Posts Tagged ‘Om Puri’

The World of Shutu

It’s always difficult to write about a film when it comes back home with you as a very palpable emotion. The conflict is between whether to talk about the film (like a semi-review, talking about the great crew and cast, plot, motifs etc.) or the memories & insights it triggered. Since it’s a quick & short piece written in the middle of a very tight schedule, mainly to excite the reader enough to go and watch the film, I will stay somewhere in between – a bit clumsy but functional.

We all have been Shutu at some point of time in our lives. I know I have been, for many years. Bullied, ridiculed, misunderstood, misfit and still trying to smile lest I should be seen as ‘sissy’. Fitting into this world of men is a constant struggle for men even. It’s a game whose rules we laid on our own and still laid them so tough that now we are having a hard time catching up. Why did we do this to ourselves? Why we continue to do this – trying to check items off a laundry list to pretend that we have grown up (from a male perspective only)? Why do we want to grow up? Due to social pressure or survival mechanism – like preys turning into predator?

Konkona Sen Sharma’s directorial debut A Death In The Gunj takes one to such places – beautiful and uncomfortable – places where innocent nostalgia meets the darkest memories. Set in 1979, it’s about a Bengali family with a severe Raj-era hangover on a quaint holiday in Bihar’s (now Jharkhand’s) McCluskieganj – a place with an equally severe Raj-era hangover. The family has many people and egos, a bunch of well-adjusted, seemingly non-threatening abnormals. And the family has Shutu (Vikrant Massey in a role of a lifetime) – the younger brother broadly seen as a silent-introvert type. The constant clash between the two worlds – one inhabited by the family with its bikes & muttons & drinks & pranks & love-games, and another in which Shutu sits by the window sketching frogs in an old diary – scrapes the paints off both of them. The delicate locking mechanism that had kept them together starts wearing off and the moment of truth, or whatever the grown-up version of that is, comes closer and closer.

The only bridge between the two worlds is Shutu’s teenaged niece Tani – already bored of the games adults play & constantly fascinated by Shutu’s scientific-poetic lonely view of the world. It’s not a coincidence that the bridge is a female ‘cos this is a film deeply aware of its gender politics (and at a couple of places, class politics too). Men behave like boys-behaving-like-men, women behave like women-seen-through-men’s-eyes, as two conflicted souls (Shutu and Tani) clutch at straws while drowning in the waters of such rigid definitions.

As a fat teenaged kid in the 90s, I loved watching cricket and I wasn’t bad at playing it too but nobody would select me in the team. My fatness and my academic bent (the tag of “padhaaku”) were a liability nobody was willing to carry. Even if selected in the team (the last to be picked), I’d not get a chance to bat or bowl. So I’d put all my efforts into fielding well. I’d kill myself to get that throw from the boundary right.

But still, just to show I am cool with this treatment, I would offer to play the umpire. That way, I’d get to be on the field at least, get to hold the ball at the end of every over (just for a few seconds before I toss it to the next bowler), and be treated with respect by both the teams. I’d apply myself to the task & be the most unbiased, observant umpire. Sometimes, I’d get to play a few balls or bowl an over – and I believe that became possible only because of the bridges I made as an umpire. But in the process, I lost something precious too. I lost my courage to openly cry in public. I lost my feminine side, or at least suppressed it for the longest time, to fit into this world of men.

And that’s why, when in one scene Shutu is the last to be picked for a game of kabaddi, his state of mind was so relatable that I felt like crying. I did not, yet again.

Varun Grover

*********************

For those looking for a quick list of reasons to watch (and watch you MUST):

  1. Konkona Sen Sharma’s assured, sensitive debut as a Director. Ace!
  2. Konkona Sen Sharma’s screenplay co-written with Disha Rindani (based on a short story by Mukul Sharma) is full of delightful dialogue & an eerie sense of impending doom.
  3. Rich texture and detailing. Made on a small budget but NEVER looks like it. Sirsha Ray (DOP) and Sidhharth Sirohi (Production Design) bring their A-game to the table.
  4. McCluskieganj’s wild charm has been captured so ethereally that you can smell the air, touch the greenery.
  5. The film has four languages (English, Hindi, Bangla, and Chhota Nagpuri) and all spoken with a natural effortlessness rare to find in Indian cinema.
  6. The brilliant original score and music by Sagar Desai (disclosure: I worked with him in ‘Ankhon Dekhi’) elevates and layers the film with great precision.
  7. One of the best ensemble casts in recent memory – Ranvir Shorey, Kalki  Koechlin, Tilottama Shome, Gulshan Devaiah, Jim Sarbh, Arya Sharma, Tanuja, and Om Puri (one of his last roles and what a delight he is!).
  8. Such well-etched and distinct characters – right from Ranvir Shorey’s Vikram to Kalki’s Mimi to Tilottama’s Bonnie to Gulshan Devaiah’s Nandu – constantly chattering, surprising and layering the film with their brilliant mannerisms.
  9. Vikrant Massey got the kind of role actors crave for and he hits it out of the park. Shutu is beautiful and heartbreaking.
  10. Every department has delivered and the best thing is – the sum is way greater than the parts. Do not miss this film.

Remembering Om Puri

Posted: January 20, 2017 by moifightclub in cinema, Gods of Cinema, RIP
Tags: , , , ,

Om Puri

CINTAA, IMPPA and IFTDA, the three film bodies recently organised a memorial event for Om Puri where his friends and fans from the film industry got together and shared their memories.

Varun Grover was there and managed to record some of it. Do check out the playlist. It has Rakesh Bedi, Satish Kaushik, Neena Gupta and Johnny Lever talking about their memories of the actor.

अलविदा, पुरी साहब

Posted: January 7, 2017 by moifightclub in cinema, RIP
Tags: ,

With Om Puri’s death, we have lost one of the best acting talents this country has ever produced. His body of work is impossible to match – from parallel cinema to mainstream bollywood, from indies to world cinema and Hollywood. Any terrific artist like him always leaves behind a huge legacy. But it’s always our small stories about how we felt connected with them at some point in life makes them more memorable. That connect is individual and sacred. Lyricist Swanand Kirkire shared this memory on his FB.

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जब मैं ११ में पढता था, अर्धसत्य देखी थी रीगल सिनेमा में।

सिनेमा में ५ दिन लगातार, १२ से ३।

अनंत वेलनकर दिमाग पर ऐसा छाया था की कुछ दिनों बाद जब फाइनल एक्जाम हुए और अंग्रेजी के पेपर में यूवर हीरो विषय पर निबंध लिखने को आया तो मैंने दे धना धन अपने हीरो ओम पुरी पर ४ पन्ने लिख मारे।

बाहर आकर दोस्तों को बताया वो हंसने लगे ।

किसी ने जवाहर लाल नेहरू पर लिखा था और किसी ने सुभाष चंद्र बोस

मेरी सिट्टी पिट्टी गुम ।

वो तो भला हो पेपर जांचने वाले का की उसने मुझे ठीक ठाक नंबर दे कर पास कर दिया।

बहोत सालों बाद मुम्बई के शुरुवाती दिनों में मैं जानी-मानी अभिनेत्री सारिका जी के साथ एक किताब पर काम कर रहा था।

पता चला पुरी साहब उनके अच्छे दोस्त थे।

बातों ही बातों में ये किस्सा उन्हें सुना दिया ।

२९ अप्रैल १९९९ मेरे जन्म दिन पर अचानक सारिका जी ने मुझे घर पर खाने का निमंत्रण दिया ।

मैं गया तो उन्होंने कुछ लोगों को बुला रखा था ।

उनमे एक ओम पुरी साहब भी थे ख़ास मेरे लिए !!!!!

सारिका जी ने मेरे निबंध का किस्सा उन्हें सुनाया, खूब हंसे थे पुरी साहब !

सपने देखने और पूरे होने दोनों की शुरुवात ओम पुरी साहब से हुई ।

सारिका जी का जितना शुक्रिया कहूँ कम है ।

पुरी साहब आप का जाना वजूद से किसे हिस्से के चले जाने जैसा है ।

काश कोई मुझे वो पुरानी एग्जाम की कॉपी ला कर देता ताकि मैं आपको फिर से बता सकता की आप मेरे लिए क्या थे । 

अलविदा । 

– स्वानंद किरकिरे

Going by this wicked short film directed by Konkona Sensharma, we felt it was just a matter of time till she graduates to features. So here’s the good news – her feature directorial debut, A Death In The Gunj is ready, and the film will have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

With this film, Abhishek Chaubey and Honey Trehan have turned producers with their new production banner, MacGuffin Pictures.

The film’s festival trailer is also out. Do have a look.

We don’t have exact synopsis of the film yet, but here’s what TIFF says about the film – Award-winning actor Konkona Sensharma makes her feature debut as a writer-director with this coming-of-age story about a shy young Indian student who quietly and fatefully unravels during a family road trip.

The film’s cast includes Vikrant Massey, Ranvir Shorey, Kalki Koechlin, Gulshan Devaiah, Tillotama Shome, Jim Sarbh, Tanuja Mukherjee, Om Puri and Arya Sharma.

Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist is making all the right noises. First came the announcement that it will have it open the 69th Venice International Film Festival with its world premiere. And today it was announced that the film will have its gala at the Toronto International Film Festival as well.

It’s an adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s acclaimed book by the same name. It stars Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Martin Donovan, Om Puri and Shabana Azmi. It has been adapted by William Wheeler, with the screen story by Mohsin Hamid, and Ami Boghani, has cinematography of Declan Quinn, production design by Michael Carlin, costumes by Arjun Bhasin and edited by Shimit Amin. The music includes both the old and new Pakistani sounds with the iconoclastic Michael Andrews scoring and a new original song by Peter Gabriel.

Few new stills of the film are online now and here’s the slideshow of the same…

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If you haven’t read the book, here’s the official synopsis from the Venice Festival’s website…

Student demonstrations are raging in Lahore, as young Pakistani professor Changez Khan and a journalist, Bobby Lincoln, share a cup of tea and conversation. Princeton-educated Changez tells Lincoln of his past as a brilliant business analyst on Wall Street. He talks of the glittering future that lay before him and the beautiful and sophisticated Erica whom he was set to share that future with.

But then 9/11 changes everything. Attitudes shift dramatically – his very name and face rendering him suspect. Returning to his homeland and the family to whom he is very close, he takes up a post as lecturer at the local university, a hotbed of radicalism and the new militant academia.

The collegial pretense of the meeting in a Lahore teahouse, between Lincoln and Changez, slowly gives way to why the unlikely pair has gathered on a summer day – another professor has been kidnapped by extremists, and the clock is ticking toward a deadline for his execution. Changez’s family is being harassed and is in real danger. Bobby is there to listen, with an agenda of his own. Taking us through the culturally rich and beguiling worlds of New York, Lahore and Istanbul, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an exploration of prejudice and the phenomenon of globalization that is both exhilirating and deeply unsettling.

Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra is back after the debacle of Delhi – 6. But this time as a producer.

Teen Thai Bhai is produced by PVR Pictures and ROM. It stars Om Puri, Shreyas Talpade and Deepal Dobriyal. The film is directed by debutant Mrigdeep Singh Lamba. Lyrics are by Gulzar and music is Ranjit Barot and Sukhwinder Singh.

The film was earlier titled Mad, Madder, Maddest. The cast is interesting for sure but seems like the film is going to be slapstick.

 

 

The sequel to East Is East is here. The film is being screened at the ongoing Toronto International Film Festival. Starring Om Puri, Aqib Khan, Linda Bassett, Ila Arun and Jimi Mistry, its directed by debutant Andy De Emmony. Click on the play button to check out the trailer.

And here is the official synopsis…

Manchester, Northern England, 1976. The now much-diminished, but still claustrophobic and dysfunctional, Khan family continues to struggle for survival. Sajid, the youngest Khan, is under heavy assault both from his father’s tyrannical insistence on Pakistani tradition, and from the fierce bullies in the schoolyard. His father decides to pack him off to Mrs. Khan No 1 and family in the Punjab, the wife and daughters he had abandoned 30 years earlier. The sequel to East is East, West is West is the coming of age story of both 15-year-old Sajid and of his father, 60-year-old George Khan.

And click here and here to read two early reviews, published in Screen Daily and The Hollywood Reporter.