Posts Tagged ‘Tigmanshu Dhulia’

shahid_04

Aha, finally the good news. Hansal Mehta’s Shahid has been acquired by UTV and they will soon announce the release date. Hopefully the film should be out in theatres in next few months. The film marks Hansal’s terrific comeback after a long time and Raj Kumar Yadav is so effortlessly good that he makes you believe that he is the real “Shahid Azmi”. The film has been doing the fest rounds for quite sometime now. Do watch it when it releases.

UTV really seems to be going in right direction with the perfect balance of masala and non-mainstream films. First, Ship Of Theseus, then The Lunchbox and now, Shahid. I would say i wouldn’t mind the assault of the big budget braindead star vehicles as long as they keep on balancing it with some sold small and good films. And hopefully other production houses will follow them.

Click here to read a post on Shahid written by Ad filmmaker Ravi Deshpande.

Official Synopsis

Shahid is the remarkable true story of slain human rights activist and lawyer Shahid Azmi, who was killed in 2010 by unidentified assailants in his office. From attempting to become a terrorist, to being wrongly imprisoned under a draconian anti-terrorism law, to becoming a champion of human rights (particularly of the Muslim minorities in India), Shahid traces the inspiring personal journey of a boy who became an unlikely messiah for human rights, while following the rise of communal violence in India. This story of an impoverished Muslim struggling to come to terms with injustice and inequality, whilerising above his circumstances is an inspiring testament to the human spirit. Starring Raj Kumar, Prabhleen Sandhu and Baljinder Kaur.

Cast and crew

Director: Hansal Mehta

Language: Hindi

Runtime: 123 minutes

Exec. Producer: Jai Mehta, Kunal Rohra

Producer: Sunil Bohra, Shailesh Singh, Guneet Monga and Anurag Kashyap

Production Co: Bohra Bros Pvt. Ltd. and Anurag Kashyap Films Pvt. Ltd.

Principal Cast: Raj Kumar, Prabhleen Sandhu, Baljinder Kaur, Tigmanshu Dhulia, K K Menon, Yusuf Husain, Prabal Panjabi, Vinod Rawat, Vipin Sharma, Shalini Vatsa, Paritosh Sand, Pavan Kumar, Vivek Ghamande, Akash Sinha, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub, Mukesh Chhabra

Screenplay: Sameer Gautam Singh, Apurva Asrani, Hansal Mehta

Cinematographer: Anuj Dhawan

Editor: Apurva Asrani

Sound: Mandar Kulkarni

Prod. Designer: Rabiul Sarkar

Abhishek Kapoor’s new film Kai Po Che has released today. The reviews so far have been unanimously positive. But does it mean anything beyond that – The Big picture? Over to filmmaker Hansal Mehta who connects the dots.

Kai Po che

4 reasons for not watching the increasing number of films released every week –

  1. I am perennially broke
  2. I am lazy
  3. I need to work
  4. My wife is not in the mood
  5. I am hoping I get invited for a preview/premier.

The past few weeks have been different though. The spate of films released and due for release stared at me in the face because

  1. They featured friends in lead roles
  2. They were directed by friends
  3. They were produced by friends
  4. I was looking forward to the films
  5. I felt compelled to watch them

I am going to limit my post to the Hindi films I saw because in the case of foreign films:

  1. I feel inadequate commenting about commenting on them
  2. I did not feel like watching many of them
  3. I am waiting for uncensored DVDs of some of them
  4. I don’t get invited for previews of these films

In the past few years, most significantly 2012, I am seeing a pattern in films that are successful (relatively) and appreciated. A majority of them stand out for their choice of actors, their choice of subject, their non-formulaic narratives and a host of other similarly intellectually stimulating reasons.  One factor that has begun to increasingly stand out in these films is sheer audacity. The more I think about what drew me to watch the films, to like some of them, to dislike some of them and to find some of them memorable was the lack of apologetic film-making that has mostly led our films towards pathetic levels of mediocrity.

I’ve noticed that many film-makers no longer feel pressured to make the same formulaic nonsense with the same boring people over and over again. Many of the older directors also seem to realize the futility of formula and are trying hard to reinvent. Those who aren’t will soon be history.

Ever since I made Shahid, I’ve been asked over and over again about how the trend of biopics is on the increase. The media unfortunately reads trends very poorly and looks for convenient analysis. Trade pundits who have in the past thrived upon silly generalization are very shallow in their understanding of artistic/creative decisions taken by film-makers or in analyzing the success of films that don’t fall into their formulaic comfort zones. The truth is that book adaptations, biopics and stories inspired by true events are an indicator and not trends in themselves. We now have film-makers looking for newer stories to tell. We have film-makers looking for new ways to tell stories. We have film-makers who are fearless. We have film-makers who are not afraid of audacity.

Whether it is Talaash, Gangs of Wasseypur, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, Vicky Donor, Special 26 or Kai Po Che, I notice a fearless streak in the directors and the team that has made these films possible. Even potboilers like Dabangg, or before that Wanted, or the recently released ABCD have displayed a certain audacious vision. Rockstar had the audacity to be deeply philosophical and sometimes mendering while pretending to have commercial trappings. A certain Anurag Kashyap whose films either got banned or termed as jinxed is now celebrated because of his delightfully indulgent Gangs of Wasseypur or his subversive take on Devdas. Sujoy Ghosh redeemed himself with the surprising Kahaani. Tigmanshu Dhulia’s Pan Singh Tomar was commercially successful. English Vinglish marked the successful return of a Bollywood diva who churned out some of the most cringe-worthy films of my growing up years. The list could be exhaustive and I’m sure it will soon dominate successful box-office lists. On the other hand there has been a steady increase in films (Ship of Theseus, Miss Lovely, Peddlers etc.) that have found appreciative audiences in international film festivals and critics. These films have shown a fierce independence in their making while giving alternate Indian cinema a new lease of life and an unpretentious, fresh form of expression. They have been audacious in their abandonment of what we perceived as ‘art-house’ or ‘parallel’ cinema in India. They were unabashed in their treatment, style, narratives and expression. These and many other films that I have viewed over the past year and this year have challenged audiences, provoked critics and subverted formulaic convention with amazing audacity. Even more encouraging is the fact that producers, actors (including some stars) and trade have begun to embrace the audacious breed, backing them to the hilt.

So what is the point I’m trying to make? It’s simple. Audacity is in. Safe is not safe anymore. Take the second installment of Dabangg. It disappointed because it succumbed to ‘ingredientization’ and failed to live up to the fearless audacity of the first part. Films like ‘Zila Ghaziabad’  or ‘Jayantabhai Ki Love Story’ are passé. They will continue to get made. They will continue to remind us of everything that is unimaginative and about how we have allowed ourselves to be taken for granted all these years.

So here is my two bit gyaan. Whether you aim for the mainstream or the alternate space, make it audacious. Just making it big will soon cease to work – neither for the makers or the audience. Yes, we will have regular installments of successful franchises. We will have ridiculous remakes. We will have mindless, story-less films – but my guess is that all of them will work for their audacity and not for their adherence to convention.

Audacious will soon be safe. Safe is already dangerous. It could soon be suicidal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Growing up in a small colliery town in Dhanbad district, the first tax that i learnt about was called rangdaari tax. That was much before the “tax and debentures” chapter in school. As a kid it seemed fun. You demand and someone pays you. Also, everything was related and dictated by coal there. The two important trains to Calcutta, the closest metro town, were Coalfield Express and Black Diamond Express. With so much coal dust floating all around, all the trees in our area were black in colour. My aunts and relatives would even compare Dad’s dark complexion with coal mines to tease us when we were kids. (Similar emotions are there in a terrific song in part 2 of Gangs Of Wasseypur). Vishwakarma puja – celebration of God of architecture and engineering was a household thing. Have rarely seen that anywhere. Worshipping your bicycles and scooters!

The area had a local don called D N Singh. That rangdaari tax! And as filmy legends go, the guy was good at heart too. Donating generous amounts for Durga Puja and other local festivities. And had a filmy end too. With the posting of a new police chief, he was attacked and beaten up in the middle of the market on a broad day light and was literally stripped off his power.  Since Dad was posted as Welfare Officer there, we used to hear all kind of stories revolving around miners welfare. And film conversations with Dad or his friends meant someone will surely talk about Amitabh Bachchan starrer Kala Patthar. Everyone used to claim that it was shot in their area and they had seen its shooting. I never bothered to check where exactly it was shot. There is no fun in killing that joy of nostalgia with little bit of knowledge.

But Anurag Kashyap’s two-parter Gangs of Wasseypur is more than just nostalgia for me. Though i was happy that finally we have some new tales beyond the legend of Kala Patthar. We moved out of Dhanbad after Dad’s retirement but am going to call him and tell about a new film from the land of Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL).

Gangs Of Wasseypur is quite an ambitious film in every possible way and Kashyap is in top form with his craft. He was never this good! To tame and deliver a beast of this epic proportion is a mammoth task.

I first saw the film when it was in edit. Still don’t have the talent to gauge the final film from its rough cut. Could figure out that individual scenes and humour was working. After that, me and some others have been pestering him to screen the film before he left for Cannes. And unlike others, he scores quite high there. Has no insecurity about showing his films, no matter what you think about it. I hated That Girl In Yellow Boots and wrote about it here.

Then a call at 1am.

Film dekhega? Dikhao. Kab se bol raha hoon.

Abhi dekhega? Abhi? Kahaan?

PVR aa ja. 10 min me. Kya? Haan. aa ja.

It started around 1:30 am and got over by 4:30 am or so. In an empty cinema hall with just 10-12 of us and Manoj Tiwari’s voice blasting in the early morning hours, my morning never started on such a high note. It was pure cinematic orgasm on big screen! Jiya ho bihar ke lala kept on playing in loop in my head.

I saw the film today again. The opening credits still looked the coolest in the B-town! It still felt bit long and indulgent. But as i have often believed and contradicted myself too – if filmmakers and artists don’t indulge, who will? My kiranawala? Finally it all depends on you – what indulgence by which artists you can connect to.

Piyush Mishra’s voiceover still sounds bad. The beginning is too hotchpotch. Too many characters criss-crossing each others paths and confusing at times. Hopefully we will put a family chart soon to have more clarity there.

But what an epic filmmaker’s masterclass is this!

With the terrific talents of Rajeev Ravi and Wasiq Khan, Kashyap has managed to create a whole new world all together. A world where men are beasts but are stripped down to their bare minimum and are eyed and hunted by the womaniyas! I don’t remember seeing a Gang leader in his underwear and eyed by the woman in any film. Or when they need to take permishan to even touch the girl. Playing with gangs and guns but tears roll down when denied permishan. There are many such cinematic kinks, flavours and reasons why this film by Kashyap stands out easily. And like others, he doesn’t even claim to write strong female characters.

The humour is distinct like in any other Kashyap film. I still laugh thinking about that No Smoking scene – tum ja rahe ho? Tum aa rahi ho? Main aa rahi hoon. Main ja raha hoon. Here, a woman in labour pain while delivering the baby gets you a chuckle. Or an impromptu race between two people after a loot, when the older person shouts out hum phirst, hum phirst. I am not going to write about the rest and spoil it for you. You will be left wondering about them because these are people from a different world that we have never seen on our screen.

Now, I guess everyone knows that GoW i’s a revenge saga spanning across few generations in the backdrop of coal mafia. Having seen both the parts, what i can tell you is that the first part takes time to set up as everyone is doomed and is busy sowing the seeds for their ends, either with love or hate. 2nd part is more action, more drama and more revenge. First is like wine, you can’t treat it like junk food. You need time to savour it. There’s no takeaway from it. In the business of guns and groins, coal is just the excuse. Enjoy it till it lasts. Kyunki yahan last me kuch nahi hota hai! Because the beginning is the end. Kyunki Saans Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi – That’s it! And in that way it’s unlike other desi films we see these days. So even in your viewing, you can’t treat it like any other film – start, beginning and end!

Nothing makes me more cringe that seeing a bad scene on screen. That breakdown scene by Kumud Mishra in TGIYB still haunts me because it’s atrociously bad. In Gangs Of Wasseypur, you can’t point a single scene which is badly acted or directed. The actors, each one of them, from the main lead (Manoj Bajpayee, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Nawazuddin, Richha Chaddha, Jaideep Ahlawat, Piyush Mishra, Jameel Khan, Huma Quereshi, Reema Sen and rest) to the extras, they all make it look so real. They don’t act, they *are* the characters. Once inside their world, you forget the real world that you belong to – that’s a rare achievement. But my favourite is Pankaj Tripathy. He has such a strong presence and am happy that he finally gets his due.

But it would have been better if it was bit shorter, no?

Why only shorter, it should have been just one film. Right.

And if there was no voice-over in the beginning. True.

And would have been better without all that history of Bihar and Jharkhand.

It’s also so self indulgent!

And you don’t emotionally connect with the characters.

May be then it would have been my film and not a film by Anurag Kashyap. Having seen all his film in the last few years, i have made peace with his art and craft. You can’t beat him in craft and in the budget that he delivers, it’s almost impossible. As for his art, it’s not easy to digest. It’s never going to be your regular fare. And i hope it remains that way. Once in a while I like being restless. There’s a thrill in getting out of your comfort zone and figuring out things in the dark – where the wild things are! It’s time you do the same. It will take some time but you will get used to it. If you can afford, why should your cinema be just for escapism? And if you are worried, don’t think because we have enough Imtiaz Alis and Raj Kumar Hiranis to take us back to those comfort zones.

(Update – I hate it when people like a film but forget to mention the writing credits. And i just did the same. So here it is – Zeishan Quadri, Akhilesh, Sachin Ladia and AK.  This is via wiki, so am not sure about the right credits. Deadly lyrics by Varun Grover and Piyush Mishra & Music – Sneha Khanwalkar. Background –  G V Prakash. And all of them contribute immensely to this experience)

Ah, finally. The way Viacom18, the producer of Gangs of Wasseypur, was reluctant to share even on location images of the film after the Cannes announcement, we were thinking if they were going to lay some golden eggs.

The trailer, poster and the official synopsis of the film is finally out. Let’s go one by one. First, the trailer.

Loot, coal mines, volatile people in volatile land, zindagi ka ek-e maksad – badla, jail, chop shop, Tishu, Bihar ke lala, cuss words, Richa attacking the same man who has been killing everyone, sex, goggles-wala-pyaar, dhoom-dhaam, more cuss words, more earthy and punchy dialogues, more abuses and some more dhaam-dhaam. And everything is inherited! E toh poora ka poora dabang haiabki badke Kashyap ki baari.

But why is the text font so bland? Bad font always bores me.

As far as the trailer goes, this is as mainstream as it can be. But i think the trailer serves more masala than the film will offer. Might be wrong. But Kashyap without his indulgences? Jiyo o Bihar ke lala. The trailer doesn’t tell you much about the film but it gives the ambiance and the mood of the film and tells you what to expect – you connect the dots. And if you can’t, scroll down for the synopsis.

My fav bit – Pankaj Tripathy. Bahut-e kamaal ke actor hai. Agle Yashpal Sharma hai jo hame bahut-ey pasand hai.

Now, the poster.

Superb art work. Like the colours and the treatment. But why such a bad finish? The film posters on the right and left hand side looks so weird. As if at the last moment they asked some intern to put two posters. Just doesn’t gel with the rest.

And now the official synopsis…

Towards the end of colonial India, Shahid Khan loots the British trains, impersonating the legendary Sultana Daku. Now outcast, Shahid becomes a worker at Ramadhir Singh’s colliery, only to spur a revenge battle that passes on to generations. At the turn of the decade, Shahid’s son, the philandering Sardar Khan vows to get his father’s honor back, becoming the most feared man of Wasseypur. In contemporary times, the weed addicted grandson, Faizal Khan, wakes up to this vengeance that his family has inherited. Staying true to its real life influences, the film explores this revenge saga through the socio-political dynamic in erstwhile Bihar (North India), in the coal and scrap trade mafia of Wasseypur, through the imprudence of a place obsessed with mainstream ‘Bollywood’ cinema.

The film stars Manoj Bajpai, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Jaideep Ahlawat, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Aditya Kumar, Reemma Sen, Richa Chadda, Huma Qureshi, Piyush Mishra and Syed Zeeshan Qadri.

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Last time when we met Imtiaz Ali to discuss Rockstar, there were many conspiracies and accusations. But since some of you appreciated our effort, we thought let’s try it again. This time it was done in a bit formal way. Film was Paan Singh Tomar, guests were Tigmanshu Dhulia (Director) and Sanjay Chouhan (Writer). Location – PVR, Juhu.

To get more time for Q & A, PVR helped us by cutting down the time for commercials, making the interval much shorter and delaying the next show by few minutes. But even then we could hardly manage some 20minutes of interaction. Because even the next show was housefull and people were getting desperate to get in. So we quickly wrapped it up and went outside. Aha, back to the stairs. And a filmmaker really needs a cigarette in his hand to open up. Watch the two videos and you will get what i am saying.

I saw the film on friday morning with just 15 people in the theater. And then i saw it again on wednesday night. This time it was a housefull show. A good film finding its audience is a great feeling.

And many thanks to Anurag Kashyap, Shiladitya Bora and PVR Cinemas for making it possible.

Pics – Priyanka Jain

Videos – Sumit Purohit and Manu Warrier. Edit – Sumit Purohit.

And here are pointers to some priceless gems –

00:47 – I needed an actor who could give me more than just his dates.

03:33 – Hum log ab mombatti na uthayein, bandook utha le.

04:25 – Koi research fund karne ke liye tayyar hi nahi tha.

04:40 – Actually yeh picture Vikas Behl ke wajah se huyee hai………..aaj us aadmi ko (credit) nikal diya hai unhone.

05:45 – Mad woman in the mayhem – Boss, yeh main karoonga. (Jo Shekhar Kapoor ke film se kat gaya tha.)

07:03 – Irrfan ne apne paise aadhe kar diye. Maine apne paise aadhe kar diye.

08:22 – Meri kisi picture me itne zyada darshak nahi aaye hain.

11:20 – Hum sabse galtiyaan ho jaati hai.

13:20 – Aapke sanskaar bolte hain yaar.

18:16 – Is society me hero kahan hai yaar?

20:13 – Aaj bhi duno cheeks me ched hai uske, woh zinda hai.

And if you enjoyed the first part of the video, you must watch the second part of the video.

It started with Rockstar. We went to see the film and then came out, sat on the stairs of Cinemax, Versova and discussed the film with its director Imtiaz Ali for next three hours. If you haven’t read the post, it’s here. The idea is to create space and platform for discussion with filmmakers after we have seen the film. Pre-release buzz is all fine but we rarely get to hear them post-release.

Last time it was completely informal. This time we are trying to do it in a bit formal way and as always, with the help of filmmaker Anurag Kashyap who will also be there. The film is Paan SIngh Tomar, one of the best reviewed films in recent times. So here are the details…

Film : Paan Singh Tomar

Venue : PVR, Juhu

Date : Today (7th March, Wednesday)

Time : 8pm show. We are hoping it will get over by 10pm and we will have 1hour time for discussion as the next show is at 11pm.

Entry : Since it’s a normal screening and discussion will be inside the auditorium, do book your tickets.

Tickets : Rs 150. You can either get it from the counter or book it at www.pvrcinemas.com

And thanks to PVR Cinemas and Shiladitya Bora for all the help.

See you there!