Posts Tagged ‘Navjot Gulati’

If you love Hindi mainstream cinema but are disappointed with the quality of cinema being made in the country right now, and believe that online content has taken over, then this is for you. By the end of this post you might realise that it may have been an underwhelming year at the movies but yet there have been few things that we all need to cherish.

Listing my favourite cinematic moments from the Hindi films that have released in the year 2016.

Airlift

1. At the end of Airlift the tricolour is waved and Vande Mataram sung by KK plays in the background. Now, i’m not the one for jingoism but the way they did it in Airlift, it got me. The build up to this point with the an Argo-ish execution by director Raja Menon was A-class.

Neerja

2. Neerja Bhanot’s mom delivers a speech in the end of the movie. I saw the film first day first show with a half-full auditorium and i can say for sure that almost all of us were in tears when she said the line, ‘meri mamma sey kehna, Pushpa i hate tears’.

Kapoor & Sons

3. The Plumber scene. A plumber is repairing a leak in the house while all the family members are fighting. He becomes a part of the chaos and witnesses the fight between the family members. As his work is completed, he goes and announces that he is done. Rajat Kapoor asks him, ‘kitna hua‘. He says ‘is bure waqt pe jo theek lagey‘. The line was delivered with utmost seriousness but the audience (including me) burst out laughing out of sheer nostalgia. It’s almost as if we all have had this scene play out in life at some point.

Nil Battey Sannata

4. The interview scene with Pankaj Tripathi, Ratna Pathak Shah & Swara Bhaskar is incredible. Imagine a mother wanting to get admitted in the school where her daughter studies.

Udta Punjab

5. At a point in the film Ik Kudi reprise plays in the background and there is a high speed sequence in which Shahid Kapoor’s Tommy fights some goons, and then cycles his way to find Mary Jane played by Alia Bhatt. The build up to this moment by writer Sudip Sharma and Abhishek Chaubey is nothing short of spectacular and the pay-off is a HOOT.

Sultan

6. Many people love the moment when Salman Khan looks at his paunch but for me it is the jag ghoomeya step in the movie. The song itself is one of my favourites of this year, and i think the magic is in the step too. It’s not some extraordinary dance move but the fact that Salman Khan made so much effort and pulled it off with so much élan tells us how serious he is for his craft. In what is perhaps the golden phase of his career, he is the one setting the guidelines for the rest of the industry by working with talented directors and doing content driven films.

Rustom

7. The track between Anang Desai (as the judge) and Kumud Mishra (as the tabloid editor) had me in splits. It seemed out of place in an otherwise serious movie. But in isolation it’s hilarious. Full playing to the gallery and seeti maar stuff. The small town front bencher inside me loved it.

Pink

8. In a moment during the courtroom sequence Mr.Bacchan explains the meaning of consent to Angad Bedi’s character who comes from a typical patriarchal mindset. That was gold.

M.S.Dhoni  – The Untold Story

9. Dhoni may not have been the greatest film of the year but it sure had some really fine moments. Sushant Singh Rajput is talking on the landline without a wire and his friend who is visiting him thinks he has gone nuts as his career is not doing anywhere. It turns out to be a prank.

10. Pre-Interval moment when Sushant’s character finally decides to follow his dreams and gets into the running empty train.

Ae Dil hai Mushkil

11. The love in the eyes of Ayan played by Ranbir Kapoor for Anushka Sharma’s Alizeh as she walks around with her friends just before her nikaah. The look that Ranbir Kapoor had in his eyes is what i call the ufff-moment. So is the entire song. I dare say that channa mereya is the best directed song of Karan Johar’s career.

Dangal

12.Geeta played by Fatema Sana Sheikh comes back to her hometown after her stay at NSA where she has been exposed to new methods of wrestling, and she believes that her father’ Mahavir Phogat’s (Aamir Khan) coaching methods are outdated. The father-daughter get into a bout and it turns out to be one hell of a fight.

Sairat

13. The climax where Archie and Parshya’s son Tatya walks back as we follow the footsteps drenched in blood. One of the most powerful and heart wrenching moments at the movies this year. Nagraj Manjule’s Sairat went on to become a classic, and this powerful scene was our take away when we left the theatres.

Dear Zindagi

14. Now, Dear Zindagi may not have been one of the best movies of the year but one particular moment in the film made me smile no end. The point when SRK’s Jehangir khan sits on the chair after Alia’s Kaira walks out and the chair’s creeking sound signify the fact that he may have feelings for her.

Waiting

15. Kaliki : How long have you been married for?

Naseer : 40 years.

Kalik : FUCK!

Naseer: You mean, ‘how wonderful’.

The scene with this dialogue exchange between the two leads who are waiting by the bedside of their respective spouses was truly wonderful.

16. And in case you are wondering about the 16th one, well, i want you to discover that yourself in the criminally underrated and under-watched movie, Buddhia Singh : Born to Run. Had an Aamir Khan backed it, it would have been a sure shot winner at the box office and found its audience.

So yeah, by this point i hope you would want to believe that the year has not been that bad.

Please do comment and tell me your favourite moments/scenes from this year’s movies.

Navjot Gulati

(PS – I know Sairat should not be in this Hindi film list but i do believe that the film had a greater impact than any of the movies released this year. It’s a film that transcended across language barriers)

Kaaka Muttai – it’s a small film that’s winning hearts and making headlines. Thanks to the makers and distributors of the film, it has released with subtitles in Mumbai. Here’s a recco post of the same by @Navjot Gulati.

Danushs-Kakka-Muttai-feature

My favourite pizza topping is onion, capsicum, mushroom with extra cheese. For those people who are familiar with Delhi’s famous Nirula’s pizza, they would remember it as OCP. The pizza from Nirula’s remains my favourite but that’s only if it’s outside the home. The best pizza that i have ever eaten is the one which my mom used to make when we were kids. Me and my brother used to save up money for it by selling raddi (scrap). I’m talking about the days when making a pizza in the house was nothing less than an event, unlike today when its available everywhere, and at a cheap price. It was like you are eating something very important today. Back in the nineties, much before the Domino’s and Pizza Huts came to the country, Pizza was a luxury for every middle class household.  The movie Kakka Muttai made me time travel to that era.

It’s the story of two brothers who make money by selling coal that drops from the trains which passes through their slum area, and with that money they support their family. The kids like to call themselves Big crow egg and Small crow egg. The film centers around the story of these two kids struggling and trying all means to buy a pizza. The fact that two kids are struggling to buy a pizza worth Rs 300 even in 2015, tells us that not much has changed. Acche Din maybe here but only for the privileged ones like us who are reading this on a fast internet connection in the comfort of our air-conditioned homes. There is an India outside our internet which we seem to have forgotten. And films like these connect you humanely with lives and emotions that we don’t even realise. A strange guilt, a bit of happiness and a dip of nostalgia.

The movie pretty much sums up the state of this country through the eyes of these two slum kids – wanting to eat pizza from a new fancy shop which has come up in place of their playground where they used to drink yolk from the crow’s egg. It makes you wonder what our kids deserve more – playground or pizza shops? Long live consumerism.

And the kids are considerate enough to leave one for the crow. Yeah. Check. As i look back, it feels i was also considerate as a kid. Maybe all kids are. Adulthood spoilt me. Now i’m even mean sometimes. But aren’t we all then. And i hate that. Anyway, coming back to the movie. Though it starts with the struggle of these two trying to get and eat a pizz but then it becomes much more. It becomes about our society and how each person here is trying to use the situation to their advantage – be it the politician, the middleman, or the women from the slums protesting against what happened to the kids. These situations might read cliched on paper but the way director M. Manikandan has handled the scenes and his actors, it make you overlook that. The best thing about the film is that it never goes overboard trying to exploit your emotions. Lets face it. Two-poverty-stricken-kids-wants-a-pizza has a lot of scope for that as we have seen in many movies in the past.

I generally used to associate Tamil cinema with loud scape and over dramatic tones, but with Kaaka Muttai my perspective has got a paradigm shift. Next time someone recommends me a Tamil film, i won’t make a face but instead make the effort to give it a fair chance. A special mention to my friend Niren Bhatt (co-writer of the Gujrati smash hit BeYaar and the upcoming All is Well)  who insisted that i watch this movie at any cost. This post is nothing but me insisting all of you to give Kaaka Muttai a chance before it goes out of the cinemas.

Please go see this film. And this film recco comes from someone who is not a great fan of manipulative poverty porn. This one is not. It is much more. It is in-fact the Salaam Bombay of this generation. Don’t miss this gem. Go see it.

Navjot Gulati

(ps – If you watched and liked the movie, then do tell me which is your favourite scene. Mine is the one in which our Kaaka Muttais meet two rich kids outside City Centre)

BG

It was an open bet. If Navjot Gulati‘s world-famous-in-vacuous-versova short film gets a million hit, we will feature it in our world-famous-in-vacous-versova blog. Fuck knows what we were drinking that day!

And thanks to his relentless social media marketing skills, the film really managed to cross the mark. And so, here is the film. Enjoy!

ps – Never take a bet with Navjot if it involves any promotional skills 😛

If the header is not self-explanatory, then over to Navjot Gulati for the rest. Read on.

THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILER. DO NOT READ, No, wait. READ IT IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS FILM.

I often hear an argument by filmmakers and film Buffs that masala films generate money for the smaller (better) films to be made, and they provide good time pass fun. Not so very long ago I also believed that, but on 1st June my belief went for a toss – from Andheri to Malad to Filmcity to some studio in the outskirts of Bombay(that’s where the most of this piece of crap was shot). I wasn’t mighty impressed by Rowdy Rathore’s (RR) promos but somewhere I could see the wickedness which Prabhudeva portrayed in Wanted and that gave me a hope that RR might be a good fun, but alas.

I firmly believe that staying true to the genre is the most difficult thing to do, and if you succeed in doing that, then a Singham or a Wanted is born. For me, Singham and Wanted are true to the genre. I have been using this word too much I guess. Yes, I’m. I like to call it the Punjabi Dosa (ok, I just coined it).

The ingredients are as follows :

1. An emotional story ‘inspired’ or ‘lifted’ or ‘officially bought’ from a Southie Film.

2. A big star who is famous in North India, has six packs to show and shirts to take off.

3. 5 well-directed action sequences.

4. Humorous dialogues.

5. An item number.

6. Peppy Music.

7. A very strong villain.

8. Standout performances by supporting cast.

By no means I’m endorsing these kinds of films. I’m just stating a fact. Now, let’s analyze Raddi Rathore on these parameters.

1. Emotional Story

A pickpocketeer doppelganger of a cop takes revenge from a crime lord in Devgarh. This revenge is for the cop’s murder after he is tricked into becoming the guardian of cop’s little daughter, who still has a walkman in 2012! Because? Precisely, there’s no reason. Nostalgia, i say. Well, whatever rest happens in the film is because of only one reason – that is what happens in the original film which they have got the right to remake.

And they also have a homage to Jadu, the alien from Koi Milgaya, as the Cop is suffering from a tumor and can only fight like a Hulk when water is sprayed on his head.

2. A big star with six packs who takes his shirt off.

I disappoint. No Bhaai. No Duggu. No Devgn. No Shirt off. Probably Akki was not prepared since this is his 1st action film in AGES (CCTC, Tasveer,Tashan, Singh is King, Family had NO ACTION).

3. 5 well directed Action sequences.

I will give a 5star to anyone who can point out those to me I as was busy yawning throughout the slow-mo punches and the blasting cars in CG, all lifted from the original film (Vikramarkudu).

4. Humorous dialogues.

An example of film’s humor?

Well, it was nonexistent.

5. An item number

Wanted and Dabbang had better. Even Singham for that matter.

6. Peppy Music

The music by Sajid-Wajid is functional. Won’t last beyond the weekend of the film.

7. A very Strong Villain

They cast a guy from Southie films called Nasseer, who is trying to hard do a Prakash Raj, and he is playing a Bihari guy whose voice has been dubbed. #Enoughsaid

8. Standout performances by supporting cast

The guy who played the photographer, he has made a living out of the phrase, Bhaiyya Ji Ismile. Singham had Prakash Raj’s comic act towards the end. I crack up whenever he says, “Yeh Cheating hain”. Wanted had Prakash Raj again. Also, it had Vinod Khanna in an unintentionally funny performance. In this film, we have Yashpal Sharma visiting Baapji, played by Nasseer, with his kids and begging him to help find his wife. Later on he sees her as the sex slave of the son of Baapji, and keeps quiet to avoid his irk. As pointed by Karan Anshuman in his Mumbai Mirror review, this has to be the most regressive scene in hindi cinema history. For me, the character of Yashpal Sharma defines the film.

Now, coming to my biggest problem with the film – the ‘sur’ of the film. The reason all the films I have mentioned have worked is because they didn’t take themselves seriously, but strangely for good 50 minutes Rowdy Rathore is cringe worthy with its stupid take on all sorts of regressive films that Dharam Paaji used to do with B-grade directors. And suddenly towards the last 30 minutes, it becomes a goof ball comedy where the villain is now scared of the Police Inspector, and it miserably fails while trying to pull off a Prakash Raj.

Why It should Flop.

If this film also goes on to have a steady run from Monday, then it will give rise to many clones which will take our cinema nowhere. The ‘virus’ started with Bhaai, moved to Devgn, and now has reached Akki. I won’t be shocked if we see SRK doing such a film and making an ass of himself soon. Shahid Kapoor is already doing the remake of Vettai. And even bigger fear I have is that somewhere an aspiring filmmaker, after seeing the success of the film, will believe that the film is not about the script but the star (although it’s true but there are many who are trying to change that).

The day is not far away when Tushar Kapoor will ask Ekta Kapoor to ‘relaunch’ him in a southie remake, or for that matter, even, ‘Uday Chopra’. Be prepared for it or spread the word and make Raddi Rathore a weekend phenomenon which tanks Monday onwards.

(P.S – I’m not against masala films but the ones made ‘Badly’ like Buddha Hoga Tera Baap and now Raddi Rathore. Also, I have intentionally left out many points mentioned in other reviews/posts because I am also trying to be original 😉

Early reviews in bollywood are unlike anything in the rest of the world – you can never trust them. And at a time of social networking, everything spreads like wild fire. So when i heard good things about Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, the first person who was skeptical about it was film buff and screenwriter Navjot Gulati and rightly so. Big banner, big stars, screening for friends and family and early review by so called trade analysts – why would anyone trust it? And then he saw the film and ran in other direction. Why and how? Read on. Has SPOILER.

The heading is a popular line from a popular tv campaign. However, the Pappu in question here is director Shakun Batra, who did an Aamir Khan impersonation in the song Pappu can’t dance saala (from 2:46 ).

Now, before I start talking about the film, let me tell you that this post is about the film and also about the director. How a rank outsider was able to make such a big debut?  And to top it all, he was able to make a “perfectly average” film with the same banner that made great films (NOT) like Agneepath, Kurbaan, We are Family ( I call it We all Act Hammily) and I Hate Luv Stories. You may wonder what is so common between all these five films including Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu. Interestingly, all of them have been directed by debutant directors.

What sets Shakun Batra apart is the fact that he made a big budget romcom with an indie feel, and, with a banner which is known for making candyfloss films set in unreal world. Shakun is also the one who started the Assistant Director’s community on Facebook which has helped thousands of people since its inception around five years back. One would think it has to be good karma as he was able to make his debut after assisting in just four films. I know people who have been working with top production houses and have assisted in more than eight films and still can’t even write a story, forget about making a film. The point being if you are talented and smart, you will always be able to make a film. Shakun’s smartness was in striking friendship with Imran Khan, who, let’s face it, may not be a great actor but he certainly has an eye for “good” scripts. Yes, if you are an outsider wanting to make big films, this is one way which can work.

Now coming to the film.

EMAET is a film which almost 80 percent of the population of Indian will be able to connect to because every character in the film is relatable. The Goofball dad Philip, sexed up Boolani,  demanding Kapoors, not-in-a-zone-to-get-in-a-relationship Riana, highly-under-the-influence-of-family Rahul and my favorite, the Granny. We all have seen such people around us and that is what makes you believe that this is “your” story.

It starts off as little over the top but it was refreshing to see the detailing in the film and the body language of Imran Khan, an actor known for NOT knowing what acting is. Imran’s family was bit over the top too but then came Kareena, almost like a breath of fresh air and the film was never the same again. She reminded me of Summer Fin from 500 days of Summer – a girl every boy wants to fall in love with. As the film progresses, you know that this is going to end up in only one way but you still want the guy to get the girl and so the movie works.

The movie does not go over the top even in any of the dramatic sequences, like the dinner table chopstick scene and the one in the school corridor. Kareena is so good that I fell in love with her all over again. Last time it was in 2007 with Jab We Met. The character she plays is the girl every guy wants to end up with for the rest of his life. Sweet, sexy, adventurous and caring.

But the one who steals the show is Imran Khan. Finally, the boy becomes man and learns to act and changes his hairstyle too. Watch him in the scene where he goes on a date with Anusha. He is damn funny! This is the first romcom to not have a kiss in the end, or the Indian equivalent to kiss – “hug” or better “marriage”. The film breaks all the clichés of Hindi romcoms and does it in style by having an ambiguous end. Although it is very clear that she does not love him but what the director leaves us with is that lil’ hope, that she may come back to him sometime in the future.

The photography along with the background music sets the mood perfectly and lets you flow with the story smoothly. Just listen to the way Clinton Cerejo jazzes up aaja aaja main hoon pyaar tera. Music by Amit Trivedi is of timeless variety – a rarity in today’s times when music is forgotten a week after the film releases. To sum it up, this is one of those rare films where I could not find a single thing that would put me off, everything was “Perfectly Average”, just like the 90 percent of the world’s population.

(P.S – I know the film has been inspired from various romcoms like What Happens in Vegas, 500 days of Summer, and desi flicks like Jab We Met and Wake Up Sid. But i did not mind the inspiration because the writers made something of their own from the inspired material.)