Posts Tagged ‘Kay Kay Menon’

A new Vishal Bhardwaj film is always cause for celebration. Even his weakest films have so much to savour, and in an industry so plagued by intellectual and creative bankruptcy, Bhardwaj is the rare filmmaker who could perhaps truly claim auteur status- he produces, directs, writes, composes- and does all of it with a style so distinctive and quixotic- there’s no mistaking his stamp. We’ve got to admit, we’re fanboys, and unashamedly so.

The much awaited trailer for Mr Bhardwaj’s new film ‘Haider’ has arrived along with a trio of posters. Haider is based on Hamlet and is the final film of his Shakespearean Trilogy (preceded by Maqbool and Omkara) and stars Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor and Kay Kay Menon among others (including Irrfan Khan in a special appearance).

Notably, Haider has been co-written with Kashmiri author and journalist Basharat Peer and also marks the filmmaker’s first collaboration with cinematographer Pankaj Kumar, who is best known for shooting Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Theseus. Click here to read an interesting article about Peer’s collaboration with Bhardwaj.

Take a look at the trailer and posters and let us know what you think:

 

 

Ad film maker and FTII alumni Ravi Deshpande writes on Hansal Mehta’s Shahid and its journey so far. (Disclaimer – Hansal says he has been a guide and friend.)

“From reluctant jihadist to crusading lawyer, the life of Shahid Azmi was a remarkable one. Gunned down while defending accused Mumbai bomber Fahim Ansari, Azmi was transformed into an unlikely martyr. But Hansal Mehta’s new film is much more than a biopic; Shahid captures the zeitgeist of a generation.

Shahid’s story began in the slums of Govandi in eastern Mumbai amid violent riots between Hindus and Muslims. A young witness to injustice, Shahid fled his home to a jihadist camp deep in the mountains but, never a dedicated soldier, he deserted as a teenager and returned home — only to be imprisoned on terrorist charges. Tutored by older political prisoners, he resolves to fight injustice upon his release. Finding work in a law office, Shahid struggles against a system steeped in contradictions and hypocrisies, defending clients labelled “anti-nationalist,” “radicals” or “terrorists.”

Hansal Mehta’s Shahid is as much a testament to a remarkable life cut tragically short as it is a cathartic journey through a city filled it seems with equal measure grave injustice and great idealism.”

– Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director, Toronto International Film Festival.

Consider this : By the time he was gunned down, Shahid Azmi had at least 17 acquittals to his credit, a great benchmark for the small span of time he was an advocate.

So why am I writing about this film? Or rather, why am I compelled to write about the experience of this film? Because the film is as close to a real tale as I have seen. The real story of the film concluded with Shahid’s death but just 2 years ago. His strife is still fresh in our minds. It is a Mumbai tale that Mumbaites know. Difficult to satisfy a critical Mumbaite filmmaker’s mind with a Mumbai story.

In the film, the protagonist is a young lad from the FTII stable of actors, Rajkumar Yadav. Leave aside the fact that the bloke does not age through the 2 decades that the narrative unfolds. This fact does not bother me and has not bothered others while watching his stunning underplayed performance. All the other characters (Casting Director Mukesh Chabra) move through the fabric of the film story with finesse (Prableen Sandhu, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Baljinder Kaur, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Kay Kay Menon, Vipin Sharma, Shalini Vatsa, Vinod Rawat, Suvinder Pal, Pawan Kumar, Vivek Ghamande, Paritosh Sand, Prabal Panjabi, Yusuf Husain)

Their mannerisms and expressions are palpable, the interactions are humanly common stance, and the scenes make me angry, make me cry, make my blood rush through my temples, and sometimes make me smile, even squirm with discomfort.

Hansal’s approach to acting as well as most things in the film has been organic in nature, and bereft of conventional method. Many scenes, even dialogues have often been reworked on location. It is a dangerous terrain for a Director to operate because an actor can easily bend a scene in a fashion that could alter the earlier intent. Hansal chose a difficult route to extract from artists what they felt was the most honest delivery. So in the court scene, when the judge too becomes argumentative with the advocates and the accused, the theatre split into laughter, or when the naked Shahid is tortured in the Lodhi Police Station Cell, the viewer in the next seat clenched his fists.

There are other reasons too why this impact is astounding. The Cell is lit by a single tube, and does not light up the protagonist in agony.

 

Consider this: The DOP (Anuj Dhawan) saw the location (A friend’s godown in Andheri) and said, “Perfect! Lets shoot!” And Hansal as a Director had the balls to do exactly that. Hence the spaces become volumes that the viewer can relate to and inhabit.

Consider this: Shahid’s house in the film is Shahid’s own house, and Shahid’s office in the film where he was shot dead, is in actuality Shahid’s office. A year after his murder, when they were shooting in her house, Shahid’s real mother asked to meet the actor. She just wanted to see him…for her, Shahid was still a part of her ‘present continuous’. Her other son, Khalid Azmi (Played by Vaibhav) has gone on record to say that the film is 95% close to the real story.

So Hansal’s choices, or democratically speaking the crew’s and the cast’s choices were nakedly honest. Hansal was able to guide them through to keep the story of Shahid alive and true. It is one thing to say, fine, I do not care that the actor’s face is not lit up in a scene, and yet another to accept that different digital cameras will land on the shoot on a regular basis.

Consider this: They get a RED MX camera one day, a Red One on another and the next day an Alexa. On some days all they had was a Canon 5D. Hansal and his DOP (Anuj Dhawan) have the guts and gumption to mount it and shoot, to make the most of the time available with the given location and the cast on roll call. What a nightmare for the DI artist and the post-production technical crew.

It looks like a film about the Muslims, for the Muslims, by the Muslims. However, there is not a single crewmember except the artist Arif and the Professor (Played by Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub and Yusuf Husain respectively) who are muslims. Not the protagonist, neither the director, nor any of the artists, nor even the writers. And the film is about the plight of the Muslims in India. Or perhaps anywhere and everywhere in the world. Simple folk who are pious, righteous, and who wean through the hard struggle of life. Muslims who are wronged for the only reason – that they are Muslims.

And yet, the story could be of any community, as one never becomes conscious of the ‘religion’ in the story but is sensitized only to the situation and the events. Go see any other film about the Muslim community made with adequate or handsome funds and compare – which is the more engaging, which is more honest, which is the tougher film to make, which is bringing a truer story for the audience’s appetite in today’s time of the RTI, which has more layers, which sets you thinking, which churns your bowels, which makes you feel guilty, helpless, angry, which is the one not biased, which is the one that makes you more aware, more empowered, which is the one non-exploitative?

So there is no definite genre that the story can be pinned by. It is neither a courtroom dram, although the crucial scenes are set in courts, neither is it a romantic tragedy, although Shahid’s supportive wife leaves him and then he dies, nor is it a martyr heroic film, although Shahid ends his life as a martyr for a cause. In fact, it is all this and more, because Hansal does not steer it to a dramatic fictional tale but insists steadfastly to narrate the story of an individual with all the truisms intact.

Consider this: Shahid was supposed to be a well-funded film by a corporate production house with a star in place. Hansal and Sunil Bohra (Producer) chose the other route lest the shenanigans of the star system or the numbers game shackle them. And they embraced the hardship with a tougher stance of honesty to make a moving, compassionate film.

For any Director to touch and mould his material with a humanitarian approach is one of the most difficult directing tasks. Hansal has not just immersed himself with the material but internalized it, forgotten his leanings, left aside the grammar of filmmaking that he learnt through his earlier seven feature films, as well as rid himself of easy shooting or post production solutions.

Consider this: The editor Apurva Asrani also co-wrote the film. The earlier decision was to make a non-linear narrative as the world over, the traditional linear narrative is considered to be passé and not smart enough for today’s times. Apu is also known for drastic usage of NGs (No-good takes), jump cutting, and edgy editing styles. With the material in front of them, they both opted to be dumb but true to the material and formed a linear narrative! Apu’s edit does not leap out of the screen at you but lets you immerse yourself in the development of the story unhindered.

Consider this: A veteran artist has reservations because her role seems to be just 3 pages in the courtroom. So she decides nearly 8 hours before the shoot to decline. She has doubted the director because he has said that we will improvise the scene and the dialogues as we shoot. But that is the organic way that Hansal wanted to make the film by involving everyone concerned with the scenes.

Consider this: When the village in the hills threw up extras that were Hindus, the lead actor Raj Kumar Yadav had to train them stepwise (12 steps) on how to do Namaaz. The Director read numbers in order to get shots with movements in cohesion from the group. The sound recordist had but just one assistant for the schedule. That is brave for a film with live sound (Sound Recordist: Mandar Kulkarni).

Although the temptation to turn voyeuristic is huge, Hansal’s camera does not try to barge close to the man who is in flames in the riot filled streets of 1993 Mumbai to sensationalize it, nor does it travel from sunset silhouettes to a frontal of the twosome’s faces up North in POK as they share a happy repartee moment, nor does it underline the most significant moment of Shahid’s assassination in the office with a close up or a long shot. Hansal and the DOP refrain from the usual temptations of over dramatizing the situation. The screenplay (Sameer Gautam Singh and Apurva Asrani), the Mise en scène, the acting, and the editing too blends the subtle manner of telling, aided by a music track that does not interfere with the realism. During the depiction of the love story, the dialogues are as matter of fact as can be, and so are the situations.

Hansal’s ingenious shot division helps us see to events in a seamless fashion. This Spartan style of filmmaking lends way to a new language that is close to real life, and not the crafted, arranged carefully kind of a story, spoon fed by loud, crass everything-to-be-said-through-dialogue and underlined by music. The proximity to the material increases manifold and the viewer relates to the unfolding of the story in a much more integral, much more organic manner. No wonder that audiences in Canada (At the Toronto Film Festival) and at the MAMI waited in long ques due to ‘word of mouth’ to see the film. And no wonder that Hansal has had standing ovations at both places.

Consider this: While Music was being discussed for the film, the sound Engineer was asked what ought to be the music. “Sparse, minimal, hardly there types”, he said. His diktat was followed. (Music: Karan Kulkarni)

Hansal’s directorial abilities were never questioned, and infact lauded several times (Dil Pe Mat le Yaar, Chhal, Jayate, etc.) Nor were his sensibilities (it was his own decision to stay away in ‘Wanvas’ at Lonawala for so many years). He meandered just about everywhere in the Mumbai Bollywood terrain of storytelling. This film has cemented his road. Hansal has to start walking on this path which will lead him to greater heights and us as viewers to greater experiences that he will invoke as a refined old-wine director.

I just hope that the film sees the light of the day and does not but just roam the festivals of discerning viewers across the globe. And hoping against hope that the authorities and political parties do not intervene with their typical horse blinds on release or before.

 

Consider this: Hansal and Sunil Bohra (Producer) have refrained from censoring the film and releasing it because they want audiences to see the film in this form; the more the better – wonder what will transpire at the censor board.

It is a significant film of our times about our times. There, I have said it.

(It was first posted on Ravi Deshpande’s blog here)

The first one was a straight lift, (The Dinner Game)and it turned out to be a surprise hit. Here’s the second one. Poster, official synopsis and the trailer.

Directed by Sagar Bellary, Produced by Mukul Deora, it stars Vinay Pathak, Minissha Lamba, Kay Kay Menon and Amole Gupte. Sharad Kataria and Bellary have written it. Here’s the official synopsis..

Good hearted but not worldly-wise, the rolly-polly tax inspector, Bharat Bhushan (Vinay Pathak) is back to fulfill his long cherished dream of becoming a singer. To further his media ambition he enters a game show hoping to win a cash prize with which he can make his own music album. Eventually Bhushan goes on to win the competition which also gifts him a free stay on a cruise ship. It is on this cruise that he meets Ajit Talwar (Kay Kay Menon), an acrid tongue sadistic business tycoon, who is taking sheath on the cruise to flee from the Income Tax department. Close on his heels is tax inspector M.T.Shekharan (Suresh Menon), who is trying to unearth the identity of a financial scamster who has been elusive since long.

On the cruise when Ajit Talwar learns about Bharat Bhushan’s profession, he alerts his subordinates to keep a watch on him and in due course, get rid of him. However, on being introduced to Ajit Talwar, Bhushan finds out of his media investments and is out to impress him. The cruise becomes a perfect rendezvous for Bharat with the presence of Ranjini (Minnisha Lamba), a sweet and straight- forward media executive who Bhushan met on the game show. Everything seems perfect in his life with her company and positive future prospects of developing contacts with Ajit Talwar and his clique. The presence of a disguised M.T.Shekharan further excites the plot and a string of oddball occurrences owing to a mistaken identity finally wind up Ajit Talwar and Bharat Bhushan stranded on a deserted island.

It is on the island that Ajit realises what a pain Bharat Bhushan is. His stupidity drives Ajit up the wall. And if that isn’t enough, Bhushan’s folly lands them hostage in the hands of an eccentric reclusive photographer (Amole Gupte). As fate would have it Bhushan’s colleague M.T.Shekharan comes and rescues them exposing the sly Ajit Talwar and making a shocked Bhushan realise that Ajit was trying to get rid of him all the while on the cruise.

The photographer Raghu Burman, M.T.Shekharan and Bharat Bhushan bond with each other with the thought of an idealist utopian state, free of crime and based on social justice. Their bonding is short-lived as they manage to blow off the very house they are in. In the wee hours of morning, a completely harrowed Ajit Talwar is rescued by his business associate Kapoor (Rahul Vohra) and his loyal lieutenant which puts an end to his nightmare.

The story comes a full cycle with Bharat Bhushan realizing what a great friend he has in M.T.Shekharan and a proud Ajit Talwar being punished for his arrogance and high-handedness.

And you know where! If not, ask the pirates. If you still cant find it, then also its fine. Dont worry, wait for its theatrical release. But the news is shocking for sure.

If the big boys could not save Wolverine, whats the big deal about Johnny. Recently it happened the same with Anurag Kashyap’s Paanch also which was rumoured to be leaked out by the director himself because Anurag was tired of waiting for its theatrical release. Ashutosh Gowariker’s Whats Your Raashee was also leaked out before its theatrical release. Its another matter that nobody wanted to watch it for free also.

Tera Kya Hoga Johnny is directed by Sudhir Mishra and stars Neil Nitin Mukesh, Kay Kay Menon, Soha Ali, Shahana Goswami, Karan Nath and Sikandar who plays the lead role of Johnny.

But it seems both the director and producer are clueless about it. Or is it Sudhir Mishra who was frustrated waiting for its release, got inspired by his good freind Kashyap and leaked it out himself ? Or it got leaked out through a festival screener ? The film was doing the festival round. Aha, conspiracy theories and more! Whatever it is, but now Johnny seriously needs to worry ki ab kya hoga

aage se right cut

If its about the big idea, then UTV surely deserves a pat on their back. Check out the website of their new film Aage Se Right and you will understand what we are saying. The address is www.gunontherun.com. Putting a bullet in a gun chamber was never so much fun!

Cast : The film stars Shreyas Talpade( Cop), Kay Kay (terroist) , Shiv Pandit(tapori), Mahie Gill (journalist) and Shenaz Treasurywala (aspiring actress).

Produced by UTV Spotboy and directed by debutant Indrajit Nattoji, Aage Se Right is a comic caper.

Synopsis : Set in Mumbai, Aage Se Right is all about chance and coincidence. Its five days of chaos, panic and mayhem. It revolves around a cop and terrorist. The cop ( Shreyas) loses his gun and the terrorist (Kay Kay) loses his heart. The two worlds meet and it leads to hilarious situations. A satire of our chaotic times.

Here is the first look of Pankaj Advani’s film Sankat City. Two posters of the film. The film stars Kay Kay Menon, Rimi Sen, Rahul Dev, Chunky Pandey, Anupam Kher and Yashpal Sharma among others. Those who have seen it, cant stop raving about Pankaj Advani and the film. We are waiting!

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