more exciting than Videokaaran this year. This was the best discovery of the year. Varun Grover found it, saw it, loved it and recco-ed it to us. Click here to read Jai Arjun Singh’s column on the film which was published in the Caravan magazine recently.

11. Ek Kwhater Bodvka (Tanu Weds Manu) – This one is for the cheap thrills. She famously said “you Besshterd”. Not once but in almost every film of hers. And we thought that’s the best that we can get from Kangana Ranaut. But she delivered something better in Tanu Weds Manu – ek kwhater bodvka.

What got you excited this year? Do let us know in the comments.

The year is about to end and since the world is busy making the top ten lists, we thought why should we be left behind. We are scooping all the best lists from across the world here.  Or just scroll down and see under the tab “what we are reading”. We are starting our 2011 Rewind series with a post on the songs/albums of the year.

There are hit songs, there are chartbusters, flop songs, cult hits and then there are the songs which we played in non-stop loop. Sometimes for few hours, days, weeks or even months.  And it’s not easy to dissect why a specific song got you hooked so much. Read on to see if you agree, disagree and if you played the same songs in non-stop loop this year. In no particular order.

1. Bekaran (7 Khoon Maaf)Ek baar toh yun hoga, thoda sa sukoon hoga. Na dil me kasak hogi, na sar pe junoon hoga...It started with these four lines.  And i was hooked.  And it ended with anothem gem of a word ‘Lillah’, which slowly became a part of our dictionary. At a time when twitter asks you to be smarter and put everything in just 140 characters, you can say so much in just one word -“Lilaah“. With Vishal Bharadwaj’s voice and Gulzar’s words, it was love, longing and goose flesh all over.

Extra Playlist – Tere Liye in Suresh Wadekar’s voice and the haunting Yeshu in Rekha Bharadwaj’s voice. Well, play the entire album in non-stop loop.

2. Kun Faaya Kun/ Dichotomy Of Fame (Rockstar) – The name is A R Rahman. I am not sure where and how to start. Will say the same thing which i keep on saying – if i ever convert to Islam, blame it on Rahman. If Piya haji ali (Fiza), Khwaja mere khawaja (Jodha Akbar) and Maula maula (Delhi 6) weren’t enough, he added one more to the list – Kun Faaya Kun and this one i played in non-stop loop for days. Though Kun faaya was the starting point, the album had another beautifully arranged instrumental piece –  dichtomy of fame. A blend of shehnai and guitar created a haunting mood.

Extra Playlist – Play the entire album.

3. Yun Hi (Tanu Weds Manu) – I discovered the film and the album quite late. Realised  that this is the best musical debut of the year – Krsna (music director) and Raj Shekhar (Lyrics). The laidback charm in Mohit Chauhan’s voice almost works everytime but there is a danger of getting repetitive. Krsna and Raj Shekhar made sure that they didn’t fall in the trap.

…Kitne dafe hairaan hua, main ye sochke,
Uthti hai ibadat ki khushbuyein kyun mere ishq se,
Jaise hi mere honth ye choo lete hai tere naam ko,
Lagey ke sajda kiya, kehke tujhe shabad ke bol do,
Ye khudai chodke,
Fir aaja tu zamin pe,
Aur jaa na kahin,
tu saath reha ja mere,
Kitne dafe dil ne kaha,
Dil ki suni kitne dafe…

Extra Playlist – Rangrez, Piya, Manu Bhaiya, Jugni and Saddi Galli. Aha, another album where you can play all the songs .

4. Hawa Hawai (Shaitan) – Like this music review of Shaitan, almost all other reviews missed this Hawa Hawai remix. Because strangely, the song wasn’t available for download. So all those who downloaded the music and reviewed it, had no clue about it. The twang in Suman Shridhar’s vocals and Mikey McCleary’s arrangement added a new zing to the song.

Though after the film’s release, it was a completely different story. Everyone was just googling Khoya Khoya Chand sequence and if you have seen the film, the reason is quite obvious.

5. Saigal Blues (Delhi Belly)  – Though Mikey’s work got noticed, another superb effort by Ram Sampath went completely unnoticed. Chetan Shashital, the man who can do wonders with his voice, went behind the mike to create the Saigal Blues.

…is dard ki na hai dawai…..majnu hai ya tu hai kasai..

Extra Playlist – Switty switty, Ja ja ja chudail

6. Senorita (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara)  – This album is Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s only saving grace in recent times. The song captures the casual, boisterous and celebratory mood of the Spain and Tomatino fest so well. And the use of  untrained voices of Farhan, Hrithik and Abhay made it look natural and completely  impromtu. Add to that, those perfect pauses.

Extra playlist – Khwaboon ke parindey

7. Saibo (Shor In The City) – This came as a complete surprise. The song and the film. Shreya Ghoshal’s melliflous voice and Tochi Raina’s husky vocals leaves a powerful impact. Music – Sachin-Jigar. Lyrics – Sameer/ Priya Panchal.

Extra Playlist – Karma is a bitch,

8. Main Ek Bhanwara (Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster) – Music by Amit Sial and sung by Shail Hada,  this one is an under-rated gem. A melodious track, the song instantly takes you back to the time when dhoom-dhaam noise wasn’t considered music.

9. Hona Tha Pyaar (Bol) – Purists still don’t believe that Atif Aslam can sing. But you can’t dismiss his voice so easily. There is something charming about the way he sings, though besura most of the times. This song is again one of the least played songs of the year. Heard it on FM radio first and then found out that the song is from the Pakisani film Bol.

10. Uh-ho Uh-Ho (Mujhse Fraaandship Karoge) – This album marked the bollywood debut of musician Raghu Dixit. As if the film’s title isn’t weird enough, this track is called uh-ho uh-ho. I never expected anything good from Y Films but this peppy number sung by Ash King and Shilpa Rao hooked me instantly.

11. Ban Gaya Kutta (Pyaar Ka Punchnama) – I have never laughed so much during a song. Had to play the song few times to get the lyrics and they smartly play with some of the words. Music and lyrics by Luv Ranjan and its sung by Mika.

What am i missing? What’s your non-stop loop playlist? Do let us know in the comments.

This is not going to end so soon. We started with this post, Varun wrote this one, and Subrat took the Mir route with this post.

And in this post we are putting out some of the interesting links that we read recently…VB, Ranjan Palit, 7KM, Ismat Chugtai, prosthetics and more.


Time Out’s Nandini Ramnath did an interview with 7 Khoon Maaf’s cinematographer Ranjan Palit. To quote…

In an interview with Time Out in 2009, Palit declared, “I wouldn’t do a Bollywood song and dance film even if I were paid a crore.” Famous last words, it seems.

Click here to read the interview.

Pratim Das Gupta of The Telegraph also interviewed Palit after the release, much longer and a better interview….what he shot, how he shot and why he shot it that way….To quote…

I had to try and make sure that the prosthetics couldn’t be seen. I think there were around seven-eight prosthetic parts stuck on her face in the aged avatar. She would be made up for four hours every day. So, I was asked to shoot in such a way that those parts were not seen. But you can do that in an interior night scene, what do you do during the daytime? We had decided that we would correct that with computer graphics but it’s hugely expensive and tough to spend so much money after the shooting is done….

…..You know what, I first saw a two-hour-45-minute version. It was then cut by 25 minutes for the final theatrical version. In that cutting, some of the finesse, some of the moments got lost. Maybe the rhythm has also slightly suffered. That director’s cut was beautifully paced….

….People in Mumbai have shown interest in working with me right from the time the 7 Khoon Maaf trailer came out. Boley na, jaatey uthey gechhi! But there’s no existing filmmaker apart from Vishal with whom I want to work. I am a snob that way. I appreciate what (Anurag) Kashyap does. bolley, hoyto korbo. I am not dying to work with anybody. I am dying to work with Vishal again.

Click here to read the full interview.

And if you are bored of the long and meandering reviews, then Nisha Susan of Tehelka has packed the Seven Course Meal in short  and sassy new way. To quote…

+7 FOR THE ISMAT CHUGHTAI moment when PC and Irrfan make an elephant under their lihaaf. 10 for naming the Russian Vronsky and Susanna reading Anna Karenina.

for waving a phallic stump at Priyanka
. Minus 9 points to Neil for setting our teeth on edge a la Kangana whenever he speaks English.

The film scores 98 invaluable points and the point system follows no convention. Bring it on! Click here to read her piece, point-by-point.

If Tehelka is here, can Open be far behind ? Ajit Duara of Open has thrashed the film completely and rated it just 1 star. To quote…

What substitutes for motive is a dark lighting style;  as if to say that if you light a movie dimly enough, depth and hidden meaning will emerge. It never does, and 7 Khoon Maaf ends up as a hothouse of exotic spouses with names scratched off the catalogue at metronomic  intervals.

Click here to read the full review.

Open also has an interesting article titled – Inside the Mind of Vishal Bhardwaj.  His long time associate, co-writer, and the director of Ishqiya, Abhishek Chaubey describes the filmmaker, from his Makdee days to 7 Khoon Maaf. To quote..

After Makdee was made, Vishal called me to a theatre in Juhu. Gulzarsaab and his friend Shivam Nair were also there. Makdee had been made for the Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI). They had rejected it outright, claiming all sorts of problems with it—“Badly directed, badly shot.” He wanted us to see if that was really the case. We all thought their reaction was extreme.

Then Vishal did something courageous, given that he was just a music director then, and not the sort with 20 songs in the bank that he could give producers when they’d come to him. He had worked on very few films. As a producer, he was nobody. And yet, he decided to take the CFSI head on. He told them, “If you don’t like the film, I will buy it off you.” He must have paid Rs 20–30 lakh. He put everything at risk. We completed Makdee and went around town selling it…..

….Vishal had the letter he got from the CFSI framed, and it is still on his wall. It’s right in front of where he sits. Not only was Makdee released, it also won an award at a children’s film festival in Chicago. ‘Courage’ is too goody-two-shoes a term for it. It takes balls.

Click here to read the full piece.

And the last link is a video. Click on the play button to hear Gulzar dissect his own words…the poetry in 7 Khoon Maaf.

Pic Courtesy – Time Out Mumbai

Having divided audiences and critics, the discussion on 7 Khoon Maaf refuses to die down. And we are not complaining. First, we had a post expressing disappointment at a film that ‘packed so much, yet offered so little‘. Then we had Varun Grover passionately defending 7KM saying: ‘If 7 Khoon Maaf is boring, then Pratibha Patil is exciting.’

Never before has a Vishal Bhardwaj film been the subject of such intense debate and such diverse opinion! And never before has Subrat been so inconsistent with his reaction. Who knows, maybe it’s the effect of slow poison. Post-interval, post-climax and two days after watching the film, Subrat’s reaction to the movie has been changing quite fast. And yesterday he tweeted, “Have upgraded 7KM from a Good to a Very Good watch.” He is going to watch the film again. Not sure how he will react after second viewing.

In his own words, this ‘is not a 7 Khoon Maaf review. It is about my love affair with dekh to dil ke jaan‘. Professor in poetic mood. Read on:

Having sated myself with kababs and sheermal at Tunday’s that afternoon, I decided to seek some cerebral entertainment for myself with the matinee show at the Sahu theatre in the now faux-Victorian Hazratganj. That is how I watched a faux gangster noir titled Yeh Saali Zindagi. It led me to understand how there might only be 2 degrees of sepration between me and a cross-dressing gangster from Delhi who moonlights as a fashion designer in Ukraine. Chitrangada had so much bronze on her that it wouldn’t surprise me to find that Jyoti Randhawa catches her one day melting one of his trophies since Delhi has run out of bronzing creams. I trudged back to catch a drink at Faluknuma and see if the Ghazal troupe there could lift my mood.

I caught him playing ‘Main kahin kavi na ban jaoon’ when I stepped in which convinced me 2012 is definitely the year of mahapralay. Somewhere between the second and the third Kingfisher strong, a minor miracle unfolded. The singer went quiet for sometime and then burst into ‘Dekh to dil ke jaan se uthta hai, yeh dhuan sa kahan se uthta hai’. Sitting there, not more than a few miles away from where Mir passed away a couple of hundred years ago, I let the words and the excellent Avadhi pulao take over.

A couple of weeks later, on another Sunday, I sat watching 7 Khoon Maaf unfold before me. The reviews that had streamed in were the classic examples of damning by faint praise. ‘Vishal is, undoubtedly, a master craftsman (a term that brings the image of VB in that carpenter wala fevicol ad to me) but this time he fails to soar. But we should forgive him because I am saying so.’ Having equated the Bong gangsters of Kaminey to the cross dressing Ukranian variety of YSZ just that week, such reviews left me with dread.

There wasn’t much initially to dispel my fears. But gradually, I started noticing a lightness of touch and a certain approach to managing the difficulty of filming a story that is episodic in nature. I was about to warm up to all of this when Wasiullah decided to bring Mehdi Hassan singing ‘Dekh to dil ke jaan se uthat hai’. And, I was swept away. Especially, when he stops to ask Sultana about the meaning of ‘naa-tawan’ and then slaps her with the answer ‘kamzor’. Such beautiful detailing! And, this is what people are calling forced references to Pushkin, Anna Karenina et al. Forced? Pushkin had his exile which was ‘milon door’ from his home. From there on, it was Vishal the poet all the way.

You can’t go too wrong with that Mir verse. The first time it played in Hindi cinema was in Pakeezah in the sequence where Meena Kumari recounts the ‘Aapke paon zameen pe mat utariye’ incident to her friend (I think it was Vijaylaxmi). Naseem Banu (no, not Saira Banu’s mom) sings the ghazal which can be heard in snatches between the conversation. Subtlety was not one of Kamal Amrohi’s strengths. But the choice of Mir’s sher forced even Amrohi to go easy on the scene. The second time it appeared was in the opening sequence of Chashme Baddoor where the Mehdi Hassan version is used as you see the dhuan raising out of the cigarette in a pun that sets the film up.

I am glad Vishal continues and takes forward the fine tradition and delivers a film that brings him back as a true desi auteur (there, I said it). Who needs Ritchie or Tarantino when you can get such desi cross referencing.

As for the reviewers who don’t find the film delivering anything at the end, all I have to say is:

Reviewing ek meer bhari patthar hai
Kab ye kuch naatwan se uthta hai

(PS – Profsaab, yeh video aapke liye…chand panktiyaan aur hai…idhar udhar..)

Pic courtesy – Mint Lounge

The header is from one of the tweets of Varun Grover. He has posted a long comment on this post also. Just when we thought that we all agree on one film finally, Varun felt otherwise – Aha, the joy and beauty of cinema! One film but so many things for so many souls.  He gives a strong recco for Vishal Bhardwaj’s 7 Khoon Maaf – Poetry, pain, darkness, more than a bunch of crackling performances, and quirks that stab you lovingly. Read on…

‘७ खून माफ’ के बारे में बहुत कुछ कहा जा रहा है. बोरिंग, कच्ची, बचकानी, और ना जाने क्या क्या! इन सब रंग-बिरंगे इल्जामों का जवाब देने में वक्त बर्बाद किये बिना मैं बस यही कहूँगा कि  जिसे ‘७ खून माफ’ बोरिंग लगी उसे गज़लें नहीं सुननी चाहिए और ना ही ठंडी-अँधेरी रातों में बाहर निकलना चाहिए. उन लोगों को गज़लें भी बोरिंग लग सकती हैं, और ठंडी अँधेरी रातें बेमतलब.

फिल्म के अंदर का मैं कुछ भी नहीं बताऊँगा…और मुझे भी फिल्म शायद इसलिए बहुत पसंद आई क्यूंकि मैं खुद बहुत बच के रहा था पिछले दिनों फिल्म के बारे में कुछ भी जानने से. अच्छा-बुरा कुछ भी नहीं. तो अगर आप सिर्फ ये जानने के लिए पढ़ रहे हैं कि देखनी है या नहीं – तो अभी कह दिया – देख लो जा के! और बाकी का वापस आकर पढ़ो.

अगर फिर भी कीड़ा है, और अभी पढ़ना ही है तो भी वादा है कि आगे कोई spoiler नहीं है. लेकिन उसके बावजूद – जो भी है, फिल्म से ही जुड़ा हुआ है ना! आगे आपकी श्रद्धा.

मैं यहाँ बस यही बताऊँगा कि फिल्म देख कर मुझे क्या-क्या याद आया. कौन-कौन सी चीज़ें याद आयीं. और वो चीज़ें, यादें, कितनी गहरी हैं. क्यूंकि याद बहुत कुछ आया. सबसे पहले तो याद आया विशाल का गुलज़ार से इतना लंबा रिश्ता. फिल्म शुरू होने के १० मिनट में ही भाषा ने पकड़ लिया. इतनी साफ़, नपी-तुली ज़बान सिर्फ विशाल की फिल्मो में ही कैसे मिलती है? उनकी फिल्म यू.पी. की हो, या बंबई की, या कश्मीर की – सब जगह की ज़बान का वज़न बराबर रहता है. और ‘७ खून माफ’ में तो उन्होंने ‘ग़ालिब’ से लेकर ‘मीर’ तक सबको याद कर लिया है….साथ में गुलज़ार साब के लिखे गाने!

इसके अलावा याद आयीं दो फिल्में जिनका इस-से कोई सीधा लेना-देना नहीं है (फिर भी treat this as a spoiler) – पहली Lars Von Trier की Dogville, और दूसरी ‘साहिब बीबी और गुलाम’. दोनों में प्यार से जुडी उदासी, manipulations, cruelty, अंतहीन खोज, और अधिकतर शांत (या reaction-mode में) central female character है. और इन दोनों फिल्मों का याद एक ही फिल्म देखकर याद आना मेरे हिसाब से बहुत बड़ी उपलब्धि है.

फिर याद आये विशाल के पुराने गुरु Shakespeare और inevitably, मकबूल. फिल्म में बार बार यही लगता है कि विशाल ने रस्किन बोंड की कहानी को शेक्सपियर वाली बोतल में डाल के जमा दिया. किरदारों की भीड़, नौकरों का कहानी में बहुत बड़ा रोल, quirky characters, और लंबे-लंबे dialogue…सब उसी कमरे के थे जिसमें मकबूल लिखी गयी थी. और भी बहुत सी वजहों से मकबूल याद आई…पर यहाँ नहीं बताऊँगा. देखो और सोचो.

इसके अलावा भी बहुत कुछ याद आया – बहुत सी कविताएं, गज़लें, सपने, डर, और गीत. एक बार ‘मेरा नाम जोकर’ भी याद आई.

और अंत में बाहर निकलते हुए, जब आगे चल रहे दो लड़के बोल रहे थे ‘यार ठीक थी…पर कहानी कुछ पूरी नहीं हुयी…’ तो याद आया कि थोड़े दिन पहले कहीं और भी बात हो रही थी (‘दायें या बाएं’ देखने के बाद) – कि हम लोगों ने कहानी को इतना सर पे चढ़ा लिया है कि सिनेमा के बाकी मतलब कभी ढूंढते ही नहीं. परदे पर कई बार एक साथ १०-१२ चीज़ें चल रही होती हैं….और हम लोग सिर्फ ये खोजते रह जाते हैं कि कहानी कहाँ आगे बढ़ी? मुझे तो खैर इसमें कहानी भी हर वक्त आगे बढती हुयी ही दिखी (सिर्फ एक जॉन अब्राहम वाला किस्सा थोड़ा out of place लगा) – लेकिन जो सिर्फ कहानी देख के आ जायेंगे, उनको इस फिल्म का असली प्रसाद नहीं मिलने वाला. एक-एक फ्रेम, एक-एक लफ्ज़, एक-एक किरदार का मतलब है…और वो मतलब गज़ल की तरह ही, कई बार हौले से बोला गया है….कई बार उर्दू या फ़ारसी में, जो हमें समझ तक नहीं आती. उसे दोबारा सुनो, या जोड़-घटा के समझो, या गुज़र जाने दो…किसी अच्छी गज़ल के उस हिस्से की तरह जो समझ आये बिना भी हम गुनगुनाते रहते हैं.

PS – To copy-paste another tweet of his – All you good folks, falling for bad-reviews of 7KM, just one piece of advise – GO WATCH IT! VB IS STILL THE DADDY.

The day I got to know that Vishal Bhardwaj was adapting another Ruskin Bond short story for the big screen, I went to all the possible book stores, searched desperately for the book with the story Sussana’s Seven Husbands, found it, bought it, read it and then heaved a sigh of relief. How else can you claim to be a Bhardwaj Fanboy!

The short story (just 5 or 6 pages) by Bond is a mood piece, sets an atmosphere where you don’t feel comfortable and there is an eerie feeling that something is lurking around the corner. Things are not explained, deaths are without any reasons and everything else is left to your imagination. Once I and other B-fanboys finished reading it, we all wondered endlessly about how Vishal is going to adapt it for the big screen. Knowing Bond, it should have been easy to predict. Rewind to Rusty days.

But what will compensate for the lack of central drama ? Add to that, our cinema habit of enjoying a “destination film” more than a “journey film”. If the last 20 minutes doesn’t satisfy us, nothing can compensate for the price of the ticket, no matter how brillant the rest of the film is.

And every fear came true with 7 Khoon Maaf. In CBSE curriculum, we had a short story in school titled “Curiosity Killed The Crow”. In case of 7 Khoon Maaf, I was the Crow. Not sure how different my reaction would have been had I not known about all the spoilers. Since the announcement of the film, have been following every bit of news, forcing every possible source to spill out the beans and I even knew about the spoiler in the film. The film’s official synopsis made matters worse where it gave out every detail about the plot. The only thing left to know was – How ?

The film opens with a scene where Priyanka is holding a gun close to her head. And the first thing I noticed was the patchy make-up on her face. You don’t expect to see such a face in a film directed by one of the country’s top five filmmakers. And things got worse from there. Not sure on whom the blame should be put but you can almost feel the layercake of make-up put on Priyanka’s face in many scenes.

If you follow the blog, am guessing you know more than enough about the story. Sussana. Six Marriages. Husbands. Dead. Neil’s character had so much potential but if only fake moustaches could save the day, we all would have been roaming around with those. John, well, I don’t have too many adjectives for wooden blocks. More or less, he remains the same. Naseeruddin Shah doesn’t have much to do, Russian actor Aleksandr Dyachenko has a charming presence and as always,  Annu Kapoor is effortless. Irrfan Khan – benign by day, beast by night and he can go no wrong. But the one who gets to be the dude is Shah Junior – Vivaan. Not conventional good looking but confident and how! An assured debut. Unlike other first timers, not self-conscious of his body language at all. Blame it on the Shah-DNA. But to imagine him as Konkona’s husband, and again with that layer-cake make-up, that was the toughest part. Priyanka is spot-on, whatever she is expected to deliver, she does it well. If only she could get rid of that school-girl giggle, she would be more likeable.

If I ever murder someone, I’ll put the blame on Coen Brothers. Because they make killing look so cool. Wish I could share the blame with Bhardwaj too. But he goes for the emotional baggage. Justifiying every killing of the “dukhi-bechari-badkismat” Maidyum. Looking for love. Settling for blood. Killing just for the sake of killing, what a delicious dish it is! Like that war of whip-lashes (Neil Nitin Mukesh) in an open muddy ground.

And what’s the big picture ? 1,2,3,4,5,6 and then go for the sublime sufi swirls. Count that 7 and bingo!

The brillance of Bhardwaj is there, but too little, the way scenes are set and lit ( Double woot for Ranjan Palit).  The master who has penned some of the best dialogues in the last few years, also drops few few lines here and there. Shaadi jaldi jaldi aur pachtao araam se. But it all boils down to nothing. It’s packed with so much stuff and yet offers so little.

The worst – even the song Tere Liye is not there in the film. At least that would have compensated for some of the pain of seeing one of your favourite filmmakers falter this way.

Yes, the video that we all have been waiting for, is finally out. And guess who has got the song ? Irrfan Khan. Again? First, Bekaran and now Tere Liye. Or may be the promos are misleading.

Tip – Pratyush Painuly

It is difficult to write a ‘review’ of the musical output of team VB-Gulzar. You generally listen with the heart and gut (and if you don’t then Lilaah!). The head is generally blissed-out by the perfection of lyricism and sounds so much so that even the imperfection melts in and doesn’t evoke question marks. So you understand my difficulties in writing a ‘review’. More so you wouldn’t be interested in reading if I just went by my gut and said, ‘Nahi boss, jama nahi.’ Or just gushed, ‘OMG, OMG, OMG, what genius!’ Jamta nahi na boss, so here is me trying my best to sound all knowledgeable and balanced, while blaspheming as I review VB-Gulzar. (Astagfirullah!)

Tere Liye – All of you, or at least most of you, have been going crazy about this one. So have I. It starts like ‘Ab mujhe koi’ but as it unfolds becomes totally something else. It is a soft, mellow ditty that matches Suresh Wadkar’s vocals perfectly. The light, pretty, romantic lines are matched with the equally light, pretty, romantic music. It makes u imagine chiffon sarees and Swiss hills, soft focus, diffused sunlight and well, Lata Mangeshkar 🙂 but it isn’t superficial. It is tender and soaked in love, the kind, gentle, warm type. It makes you want to hold your love by the hand and slow dance till forever ends.

Or just –

Jado ki narm dhoop aur aangan mein let kar,

Aankhon pe kheench kar tere daman ke saaye ko,

Aundhe pade rahe kahi karwat liye hue’.

Know what I mean? Gulzar’s lyrics do that to you. Savour this –

Halksi sardiya aur saans thodi gram ho,

Shamo ki shawl bhi thodi si narm ho,

Tere liye kishmish chune, piste chune,

Tere liye,

Humne toh parindo se baagon ke saude kiye,

Tere liye…

The piano is beautiful. And then its mixed with santoor-like strains. Suresh Wadkar’s redolent singing takes you back to ‘Tumse milke’ but with a lovely blend of western and Indian, the song is unique in itself.

Dil Dil Hai – Suraj Jagan ROCKS! Young and very unlike the regular VB. Reminds you a bit of Emotional Atyachaar rock version. Maybe the way the bass guitar has been used but then its rock after all. It doesn’t really impress me but I like the adolescent rebellion. It’s not intense or angsty, even a little rabble-rousing type. But since I can’t say anything bad about VB I shall simply say it’s the weakest of the lot and let it remain here.

Yeshu – Love the haunting tone. The way the church bells ring, suggesting an impending terrible doom. Like heralding the rise of the dark world. Builds tempo and becomes absorbing, enthralling and like a black hole hurtling towards you. It has a distinct dystopian note to it despite the fact that it’s a prayer. This contradiction is interesting and gives it the intensity. Rekha Bhardwaj’s sensuality adds an undefined aura, a mixed emotion of yearning, pain, searching, confusion, hidden desires. You start off wishing it wasn’t a ‘prayer’ because you don’t want her singing chaste songs really but it is amazing the darkness she brings to an already sinister song. The over-powering orchestration builds in a fine momentum throughout till it gradually reaches this sustained crescendo. And then it doesn’t end with a bang but on a gentle note. With Rekha crooning and church bells echoing alone somewhere in the background. The loneliness is ever-so-beautifully established. Ever-so lingeringly sad…

Darrling – I listened to the Russian folk song Kalinka (composed in 1860) after I heard this one and got a little more besotted by VB. Listen to the original, its all over the net! Darling wins the top-spot in my list hands down. Its verve, its energy and absolutely lip-smacking folksy gusto. And then there is Usha Uthup. I can like anything she sings even without listening to it. And my heart is torn to pieces here as I admit I like Uthup’s energetic dominance more than Rekha’s rumbling romp. The former has a command and the latter’s earthiness comes in the way, for once becoming her un-doing. To my ears the combination kind of doesn’t add up and Uthup clearly wins my vote. So when she sings with her fiery irreverence ‘public mein sansani ek baar karne do!’ I just wanna say, ‘Be my guest, can I join you?’ 😉

Doosri Darrling – Starts with a collective vigour that is difficult not to tap your feet to. Makes you wanna get into groups and dance away till your feet fall off. This other version is loveable because it beautifully uses RB’s mellowness. So much so that Uthup sounds a little lesser here in comparison. And love the Pushkin bit! (WHERE does Gulzar come up with stuff like this? :))

BekaranL’ilaah! The intoxication of love! That is this nazm. Doobne lage hain hum… saans lene dijye nayes, there is a sinking kind of ecstasy in the song, a dreamy smile that cannot be rubbed off. There is a slight crackle in the beginning which makes me want to imagine rain. VB does a perfect O Saathi Re again. The echoes in the background and the slightly mis-matched mixing is ever-so delectable. Again contemporary rhythms are used so well even as there is a light retro feel very reminiscent of 70’s ghazals which were pure melody.

Awara – Very mood song! Has a typical banjara feel and Master Saleem’s fakir-like singing bathes the Sufi song with emotion. The music is desert-tribe Arabic with its gypsy instruments mixed palette of a rousing orchestra. Will have you swaying from the time it kicks in. Its cyclical, repetitive rhythm with Saleem’s wanderer-voice is trance-like…makes me want to step out of my skin and look at my body doing restive moves to it. There are strains resembling ‘Naina’ from Omkara, ‘Albela Sajan’ from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and vague resonations with ‘Satrangi Re’ from Dil Se. But the way my gut responds to it, these influences don’t take away from the originality or power of the song.

Na shaakh jude na jad pakde…Sounds scary but think about it, wouldn’t it be lovely if that were to happen in real-life? Free-floating all of us, with no roots, no need to be rooted…bliss-like, gypsy-like…The song ends on a fade-away…narrowing as much as it becomes expansive. Love the fade-away…

Tip – Play and listen to it while doing something else. It will grab you by the…collar 😉

Mama – Rock again! Again, adolescent. And this time the lyrics sound more so. Begins with a promise, somewhat light and innocuous. I prefer it to Dil Dil Hain but then to my ears, heart, gut and other music-responding organs it really is not that hot. Guess both the music and lyrics were done keeping John Abraham in mind 😉 Oh, btw Wiki bhaiyya tells me Mohanlal was to do JA’s role. Errr…wonder if this song would still be the same way then? It owes a sort of allegiance to the original baap of under-ground rock, ‘Khuda Hoon’ from Paanch, also by VB but doesn’t really hold a torch to the power or hotness quotient of that one. But then KK does a brilliant job and the rest of the song, well, flows. Remember I said I can’t say anything bad about VB? 😛

And just when I was gonna wind up, the acoustic version comes up and this slightly disappointing O Mama becomes a love ballad that drowns me. KK’s soulful singing and the tempered version transforms this one completely! I’d listen to this one over the rock version, given a choice.

Like most VB albums this one grows on you on repeat hearing. Like most VB albums this one also reveals its beauties on every hearing. As it is Gulzar’s lyrics never have you say enough, so all in all, ‘Hit hain boss!’

Hrrmmppphhhfff! So much for restrain!

And that’s what you call a perfect timing! Dhobi Ghat, pitched as a first art house film from Aamir Khan Productions, released on Friday, and now the announcement that Aamir Khan will be one the jury of Berlin International Film festival 2011. It’s among the top five International film festivals worldwide and to be on the jury is quite an honour.

The seven-member jury will be headed by Italian-American actress Isabella Rossellini and the festival will run from 10th to 20th February, 2011. The other jury members include Australian film producer Jan Chapman, German actress Nina Hoss, Canadian film-maker Guy Maddin, British costume designer Sandy Powell and Iranian director Jafar Panahi.  But Panahi’s place on the jury will be left symbolically empty.

The competition section includes 22 films, 16 of which will be competing for the awards. In addition there will be two special screenings: In solidarity with the convicted Iranian director Jafar Panahi, his film Offside will be presented on February 11, the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. Also, the European premiere of Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams will be shown as a special screening in the Berlinale Palast.

The international jury will decide the following prizes –

– The Golden Bear for the Best Film (awarded to the film’s producer)

– The Jury Grand Prix (Silver Bear)

– The Award for Best Director (Silver Bear)

– The Award for Best Actress (Silver Bear)

– The Award for Best Actor (Silver Bear)

– The Award for Best Script (Silver Bear)

– The Award for an Outstanding Artistic Achievement in the categories camera, editing, score, costumes or set design (Silver Bear)

– The Alfred Bauer Prize – in memory of the festival founder – for a feature film that broadens the horizons of the art of filmmaking.

Berlin Fest will also have three films from India in Panorama section. To quote from the official release…

On a grand scale Vishal Bhardwaj tells of an intimidating female character who moves between the religions and their male proponents in 7 Khoon Maaf (7 Sins Forgiven), while young director Q has angry young men set out – unfiltered and raw – to find a place for themselves in the world in his film debut Gandu (Asshole): “Words are burning inside us. Rap is a way to say them.” British filmmaker Phil Cox lets viewers experience the city of Calcutta up close in The Bengali Detective: it takes you to the darkest corners of the metropolis with private detectives whose businesses are booming because the police can no longer be trusted.

Filmmaker Prashant Bhargava’s feature Patang (The Kite) has also been selected to be screened as part of the 41st Forum in this year’s Festival.

And Dear Aamir,

If you still haven’t been able to understand Memento, we are more than willing to offer our services. Do let us know. And we also hope that you don’t talk about Ghajini there. Be careful. Or you might end up getting caught, like it happened with Bipasha Basu recently.

Team FC