Posts Tagged ‘Radhika Apte’

(WARNING: Watch the movie first. May spoil it for you if you don’t.)

It feels a little strange to call a film titled ‘Andhadhun’ pointedly self-aware. But then if a Sriram Raghavan film won’t kill and resurrect irony a thousand times, then what will?

Just when the Nanas, Bahls and Kavanaughs of the world had you ready to throw yourself in the nearest gutter and die, there comes something so innocuous – a thriller film that ends up giving you hope about life. There is still some goodness left in the world and it’s all stuffed inside Sriram Raghavan’s film.

Wait, hope did you say? In a film full of darkness, little innocence and no redemption? What hope did I find in this universe of dystopia that is so dystopic it doesn’t even take its own dangers seriously? Enough so that I don’t get pimples due to all the invisible tension, you know!

Andhadhun is good for health
It is like anaar juice. You know, rich and full of texture and body wala juice that is actually just clear liquid. You drink and feel you are in heaven but the minute its over it is over. But you still relish it for a long time, that richness and the memory of the texture of the richness. It’s local but exotic at the same time, sweet and sour at the same time and dry and wet at the same time. Anaar juice is also very good for the liver, no?

And apparently, so are rabbits, full of vitamins and minerals. The vitamins and minerals of this film go far beyond the sharply written plot spiralling out of control every five minutes. Or so it seems because it never goes out of hand. The film merely teeters on the edge; as mercurial as Tabu’s performance, as lucid as Radhika’s and as fluid as Ayushmann’s.

What keeps it from teetering off the edge is the phenomenal love for the medium on display, the self-assured craft and the Raghavan moral universe that plays hand in glove with immorality as smoothly as the images, sound, music, words, places, people and performances play with each other; all the worlds he seems to understand equally well.

Such ingenuity cannot come without a distinct love and understanding of the medium and it cannot come without the accompanying genius of your team. Without K.U. Mohanan’s intriguing camera work, Madhu Apsara’s equally trippy and cheeky sound design and Pooja Ladha Surti’s shrewd editing, the film would not have been half of what it is eventually, a sheer treat of music and magic.

Such ingenuity also cannot come without a stronghold on the moral core of the story. Raghavan’s films may all be stories steeped in an immoral universe with equally susceptible heroes, where goodness doesn’t necessarily always get rewarded and evil isn’t always punished. Yet, they operate within a very clear and basic framework of right and wrong that never loses its focus, even when gutted and laughing at its own self.

A completely plot-driven narrative from start to finish, one then almost imagines Raghavan playing similarly with his film. Turning his hero from blind to not blind to blind to we-don’t-even-know-anymore, with a tongue firmly tucked in the cheek. Chuckling away at the absolutely delicious conundrum a murder-gone-wrong can become. Shoot the piano player! Shoot! No, not yet! Shoot! Missed! Run! Hit! Fall! Gotcha! No? Wait…What?! I want a time plus brain machine that can go inside SR’s head and tell me how it was working when he was writing this whacko piece of sheer art.

When the hat tipped and tipped
The film saves its tribute card for Chhayageet and Chitrahaar, very aptly personified as fondly remembered, dearly loved people now no more, with dates et al. (Oh yes, sir, yes!) All the love for Bollywood then flows freely as the thriller merrily turns itself into a musical tribute to Hindi films and films in general; noir in particular – SR’s pet territory. And here comes in Truffaut’s delectable, ‘Shoot The Piano Player’, a film whose language SR borrows from so gracefully and meticulously that he outdoes Truffaut at his own game in creating a unique piece of cinema at once tragic and comic, classical and unconventional, silly and smart but with the distinct impression of a directorial sleight of hand that is playing with his material as consciously as the film seems un-self-conscious while having a lot of fun himself. This is the real tribute, and it is delectable.

The film almost starts similarly, taking the noir trope of a gun chase set-up happening in some other universe and immediately cutting to the universe of the film. The chased in Truffaut’s film is the protagonist’s brother, a semi-central character that turns the film on its head, the chased in Raghavan’s film is a rabbit, a non-character that turns the film on its head. That’s how whimsical is his craft. And delicious!

Kent Jones in his piece on Truffaut’s film says it is a film, “in which all of his assorted gifts and preoccupations are in play and meshed into a uniquely idiosyncratic whole. The film offers powerful evidence of his love of American cinema and literature… There is that wonderful speed, a pleasure in and of itself, that amounts to a kind of worldview—actions, objects, places, and sensations glimpsed and seized on, almost spontaneously forming a vivid afterimage in the mind’s eye. And his high-velocity storytelling is intimately tied to the feeling of impending mortality, the sense of every given moment in time coming and going, never to return. As for surprise, Shoot the Piano Player is about as unpredictable from one moment to the next as any film I know.” Was he speaking of Andhadhun and Sriram Raghavan?!

Perhaps, it is the play of contrasts in the film that lends it its unpredictability and richness. Yoking seriousness with hilarity at every turn, the tonal quality of the film becomes a universally mocking one and freely so. This delicious mockery is directed at everyone, everyone is in on the joke, except the characters. That’s why as Simi’s character unfolds we revel in the knowledge she can never be Nurse Radha – part 2. I am assuming it is a play on Waheeda Rehman’s character in ‘Khamoshi’ (1970), that genteel, heartbroken woman yearning to love again. Lady Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, we say (not only coz it’s the perfect Tabu, the original Lady Maqbool) but until Dr Swamy calls her so we realise she is far away from that too; Simi is absolutely guilt-free, completely soul-less. But then, with the exception of Sophie and Akash, this entire universe is completely soulless. Even Bandu, that see-it-all brat, who quickly enough becomes the audience’s ally in getting to the bottom of this mystery-within-mystery. Until the film takes another crazy spin at interval.

Whose lens is it anyway?
The blind hero who was not blind has now officially turned blind. What is this seeing and unseeing business? It’s a smooth trick of genius-giri. We, as audience begin the film watching Akash’s story first through the innocent, naïve eyes of Sophie, then as we are wisening up to the antics of the film-maker he shifts our POV to a smarter lens, that of a precocious, oversmart Bandu. Just when we think we have caught up with him here too, the proverbial rug is off from under our feet and we are in the deep, dank, dark. Just like our hero. From then on and just like him, we are fumbling in the dark too, with all the secrets hanging around for us to grasp and unravel. Till we are back to being the gullible Sophie again left to put the pieces together. And we do, until a crushed coke can hits a rabbit handled stick and knocks that part of our brain that tells us when we have been played. Check-mated sir, and glad to lose! And that is why I disagree with every review that says the second half is weaker and loses steam. The second half in fact, is as perfect as the first, maybe even better, puncturing perfectly, all the balls of contrast constantly in air.

These contrasts play out on all levels, much like all the cinematic elements in the film, sometimes simultaneously, sometimes one after the other in rapid succession, moulding and remoulding the film as it goes. The permanent warm tone sets up an idyllic, small-town Pune only to open up into the brutality at its borders. Dramatic, operatic music punctuates dramatic scenes as well as turns them comic, and in the scene where Simi and Manu clean the traces of their crime as Akash plays away – tragi-comic (and brilliant!). The sound cuts, diegetic yet full of imminent danger, keep the excitement tingling as the film keeps playing with our senses and feelings. After a point, the musical bit in this ‘musical-thriller’ transcends from the world of Akash’s piano and starts creeping under our skin as it starts underlining the unfolding darkness, tragedy and comedy. I don’t think Beethoven himself could have thought of a better cinematic use for his 5th symphony. Very cheeky, but the classic ‘Teri galiyon mein‘ is now redefined for generations to come. And since we are talking about music, welcome back Amit Trivedi and Jaideep Sahni, it had been a while.

As the film draws to an end, you suddenly become aware of the smile on your face, pasted there with Fevicol for the past 2.20 hrs. You realise you are feeling happy and hopeful. You also realise you wanted the film to go on and on. Especially, since the ending is still open, still incomplete. But then as Sophie says, ‘Kuchh cheezein adhoori honese hi toh poori hoti hain.’

You get up, humming aapse milkar accha laga, bahut accha laga. And walk out giving out a silent, invisible bow. Ekdum liver se.

Fatema Kagalwala

When master of the modern Hindi noir, Sriram Raghavan, announced his next project ‘Andhadhun’, there was a lot of discussion around the name, what it meant, and how it was supposed to be spelt. And of course, what the movie would be about.

The trailer and new poster for the film was released today (film’s new release date is now 5th October), and it shows that it is the love story of a blind pianist, who meets a terrific girl and then another woman, and then many things happen to him. Among his inspirations for the film Raghavan counts Fargo, both the film and the series.

The premise is interesting enough, and the trailer makes it even more so. The IMDB synopsis on the film reads: “He sees what he shouldn’t. She sees what he couldn’t. So the question is, does he see it or not?”

The trailer also revealed that the film stars famous 70s actor Anil Dhawan, which is causing much excitement amongst fans.

Here’s the trailer of the film:

Starring: Radhika Apte, Ayushmann Khurana, Tabu, and Anil Dhawan
Producer: Matchbox Pictures, Viacom18 Motion Pictures
Writer & Director: Sriram Raghavan
Editor: Pooja Ladha Surti
Co-writer: Arijit Biswas
Music: Amit Trivedi
Lyrics: Jaideep Sahni
Release: 5th October 2018

Here is Sriram’s interview regarding the film on Scroll.

Radhika Apte

Good news has come from the ongoing Tribeca Film Festival in New York. Radhika Apte has bagged the Best Actress Award in International Narrative Feature section for her performance in Anurag Kashyap’s Clean Shaven.

The award was given by Jean Reno. And here’s the Jury comment on her performance :

“This award goes to an actress who has conveyed bravery and emotional depth in different relationships around her. A contemporary story that breaks through established culture.”

For complete list of winners, click here.

‘Madly’ is an international anthology of short films exploring love in all its permutations. Directed by Gael García Bernal, Mia Wasikowska, Sebastian Silva, Anurag Kashyap, Sion Sono and Natasha Khan, the six stories in Madly portray contemporary love in all its glorious, sad, ecstatic, empowering, and erotic manifestations.

Tribeca Film Fest will run till 24th May, 2016.

To watch Madly’s trailer, go here and click on the play button.

More about ‘Madly’ from Tribeca

Madly explores love in all its permutations in six short films from a vibrant group of filmmakers representing Japan, Argentina, the UK, the US, India, and Australia. All forms of love are on display in this anthology. And all manners of feelings expressed from jubilance to depression are done so strongly. In Afterbirth, actress Mia Wasikowska goes behind the camera to tell the story of a young mother’s postpartum struggles; Gael García Bernal explores how pregnancy affects one couple’s already ambivalent relationship in Love of My Life; and ghosts of past relationships are resurrected in Natasha Khan’s I Do. These stories of love never shy away from taboo either: Sion Sono’s Love of Love delves into underground sex clubs in Japan, and Anurag Kashyap’s Clean Shaven uncovers the social relevance of a woman’s pubic hair. Love can even be delightfully irreverent at moments, Dance Dance Dance from Sebastian Silva features an eye-roll from Jesus. Madly, after all, is a contemporary portrait of love in all its glorious, sad, ecstatic, empowering, and erotic manifestations.

 

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11 Storytellers. 11 Perspectives. One Crazy night!
11 eclectic filmmakers come together to bring you one exciting cinematic vision.

That’s how the makers of “X” have described their film. Interestingly, it’s one-of-its-kind film because eleven Indian filmmakers with disparate styles of filmmaking have come together for this one.

So what is it about? Here’s the official synopsis

A filmmaker with a mid life crisis meets a mysterious young girl who reminds him of his first girlfriend at first, and subsequently, of every woman in his life.

Who is she? Is she real or imaginary? A stalker or a ghost? His past catching up or a character from the script he is writing?

Do check out its new trailer. The film releases on 20th November, 2015.

Cast & Crew

Cast: Aditi Chengappa, Bidita Bag, Gabriella Schmidt, Huma Qureshi, Neha Mahajan, Parno Mitra, Pia Bajpai, Pooja Ruparel, Radhika Apte, Richa Shukla, Rii Sen, Swara Bhaskar, Anshuman Jha and Rajat Kapoor

Directed by: Abhinav Shiv Tiwari, Anu Menon, Hemant Gaba, Nalan Kumarasamy, Pratim D Gupta, Q, Raja Sen, Rajshree Ojha, Sandeep Mohan, Sudhish Kamath and Suparn Verma

Written by: Abhinav Shiv Tiwari, Anu Menon, Hemant Gaba, Pratim D Gupta, Q, Raja Sen, Rajshree Ojha, Sandeep Mohan, Sudhish Kamath, Suparn Verma and Thiagarajan Kumararaja

Directors of Photography: Anuj Dhawan, Aseem Bajaj, Dinesh Krishnan, Gairik Sarkar, Katyayani Mudholkar, Maeve O Connell, Q, Ravi K Chandran, Sandeep Mohan, Siddhartha Nuni, Sidharth Kay and Viraj Sinh Gohil

Edited by: Sreekar Prasad, Vijay Prabakaran, Vijay Venkataramanan, Biplab Goswami, Gairik Sarkar, Dhritiman Das, Shreyas Beltangdy, Ankit Srivastava, Ninaad Khanolkar

Post Production Management & Grading: Siddharth Meer

Sound Mix: Dipankar Jojo Chaki

Lyrics: Pratyush Prakash & Raja Sen

Music: Sudeep Swaroop

Additional Screenplay: Thiagarajan Kumararaja

Executive Producers: Shiladitya Bora & Sudhish Kamath

Produced by: Manish Mundra/Drishyam Films

 

Since his commercial and critical hit Kahaani in 2012, Sujoy Ghosh has been missing in action. But here’s a pleasant surprise – he has directed a 14-minute short as part of Large Short Films.

Starring Soumitra Chatterjee, Tota Roy Chowdhury and Radhika Apte, this one is a smart spin on the story of Ahalya. Do watch.

If you didn’t notice, the names of the characters also gives you ample hit. And if you are still confused about the spin, click here to read the Ahalya’s story.

The first trailer of Onir’s I Am is out. It stars Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala, Nandita Das, Rahul Bose, Sanjay Suri, Purab Kohli, Abhimanyu Singh, Arjun Mathur, Shernaz Patel, Radhika Apte, Anurag Basu and Anurag Kashyap.

To quote from the official release, I AM is about people with fractured lives held together by unbroken dreams.

Click on the play button to watch the trailer..

And here is the official synopsis…

I AM is about issues and dilemmas that bruise the modern Indian society. Unraveling and exploring these tribulations, the film unfolds many a tale of individuals struggling to find their identity, and uphold their dignity in a world that is callous, cold and unsympathetic.
Shot in four different cities across India, I AM is a fusion of stories where the protagonists share a common dream – a desire to regain their lives, to regain an identity which has been taken away from them.

I AM AFIA is the story of a single woman who feels her identity will be made whole through the singularly feminine experience of motherhood. Unable to trust or even wait for a man, she is frustrated by a society that demands a “husband” to have a child. Thus her search is defined – does motherhood necessarily require the burden of a man?

I AM MEGHA is a story of two friends – a Kashmiri Pandit woman and a Muslim woman – separated by conflict.  Against the backdrop of the ethnic cleansing in Kashmir in early 90’s, this story tells of loss of home and identity. If your own home rejects you, where do you go and where are you “from”?

I AM ABHIMANYU is the story of a broken man, with a proud mask. Abhimanyu is trapped by the demons of his past, a past of sexual abuse. To move forward he must first go back, into a world where hi childhood was stolen from him.

I AM OMAR is a horrific tale of sexual discrimination; blackmail and prejudice is part of the torrid fabric. It reveals how the police use Article 377 (law under Indian Penal code which criminalizes homosexuality) to harass and blackmail gay men. In the current climate of media sensationalism, perhaps this story gains even more poignancy.

And having seen the film, we definitely recco this one. Our favourites – Afia and Megha. You don’t need a Lamhaa to know the Kashmir story, you can do it in a much simpler and better way, and without all the dhoom-dhaam-dhadaap. Megha proves that.

Afia is a story about unique friendship between two strangers. Nandita Das and Purab Kohli bring  such a natural charm to it, and bet you never knew that Anurag Basu can act too. Do watch.

Click here to know more about the film.

Earlier it was just Shor and now it’s Shor In The City. Reason – No clue. And here is the first look of the film which is trying hard to project Tushar Kapoor as the new Dude in the town.

The film is written and directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK and produced by Balaji Telefilms’ ALT Entertainment. It stars Tusshar Kapoor, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Nikhil Dwivedi, Radhika Apte and Preeti Desai.

And here is the official synopsis….

When the noise is deafening, can you really hear yourself ? That is the underlying thought that runs through this gritty, grounded film that revolves around three loosely interconnected stories set in the midst of the noise and grime of Mumbai during the Ganpati festival.

Abhay, an outsider, is forced to come to terms with the fact that he is alone in an unwelcoming city, which he thought was home. Living in a comfortable shell, he soon discovers that he might not be different from the thousands that mill around the city.

Tilak, an honest bootlegger, who pulls scams with his unruly buddies, chances upon a rare loot on a local train, which opens up new, dangerous avenues for them. He is pulled into the unlikely adventure of findings an empty place in the overpopulated city where they can blast a bomb….. For kicks!

Young Sawan has one goal, and more importantly, the only option – to get into the Mumbai Junior Cricket team. In a city where corruption is a way of life, the goal comes at a price1 he needs to find the money first.

In the overcrowded urban landscape that forms the backdrop of this film, the right and wrong are blurred, giving way to the more basic need to survive and succeed. As the characters come to grips with the noise – from within and outside – you realize that in this city, which runs on its own ad hoc rules, you don’t need an excuse to be good or bad; especially bad!

Click on the play button to check out the trailer of the film. It was cut during the MIAAC Fest. They might release a new trailer now.