Posts Tagged ‘karan Johar’

ae-dil-hai-mushkil-lyrics-title-song

SPOILER ALERT

First let me make it clear, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (ADHM) is about love not unrequited love. But I don’t want to talk about ADHM the film, as much as I want to talk about love. Not relationships, just love.

Just like Karan Johar (and many of us), defining love has been a pet preoccupation most of my life too. Having seen around me disastrous outcomes of the passionate / possessive kind of love and its long-term damage, I grew up wanting to avoid those kind of experiences. Passionate romantic relationships would leave you wrecked and changed for life – was the message etched in my head. Until I turned 21 and dutifully took charge, to define love once and for all.

Just like our man Karan Johar, I quipped in an epiphany, ‘Love is friendship!’

You see, I had just met the love of my life, the man I wanted to have children with and grow old with but neither our bond nor relationship fitted into the YRF model (any other model was either too outdated or too modern) and it was important to me that I define. Imtiaz Ali had not debuted then, otherwise he may have helped. Left to my own wits, I decided that the best and most enduring expression of love is friendship. And that is the best form for your romantic relationship to take, keeps the politics of love from infecting its beauty. Because the butterflies-in-the-stomach, sleepless nights, restless ardour and passionate sex kind of romance is mere gender role-play, political, skin-deep and temporary while long-lasting relationships are made of soul connect, on the basis of an equal companionship. My understanding of the emotional complexity of relationships and love then was limited to these polarities. The many faces of love were mere ‘types’ for me.

There was a gap of a good 15 years between me naming my chapter of love and watching Ae Dil Hain Mushkil. My Mughl-e-Azam level romance was behind me for good and whereas it did leave me wrecked and changed for life while I was at it, it wasn’t the passion or possession of love that did it. Rather, as I came to see, to some extent, it was a lack of it. Love as friendship was the culprit. That left me flummoxed. But not surprised.

There was something very familiar in the story I was not telling myself. The story behind the story of why I had forced love into the mould of friendship when I wanted more and different. I had faced it but with Alizeh I faced it again. I was Alizeh, without the experience, but with the knowledge of how deeply love can scar, hence friendship was the safest and best form of love. I was Alizeh who has fully filmy dreams but didn’t really believe they would ever come true while she really wanted them to. I was Alizeh who has felt so vulnerable in love that putting on a don’t-care-a-damn attitude is the best defense, the best way to protect herself from it again. I was Alizeh who believes only friendship lasts because she has seen love crumble in front of her eyes. Her helplessness at the altar of love, at once scared and wise was mine. So in fear, I scrambled to firmly place love in the safe universe of friendship. The only difference was, she did it after her first heartbreak, I did it before, to avoid one. She found her home and I was lost. But the fear of pain that spawned it was the same.

And it this very fear of pain Alizeh overcomes when she lets her last dream be fulfilled. She allows love back into her life but with the wisdom of experience. ‘I friend you’ she says to Ayan’s helpless ‘I love you’, telling him she accepts his love and wants to love him back just that her favourite form of expression is different. And Ayan accepts, not because she is dying and he is desperate, but out of a largesse that naturally comes out of deep passion. Suddenly, love becomes formless even though both remain adamant on its form. Because it is within Alizeh’s choice to return and Ayan’s acceptance of her as is, that lies the real expression of love, formless and boundless. It no longer matters what they say, their actions have spoken.

That is why, even though she is dying in the film, for me, she wins. And so does Ayan, even though he doesn’t seem to get what he wanted. Because love wins. They may not have had their love fulfilled in the way they wanted but they had their love returned. To be requited, love just needs love, itself, not form. It’s when we get lost in the form we miss seeing the love that is happy being outside. To me, the film’s end signified a fresh start to Ayan and Alizeh’s quest for exploring a different form of love, this time together and with more wisdom. Time would tell if they would find a meeting ground or conclusions, but in their acceptance of each other’s love was the acknowledgment of its formlessness. To my mind, her “I friend you’ didn’t seem like a stubborn quibble but simply a reiteration of not having to define love at all. Let’s keep it as undefined as a friendship is, and let it blossom. And take it from there, she seems to be saying.

But what had turned Alizeh off in the first place? It was the neediness of love, the soul-scorching neediness of love and not its heady passion that she had experienced. She had seen its destructive face, not its procreative desire. Maybe she mistook both but love wasn’t a happy place for her to be in anymore. And so for Saba. But for Ayan, this very attachment is the Holy Grail he was seeking. His heart has passed the flower pot test. And so has Tahir Khan’s. But Ayan is still struggling under the weight while Tahir wears it with pride, not as a badge of honour, but as something life-affirming because it keeps him connected to the one he loves even without her presence in his life. I have my love, if not her…he says, and we are back to the formlessness of love, one that doesn’t seek possession, one that doesn’t need validation by the others’, it is valid in itself by its own presence.

Among the four, we are left feeling that it is only Saba who remains unfulfilled. Is it because that she unknowingly craved again for the same form of love she had left behind? The small interaction with her ex-husband shows she has not forgiven or forgotten yet. That is why she is steering clear of love, it can only be no strings attached especially emotional ones coz the earlier form did not quite work. Just like Alizeh, she too is still yearning and it is this that draws her to Ayan but she doesn’t know that until later. And when she does, she sees she has been seduced by love in the same form again. She wants to give in but cannot see the same light in his eyes. Letting Ayan go seems the rightest thing to do to her. If Ayan has already given away his love to someone else does she have a right to ask for it? She moves away with dignity. Despite clinging to a particular form of love she unfetters her love from its demands without knowing. No longer possessive, her love protects them both as much as it hurts. She goes back to her home, poetry. A more sublime form of the expression of love? Does she really remain unfulfilled? Is love letting go?

I wish Saba’s character had been given more attention and screen-time for very selfish reasons. If the girl in me related to the awkward young girl in Alizeh, the woman in me empathised with the poised middle-aged woman in Saba. I was Saba, too fearful to give love a chance again. I was Saba, fooling herself she is strong when it was just a façade. I was Saba, with wounds still raw, inviting more wounds pretending she is trying to heal them, almost as a punishment. I was Saba whose pain had a certain stillness about it, it did not roar and burn. I was Saba who has now found letting go is as easy as getting attached used to be.

Her meeting with Alizeh in Ayan’s presence was one of the sequences in the film that seemed to be dealt with quite an intuitive hand, in writing, performance, and direction. There is a hierarchy, ever-so-subtle, where age and looks play a significant part but no politics. The girl in Saba (which Ayan’s attentions has stirred, him being younger) recognises the girl in Alizeh and the older and wiser woman inside her responds, she is not only graceful she is gracious too. Alizeh’s awe and awkwardness in front of Saba’s self-assured poise is not only a reflection of her own discomfort with her femininity (and hence love too, to an extent) but also the girl yet to acquire the wisdom of womanhood, looking at what she would like to grow up to be after a couple of years. Or something so unattainable she never hoped to attain it anyways. The scene lays bare everyone’s insecurities and strengths without needing to politicise them.

If the girl inside Saba hurts to see Ayan loving someone else the way she wants him to love her, the woman in her knows letting go is the wisest thing to do. Love will find a way, KJo said in one of his earlier (and lesser) films.

As is inherent in the human condition, there is a constant tussle between the possessive and transcendental aspects of love, aspects most films aspire to portray but fail at evoking. ADHM does not pretend to, caught as it is, despite its best efforts, in the limitations of its emotional language and landscape. But it does pit these aspects against each other fairly well. If love as passion (junoon) is transcendental for Tahir, for Saba it is possessive. If love as friendship is transcendental for Alizeh, for Ayan it is immaterial. He craves transcendence through possession.

Yet, in the end, it is Ayan who takes the biggest leap of faith in the film, out of sheer love; he simply cannot help it. In doing so, he opens a window within to a love that does not seek to possess, love that liberates. It is not difficult to imagine him, few years down the line, wearing it with pride, this new-found joy in the junoon of love, like Tahir does. It’s like he amalgamates everyone’s journeys, even though it is they who spur him on to his. His emotional journey is Alizeh, Saba and Tahir’s catharsis, bringing together four people happy to fly solo in love. I loved him for being helplessly passionate showing me its ok to believe in the junoon of love, that’s a form of expression too. But I loved him more for being the very vulnerable boy he was, almost saying is there any other way to love really?

What seems so brave in the film is the atypicality of the portrayal of love. It does not pretend to be grandiose, or lofty (like KANK) it’s rather earnest, the unabashed love for Bollywood adding an almost unconscious subtext of Bollywood romantic models to the film. It’s like we know what these kids have grown up on, setting the context of their influences, behaviour and beliefs, in a certain sense too. And in a wider sense encompassing all those film lovers and filmy lovers who brought up on Bollywood too, make films and love what it is – friendship, passion, commitment, relationship or plain confusion.

And probably that is why, inspite of myself, I was Alizeh, Saba, Ayan and Tahir, separately and all at once. I didn’t understand them, I just recognised them in me, struggling between having love and being it. And like all of them beginning to realise love is not a goal to be met, it is a state of mind and if Rumi were asked, ‘state of the soul’. And isn’t there something about non-separation there?

Love is coming home, whichever route you choose to take.

Fatema Kagalwala

Call For Entries

We all know that Mumbai Film Festival struggled with sponsorship last year. But it also managed to get the best desi films in recent years – with Court winning the International Competition, and Chauranga and Killa making mark in Indian categories. The International Competitive section for debut features always attract good films because of the big prize money it has.

So if you made a film, what are you waiting for. Mumbai Film Festival is waiting for it.

Click here to go to the official website of the festival, get all the details and submit your entries.

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New Logo/Title Sponsor

MAMI also recently unveiled its new logo – a dash of red all over. And the best part is it has got Reliance Jio as title sponsor for the next 5 years. Great! One big hurdle cleared. Now get us the best films!

New Board

The festival has a new board in place now. Film critic and author Anupama Chopra is the new Festival Director and filmmaker Kiran Rao is the new chairperson. Karan Johar, Siddharth Roy Kapoor, Ajay Bijli, Manish Mundra are on board too and were present during the unveiling of the new logo. Anurag Kashyap, Farhan Akhtar, Vikramaditya Motwane, Riteish Deshmukh, Deepika Padukone and Anand Mahindra are also associated with the fest.

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The fest will run from 29th October to 5th November this year.

WTF! XXX Rated Adult Sex Comedy!

Posted: February 4, 2015 by moifightclub in News
Tags: , , ,

The headline is just to grab your attention. Because we are the #clickwhore generation. What else do you expect? And to see if sex still sells. And hopefully it will get Panditji’s attention too.

(The video links in this article are on an adult nature)

 A few weeks ago, All India Bakchod, a group of stand ups who also have a highly popular Youtube channel decided to organise a celebrity roast, hosted by Bollywood’s darling Karan Johar, the AIB team and a few invitee roasters.

The main guests to be roasted that night were actors Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor.

The evening was a sellout crowd of 4000 people, all tax paying adult citizens of Bombay who laughed their guts out and came back home.

A few months later AIB put a censored version of this roast online on their channel and served up 4 million views in a matter of a few days.

From its very inception everyone who went to the evening and everyone who clicked the link knew it was a comedy of a highly adult and risqué nature.

Today some unknown Brahman Sena head got up and filed a complaint against Karan Johar, Ranveer and Arjun and AIB.

The government of Maharashtra’s minister for culture is now ‘probing’ criminal charges against this group.

Before they embark on this highly moronic venture, I would like to point out why AIB is very much part of Indian culture and actually show you the proof.

I will not talk about Khajurao, Konark and Kamasutra etc as that is too passé.

I shall talk about comedy or ‘vyang’ as it is called in Hindi, which is the ‘national’ language.

Many centuries ago people realized civilized society is not the true face of its people. It is only a mask of civility that they wear and sometimes that mask needs to come off where everyone let out their true feelings and be themselves and then life went back to being normal the next day.

It started as Madanotsav where people would crack highly sexual jokes as well as indulge in extremely sexual behavior, let it all out off the system and go back home. This later became Vasantotsav and today it is known as Holi.

Then and today you have people singing loudly Kabira and Phag (Holi songs) with clear sexual innuendos. I am everyone has heard one of them sung by Amitabh Bachchan in Silsila ‘Rang barse bheegi chunarwaali rang barse’

‘Hasya Kavi Sammelans’ are held al over India were poets regale pubic with humour ranging from very civil to bawdy.

Here is an example from our prime minister Mr Modi’s contistuency of Varanasi

In fact stand up is big in Mr Modi’s hometown of Ahmadabad too, here is a young lady reciting some sexually laced funny ones

In Haryana, women aren’t any less this is a small sample

Also specially for our Maharshtraian custodians of culture a lovely double meaning qawalli in Marathi and I am sure you have heard of the huge local stand up talent that exists whose brilliant stand up in the Marathi language has had audiences holding their sides for years now as well as the Lavani performances.

Weddings are as Indian as it can get I am sure you will agree. Please ask your wives or any women in the family about the culture of sangeet especially in the North, where the ladies from the girls side during sangeet sing out the choicest abuses and laced songs about every member of the boys family and let out steam.

The minister of culture knows this for a fact because he must have read Tulsidas’s Ramayan which talks about the songs actually referred to as ‘gaalis’ which the women were singing during Lord Rama’s marriage.

I am sure you have heard of the famous Tepa Samelan held every year in Ujjain. This is the complete video for your perusal of the howlarious event in 2013.

We used to have a poet called Chirkin who used to write civilized shers but when that didn’t sell he decided to write about sex and everything that was best left in toilets. Here is an example of Chirkin shayari famous all over India.

The AIB roast that took place had Karan Johar headlining it and his mother sat in the front row. I have a question for our governmental machinery, are you bigger than his mother? Or has the state taken on the role of parents to govern the behavior of its adult citizens?

Each and every member on the stage and of the audiences was an adult who went in knowing what they were about to experience and they had no complaints.

But Akhilesh Tiwari, president of this organization called the Brahman Ekta Seva Sanstha decided to watch it on Youtube knowing its adult nature and decided to press criminal charges, like cockroaches who crawl out off the woodwork every time there is a political or financial opportunity or simply scapegoats of their masters who have decided to don the mantle of protectors of Indian culture and values.

If the government is really bothered about saving Indian culture then stop the culture of rape, stop the culture of corruption, stop the culture of goondaism, stop the culture of burning churches and mosques, the state has no right to come into our homes and teach us lessons in moral science and Indian values.

But this time I hope this case goes to court and I hope the lawyers of all accused shame these so called moral guardians who know nothing about Indian culture or history and it is time that they got a tongue lashing in public by the courts so that the next time a Tiwari sees something that offends him he stays home.

To all those who have a problem with things that offend you, I have only one thing to say…Don’t watch it!

Suparn Verma

 (The article was first posted on Rediff)

With UTV and Karan Johar on board as presenters, and with a release date (20th September), Ritesh Batra’s debut feature finally gets a trailer. Have a look.

As i keep repeating myself, don’t miss this one. It’s easily one of the best films of the year – simple and solid. And with two terrific performances – by Irrfan and Nimrat Kaur.

And here’s the official synopsis

Middle class housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes that this new recipe will finally arouse some kind of reaction from her neglectful husband. Unknowing to her is that the special lunchbox she prepared has been mistakenly delivered to an office worker Saajan, a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Curious about the lack of reaction from her husband, Ila puts a little note in the following day’s lunchbox, in the hopes of getting to the bottom of the mystery.

This begins a series of lunchbox notes between Saajan and Ila, and the mere comfort of communicating with a stranger anonymously soon evolves into an unexpected friendship. Gradually, their notes become little confessions about their loneliness, memories, regrets, fears, and even small joys. They each discover a new sense of self and find an anchor to hold on to in the big city of Mumbai that so often crushes hopes and dreams. But since they’ve never met, Ila and Saajan become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both their realities.

Cast

Irrfan Khan as Saajan
Nimrat Kaur as Ila
Nawazuddin Siddiqui as Shaikh (Saajan’s Colleague)
Denzil Smith as Mr. Shroff
Bharati Achrekar as Mrs. Krishnan
Nakul Vaid as Ila’s Husband
Yashvi Puneet Nagar as Yashvi
Lillete Dubey as Ila’s Mother

The film had its premiere at the Cannes Film festival in Critics Week section. To know more about the film, click here, here and here.

Lunchbox

Here’s the good news about one of the best films of the year, The Lunchbox. Producer-director Karan Johar has come on board to present the film and it will be released by UTV on September 20th. This is exactly what we need – big faces should attach themselves with brilliant indies and make them reach the theatres. Otherwise distribution is a pain in the current scenario. After Kiran Rao came on board to help Ship Of Theseus’ release, this is another step in right direction.

Some of us have seen the film and let us assure that it’s a simple and solid film. Directed by Ritesh Batra, it’s not only one of the best debuts of the year, it also has two of the best performances of the year – Irrfan Khan and Nimrat Kaur.

– You can read more about “The Lunchbox” here (on Sony Classics deal) and here (all the Cannes buzz)

And now another bit of news – The Toronto International Film Festival has announced its first list of films selected for the 2013 edition of the festival. And two desi films feature in the list – Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox and Maneesh Sharma’s Shuddh Desi Romance. Here’s more on both the films (from the official release) :

The Lunchbox Ritesh Batra, India/France/Germany North American Premiere

– Middle class housewife Ila is trying once again to add some spice to her marriage, this time through her cooking. She desperately hopes this new recipe will finally arouse some kind of reaction from her neglectful husband. Unbeknownst to her, the special lunchbox she prepared is mistakenly delivered to miserable office worker Saajan, a lonely man on the verge of retirement. Curious about the lack of reaction from her husband, Ila puts a little note in the following day’s lunchbox which sparks a series of exchanged notes between Saajan and Ila. Evolving into an unexpected friendship between anonymous strangers, they become lost in a virtual relationship that could jeopardize both of their realities.

Shuddh Desi Romance Maneesh Sharma, India Canadian Premiere

– Shuddh Desi Romance follows a fresh and very real love story about the hair-raising minefield between love, attraction and commitment. A romantic comedy that tells it like it is, providing a candid look at the affairs of the heart in today’s desi heartland. Starring Rishi Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra and Vaani Kapoor.

Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap – four filmmakers with distinct signature style of filmmaking. So it’s interesting that a film like Bombay Talkies managed to bring them together. Though the occasion is 100 years of Indian cinema, all four shorts don’t have a strong cinema connect.

Interestingly, we also have got four writers to write about these four films. Read the post, watch the films and do vote for your favourite short in our poll.

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Jahan Singh Bakshi on Karan Johar’s Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh

Of the four shorts in Bombay Talkies, I was most interested in Karan Johar’s film. One couldn’t quite tell what it is about beyond the fact that there is a troubled marriage in an urban setting (between Rani and Randeep) and a blossoming friendship (between Rani and Saqib) that perhaps gets the plot rolling. Also, there was a delicous sense of irony in the fact that in an anthology including films by Anurag, Zoya and Dibakar, it was K-Jo’s that seemed like the most dark and bleak!

What Karan has delivered in Bombay Talkies is something I did not expect (and  I’m sure no one did). And with unexpected elan as well! Not just daring and bold, but equally graceful and poised- this is a Karan Johar you haven’t seen before. Or maybe he always had this in him but was waiting for the right time and a film where he did not have to wear the producer’s hat. I won’t reveal the plot of the film here (even though soon people would be talking about it) but when a filmmaker like Karan Johar makes a film like this, it isn’t just a film, it’s a massive statement. A few glass ceilings have been instantly shattered in a snap.

But let’s give Karan Johar, the guy everyone is probably looking at as the dark horse black sheep among these four, credit for more than just audaciousness. Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh grabs you by the collar and jolts you in its very first scene. But it instantly and nonchalantly moves on. This isn’t a Madhur Bhandarkar ‘shockfest’ or a film about ‘issues’.

What you get is an astutely made relationship drama- funny, candid, empathetic and in the end, wonderfully poignant. As I thought of the film later, I also appreciated how economically and smoothly it moved, everything is established so quickly and well. The characters are all flawed; there are no judgments made, no quick answers given, no simple resolutions. Apart from the odd cornball line in the beginning (‘Gale mein mangalsutra, aakhon mein kamasutra!‘- and that too from an intern to his boss!) the dialogue is smart and well written. And yes, no clumsy melodrama either. Maybe it’s the effect of shooting in ‘real’ locations! 😉

The performances are excellent and fearless. After trying too hard in NOKJ & Aiyaa, Rani Mukerji is back to doing what she does best- in Talaash, and now this. She is raw and wonderful, and the camera doesn’t look away from the love handles pouring out of her blouse or the freckles on her face. This is the sexiest and most beautiful she has looked in a long time. Saqib has cocky charm, but also a heart-breaking vulnerability. This is a role few young actors with Bollywood-Hero aspirations would take on. And Randeep Hooda surprises with a superbly reined-in performance, emotions carefully simmering under the surface.

As tempting as it is to discuss the story, I’d prefer to let everyone discover it on their own and react. This is surely going to be the most talked-about film of the four. And bagging second place in such illustrious company is no mean feat either. So many good directors stumble when it comes to short films- and well, here we have a filmmaker who’s so often reviled and not exactly known for brevity- making such a terrific one.

Mr Johar, you had my attention, now you have my curiosity. I’m curious to see where you go from here. You’ve taken the big leap, now don’t stop.

PS: You’ll be humming the ‘title song’ for a long, long time after the film. 🙂

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Varun Grover on Dibakar Banerjee’s स्टार

अगस्त 2011. हम रेखा झा से पटना में मिले थे. उन्होंने ‘गैंग्स ऑफ़ वासेपुर’ में ‘वुमनिया’ गीत गाया था. वो एक और गाने (तार बिजली) में कोरस की लड़कियों वाले ग्रुप में आई थीं. स्नेहा खानवलकर को उनकी आवाज़ अच्छी लगी और उन्हें अलग से पूरा गाना मिल गया. वापसी के समय उनके पति (झा बाबू) मुझे अपनी टैक्सी में छोड़ने आये. उनका पटना में ही भाड़े की टैक्सी का बिजनेस है. रास्ते में उन्होंने बताया कि वो १९९०/९१ के आस-पास एक बार बंबई आये थे; हीरो बनने. “उस समय अगर कोई हमको बोल देता कि दस मंजिल से कूद जाओ और हम तुम्हें हीरो बना देंगे तो हम कूद जाते.” मैंने पूछा “तो किसी ने बोला क्या?” उन्होंने बताया काफी दिन बंबई में भटकने के बाद उन्हें एक जुगाड़ मिला. बाज़ीगर की शूट चल रही थी…लोनावला साइड कहीं पे. वो वहां पहुँच गए और यही ताव (कूद जायेंगे वाला) सब प्रोडक्शन वालों को सुनाने लगे. एक ने कह दिया, यह नदी है सामने छोटी सी, इसको तैर के पार कर लो तो किसी एक सीन में हीरो के अगल-बगल कहीं खड़े होने को मिल जाएगा. जनाब कूद गए. तैरना नहीं आता था, फिर भी कूद गए. किसी और को उन्हें पकड़ के निकालना पड़ा. झा बाबू के मुताबिक़ उनकी इस हिम्मत को देखकर सेट पर मौजूद (वीनस वाले) रतन जैन का दिल पिघल गया और उन्होंने झा जी को एक हफ्ते बाद बंबई में अपने दफ्तर बुलाया. झा जी एक हफ्ते तक सडकों पर रहे, बस स्टाप पर सोये, पर रतन जैन से मिलने का दिन आने से पहले ही उनका सारा सामान, जिसमें रतन जैन के दफ्तर का पता भी था, चोरी हो गया. उन्हें वापस पटना लौटना पड़ा. हमेशा के लिए.

कट टू – जनवरी 2013. एक अवार्ड फंक्शन में रेखा झा वुमनिया के लिए nominate हुयीं. झा जी भी उनके साथ बंबई आये. यशराज स्टूडियो के अन्दर बैठ के उस दुनिया को देखा जिसके लिए वो कूद जाना चाहते थे. मुझे सुपरमैन ऑफ़ मालेगांव के शायर फरोग़ जाफरी याद आ गए. (“मैं कब से बंबई की तरफ चल रहा हूँ. मालेगांव से बंबई बस एक रात का सफ़र है. पर ये रात ख़त्म नहीं होती.”) झा जी की छलांग भी 22-साल तक लगती ही रही.

कट टू – मई 2013. दिबाकर बनर्जी की फिल्म ‘स्टार’ में पुरंदर (नवाज़ुद्दीन सिद्दीकी, हमेशा की तरह बवाल) भी ऐसी ही एक छलांग के बीच में कहीं है. और पुरंदर की छलांग इतनी सीधी भी नहीं है. वो कई दिशाओं में कूद रहा है. या हवा में कहीं बीच में लटक रहा है. दिबाकर बनर्जी की हर अच्छी फिल्म की हर खासियत इस २०-२५ मिनट की फिल्म में मिल जायेगी – बहुत ही कडुवा सा sense of humor; social issues पर एक तीखी नज़र; खतरनाक casting (हमारे drunk-शायर और असल ज़िन्दगी में बहुत ही sincere, assistant director कार्तिक कृष्णन का इस से अच्छा इस्तेमाल नहीं हो सकता था, नवाज़ की पत्नी के रोल में एक गज़ब की नयी एक्टर (sorry नाम नहीं देख पाया end credits के गीले कचरे से भी बदतर गाने के चक्कर में), और सदाशिव अमरापुरकर की धांसू वापसी); कहने को एक बहुत ही गहरी बात; और एक गांड-फाड opening scene.

बल्कि अगर दिबाकर की फिल्मों का एक सबसे बड़ा recurring structural-motif ढूँढा जाए तो वो यही होगा कि उनकी हर फिल्म का पहला सीन पूरी फिल्म का सार होता है. और अपने आप में एक complete short-film भी. LSD में short-film या meta-film का element deliberately बहुत साफ़ था, लेकिन बाकी हर फिल्म में (‘ओये लक्की..’ में तो बहुत ही गज़ब तरह से) पहले सीन को लिखने की मेहनत साफ़ दिखती है. Shanghai पर हज़ार debate हुए कि फिल्म किसके बारे में थी लेकिन दिबाकर के motif से जाएँ तो फिल्म का पहला सीन साफ़ कर देता है कि फिल्म मामा और भग्गू के बारे में ही थी.

और ‘स्टार’ का पहला सीन ‘ओये लक्की’ की टक्कर का है. बस उनके पिछले काम से काफी अलग, (के.के. के शब्द) “फुल बंगाली सिनेमा है रे!” और सिर्फ पहला सीन ही नहीं, क्योंकि पूरी फिल्म सत्यजित रे की लघु कथा ‘पोटोल बाबू फिल्म स्टार’ से है, तो बहुत जगह रे की छाप साफ़ दिखती है. (मुझे एक जगह ‘नायक’ दिखी और एक जगह ‘महानगर’. और एक जगह एक जानवर में रे बाबू की २-३ लघु कथाएँ.)

फिल्म के बारे में कोई spoilers नहीं लिख रहा. लेकिन बस इतना ही कि Bombay Talkies की चारों फिल्मों का पैसा मेरे लिए इस अकेली में ही वसूल हो गया. (करण जोहर की फिल्म भी शानदार लगी वैसे.) नवाज़, दिबाकर बनर्जी, और सत्यजित रे – इससे आगे कोई क्या मांगेगा?

Update: अभी अभी एक जुगाड़ से नवाज़ की पत्नी का रोल करने वाली एक्टर का नाम पता चल गया. मराठी थियेटर की एक्टर – शुभांगी भुजबल. और ये भी पता चला कि वो खुद ऐसी ही एक चाल में पली-बढ़ी जैसी फिल्म में दिखाई गयी है.

(If you have difficulty reading it in Hindi, scroll down and read its English transalation)

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Kartik Krishnan on Zoya Akhtar’s Sheila Ki Jawani

It’s more Taare Zameen Par than Pankh. The 6 yr old’s desires stifled by the ‘Sharma ji’ type moochad father with shades of Naseer-Ishan Nair (the fat dancing kid from Monsoon Wedding) conflict. मेरे-Parents-चाहते-हैं-मैं-आम-खाऊँ-जबकि-मुझे-केले-पसंद-हैं is the dillema/drama. The sexuality theme is not explored (or maybe I’m reading too much into it).

The film stealthily enters the kid(s) world and takes you along. Not the most ‘fresh’ stories but again very well done, non-melodramatic realistic treatment by Zoya Akhtar (with Excel Ent Production Design from LBC not Rock On). The casting of the kids and mom is spot on. And the relationship between the siblings could’ve been autobiographical, which is probably why it is so heart tugging despite being no Children of Heaven. They help each other out in the ‘trying circumstances’ and unlike the एक दूसरे की चुगली करने वाले बच्चे, would probably be best ‘friends for life’. The message of the film is not so much ‘Follow Your Dreams’ but more ‘Follow Your Dreams लेकिन शान्पट्टी से’. Slightly underwhelming coming from Zoya Akhtar but it seems her most ‘personal’ film (like KJo’s and AK’s short films). ‘शुरू होते ही ख़त्म हो जाती है’, ‘3rd Act है ही नही, setup ही setup  है’ were the common refrain but the climactic performance with the arresting cutaways is itself worth the price of ticket itself.

The pillow conversations at night between the siblings took me back to my childhood days, and that’s why may be I’m being a little too lenient unlike rest. ‘मानता हूँ Cliche है Sir लेकिन Conviction से किया जाए तो आज भी work करता है !’

P.S – An aside – On the occasion of 100 yrs of Indian cinema celebration – here are two of the most brilliant kids performances in recent cinematic history for you – this & this.

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Neeraja Sahasrabudhe on Anurag Kashyap’s Murabba

Twice during the film, I was reminded of this funny inimitable character from my childhood. There was a short period of time, when we used to get dabbawala food at home in Banaras (Yes! there are dabbawalas in Banaras too). That man had a wild imagination. From the stories about owning the golden temple land to getting his mobile phone repaired in 2 lakhs (back in 2000! well, that sounds ridiculous even now), there was no end to his cock-and-bull stories, and there was a new किस्सा everyday.

The sequence where Vijay is regaling his fellow travelers in the train reminded me of many such characters from Banaras. जैसे दिल्ली में गाली देना सच में गाली देना नहीं होता, वैसे ही पूर्वांचल में गप्प मारना झूठ बोलना नहीं होता। Another one from a train journey is that of a group biharis…I remember looking at my brother and suppressing a giggle when one of the men said “ये बहुत संघर्शेबुल (sangharsh-able) हैं “. ऐसी बहुत सी सुनी-सुनाई कहानियां हैं अपने यहाँ के amazing गप्पी लोगों की, जो याद करके भी हँसी आ जाती है. Anyway, the point here being that the film captures that character and that space very well. For me, this was the best part of the film.

The film is about a young man traveling from Allahabad to Mumbai to meet Amitabh Bachchan so that he can offer the superstar a piece of Murabba that his mother has made. This is his father’s “last wish”. As far as the theme of celebrating 100 years of Indian cinema goes, among all four shorts, this film comes closest to capture the passionate frenzy that bollywood has created among the masses over the years. As usual Kashyap get the milieu right but the punchline is not strong enough to make you fall in love with the film.  Unfortunately the film goes downhill as soon as Mr. Bachchan makes an appearance. There are moments that made me nostalgic and made me chuckle but overall the film was a bit of a disappointment. But inspite of all the shortcomings, I am sure all the fanboys/girls out there who have done crazy things for the stars they love, will connect to the film.

PS: The other thing that I noticed is that when Vijay’s father asked him where he was, Vijay replies “मेल में थे”. The people in and around Allahanad always call the kumbh mela as just “mela” whereas it is the outsider (mostly the पढ़ा – लिखा वर्ग) that always calls in “kumbh” or “kumbh mela”. Full marks to AK for that.

*****

The film ends with an atrocious music video which seems to be have been produced on MS Paint. Though the initial montage of yesteryear actors make it look slightly better. As a friend pointed out, wish they had just used the opening credits of Luck By Chance in the end credits here. That would have been enough.

And do vote for your favourite short. You can vote for 2 films.

UPDATE – 3rd May, 2013

(Since many people have been asking for English translation of Varun’s post on Star, here it is. We still suggest that you try in Hindi first, Do “Control +”, make the font bigger and it becomes easy. If not, here you go)

August 2011. We met Rekha Jha in Patna. She would sing ‘Womaniya’ for ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ a few days later. She was part of the group of girls we had called for chorus singing in ‘Taar Bijli Se’ song. Sneha Khanwalkar liked her voice so much that she got offered a full song to herself. On my way back from Patna, her husband (Jha babu) dropped me to the airport in his taxi. He has a small taxi-rental business in Patna. He started talking and told me ‘I had gone to Bombay sometime in 1990/91; to become a hero. If at that time, somebody had told me to jump from a 10-storeyed building to get a role in films, I’d have done that.’ I asked – ‘So did somebody say that to you?’ He said after wasting many days in Bombay, he somehow landed one contact which took him to the film shoot of ‘Baazigar’ in Lonavla or around.  On the sets of Baazigar, he again started bragging that he can jump from a building to get a role, and some production hand dared him to cross the small river nearby. He promised Jha Babu a role (of being in the same frame as the film’s hero) if he finished the swim across the river. Jha babu jumped in the river without a thought. He didn’t know how to swim, but jumped anyway. He had to be rescued by some locals else he was sure to drown. Seeing the commotion and young man’s stupid desperation, Ratan Jain (Tips owner) was impressed. He gave Jha babu his card and asked him to come over at the Bombay office a week later. The whole coming week Jha ji spent on the roads, sleeping on bus stops, but before the big day arrived his whole luggage including the address of Ratan Jain was stolen. He returned back home to Patna, never to attempt his Bombay dreams again.

Cut to: January 2013. An award function nominated Rekha Jha for singing ‘Womaniya’. Jha babu came with her to Bombay, first time since he left it in 1991. Sitting inside Yashraj Studios, he finally saw the unreal world he wanted to jump from a high-rise for, up-close and live. I was reminded of Farogue Jafari, the poet and writer of/from Supermen of Malegaon – “Main kab se Bombay ki taraf chal raha hoon. Malegaon se Bombay bas ek raat ka safar hai. Par ye raat khatam nahin hoti.”  (I have been walking towards Bombay for a long time. Malegaon to Bombay is just an overnight journey. But this night is too long.) Jha babu’s jump also lasted for 22-years.

Cut to: May 2013. Purandar (Nawazuddin Siddiqui, terrific as always) in Dibakar Banerjee’s segment ‘Star’ is also in the middle of one such night/jump. But Purandar’s jump is not so simple. He is jumping in many directions simultaneously. Or may be he just thinks he is jumping while being magically, depressingly hanging static mid-air, like a cartoon dog from Tom and Jerry. The 25 minute film has all the best elements of all the good Dibakar Banerjee films. A very wry sense of humor, a sharp comment on social issues (right from the very first scene that stays on long enough for you to attempt decode its meaning),  pitch-perfect casting (our drunk-shaayar and a sincere assistant director Kartik Krishnan couldn’t have been cast in a better role, the lady playing Nawaz’s wife Shubhangi Bhujbal is a gem of a find from Marathi theatre though her name gets drowned in that horribly composed and shot end-credits song, and Sadashiv Amrapurkar’s comeback to cinema alone is worthy enough for this film to be made), a new world to explore, and a kick-ass opening scene – all DB strengths are at their top-game in ‘Star’.

In fact, a recurring structural-motif of DB’s films has been a meta-film like opening scene that has the sly-synopsis and tone of the entire film you’re going to watch. If you go back to any of his film after finishing it, and watch the opening scene again, you’ll be surprised by the number of hidden-meanings it contained. LSD had the short-film/meta-film element deliberately carved out but even the rest of his films have a masterful opening scene (OLLO has the strongest one). Shanghai generated many debates, chief among them was who the film ACTUALLY is about, and going by this motif the opening scene of the film clearly says that the film is about Bhaggu and Mama, the two ‘killers’.

And the first scene in ‘Star’ is as powerful and poetic as Dibakar has ever written/shot. Though in a different league/tone altogether (as Kartik Krishnan said ‘Full Bengali cinema hai re!’). And not just the opening scene, the entire film bears a noticeable stamp of Satyajit Ray as the screenplay is adapted from a Satyajit ray short-story (“Potol Babu Film Star”). I could spot a hat-tip to ‘Nayak’ (appearance of Sadashiv Amrapurkar scene), and another to ‘Mahanagar’ (working wife and daily memorabilia for child), and a pet-animal Purandar keeps reminded me of a couple more short-stories of Ray. (Fascination with abnormal/surreal animals/plants is a recurring motif in Ray’s stories for children.)

Keeping it spoiler-free so can’t write much more. Just enough to say that DB’s ‘Star’ alone is worth the price of admission for Bombay Talkies. (While K-Jo’s film too is as good as they come.) Nawaz+Dibakar+Satyajit Ray – and the sum is greater than the parts!

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Cannes

Cannes Film Festival has just announced its official selection list. And as expected not too many Indian films at fest this year.

As part of tribute to 100 years of Indian Cinema, Bombay Talkies will have its Gala premiere at the fest. It’s a collection of four short films directed by Dibakar Banerjee, Anurag Kashyap, Karan Johar and Zoya Akhtar.

Another selection is Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout which is in Midnight Screenings section. It stars Vijay Varma, Nawazuddin Siddiqi, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Neeraj Kabi, Geetanjali Thapa.

And here’s the official synopsis – A rookie cop faces a suspected gangster in a dead-end alley and has to decide whether to shoot or not to shoot. Three separate scenarios explore the impact of his decision on other people’s lives.

Amit had earlier directed a terrific short called Bypass which won many awards. Click here and here to watch the film in two parts.

Also, Indian actor and director Nandita Das is part of the CineFoundation and Short Film Jury.

To read the complete list, click here.