Posts Tagged ‘Lootera’

As we have done in the past, this year too we are trying to source the scripts of some of the best films of the year. As most of you know, the scripts of Hollywood films are easily available online, even the unreleased ones. But we don’t have any such database for Hindi or Indian films. So that has been the primary reason for this initiative. And it has been possible because some of the filmmakers have been very supportive about it. It’s only for educational purpose and much like the spirit of the blog, is a complete non-profitable exercise. Thanks to Abhishek Kapoor and Hansal Mehta, we have been able to post the script of Kai Po Che! and Shahid here and here.

Lootera has been a subject of much debate and discussion on this blog. And if you are regular reader of this blog, you probably know that unlike other filmmakers Vikramaditya Motwane has always been gracious enough to take it in the right spirit. He has also been much supportive of this endeavor to share scripts publicly and helped us by sharing the script of his film Udaan earlier. If you haven’t read the script, it’s here.

In this post, we are sharing the two drafts of Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera – the second draft of the script (in English) and the shooting draft of the film (Hindi dialogues).

Film – Lootera

Story – Inspired by O. Henry’s The Last Leaf

Screenplay – Bhavani Iyer and Vikramaditya Motwane

Dialogue – Anurag Kashyap

If you have read this earlier post on 17 terrific films of the year, the brief was the same for this new post. And this one is collaborative too. Only film has been replaced with scenes. So here are the 16 most memorable and powerful scenes of the year as picked by 16 film fanatics.

(If you missed our earlier post in this 2013 flashback series, here’s the list – 20 Things We Learnt At The Movies and 13 Unanswered Questions is here, Top 10 Musical Gems We Discovered This Year is here, 15 Film Fanatics on 17 Terrific Films That Have Stayed With Them is here, and 14 Bollywood Song We Played in Non-stop Loop Is here.)

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@kushannandy on Fandry’s climax

[SPOILER ALERT]

Fandry, Nagraj Manjule’s charming story of Jabya, a young boy battling his inner turmoil of being born a Dalit, whose only source of income is rescuing the village from droves of pigs by chasing them out, and only happiness is a teenage infatuation and perhaps a non-existent bird, reaches an inevitable, satirical climax that can truly be described as the successor of the Mahabharata scene from Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro.

Cruelly hilarious and dripping with pathos, the last scene of Fandry is a portrayal of who we truly are. As Jabya is forced to help his aging parents chase the pigs down, the village gathers to celebrate this humiliation, almost like spectators at a T20 match.

At one point, one of the characters uploads Jabya’s plight on his Facebook page. That one moment points out how technology has invaded us and yet human values remain absent.

However, Manjule’s masterstroke is Jabya doing exactly what the viewer had been wanting to do all along. He gathers his frustration and desperation to plant a sounding kick into the belly of the very society that was trying to hold him down. Match over.

Sadly though, Jabya’s non-existent bird somewhere stands for the freedom from society’s humiliation that he shall never ever get.

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@mihirfadnavis on Don Jon’s confrontation scene

Joseph Gordon Levitt’s hilarious Don Jon is the single greatest commentary piece on porn. It isn’t about porn but it’s a guy’s perspective on the necessity of porn. Early in the film in Don Jon explains why he watches porn despite scoring chicks whenever he pleases. He watches porn simply because it is more exciting and entertaining than actual sex. Real women don’t do the things that the ones in the porn videos do. Which is why always slips off the bed in the middle of the night, turns on his computer, rubs one out, and returns to snuggle with the girl in his bed.

Later in the film he falls in love with the Hollywood rom-com buff Scarlett Johnasson’s character Barbara who does everything with him except have sex. This tortures him. She becomes his porn. Whenever he opens his laptop he browses FB photos of her instead of looking at porn websites. After a lot of torment Don finally has sex with her. But as he lies in his bed, his voiceover tells us that he’s in love with Barbara, and he finally got to have sex with her after weeks and weeks of waiting, and that he’s sorry to say that it was STILL not as good as porn. Don skulks off to his computer and proceeds to rub one out.

The scene that brought down the house was the one where Barbara confronts Don about his porn addiction and calls it sick. He enlightens her that firstly, every guy watches porn and those who say who don’t are lying, and she refuses to believe him. And secondly they have sex all the time, whenever she wants, and it’s not like he’s cheating on her. When she asks him how he can even watch that shit, he replies by asking how she can watch those stupid unrealistic romcoms all day. Shell-shocked, she tells him that movies and porn are different things. And they give awards for movies. He tells her they give awards for porn too.

It was a beautiful and hilarious clash of irony, ideals and cultural norms. With one single scene JGL brought down the accepted definitions of ‘decency’ and ‘addiction’. He’s addicted to enjoying a perfect and unrealistic view of fulfilment and emotional satiation. She’s addicted to enjoying a perfect and unrealistic view of fulfilment and emotional satiation. And yet he is called a sicko and is dumped.

And most importantly, JGL pulled this off without coming across as sexist. That makes him a fucking great filmmaker.

@invokeanand  on The Lunchbox’s VCR scene

I always believed that the past is truly yours and no one can deny you that. It’s like a drug which you crave for (un)knowingly. And this drug called nostalgia, like a termite, can eat through your present, one moment at a time. How many times have we watched that same video from 90s on youtube just to scrape whatever little memory you can from that time and place. When Sajan Fernandez watched Ye Jo Hai Zindagi on an old VCR, it killed something inside me. There is a sweetness to it and melancholy, still, a man lost in time trying to live his present through scraps from his past. That scene has stayed with me ever since i watched the film. Like those scenes where he smoked on his balcony, Irrfan Khan here emotes with minimal muscles and no words, and yet the entire back story of the character, his pain and his longing is laced before you.

@krnx on Short Term 12’s rap song scene

The most powerful, stand out scene for me in any movie in 2013 – after careful deliberation – is from Short Term 12. Surprisingly, it doesn’t involve the lead characters, but one from the ensemble. Marcus – played by Keith Stanfield – is the standoffish kid on the verge of turning 18 and getting ‘released’ from the foster-care center for teens. He’s brooding, strong, and intense for most part of the story and, until the moment, paints himself as if pushed into a corner. When he does lash out, he does it – incredibly – with poetry. In a single, long take as his supervisor sits him down to talk, he unleashes a rap song no one knew he had the capacity to write or perform – heartfelt, expletive-ridden, and delivered with a gumption that’d give Tupac goose bumps. It is a remarkable piece of writing – not just the scene itself – but the build up to it. It is so carefully constructed, you will never see the character’s revelation coming. It leaps out at you from the pages, the screen, and yet goes with the grain of the narrative. Stanfield’s steely-yet-vulnerable performance and Destin Cretton’s choices as director only serve to heighten the experience and leaves you forgetting to breathe.

@sukanyaverma on Lootera’s father-daughter scene

Scenes are like souvenirs an audience walks out with after a gratifying, enriching or, heck, even a revolting, experience. 2013 at the movies left me wowed, tongue-tied, startled, nostalgic, affected, bored, disgusted, thrilled, the works.  But the one scene that stayed with me for all the right reasons and in all probability always will is from Vikramaditya Motwane’s Lootera. Resembling O Henry’s short story The Last Leaf only in the third act, Motwane creates a unique emotional history around Sonakshi Sinha and Ranveer Singh’s star-crossed romance. It’s this melting moment between an ethereal Sonakshi and her on-screen father (played by a brilliantly benign Barun Chanda) that resonates most with me:

Following a bad bout of asthma, the concerned dad is seen comforting his sickly daughter, gently waving a fan on her recumbent frame. They share a lighthearted joke, which leads him to innocuously thwack her wrist and promptly ask, “Laga kya?” Her made-up frown quickly drowns in peals of laughter (and coughing). On cue, with the opening strain of Amit Trivedi’s mesmerising Ankahee playing in the background, he begins to recount the story of an invincible, much feared Bhil King who just wouldn’t die no matter how fiercely the British attacked him. “Phir ek din pata chala ke Raja ne apni jaan ek tote mein chhupa ke rakhi hai.”  To find the whereabouts of this peculiar parrot, the British sent out a beautiful spy who lured the King in her romantic trap and the two got married. One day she discovered the truth behind the King’s immortality and smothered the parrot to death without a second’s thought.  “Phir?” quizzes his only child, somewhat, uneasily. “Phir…woh mar gaya. Beta, aap mera tota ho. Agar aap ko kuch ho gaya na…,” he doesn’t complete his sentence. He doesn’t have to. There’s so much more at its core though. Apart from highlighting the hearty father-daughter bond, it constructs a context to understand the magnitude of Sonakshi’s consecutive loss, heartbreak and need for retaliation.  One has to possess a certain level of sensitivity to convey tenderness that doesn’t feel manufactured. Motwane does. And he lends it to this scene, which works beautifully even as a standalone.

@varungrover on Fandry’s national anthem scene

Only in a state like Maharashtra, where right-wing is so strong that even after the death of their biggest ideologue I don’t feel confident and safe mentioning his name in a post that has no direct criticism of his easily-criticizable styles of functioning, where newspaper offices get ransacked for faintest of hurt sentiments, where people get beaten up for not standing up during the mandatory National Anthem before the film –  a film like ‘Fandry’ is possible. (Just like BR Ambedkar and Vijay Tendulkar couldn’t have been anywhere else.) A state of oppression breeds an inventiveness and ferocity of protest like nothing else.

And in a protest film (though treated like a coming of age for the most part) like ‘Fandry’, comes a scene that makes all the protest scenes in the history of our cinema look tame in comparison. A Dalit family is trying to catch a pig next to a school, the Dalit kid is feeling humiliated ‘cos his friends might be watching the reality of his caste he has so carefully hidden from them, the pig evading them like a pro. After lots of chasing the pig finally seems to be cornered. The family now just has to move closer and catch it and end the misery on both sides of this hunter-hunted divide. The kid seems slightly relieved that the ordeal may be over as they encircle the pig. But, just before they could swoop down, the national anthem starts playing in the school assembly next door. Nobody can move now, except of course the pig. As the Dalit family stands in attention, paying ‘due respects’ to the nation they are equal citizens of, the pig walks away into the free morning.

The whole cinema hall jumped up and applauded the scene wildly. I guess the irreverence, cheekiness, and metaphor it stood for connected with all of us, so used to standing awkwardly before the film, one hand carrying smartphone, another carrying popcorn, thinking ‘Pandit Bhimsen Joshi ji, aalaap mat lo itna lamba. 56 second mein khatam hona chaahiye ideally!

 @ghaywan on Post Tenebras Lux’s opening scene

My pick for the best scene of the year (apart from every other scene from The Great Beauty) is the 9 minute opening scene of Carlos Reygadas’ Post Tenebras Lux ( I wasn’t too impressed by the film).  Reygadas has outdone the brilliant time-transition shot from his previous film, Silent Light. Here we have a little girl left out in the open in the middle of barking dogs and horses, running around merrily, unaware of the ominous shift in the sky. Shot almost through the girl’s eye level, the 4:3 frame and the blurry edges shows the constricted world of the girl and in effect, take us closer to her experience. Watch and get hypnotized.

@diaporesis on Goynar Baksho’s scooter ride scene

Towards the end of the Bengali movie “Goynar Baksho” a young woman in her 20s rides a scooter to meet a lover who has been incommunicado for a few months. The scene, in which she is accompanied on the scooter by one of the film’s protagonists – another headstrong woman who asks her to drive faster – is remarkable for a number of reasons. It’s a starkly happy contrast from one of the first scenes of the film (dated about 50 years earlier) where a 12 year-old child was married to a man much older than her; was widowed soon after and subsequently had to endure three indignities: of wearing white for the rest of her life, of remaining unmarried and of having her lustrous mane of hair chopped off. Moreover, startlingly, the year is 1971, around the time of the creation of Bangladesh; not 2011. Lastly, it’s a bittersweet reminder of progressive Bengali literary thought and the once ostensibly modern, well-educated and relatively prosperous society that influenced it. Sadly, the great Bengali dream, a burgeoning reality till the late 70s, was crushed by decades of preposterous Communist rule, aided by a general lethargy in the Bengali bhadralok. That one scene holds a mirror to our present, where many observers rightly despair about the position of women in India. In an increasingly intolerant and regressive Indian society, one can only wonder where the next well of inspiration will spring from?

@nagrathnam on Soodhu Kavvum’s confrontation scene

[SPOILER ALERT]

For me, it’s the confrontation scene between the honest minister’s errant son and the Tamilnadu Chief Minister. Only a veteran like Radha Ravi could pull off the dead pan humor with which he dispenses shakti-ka-santulan and casually hands over the mantle to his son, forcing the irritatingly honest minister into retirement. That is the turning point of the film. Fair is foul and foul is fair, Welcome to Kalyug. And followed by the kickass retro montage.

“See how he shakes his head. A minister should like him!”

@sudhishkamath on last scene of  The Past

Don’t worry about the spoiler. Because this isn’t a plot twist. Or a big reveal.

A man who has been told that his ex-wife who is in a coma hasn’t reacted to the smell of perfumes, carries the box out of the hospital room. We follow him out in the corridor. Moments later, he changes his mind. He comes back to the bedside. Takes a bottle of perfume out of the box. His. The one she used to like. He sprays a little on him and leans towards her face and says: “If you can smell this, squeeze my hand.” He holds her hand. We see a solitary tear roll down a still woman’s face. He doesn’t see it. The camera is not interested in that. The camera takes us to a close up of his hand in hers and it’s waiting for the squeeze. The camera lingers on that beautiful composition. The entire film is constructed to arrive at this scene.

This ladies and lads, is the story of modern relationships. We all think we are so bloody mature to move on but the first instance when someone tells us it’s possible to revive the romance, we are quick to go and revisit it. We hold on to the undead person from the past, waiting for signs of life but are rarely in a position to see it.

Absolutely beautiful. Heartbreaking. Depressing. But also reassuring. We are not alone. This is the story of our times. Of fucked up relationships and messed up choices. I liked this film because it gave me the courage to put it all behind and let go. Completely. Cut off. And respect the dead.

ram leela
@manishgaekwad  on RamLeela’s colourful kiss scene

When Deepika runs into Ranveer, and they draw out their guns. That frame, that shot, those colours. Wow! The one time I must have cinegasmed at the movies this year. The song that follows. The kiss. Lahoo mooh lag gaya! Truly breathtaking. It jogged me back to how Balam Pichkari was shot in YJHD. The same Deepika, the same sort of boisterous set up, the same use of riotous holi colours, and yet, you can tell the difference in how a film-maker frames his shot. Balam was youthful, zany, messy and the colours were ‘khacha-khach bhara hua’ – no sense of symmetry in it. Look at how Bhansali co-ordinates/’arranges’ his colours – the blues, the pinks, the reds – all evenly sectioned for each one hue to stand out. This is how you separate the men from the boys.

@shripriya on 12 Years A Slave’s roll Jordan scene

To say “12 Years A Slave” is a powerful film is an understatement. Some of the scenes are very hard to watch and that is the point. But of all the scenes, a short scene, with no violence, is, perhaps, the most powerful.

What happened right before:
Solomon (Chiwetel Ejiofor) has just been betrayed by a white farm hand and had to burn a letter he very painstakingly wrote to his wife and with that, his last hopes of ending his bondage.

A slave collapses in the field due to overwork and Solomon and two others bury him. Solomon goes about the task mechanically. He’s even mildly surprised/annoyed when one of the other grave diggers wants to say a few words for the dead man.

The scene:
A group of slaves stand near the grave and start singing “Roll, Jordan, Roll”. Solomon is part of the group, standing right in front, but emotionally apart from the rest of the slaves, as he as been through most of the movie. Solomon, who was not born a slave, has always maintained his distance – protected himself by maintaining a distance.

We then switch to a shot of Solomon’s face. His face is anguished, full of despair and desperation, overwhelmed by the recent events. The camera just stays on his face as slowly, Solomon starts to sing. It is almost like the song is his lifeline and he grasps onto it, at first just mumbling the words. As he sings, his voice gets stronger and his face changes. The song powers him and finally, he accepts that he is a slave. He starts singing even louder and seems to embrace the group with whom he sings as his brothers. And finally, you can hear his voice stand out, powerful. Despite what he is acknowledging, it feels like a positive self-affirmation. Yes, I am a slave, but I will survive. Even as a slave, I will survive.

The shot of Solomon’s face lasts a minute and fifteen seconds. There is no dialog. Just the singing. For this scene alone, for all the complex emotions conveyed, Chiwetel Ejiofor needs to be a front runner for the Oscar. Brilliant.

@fattiemama on Blue Is The Warmest Colour’s break-up scene

I looked away. For a good ten minutes, I kept my eyes away from the scene. I would have loved to shut my ears too but not understanding the language helped. She kept hitting her and she kept crying, pleading for forgiveness. Tears, snot, blood all became one as the searing pain of betrayal and guilt broke through the barriers of language. I have felt all of it and in not a small degree to not acknowledge it, yet the sheer rawness was so testing I wanted to be relieved of it. They were so good together, so happy, so carefree, so intense and so young…young, I think that hurt the most…All of us love ‘happily forever afters’. The most cynical of us too, somewhere in the corner of their hearts they too believe and yearn. And to watch a love so young and so deep break in a moment hurts. It shatters all that we hold dear, dream of. Was it the beautiful performances of the two young actresses? Was it the single long take? Was it the unbridled tears and blows? Was it the resounding thud of a featherlite dream breaking? Was it my own connection to a story that wasn’t my own? The reasons could be all or any but that scene refuses to leave me. Someday it will be replaced with the eternal tenderness she feels towards her. At the end of great love does not lie emptiness or hate. At the end of great love lies great tenderness. Had the scene not escalated to that intensity the end would not have mattered as much as it did. Had the violence not been so visceral, the wound of the soul would not have been bared. Because a love as deep has to hurt as much too. I just wish the blows had not travelled beyond the screen to sear me.

@jahanbakshi on Spring Breakers: In which Alien and the Girls become ‘Soulmates’

Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers was certainly one of the most divisive films of the year, lauded and loathed in equal measure. Some found it provocative, others called it puerile. For me, it was certainly one of the most hypnotic and immersive cinematic experiences of the year, and at the center of the film were 2 of the most memorable scenes of the year, one segueing into the other seamlessly.

The first scene begins with a gun-toting Alien jumps around his bed, Brit and Candy kneeling before him, seemingly in awe.

“You like it? You like my shit? Look at you fucking bitches. You fucking love it, don’t you? You a couple of bad bitches, ain’t you?”

He thrusts and rubs wads of money in their hungry faces and then begins to kiss both the girls. One of them picks up a pistol from the bed.

“Careful with that, it’s loaded.”

We see a look on Alien’s face we haven’t seen before. It’s the look of genuine terror. Suddenly, out of nowhere, both the girls have pistols pointed at Alien. The get him down on his knees and shove a pistol in his face, then another.

“Sick motherfucker, aren’t you? You think that you can just fucking own us? Open your mouth. Open your fucking mouth…. You’re a nasty little fuck. Yeah, you are. Do you like that? You like that in there?”

Alien is shitting concrete by now. You can see it in his eyes, almost closed shut out of fear.

“We have everything we need right here. We don’t need you, Alien. What if we just used you to come here? And in five seconds we just shoot you? Blow your brains out. And you’re dead… What do you think, Brit, should we kill him?”

And just then, something happens. Alien opens his eyes and stares into the girls faces. And starts to fellate the gun with unnerving glee. First one, then two loaded guns, and he’s going at them like a seasoned pornstar.

It’s a stunning scene- sexy, shocking, gender-bending, nail-bitingly tense and unpredictable- all at once. That’s what makes it so great, apart from how crucial it is in building the characters, their relationship(s) and the trust that forms the basis of their truly twisted love story.

“Y’all my motherfuckin’ soul mates, swear to god. I just fell in love with y’all…”

This flows into what is the most talked-about scene from the film, in which Alien sings Britney Spears’ Everytime, playing a piano as the girls do a ballet around him in pink ski-masks, bikinis and sweatpants, wielding shotguns like toys. As Franco’s voice fades into Britney’s, the scene cuts to a blizzard of hedonistic violence as Alien and his Angels perform their dance of destruction.

The use of contrasting music as a counterpoint to violence in cinema is nothing new, but Spring Breakers does it exceptionally well, managing to transform Britney Spear’s pop ballad not just into something darkly humorous but also a strangely beautiful elegy to the loss of innocence. It’s one of those scenes that lift the viewer into a trance and the film into transcendence. True to his name, Mr. Korine achieves that rare thing in cinema: Absolute Harmony.

@miyaamihir on last scene of Star (Bombay Talkies)

हिन्दुस्तान की ही नहीं, शायद विश्व की सबसे प्रामाणिक ग्रामीण फिल्मों में से एक बनाने वाले निर्देशक सत्यजित राय मूलत: एक शहरी फिल्मकार थे। हमारे वर्तमान महानगर के चितेरे। उसकी अाकांक्षाअों के, उसके अपमानों के। मुझे श्याम बेनेगल के उन पर बनाये उस प्रामाणिक वृत्तचित्र का अंतिम दृश्य याद अाता है। राय अपने घर में अपने घर में, अपने कमरे में अपनी वर्किंग डेस्क पर बैठे हैं अौर अपना वही मशहूर सिगार पी रहे हैं। अौर फिर कैमरा ज़ूम-अाउट होता है। एक ही सिंगल शॉट में हम देखते हैं कि कैमरा पैन-अाउट होता हुअा खिड़की से बाहर निकलता है, अौर हालांकि राय अब भी हमारे सामने हैं लेकिन उनके साथ अब अन्य बहुत कुछ इस फ्रेम में है। एक पूरा शहर इस एक सिंगल शॉट में जैसे राय के साथ चला अाता है। एक ही फ्रेम में हम बीच में उनका घर देख रहे हैं जिसकी बीचोंबीच खिड़की में अब भी राय बैठे दिखाई दे रहे हैं, वही सिगार के साथ। लेकिन अब इस वाइड एंगल में चारों अोर से कलकत्ता की बहुमंजिला इमारतें अौर बाज़ार भी चले अाये हैं। यह एक दृश्य फिल्मकार को उसके सबजेक्ट के ठीक बीचोंबीच स्थापित करता है अौर शायद हमें यह भी बताता है कि किसी भी रचना को जैसे उसके समय से निरपेक्ष नहीं पढ़ा जा सकता, ठीक वैसे ही किसी भी रचना को उसके स्थान से निरपेक्ष  रख के पढ़ना भी मुश्किल है।

दिबाकर की ‘स्टार’ के उस अंतिम पोर-पोर जादू से भरे दृश्य में जहाँ पुरंदर (नवाजुद्दीन सिद्दीक़ी) अपनी बेटी को अपने जीवन का एक दिन पुन:रचकर सुना रहे हैं, दिखा रहे हैं, ठीक ऐसे ही एक पैन-अाउट होते हुए कैमरे के साथ पूरा शहर उनके दृश्य की सीमा के भीतर चला अाता है। यहाँ वो नायकत्व है जिसका दायरा अपनी चाल की बालकनी से अागे नहीं बढ़ पाया। यहाँ वो पिता है जो अपनी बेटी के लिए रची कहानियों में भी कभी नायक नहीं हो पाया अौर उसे कल्पना की दुनिया में भी सदा किसी ‘िहृतिक’ का सहारा लेना पड़ा। यहाँ वो इंसान है जिसकी असफलता अगर गौर से देखें तो हमारे वर्तमान शहर की वो बची-कुची ईमानदारी अौर असलीपना है जिसके होने के चलते ही पुरंदर अाज भी इस शहर में मिसफिट है।

‘स्टार’ सही मायनों में बम्बई की कथा है। यहाँ मुम्बई की बन्द हुई मिलें हैं अौर बेरोज़गार हुए मजदूरों के घरों का ठंडा चूल्हा है। तमाम सिनेमा की पृष्ठभूमि पर ऊँची चिमनियाँ है उन मिलों की जिनका धुअाँ जीवन की अग्नि की तरह कब का बुझ चुका है। यहाँ कुछ सर्वश्रेष्ठ अदाकार हैं जो विदर्भ से मुम्बई तक कुछ सौ किलोमीटर की दूरी अपने जीवनकाल में कभी पाट नहीं पाये। फाकों पर होता थियेटर है अौर उसमें फिर बराबरी का स्वप्न है। यहाँ अपने बाप की पेंशन पर जीता अौर समाज की नज़रों में एक असफ़ल इंसान है, अौर फिर एक निर्णायक क्षण है जब वह खुद पिता हो जाता है। सिनेमा के दायरों से परे एक अौर दुनिया है जिसमें अाज संतुष्टि को असफलता अौर असफलता को अयोग्यता का मूल मान लिया गया है। ऐसे समय में जहाँ अापके होने से ज़्यादा दिखाई देने का महत्व हो, ‘स्टार’ इशारा करती है कि सफल-असफल के खांचों के परे भी एक संसार होगा जिसमें योग्यता प्रदर्शन की मोहताज नहीं होगी। ‘स्टार’ उस जीवन के बारे में है जिसे अपने दायरे की पहचान करनी है, अौर जानना है कि उसका ‘स्टार’ होना, न होना दुनिया की स्वीकार्यता पर नहीं, सिर्फ एक बच्ची की हंसी पर निर्भर है। अौर इसके साथ ही यह हमें समझना है कि महत्वाकांक्षा का जयगान गानेवाले इस दुर्दांत समय में ‘संतुष्टि’ एक दुर्लभ मूल्य है।

@NotSoSnob on The Great Beauty’s opening party scene

The two most memorable scenes of the year for me are the climax of Frances Ha and Ilo Ilo. Frances Ha’s climax wraps up the film beautifully as its lead character gets what she wants from a relationship. Guess? It’s simple, unusual and still profound. Ilo Ilo’s climax is bitter sweet, as a kid gets slapped, you laugh at the scene first and then you realise what the filmmaker has done – completed the loop between two strangers who fought initially, bonded later and then had to separate. But am writing about another absolute favourite scene of the year. This one is from The Great Beauty.

When you are watching the film for the first time, you keep wondering what’s happening. Where is it going? It seems like a non-stop party music video. And all you see is bodies shaking vigorously in every possible way interrupted by chants of a bald man shouting, I’ll screw you, while looking at a lady dancing on top of the table. You see striptease, a woman shouting for her lost mobile, a dog in a purse, a very short woman lost in the crowd while sipping her drink, and then a tv showgirl appears with 6-5 written on her boobs. As Jep Gambardella turns back, you realise this is his birthday party. It continues for few more minutes, and then everyone starts dancing while matching their steps on the beats of Mueve la colita. After some time the music slows down, Jep gets out of the queue slowly, looks into the camera, the camera zooms in, slowly everyone gets out of the frame and we see only his face as his voice-over starts – To this question, as kid, my friends always gave the same answer – “pussy”. Whereas i answered, “the smell of old people’s houses”. The question was :

TGB

This scene not only sets up the film but also sums it up well. As Gambardella’s search continues through Rome’s rich and boring men and fashionable women, the only word that comes to your mind is decadence. I have gone back to the film many times and specially this scene. Just to hear the opening voice-over. But the impact is lost if you don’t watch the entire party scene – the dancer number, the slowing down of music and Jep moving out of the crowd. Because that’s where the separation begins. Jep and the rest. You are going to encounter all these characters in the film through Jep only. To go back to the madness of the scene, i have even saved this image as my computer screensaver. But i still can’t get enough of Mister Jep Gambardella, his voice-over and the insane beginning of his search for The Great Beauty.

Do let us know about your favourite scenes of the year in the comments section.

If you missed our earlier post in this 2013 flashback series, here’s the list – 20 Things We Learnt At The Movies and 13 Unanswered Questions is here, Top 10 Musical Gems We Discovered This Year is here, and 15 Film Fanatics on 17 Terrific Films That Have Stayed With Them is here.

In this post, Rohwit looks back at some of the best bollywood tracks that we looped this year.

Amidst the 100 crore musical disasters, few albums and some songs tried to stand tall, and that wasn’t tough even for a slightly above average song because thanks to the automatic tunes that come pre-fed in some expensive keyboards owned by some music composers, the ‘average’ bar is pretty low in Hindi films these days.

Here is our pick of 14 songs (ok 16! ok 17!) that made us sit up and sway! The order below is not in a ranking form. Some of the points contain 2 songs. So what? We cannot make up our mind. Yes, we get confused. Music does that to us.

 

1. Yes, it is based on a Beethoven symphony. Yes, it has a very ‘अरे ये पहले सुना है’ feel. Still, I haven’t heard a spookier lullaby in 2013. So take a bow Kumaar for penning this superb song and take a bow Sangeet Haldipur for singing it beautifully! Yes, it is one of the best songs I have heard this year. We are indeed referring to Aaja nindiya raina beeti jaaye rey from Aatma.

 

2. Khamakha hee-Badal Uthiya (Prem Dehati version) – from Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola. It took a local Harvanyvi singer (who hasn’t appeared on the again after this album by the way) Prem Dehati to mesmerize us with raw talent and touching melody. Not many songs have the longevity to survive in playlists these days but this song will be there for a long time.

In fact it was Prem Dehati’s splendid participation in Khamakha that lifted the already superb song to a level very few could match this year.

 

3. Manjha (Kai Po Che!) – Every Time A.R. Rahman’s music is about to hit the scene, there is so much anticipation and Amit Trivedi enjoys the same effect on music lovers at large. So it wasn’t a surprise when this splashed all across and we were treated to this song.

Swanand Kirkire has penned one of the best songs this year in Manjha. Simple lyrics, exquisite arrangement and we cannot get tired of Amit Trivedi’s studio singing. The other two songs were no less but somehow Manjha shall always be played before the other two.

 

4. Tum hi ho (Arijit Singh) – So it turns out that Arijit singh is turning everything into gold just by singing it! Easily a much better film to look at than it’s first part, Aashiqui 2 had this mother of a song that was overplayed to the extent of irritation. But can you dismiss it as being one of the stickiest song of 2013? No! Why is it featured on the list? Ask yourself if you don’t like humming it. We know some of you are humming it right now.

 

5. Khoon choos ley (Go Goa Gone) – There is a lot of Monday hatred (or so it seems on all social media platforms), so a Monday song was long overdue. The song in my view was wasted in the film Go Goa Gone and even the half-hearted music video wasn’t promoted well. Still, this has to be one of the best ‘I hate to wake up and go to work’ song we have heard in Hindi films. The nasal start, the ‘rrrrrrrrrrr rrrrrrrrrrrrrr’ part and splendid lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya makes this one a treat!

 

6. Badtameez Dil (Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani) – More than anything, we cannot get over the fact that Amitabh Bhattacharya used ‘dhimka falana’, ‘paan mein pudina’ and ‘moorhi bhaat’ so effortlessly! While the song belonged to RK on the screen (deservingly so), Benny Dayal is no less a rockstar to sing this with so much zest that even people with two left feet were seeing dancing at the mere mention of this song. Kudos to the brass band and Pritam for this one!

7. Raanjhnaa hua main Tum Tak (Raanjhanaa) – Yes. While many of us (including yours truly) started out disliking the million ‘tum taks’ in the song, the second half of the song, the shehnai (and the excellent use of manjeera) redeems this  song and how!

Be it the faint guitar riffs or excellent Jasvinder Singh (who made a guest appearance in the song), the title song of raanjhanaa had all going for it. More so, the emperor ARR was at his yearly best in this album as a whole.

 

8. Ghanchakkar babu (Ghanchakkar) – Amit Trivedi was heard having a ball in this one. While the album was not bad at all, this song stood out (and was on the loop for a long time) thanks to excellent arrangement and superb back up vocals. Trust Amitabh Bhattacharya to give an insightful touch to ‘Nala Sopara’! Top class song! Muuuuuuuuuuwaaaaaaah!

 

9. Monta Re (Lootera) –  The ‘chik chiki chik’ whispers by Swanand Kirkire, the quiet atmosphere, exquisite lyrics and a delicate presentation. This is easily the best song of the album that sounded more like Udaan part 2 than anything. We mean it in a good way. No. Really.

 

10. Mera Yaar – From the fantastic album Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Javed Bashir was given a song that was right up to his comfort zone and he hit it out of the park. We loved the entire album (without the ‘andar kaala bahar kaala PAR sachcha hai sala’ part) and were relieved that Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy are back to making good music, just like the good old days.

11. D-Day – A fantastic album overall. Be it the definitive Qawwali ‘Murshid khele holi’ or the heart breaking ‘Alvida’,  the album even made Mika tolerable when he attempted Dama dam mast kalandar. (Rekha Ji, सुन रही हैं ना आप?)

 

12. Shudh Desi Romance – Be it those tiny musical bits with Rajasthani sound or those lovely songs, Jaideep Sahni and Sachin Jigar served us a musical treat with  an adorable marriage of contemporary words and folksy-dinchik arrangement. Our pick from the album will remain ‘Tere mere beech mein kya hai’

 

13. Ram Leela – Though the album was filled with grand arrangement and excessive noise throughout, we really liked the adaptation of ‘Mor bani thangat karey’ and Lal Ishq (without the excessive noise towards the end).

 

14. Dil ki toh lag gayee (Nautanki Sala) – As an album, it had a distinct ‘townie’ sound to it (much like Bluffmaster). However, what blew the socks off the senses is Saba Azad’s super hot singing in ‘Dil ki toh lag gayee’. Ignore the horrible presentation of the song on screen though. A fantastic effort, insanely melodious at all times and very very saxxxay! Sing more Saba, we are listening!

We also enjoyed :

– Early morning (Chashme Baddoor) A lot of us debate where is Sonu Nigam and why isn’t he singing more. While we do not have anything to add to that, but we loved the way Mr. Nigam was having fun singing this wonderful song from a not so wonderful remake of a classic.

– ‘SPB ho ho!’ part from the title song of Chennai Express. There are very few occasions that compare to SP Balasubrahmanyam having fun in a song.

Ajnabi (Madras Cafe) The songs were wasted in an otherwise brilliant film but the whispering voice of Zeb left it’s mark. It’s a pity that this song went unnoticed.

 

Very Very Special Mention :

Padmanabh Gaikwad for singing Sapne rey sapna (from Ek Thi Daayan) . A fantastic voice that resonates innocence. We are way too tired of Gulzar saab doing splendid job every time he sits down to pen a song, so we won’t even stress the fact that we are in love with the ‘Bhoore bhoore baadalon ke bhaalu, Loriyaan sunaaye la ra ra ru’ part of the song. Hope to hear more from Padmanabh.

So which songs you looped this year? Let us know in the comments.

I got to watch the film on Tuesday. This was amidst too much hype, too much expectation, pressure to like/dislike instantly, and too eager to react. By that time reactions from the film fraternity had already started pouring in. And as a member of the crew told me during the screening, honestly, it’s impossible to make out anything from the pre-release screenings. Also, if one has read the script, one might be reacting differently from others.

In terms of reactions, Lootera has turned out to be strangely divisive films. The reaction of critics and audience going in extreme directions is quite obvious for most films these days. But here the critics rating varied from 2.5 to 5 stars. I can only think of Dev D which went further extreme and got ratings from 1 to 5 stars, and everything in between. But strangely, the audience reaction have also been extreme with Lootera. To give an example, as this twitter friend tweeted – “In our theater, about 15 ppl walked out. And about 15 broke into applause at the end. Strange. Didn’t think Lootera would be so polarizing.”

Anyway, after watching the film i told Motwane that i will mail my reaction, all in detail. Can’t react so quickly. And VM has responded to the criticism. Much thanks to him as most filmmakers in B-town run away as soon as their film releases. Also, thanks for agreeing to make the mail public.

Actually we wanted to do a post-release Q and A with him and his DoP Mahendra Shetty. But as the joke goes, Sonakshi is spreading her Lootera disease quite fast. So me and few others have been coughing like her since the film released, and hopefully these few answers are better than having absolutely nothing else.

Lootera

What worked for me

– as i told you i loved the second half. I loved the way it’s shot, so dark ( i hope it’s visible in theatres with bad projection. i remember problems with Kaminey, Gangster), the mood it creates and almost meditative in its space and silence. it’s GORGEOUS!

– as expected from you, it’s very well directed. well mounted, well captured.

– acting across the board is good, from leads to small roles.
– the pace is slow or leisurely which goes well with the mood and setting. good you didn’t hurry anywhere – consistent through out.

– the romantic village portions with so much brightness was looking tacky to me in the trailers. Thankfully it doesn’t feel so in the film. Right rustic touch with a FabIndia colour palette , if i can say so 🙂

– BEST part – you didn’t hit the excess notes for melodrama, perfect balance, didn’t even try to cash in on deaths on screen. That’s GREAT!
i was actually waiting to see if you will go Bhansali way with the father and friend’s death 😉 but you didn’t even go close there. Smart! and smartly handled.

what didnt work for me (and VM’s reply below each point)

– i think people will love the 1st half more but i didn’t feel that romance or passion in the first half. i am not sure why. or was it the heavy  background that you were using to make the point which was distracting me.

VM : It’s the same issue I have with the script in it’s current form. Though when I tried to think back to my original intention when writing the screenplay, it was pretty intentional to make it a love story that wasn’t quite a love story. It’s wasn’t supposed to be the achy type of love story and wasn’t supposed to become that way at all, even towards the end. I always wanted a lightness to the film throughout. So can’t say whether this is better or that. It is a flawed screenplay. Willing to live with that.

– actually the sound design at two places in 1st half was very odd, i felt. when the father starts narrating the story to Sonakshi in the beginning, the music suddenly fades in and goes so high. It was very out of place. i know you might be trying to make the easy connect with the sound so that it can be used in 2nd half with Sonakshi and tree. But it was too loud and so suddenly.

VM : The intention wasn’t to connect the music with the second half. It was a background piece. Maybe it was too loud. Didn’t seem that way when mixing it.

– similarly the use of that old hindi song that goes through all the montage when they are at the site and many such odd things, as in not romantic stuff but the song goes on, and just stops with the news of zamindari over. again very out of place.

VM : It stops with the zamindari news because that’s where the plot changes a little bit. And it feels loud because it’s mono and it cuts through the rest of the dialogue. Something we discovered too late and only at the final mix stage. No matter how soft we had it, it cut through,

– why so much grainy footage in 2nd half?

VM : Aesthetic call that me and (Mahendra) Shetty took. We both like grain and purposely went for a high grain stock. Wanted to give an aged, period feel without making it glossy or sepia tinted. In fact, there is more grain in the injection scene in the first half, which is just an under-lit scene. Mistake on our end.

–  And this might be nitpicking – when he climbs the tree, and the climax sequence – when he is walking, she is coming out of the house – at few places one can see the (VFX) jugaad – foreground and background not in sync especially when Ranveer is walking towards the police, the light, the things you have cheated – i mean it’s nice but not pitch perfect. similarly with snow and when he falls from the tree, you can make out it’s fluff. maybe if you are watching minutely then only.

VM : If you’ve seen the making video, you know what we had to go back to shoot snow sequences in summer with fake snow. Which means VFX work. Work that we have shot on grainy film, without green screen, with handheld camera. It’s the worst kind of situation for a VFX team and under the circumstances, they did an amazing job. The whole tree climbing and shoot out is VFX created. There are shots and mattes and snowflakes that make me cringe every time I see them but it’s just something we have to live with. Will do better next time.

– Basically, overall another good film. But you are so strong at filmmaking aspect, the craft, why tell a bollywood story. I hope you go beyond it now that you have done your conventional part. a more non-conventional/interesting/out of box idea/tale to match up to the talent of your craft.

VM : So the indie world thinks i’m telling a bollywood story. And the bollywood world thinks i’m too indie. You think this is conventional, they think this is too out of the box. So I can’t win…

Fact is, I went to tell a story that I believed in, warts and all. I can make all the excuses in the world about not having enough time to fix the script before shooting because we only had two months of pre-production blah blah but it’s pointless. This is the film I chose to make and I stand by it. Nobody knows and feels and understands the flaws of the film better than I do but that’s a discussion for another day.

I don’t want to get stuck making 4 crore films for the rest of my life because that’s what happens in this industry. It gets very easy for them to slot you into a ‘type’ of filmmaker. For better or for worse, this film was my attempt to break out of that.

– Posted by @CilemaSnob

(Pic courtesy – Lootera FB page)

Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap did AMA on Reddit yesterday. Someone asked him about the state of Indian film criticism. His reply in one word was “terrible”. Well, it doesn’t take much brains to figure this out. Open the papers on Friday and you can see it all over. Not to mention the reviews by trade analysts which industry endorses most vehemently, and who then manipulates box office updates accordingly, the ones with agendas other than films, and then there are the paid and the plugged ones. It’s routine now. Nobody is shocked or surprised. And that’s the worst thing to happen – to get used to it.

With social media getting prominence and becoming at least some kind of parameter to get audience reaction, the game of making a “perceptive hit or classic” starts days before the release. You are blinded by the blitzkrieg, a kind of emperor’s new clothes. And journos who are suppose to tell you otherwise, they are happy to get their pictures clicked with the stars. Well, why am i ranting? Because today is friday. Because a bigger rant follows this one. And because we have always been accused of being biased for/against some films and filmmakers. Not to mention being branded contrarian for the sake of it. From saying Talaash works best when you know the spoiler to defending Shyamalan’s latest to liking Raanjhanaa’s 2nd half more to Ghanchakkar being not that bad what critics are saying. Here’s the latest one in the series – on Lootera. And am saying this even though i liked lot of things in the film, especially the 2nd half. And you have to watch it because it’s made by the same filmmaker who gave us Udaan.

So watch the film and come back to the post. Though it’s a spoiler free and you can read before watching the film too. This one is by a new author called Nicolas Bourbaki. Familiar? You will get to know him soon.

Lootera

Warning – this is NOT a review of the film. This is a rant. A wannabe brilliant piece in support of brilliant cinema and stemming from the rangat of self conceit. And even though it doesn’t have spoilers, it is recommended to not read this piece of crap before watching the film.

It’s 1.30 am in my bedroom. I’m alone sitting by the almirah with the king sized mirror. I look at my reflection. I have pain anguish angst remorse guilt redemption realization hope despair despondency writ all over my face. The fan whirls 7 ft above my head. It’s a second hand cheap 800 rupees fan which makes a whirrring noise. No PSPO unlike the film I saw. Bedbugs trouble me. I look at my freckled face. Time stands still unhealed by pain and unfettered by the nocturnal twists and turns of a solitary night. Half a drop of tear rolls over my eyelid, brimming over, somewhat reluctant to fall down. Yet it knows, and it can feel my melancholia. It knows it must fall down. But will it or will it not ?

आँसुओं की किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़ता हो तो ऐसी हो

Please bear with me dear reader. This is not another synopsis of Ship of Theseus.

What a brilliant film!

Brilliant cinematography. Such gorgeous frames. Color schemes which would guarantee taciturn unconditional approval by Kie-slow-iski. Yellow when the mood is prosperous. White when characters are fighting inner demons. Dark interiors for people with dark circles. Transitions from Puja/Ramleela fervor to fever-ish asthma attacks that Baradwaj Rangan would love to write thesis & books on. Aesthetics which are carefully calibrated to the exact precision so well that Light appears to meticulously obey both Particle & Wave theory simultaneously at the director (and DOP’s) will.

When the characters come to kiss each other in a Terrance Malick-ian way, there is just about enough background flare to make the moment surreal, yet real without the hyper reality of the scene underscoring the cinematic liberties. Equality Fraternity. That’s the French revolution all the way till 2008’s Entre Les Murs (Class) – maybe the director’s favorite film that year. Sheer class!

Breaths. Pauses. Stays. Beats. Playback songs. Measured. Sure. Nimble footed. Sometimes hurried. Sometimes slow. Asphyxiating. Liberating. Gesticulating. Pontificating. Prepossessing. Repossessing.

“चार बाल सामने चाहिए. सिर्फ़ चार बाल! मुझे एकदम Natural look चाहिए. बिल्कुल made up नही”.” – Steven Kapoor said.

“मैं पिछली picture का print Tirupati (Balaji) ले जाना भूल गया था. इसी लिए नही चली थी” – the producer from Ludhiana reasoned with him.

I suddenly observe. Snowflakes are falling on me. यारी रोड में बर्फ बारी ? हौले हौले धीमे धीमे. I quickly wear my color co-ordinated sweater and stand up with my arms folded out like Andy Dufrene. Epiphany striked, symphony plays – Costume Design and Art Direction should have had top billing over writer/director’s credit.

I scribble my review on a piece of paper with a Chinese fountain pen dipped in a दवात. Then tear it apart. Then do a for-next loop until fade out.

What a performance by the father (Barun Chanda). Ranveer Singh restrains in restraining himself while Sonakshi Sinha has all the reasons to have my sympathy. But for some strange reason my sympathies lie with my bums, which have been lying motionless for over the 2 hours, uninvolved, dis interested, dazed, waiting for a jump in my seat moment, a lump in the throat, a mournful sigh. They perhaps demand too much as they get only assiduously created multi-textured verisimilitude along with a velvet touch of a fabric. Kora kagaz tha yeh bum mera…..

I wanted to cry, to laugh, to be angry, nervously bite my nails, fight with the irritating uncle with the kid asking them to shut up instead of searching for adjectives to define the craft. Even some of the later films directed by Santosh Sivan were … (space left intentionally for background music).

Even a gunshot wound has been brilliantly (decorated) created with 50 shades of grey. Nerolac Nerolac Nerolac! Waah miyaan Henry! Life is a tale told by an idiot. All sound and fury. Signifying nothing. Like this rant perhaps.

As the song goes – (har ek frame ko) Sanwaar loon, Sanwaar loon.

(PS – And now the media blitzkrieg begins. All I can muster up is this –

लबों के सिलवटों से उप्पर सिकुड़ी हुई छोटी सी एक नाक है

रूह ही ना डाली पिक्चर पोस्टकार्ड में तो फिर खुजली मज़ाक है)

(PPS – what’s well shot, needs editing, slow pace and blah blah blah? Here you go.

If you have not seen the “making of” Udaan, you have missed the best “making of” (film) made in recent years. Quickly go here and here and watch it. It’s as good as Udaan and is a film in itself.

Cut to

Lootera.

Again. Hope no controversies this time 🙂

Lootera making

Since they started teasing about it, we have been keenly waiting for Lootera making. Good news is it’s out. Bad news is it’s just 5 minutes. But it looks good – unlike others it gives a real sense of “making a film”. We hope they soon release the full making of the film.

When we put out the post on Lootera’s first teaser, i wrote that “close your eyes and watch the teaser again – i think it’s the music.” Well, none of us had any clue that it will turn out to be KLPD.

Why?

Play both the tracks back to back and decide for yourself.

So? Who is the culprit? Who has done the background score? Or have they taken the rights? Can anyone please connect the dots?

Tip – Prosit

(PS – Something similar had happened when Udaan’s trailer came out. The text was plagiarised from the trailer of Where The Wild Things Are and we had mentioned in our post.)