Posts Tagged ‘Vishal Bhardwaj’

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 of Hindi or Indian films. So that has been the primary reason for this initiative. And it has been possible only because some of the screenwriters and 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.

To make an impressive debut is a difficult task. To follow it up with a sequel, and to deliver better than the first, that’s almost impossible. And Abhishek Chaubey managed to score on both counts. While Ishqiya was all rustic cool, Dedh Ishqiya was rich in tone, mood, texture and poetry, that also had Begum Akhtar, Ghalib, Bashir Badr and a delicious homage to Ismat Chugtai. All these in a bollywood film loaded with dialogues in pristine Urdu? what a beauty, what a rarity!

So thanks to Vishal Bhardwaj and Abhishek Chaubey, we are sharing the first draft and the shooting draft of Dedh Ishqiya.

Do click on the “Scripts” tab on the top right corner of the blog page to access all the other scripts (Queen, Ankhon Dekhi, The Lunchbox, Shahid, Kai Po Che, D Day, Lootera, Kahaani, Ek Main Aur Ek Tu, Agent Vinod, Dev D etc) that we have posted here so far.

Film : Dedh Ishqiya

Director : Abhishek Chaubey

Story : Darab Farooqui

Screenplay : Vishal Bhardwaj & Abhishek Chaubey

Dialogue : Vishal Bhardwaj

(PS – As a writing exercise, do check out the notes about the climax in the first draft before they managed to resolve it)

(For more from our “Rewind 2014” series : Musical Gems We Discovered This Year is here, Kaali Zubaan’s bollywood wrap is here, 18 Film Fanatics on 18 Films That Stayed With Them is here, Songs We Played In Loop is here. In Best of 2014 – Script of Queen is here, Script of Ankhon Dekhi is here)

Continuing with our Year-End series, Rewind 2014, in this post our music blogger Rohwit picks up the best sounds of the year – the songs that he loved and we played in loop. In no particular order, this post includes both films and non-films music/talent/songs/album.

(More from our Rewind 2014 series : Musical Gems We Discovered This Year is here, Kaali Zubaan’s bollywood wrap is here, 18 Film Fanatics on 18 Films That Stayed With Them is here, Best of 2014 – Script of Queen is here, Script of Ankhon Dekhi is here)

  1. Jagave saari raina (Dedh Ishqiya) – Much has been written about this underwhelming album from Gulzar-Vishal collaboration. However, Hamri ataria and Jagave saari raina were beautiful exceptions. No, the antraa of ‘Na bolu main to’ weren’t as good as the mukhda, so I won’t include that song here. Even before the videos were released, we knew this would be the song that would capitalize on Mrs. Nene’s grace and her dancing prowess. To hear Pt. Birju Maharaj just sweetened everything that much more. Did I miss mentioning about how charming was Rekha Bhardwaj in the song? Well, you knew that already didn’t you?

  1. Fandry bird theme (Fandry) – No words should endeavor to convey what this cute little piece did to us. Give it a try here. In fact the love theme here is equally good. The use of Oudh and Cello lent a solid, raw feel to the sound and two thumbs up for that! Aloknanda Dasgupta ji, take a bow!

  1. Indian Ocean – If you have been living under a rock, then perhaps you might not have noticed the release of ‘Tandanu’ by Indian Ocean which will go down as one of the best albums by the group ever! From what could be easily termed as one of the most important films of the year, Katiyabaaz, we got the track ‘Kanpoora’, a must hear if you haven’t heard it already! (and what a delightful video!)

  1. Sooha saha (Highway) – Bollywood is running from darkness towards even more darkness when it comes to giving us songs which mothers can sing to their little ones. ARRahman took cognizance of this problem and gave us this tender piece from Highway. While Alia was rightfully showered a lot of credit for this song, we mustn’t forget AR Rahman’s ‘mixing and tuning’ and a solid Zeb who made this song what it is. Heera from this album comes a close second because it’s a  delicacy of sorts when Kabir and Rahman are credited in the same song. Here is Sooha Saha…much of the song’s impact was experienced thanks to a superlative Randeep Hooda. The World would be unfair if it doesn’t acknowledge Randeep this year for Highway.

  1. Suno na sang e marmar (Youngistaan) – Now that the well deserved nomination to Oscar has been sent, it would be criminal not to mention the blockbuster Youngistaan to the list. When Jackkkkie decided to diss Mayawati’s hardwork involving sang-e-mar-mar with a song, it gave us this hummable track. Frankly, I thought it took a lot of guts to film the song right where a lot of public money was wasted on sang-e-mar-mar (wink wink). The song was perhaps too good for the film and when Jeet Ganguly and Arijit recreated the magic for the Hindi version, they added some grandeur to the sound. Here is the Bengali version and here is the Hindi version. My favorite is the Bengali version of course!

  1. Title song (Revolver Rani) – the film might have fallen flat on its face but the title track of the film was a riot thanks to the word ‘bhasad’ and Usha Uthup! Do give it a try. Had the film done well, it would have played in a the loop on ‘popular’ charts, just the way they played vomit inducing Kicks and what not! And trust me, it is much more fun than all the garbage music of  100 crore commodities. Watch this video.

  1. Sketches of Darjeeling (Bipul Chettri) – I came across this album when it was released in the month of July, 2014 but didn’t hear it because I was quite occupied with my day job. Then one of the many ‘anonymous’ people who share music with me sent me one track from this album, and I punched myself for about 40 minutes continuously for having sat on the album for so long! Do hear my favorite track from the album titled – Ode to my father here, and then buy the album. The track is free flowing and you will hear the free flowing water as well. Is the track in Hindi? No. Does it matter? No!! So do pick it up!

  1. Ding dong (Finding Fanny) – I  couldn’t make sense of fusing this Goa film with a Punjabi title song and a messy song at that, still this one oozed out a lot of love, and we love it for that! Cliched as it might sound to some of us, but the song painted a picture of an adorable Uncle ‘Pedro’, who is liked by everyone,  singing this song near a beach, on just another day in Goa. Loved Mathias for this one!

  1. Haider (Album) – It won’t be right to pinpoint a song that was good because this album was the best from 2014. The only underwhelming part was the song by Arijit. I still feel that song was composed FVBV (For Vishal, By Vishal), and Arijit came in as an afterthought. This album is the reason we wait for Vishal and Gulzar to get together more often. All songs are here. Imagine the ‘Aao na’ opening bit and now count your goose pimples. Also, while we are on the subject…here is the Roohdaar theme from Haider.

  1. Oopar oopar renn de – Tanishk and Baba Vayu gave us a laid back anthem this year and I can openly declare with no hesitation that this was the best non-filmi song by a new band I came across in 2014. Hear the song once and tell me if you aren’t of the same opinion. I do hope they put the song on sale soon and that they don’t fizzle out after setting the bar this *high*!

  1. Mikey Mccleary – We all love everything Mikey does. Why else can you explain people sticking to networks which don’t work? May be because their ads are oh-so-musical and cute! It was no surprise that the album Mikey came out with was instantly likeable. If you haven’t heard the album yet, do hear it once! Our favorite – The world is our playground (Sung by Mikey) and Just a little crush (Sung by Shalmali). That said, Mikey’s song in Sonali cable wasn’t bad either. The entire album is available here.

Let me know if you agree with my picks of the year. And yours?

@Rohwit

So what do you do when you get to know that there’s a screening of Libaas? Well, only a Gulzar fan can tell you the right answer. So over to Mohit Kataria who tells us what exactly he did.

libaas_1988

Before you start:

Please don’t read this post as a film review post, it’s all about my personal experience with the movie Libaas and the way I got to watch it. I’ve never written any movie review before and I don’t think I even qualify for writing one (if there is any qualification criteria). You might also find it really biased as I’m a fan of Gulzar Saab and always wear a particular pair of admiration glasses while reading/watching/listening to any of his works.

Prologue

What do you do when you get any once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? You grab it with both the hands, right? That’s what I also did.

It all started with a Facebook post from a very dear friend and an ardent fan of Gulzar saab, Pavan Jha, that I came to know about Libaas getting screened in IFFI – 2014 in Goa on 22nd Of November. Then after a number of confusions, calculations and discussions later, I decided to go ahead and started making my travel plans. Then, I came to know about something called a delegate registration (I have already warned you about my credentials ), which was already into its “register-with-late-fee-phase”. Somehow got registered with some made up bio-data to prove that I was worthy enough to be a delegate there. I got an email mentioning that the confirmation will be done after some careful review of my bio-data. I waited impatiently for the whole day which was the last day for the registration, and by the end of the day, I got a confirmation mail asking me to pay to be a delegate. I followed the instructions and completed the formalities. Then it was time to book the tickets for travel. After doing some calculations, considering family, work, economics and time dynamics, I booked the flight from Bangalore, scheduled to reach Goa at 2 PM on the day of screening (22-Nov-14) (Libaas was scheduled for screening at 5:30 PM) and also booked first available flight from Goa the very next day (23-Nov-14). Needless to say, my only purpose of going through all this exercise was to witness something I really was waiting for ever since I started following and loving Gulzar Saab and his work – to get a chance to watch Libaas. And I never thought I would get an opportunity of a lifetime in this manner, to watch it with Gulzar Saab himself.

Experience

Before cutting through all the details of getting the passes (where Ashok Bindalji and IFFI organizers helped a lot), reaching the theater following Gulzar Saab, and finally settling down to watch Libaas, I would like to mention here that there were lots of people who wanted to get in and watch Libaas and the auditorium had a limited capacity of accommodating 280 people only. So one senior IFFI organizer (I won’t name him to get him into any trouble), took a call after consulting with Gulzar Saab and Vishal Bhardwaj, to allow people to sit in the gallery, on the floor, to stand on the gates, behind the last row and any other place wherever possible without making others uncomfortable. It got reminded me of the pre-multiplex era when it was a norm for any big movie. Isn’t it delightful to treat and watch the movie in the same manner we used to watch movies when it was actually made (in 1988)?

The stage was set by welcoming Gulzar Saab by the IFFI authorities, and then Vishal Bhardwaj presented the movie Libaas as the inauguration movie of retrospective: Gulzar. Vishal said that it’s an honor for him to present this movie, and spoke about how Gulzar Saab started his career as a poet and brought his poetry from paper to screen. Each of his movies are poetries on screen. He also briefly mentioned about the efforts at various levels that have gone in trying to get the movie released, including his personal efforts of 20 years which has gone in vain. Then he mentioned what it means to him personally, and for his whole family to be part of this historic event.

Gulzar Saab was visibly holding back his emotions, and he started on a lighter note saying, saying, “दोस्तो, मैं भी उतना ही curious हूँ फ़िल्म के लिए, जितने कि आप हैं. आप ने भी नहीं देखी फ़िल्म, मैंने भी नहीं देखी”, which rightly summed up the significance of the film. He was happy that the family and friends have come from all over to see this screening. You can listen to the whole discussion here. And then the magic started on screen. We were in for a very delightful treat for next couple of hours.

As you might know, the movie was completely based on Gulzar Saab’s own story Chaabiyaan which has also published later with the title Seema. There was wit, brilliance, intelligence and emotions written all over the movie. Each frame was flowing into the other one like the way water flows – at times like a river, sometimes like a silent lake and often like waterfall. It was a sheer pleasure to experience Gulzar Saab’s poetry for the next 137 minutes. The movie has four main characters – Sudhir Bhardwaj (a passionate theater director, played by Naseeruddin Shah), T.K. (a flamboyant businessman, played by Raj Babbar), Seema (an amazing actress who is also a not-so-happy wife, played by Shabana Azmi) and the theater which is the sutradhar which keeps tying all the running threads of the movie. It also has a handful of supporting cast who made their presence felt without shadowing the main leads. Not even a single character was out of place or not required. The story primarily deals with husband-wife relationship and a extra-marital affair, all in the backdrop of theater. While watching it, I could feel it was much ahead of its time (it was scheduled to be released in 1988), as was confirmed by Gulzar Saab in a post screening Q&A session that such things were happening at that time but were never shown in cinema. He dared to reflect what was part of society then.

Opening scene of the movie is in a theater, where Jamal Saheb (played by Utpal Dutt) is entering the theater while taking a look at the play being staged.

Utpal Dutt in Libaas

Utpal Dutt in Libaas

In the canteen, he is greeted by youngsters who are theater artists/aficionados and the scene establishes that Jamal Saheb is a great artist from the times gone by. He is not relevant anymore and is in a poor state. He has been replaced, so to say, by Sudhir, who is dominating the contemporary theater scene. In next few scenes, we come to know that for Sudhir, the first priority of his life is theater – the way he forces Seema to gargle every day in the morning, no matter what, and the way he keeps on talking about and enacting various scenes from his plays. One scene which nails it down clearly is when Seema asks Sudhir if she could get a hair-cut as she feels she would look prettier in short hair.  To which he replies, if she gets the hair cut, what would happen to all the characters she is playing in theater, and starts quoting each of the characters from different plays. All the members of his theater group love and fear him in equal measure due to his strictness while doing the rehearsals. A couple of times when Seema forgets her lines during the rehearsals, he yells at her, and at home, he tells her,

“खाना बनाना भूल जाओगी तो बर्दाश्त कर लूँगा, dialogues भूल जाओगी तो कभी बर्दाश्त नहीं करूँगा.”

Phir Kisi Shaakh Ne Phenki Chaanv - Libaas

Phir Kisi Shaakh Ne Phenki Chaanv – Libaas

Seema is already strained, and wants a break from the monotony of Sudhir being so hard on her as he always thinking about one thing – theater. That’s when T.K. enters the scene and their home. He is informal and is such a close friend of Sudhir that even Seema feelss surprised as she had never seen Sudhir being so comfortable with anyone, including her. TK’s flamboyant style of talking and cheerful behavior attracts Seema, and he gets attracted to her beauty. They all meet a couple of times and then while one relationship starts forming, other one starts breaking. On one side, Sudhir is always busy with his play rehearsals and on the other hand, T.K., a well versed businessman is always ready to meet her and pay attention to her.

Her loneliness and boredom from theater adds fire to the fuel, and before even they realize, the relationship becomes complicated. The high-point of the movie is a scene which has brilliance of Gulzar Saab written all over it. It was Gulzar Saab’s craftsmanship that he handled such a burdened situation in such a subtle manner. The treatment of the characters, the dialogues of this one scene leaves us completely mesmerized and catches us unguarded. The scene is when Sudhir decides to confront T.K. and Seema about their relationship. Seema and T.K. enter the house after spending some good time together, and they find Sudhir at home. T.K. tries to cover up his embarrassment by telling Sudhir that he was asking about him from Seema as Sudhir was very busy, they were not able to meet.

T.K. – और किस ड्रामे में busy हो आजकल?

Sudhir – “अ..अ..म.. आजकल… अ… एक personal से नाटक में ज्यादा busy हूँ.”

“ह.. ह.. मतलब..?”

“नाटक तो दूसरे लोगों का है, मैं खा-म-खां बीच में फंस गया”

“अम.. कुछ समझा नहीं यार, वो कैसे?”

T.K., though embarrassed, is still trying to appear innocent even though he is guilty of cheating Sudhir.

“क्या है के हमारे यहाँ… हमारे यहाँ, वो हैं ना… मि. मुखर्जी”

He looks at Seema and starts building the story.

“मुखर्जी? कौन?”

Seema asks, to which Sudhir replies –

“तुम मिली हो उन से, शायद याद नहीं है… मि. मुखर्जी में याद रखने जैसा कुछ है या नहीं मालूम नहीं… लेकिन अपनी पत्नी की वजह से वो.. अक्सर याद रह जाते हैं लोगों को…. बड़ी talented… और talented से ज्यादा ख़ूबसूरत पत्नी है उन की. अब ज़ाहिर है कि लोग उन की तरफ़ तवज्जो देते हैं, attract होते हैं. और ये कम्बख़्त चीज़ ऎसी है कि आदमी हो या औरत, पाँव तले की ज़मीन खींच लेती है. आदमी सोचता है, इश्क ही में ज़िंदगी है, बाकी सब तो फ़न, आर्ट, talent, सब सजावट की चीज़ें हैं. बहरहाल, मि. मुखर्जी का problem है, उन की पत्नी… वो किसी के इश्क में पड़ गई हैं या कोई है जो उन के इश्क में पड़ गया है….”

Seema asks, “तो problem क्या है?”

To which Sudhir replies, point blank, still keeping it indirect,

“तुम्हें नज़र नहीं आता?”

“नहीं मतलब… समझ में आता है लेकिन दोनों अगर एक दूसरे को चाहते हैं तो…”

“नहीं, नहीं, नहीं, नहीं… तुम उस लड़की के problem को देख रही हो, मैं मि. मुखर्जी के problem की बात कर रहा हूँ”

“उनका क्या problem है?”

“क्यूँ? याने… उन का कुछ है ही नहीं?…

उन का problem ये है कि उन्हें मालूम हो गया है… और जान लेने के बाद शौहर यानि मि. मुखर्जी क्या करे उस पत्नी का? चुप रहे? देखता रहे? होने दे जो हो रहा है? मुश्किल तो ये है कि कोई भी शौहर जान लेने के बाद ये निगल नहीं सकता”

Now T.K. intervenes,

“आख़िर मुखर्जी चाहता क्या है?” “चाहता क्या है, वो छोड़ो, क्या करना चाहिए उसे?”

“अम..ज़ाहिर है अगर उन की पत्नी, उन के साथ नहीं रहना चाहती तो उन्हें कोई हक़ नहीं है कि वो उस के साथ ज़बरदस्ती करें. After all.. वो अपना अच्छा-बुरा समझ सकती है, ऎसी कोई बात नहीं है…”

“हाँ, समझना तो चाहिए, सिर्फ़ ये कि जिस से वो प्यार करती है, क्या सचमुच प्यार करती है? यूँ ही उन्स में तो नहीं पड़ गई? ख़ा-म-ख़ां का infatuation तो नहीं है, जिसे वो प्यार समझ बैठी है?”

“आख़िर शादी-शुदा औरत है, क्या इतना नहीं समझती? इतनी mature नहीं होगी के…”

And that’s when Gulzar Saab’s intelligence of handling the complicated situations comes in full form.

Sudhir interrupts Seema at this point and says it straight,

“इतनी mature हो तुम? इतना समझती हो कि जिस राह पे जा रही हो, जिस के साथ जा रही हो वो झूठ-मूठ का कोई ड्रामा तो नहीं कर रहा है?”

At this time T.K. tries to escape saying this is personal matter between husband and wife and he is an outsider.

Then, as a matter of fact, Sudhir tells him,

“बैठ जाओ T.K., तुम भी कोई बच्चे नहीं हो… बैठ जाओ… देखो T.K., इन रिश्तों में कानूनी, ग़ैर कानूनी कुछ नहीं होता. कानूनन कोई पत्नी नहीं बनती, कानूनन कोई शौहर नहीं होता.Law has nothing to do with it. हम ज़बरदस्ती इन रिश्तों पर कानूनी मोहरें लगाते रहते हैं. आज तक, कोई किसी आते को नहीं रोक सका और ना किसी जाते को थाम सका है. और मैं ये कैंसर ले कर नहीं घूम सकता…. तुम ने ठीक कहा, अगर सीमा मेरे साथ नहीं रहना चाहती तो मुझे कोई ज़बरदस्ती नहीं करनी चाहिए, मैं नहीं करूँगा, लेकिन मैं इसे रास्ते पर नहीं छोड़ सकता. मैं तुम्हारा फ़ैसला जानना चाह्ता हूँ, तुम दोनों का फ़ैसला जानना चाहता हूँ… अगर तुम दोनों flirt नहीं कर रहे हो, एक-दूसरे को धोखा नहीं दे रहे हो, सचमुच एक दूसरे को चाहते हो, तो हाथ पकड़ो और निकल जाओ इस घर से.”

Seeli Hawa Chhoo Gayi - Libaas

Seeli Hawa Chhoo Gayi – Libaas

Even after Sudhir and Seema get separated and she remarries T.K., there is still an element of care and affection for each other.

T.K. and Seema are living happily, yet Seema is not able to forget her past so easily.

In one scene, where one evening she is sitting sad all alone on a yatch, T.K. comes and asks,

 “क्या हुआ… सुधीर का ख़्याल आ गया?”

“हूं..”

“इसीलिए तो तुम्हें शादी के बाद यहाँ ले आया. जानता था, अगर वहाँ रहोगी तो अतीत याद आएगा. अतीत बुरा हो तो सीमा, आदमी गर्द की तरह झाड़ दे, ख़त्म कर दे, लेकिन सुधीर जैसा… मुझ पर अंधविश्वास था उसे. जो कुछ हुआ, मुझे उस का अफ़सोस नहीं, बिल्कुल नहीं, बस यही है कि अगर तुम किसी दोस्त के यहाँ ना होती ना…तो अच्छा होता, क्यूँकि तुम जहाँ भी होती, मैं यही करता, I love you. मैं तुम से प्यार करता. I love you Seema, I love you.”

[Edit Note : While Mohit has written the climax in his post, we are not going to reveal what happens in the end, as we expect more screenings of the film soon and expect you to watch it someday, somewhere. We leave you here with Ravi Shastri Quote : All Three Results Possible ]

And the end credits roll over with the song

“तुम से मिली जो ज़िंदगी, हम ने अभी बोई नहीं,

तेरे सिवा कोई ना था, तेरे सिवा कोई नहीं…”

…Leaving everyone in the theater completely spell bound.

Gulzar Saab got a standing ovation which refused to die down for the next few minutes.

Epilogue

It had Gulzar written all over it. Gulzar the writer, Gulzar the dialogue-writer, Gulzar the lyricist and Gulzar the director. It was like various Gulzar competing with each other and attaining the pinnacle of expressions. The music of R.D. Burman was also a highlight of the movie as the melodies are so soulful, the film would have been definitely incomplete without such lovely songs.

From story perspective, it is really difficult to say what was wrong or who was wrong or whether anyone was wrong at all? This is the power of a sensibly told story on screen. We all know that Gulzar Saab has great sense of expression when it comes to relationships. He is the one who has given the words to all the emotions we have gone through at various points in our different relationships. He is no different here as well. Gulzar Saab has also given various references of past work of theater artists who have explored the complexities of husband-wife relations – Leo Tostoy’s Anna Karenina, Vijay Tendulkar’s Khamosh adaalat jari hai, Mohan Rakesh’s Aadhe-adhure. The film, even though made some 26 years back, is still relevant and I believe due to the nature of human relationships, will be relevant even after 26 years.

There are so many situations in the movie which could have been exploited with melodramatic scenes but he kept them subtle, and trusted the intelligence of audience he was catering to. Like after re-marriage, one day when T.K. is gargling in the morning, all of a sudden she gets reminded of Sudhir, who was always after her for gargling. She gets in that groove for a moment that she actually calls out her old maid’s name “दुर्गा…” and then she realizes her mistake. And when she calls up their family doctor (played by A.K. Hangal) asking him to visit their home for T.K.’s cough and cold, she forgets to mention to the doctor about his new life and husband. The doctor habitually visits their old home and because Sudhir is also suffering from the cough at the same time, he doesn’t find it surprising that Seema called him up. Subtle ways to show that the bridges are not yet burnt completely. The central idea of the story keeps coming back again and again in multiple ways.

During the post-screening Q&A we came to know that the climax which was shown in the film was not his choice but the producers insisted upon him to change the climax.

He wanted to leave it a bit open ended, which he couldn’t do in this movie, hence he made Ijaazat, another masterpiece on husband-wife relationship which he ended the way he wanted it to be.

Nobody dared to ask the question, “अगर लिबास release हो जाती फिर भी क्या वो इजाज़त बनाते?”  and I doubt if anyone who has watched Ijaazat would even dare to think it being non-existent from the filmology of Gulzar Saab. Nothing to compare but to give a flavor to the people who could not watch the screening of Libaas, in my opinion, it was at par (if not more) with Ijaazat in terms of exploration of relationships, writing, dialogues, songs, direction and music.

To sum it up, I would just say, no matter how many years the movie has spent in the laundry or dry-clean, this Libaas is still as crisp, clean and white as new.

 – Mohit Kataria

 

(Mohit Kataria is an IT engineer by profession, writer & poet by passion, a Gulzar fan by heart. He is based in Bangalore and can be reached at [kataria dot mohit at gmail dot com] or [@hitm0 on twitter)

(Pics & Videos by Ashok Bindal [ajbindal at gmail dot com], a close associate of Gulzar saab, based in Mumbai)

Retrospective Inauguration Video via Ministry of I&B YouTube Channel]

Seen Haider yet? Naah? What are you doing? Go, book your tickets first. Coming back to the film, if Vishal Bhardwaj can get two Salmans, we aren’t far behind. We got two Haiders. One is his, other is ours. So here is our Haider on his Haider.

Our Haider Hussain Beig is a 23 year old filmmaker based out of Netherlands. When he’s not alienating close friends with painful film gyaan, he dabbles in Aerospace Engineering. You can check out his stuff here. This is first post here.

To read our previous post on the film, “Haider : Uncertain, Complex, Asymmetric…Because the screenplay is Kashmir”, click here.

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Heavy handed exposition usually kills a film for me. It could be a tasteless voiceover or a redundant character painstakingly ear-fucking the audience with drab explanations of already convoluted plot-points. Which brings me to one of my favorite ‘did you catch that?’ Moments in the film. It occurs when Khurram is being led into an abandoned house and he notices ‘Yeh toh Kaul Saab ka ghar hai.’ Then a brief exchange ensues about the whereabouts of ‘Kaul Saab’, finally coming to the conclusion that he has ‘shifted’ to Bombay.

This was an in passing reference to the exodus of the Kashmiri Pandits from their homeland. It perfectly captures the nonchalance of the characters who, putting it crudely, have different issues to deal with now. And perhaps are still dealing with the brutal and horrific ousting of their Hindu neighbours as a mere migration to the big city. This is just one of the many examples of sheer brilliance in storytelling by someone who I would not have expected less of. Best of all, I didn’t feel like I was being explained a point of view or thrown facts at that I was supposed to ingest like a frustrated teenager in a History lesson. I knew most facts about the region and the socio-political situation already, and never once did I feel the need to internally sigh with a ‘pata hai bhai, gyan dena band karo‘. And trust me when I say I know a lot about Kashmir. Because unlike most of us, I have not been fed frustratingly conflicting facts from different sources of news, I have lived them in my own little way.

I was born in Delhi to a German mother and a Kashmiri father, who decided to name me Haider. It’s one of those unique ‘this-guy-is-definitely-a-Shia’ names. I guess like most things my father does, he wanted to be different. And I was happy with that. I personally don’t know any Haiders. Until late last year, when I heard Vishal Bhardwaj was making his third Shakespeare adaptation on Hamlet, called Haider. Same name, same spelling. Not Hyder, Heydar, or Haidar. HAIDER. F-U-C-K-ed-M-E.

Putting it simply, it’s unnerving to see your name in posters, on billboards, as a trending hashtags of some of my cinematic idols on the big screen. In the ticket line at the box office I turned around as a reflex to my name being called out by impatient ticket buyers. And let’s not get started with the jokes that only true friends and elementary school goers can come up with; ‘How does it feel to have Shahid Kapoor in you?’, or ‘Dude! You gave Hansal Mehta fulfilling sleepless nights!’.

What put me to a melancholic ease though, was the name being pronounced in a Kashmiri accent. It took me back to an angry grandmother yelling out ‘Huhder!’ at my mischief. It’s sad that it takes a great like VB to put in the careful attention to detail to make sure that stars make the proper effort into not caricaturizing the dialect. From Shahid Kapoor’s ‘Sirinagar’ to Shraddha Kapoor’s endearing ‘Luvved, Givved, Suckked, Fu..’. They were almost pitch perfect. And even if some may not agree, full points for the effort.

The dialogues, their delivery, and timing, were just a revelation. Blending in Shakespeare’s cunning words with the heavy backdrop of the ‘Kashmir Issue’. Nothing felt pedantic, heavy handed, apologetic, expositional, out of place, or forced. It was as it should have been. Nothing more, nothing less.

The supporting cast was mostly played by locals, and they were spot-fucking on. There was no need for windy character back stories. From Janus’ two faced Salman and Salman, to Khurram’s born-again militant henchman. They could all have separate films based on them and I would pay good money to watch those too. It’s heartening to see such a wide pool of talent scattered all across the country. WAKE THE FUCK UP, BOLLYWOOD!

Shraddha Kapoor’s work was a welcome surprise. I wouldn’t say her performance was perfect, but three films in, she’s already giving her contemporaries a hard time. Aloof, innocent and gullible, Arshia was what I would call a perfect representation of Kashmir in the early parts of the militancy. It resonated, or was rather amplified by Tabu’s Ghazala, as a more worn out, mature, but also much more grey representation of Kashmir in the time the film is set in, the glorious mid-nineties. It seems like Tabu is the only actor that can play a self destructive feminine character in a Shakespearean tragedy to such seasoned perfection. And to Shahid Kapoor, all I want to say is, Ghanta-Ghar in Lal Chowk will never be the same for anyone again. They better fucking throw all the big (even if bogus) awards at him.

Never have I seen a film capture the reality of the situation so beautifully. Pankaj Kumar’s cinematography is a result of what would happen of each character we’re given a brush to paint out exactly what they see. Each frame was a representation of these personal works of art. It was almost akin to the wounded beauty of the valley. You are one of my heros. I was more excited about seeing your name attached to the film than VB’s. After Ship of Theseus, and now this, I can’t wait to see much much more work from you!

Finally, to the master himself. Vishal Bhardwaj. I might need a series of blog posts to talk about your work. And I’m sure, as I have also read, there is enough information, analysis, discourse and dissection of your work already. I’d rather not add to the pile. I’ll stick to what stuck out most for me, the score. I had listened to the songs that had come out in the run up to the release quite a lot. My favorite being, of course, Bismil. Though what really captured my entranced attention was the score. So, so, …. Fuck I’m out of adjectives that would do justice. I hope the score will be out soon. I know what music I’m going to write to now.

I have never lived for more than two months in Kashmir. Most of my upbringing has been in Delhi, though I have visited Kashmir every year of my life since I was born, most of those years being the most dangerous. I have only fond memories. I have never once seen a terrorist/mujahid/militant/freedom-fighter/jihadist. And it’s not like I lived in a cordoned off posh area. In fact my family lives in one of the rather impoverished Shia neighbourhoods in Srinagar. Though that is not to say, that the distant sound of gunshots and bomb explosions was not a common sound. In my own way, a part of my brain would register them as the sound of Diwali fire crackers, and things would be festive in my mind again. I’ve had the most tranquil moments of reflection on the banks of the Nigeen lake, on a grass patch between abandoned houseboats. I’ve cried my eyes out laughing with my cousins at the millionth viewing of Andaz Apna Apna on local cable channels. And don’t even get me started on wazwan. The closest I’ve come to ‘danger’ was a scooter ride back from football practice, dodging a hail of stones, swerving around burning tyres, and slyly detouring to my aunts house who lived nearby. I’ve always thought of that memory as a rather funny adventure. My worried wailing mother on the other hand, did not.

On the contrary, I’ve heard personal first hand accounts of friends, acquaintances and even close cousins (mostly young men), about the dangers they’ve had to endure. From both the militants and the army. Some accounts are so chilling that I’d rather not get into them, for your sake and mine. ‘Jab do haathi ladte hain, neeche ghaas hi kuchli jaati hai‘. It saddens me to see tasteless Anti-India graffiti vomited on ancient walls. Though their distrust and disdain for the AFSPA and conversely the Armed forces, is not without reason. There are bad apples everywhere, even in Kashmir. I recommend Ashwin Kumar’s two brilliant documentaries – Inshallah, Football and Inshallah, Kashmir. They will show you a side of the story the mainstream media conveniently redacts. I’m not an expert on the subject and I’m not foolish enough to think that I might even have something close to an answer. If anything, having a foot in both worlds, has given me a rather confusing point of view, so I usually stay out of Kashmir based bar-conversations. Plus, whenever anyone looks at me for an explanation, I conveniently say, ‘I don’t know bro, I’m German’. Which is why, I love this film too. I went in as an outsider, and actually learnt a few things I did not know. Thank you Basharat Peer, I’m no one to challenge a reputed journalist and writer who, by the way, happens to be from Kashmir.

Haider is by far the most realistic depiction of Kashmir I’ve seen on screen so far. That includes Aamir Bashir’s heartbreaking Harud.

It’s a perfect balance that knocks you out of your seat in a jolt of energy and then in an instant makes you slow-down and wonder. The only think I would have liked to see more of was a bit more on the exodus of the Kashmiri Pundits. Though, the film takes place in a time when the people have ‘gotten over’ it.

The first scene I ever wrote was of a conversation between two friends on the banks of the Nigeen Lake, my spot of tranquility, hiding from the world, sharing a cigarette, something I’ve done a countless number of times. Since then I’ve rewritten, thrown out, written again, and rewritten it again. I think it’s time to finally finish it. Thank you Vishal Bhardwaj.

To everyone out there still deciding, please watch this film. It’s the real ‘Bang Bang’. I really hope it releases in Kashmir. Last I heard, my local cinema in Hawal Chowk was still an army bunker.

Haider Hussain Beig

A Vishal Bhardwaj film is an event for us. He is our tent-pole movie. With his latest one, Haider, he has left his contemporaries far, far behind. A bold and uncompromised take on a complicated subject with a master craftsman weaving magic on screen – dark, depressing, violent, poetic, and gloomy. How else do you like your VB-film? Who else can do it better than him? Over to Nadi Palshikar who just watched the film and jotted down her thoughts.

An MBBS doctor by training, Nadi has also done the screenplay writing course at FTII. She is currently doing Gender Studies at Pune University. Sutak is her first novel which has recently got published. This is her first post on mFC.

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Innocence has betrayed him ; Haider’s hands are tied by the red scarf made by the innocent one.

He has been captured by the trickster, the two faced Janus – comic and now revealed to be cruel.

Two funny photographers with the same name are used to depict a two faced trickster.

The trickster working at the periphery of the state.

Periphery, the two photographers (the two Salmans) have not got ‘permanent’ posts yet, but serve.

They have once bestowed a favor – they came and took Haider away on a motorcycle, they took him away to safety.

Now, they are driving him in a vehicle owned by his enemy, they are taking him away to death.

He overpowers them, but after a scuffle, they escape.

Haider now picks up a stone and aims it at the (two) trickster(s). We see in the background that the landscape is full of stones. Hurled by those who had no other defence against the powerful state.

A stone for a bullet. And yet, the world took notice.

For the first time, India’s lack of capabilities to handle law and order situations in an appropriate manner came to light. Surely, firing is an out-of-proportion response for stone throwing, asked citizens.

For 20 years, the biggest threat to security forces was militancy, now it is these stones youngsters are hurling at the speed of 40 kms per hour said the Chief Minister. The age old form of dissent (probably inspired by the Palestinian Intifada) had worked.

To the world was presented a clear picture, literally a picture of who was the strong Goliath in this confrontation.

But back to Haider, and the landscape heaped with stones.

Then as if the stones have joined to become formidable, a big rock. And Haider uses this rock to destroy the cruel shape shifting monster.

We leave the scene with an image of stones, stones…

Beautiful, but strange..like the landscape of Kashmir, this tribute to the young men who risked the bullet to hurl a stone..

Just writing down my response to one scene in the film. The film is full of such scenes, making meaning – so many meanings. What an excellent screenplay by Basharat Peer (Curfewed Night) and Vishal Bhardwaj.

What it achieves – An unlikely adaptation of  Shakespeare’s Hamlet – Unlikely and effective. The setting so difficult, yet so believable.

Every little thing, every spoken word has a purpose, a meaning. Even simple lines of dialogue which may seem just ‘funny’ lines reveal insight. e.g- Haider is at a very low point. He is mentally breaking down. And his girlfriend asks him “kya haal banake rakha hain?” To which his quick and laughing retort is ask me “kuchch lete kyun nahin?” Those of you who were born then, do you remember the 80s Coldarin advertisement? This is 1995, and these two young people were are childhood friends.

They shared this dialogue, laughed about it, when they were children.

Also, those were happier times, easier times.

Now at a very difficult point in their life he calls that line from the past.

Also, for us, as audience – the writers are after all Vishal Bharadwaj who will not have anything purposeless, meaningless in his film, and Basharat Peer who has written Curfewed Night about his personal experiences as a child inKashmir.

He knows that History is not just what you find in textbooks. History is personal accounts. History can be what we experienced in popular culture at a particular time.

As audience we remember that ad – we see Haider remembering that ad.

We shared that experience.

This Kashmiri young man, and us.

The same ad is aired over a geographical location.

We shared it.

We are a part of the same history..

A political stand taken by the film- 

I will state it simply – Haider’s monologue about AFSPA is the politically bravest piece of writing that I have seen in film in a long time.

The ending – Even as he ‘hears’ his father’s voice calling for revenge, he also ‘hears’ another voice – his Grandfather’s saying that revenge only leads to more revenge. How can revenge make us free?

How can it give us Azaadi?

Speaking of the AFSPA, remember, when the present government had ruled out changes in the AFSPA?

There was a statement by the army chief which had hurt me then.

He called it an “enabling act” because he said “AFSPA gives Army additional powers to operate in an environment which is marked by very high degree of uncertainty and complexity and an asymmetric environment where you cannot differentiate between a friend and a foe as the terrorist merges with the backdrop and hides amongst the locals.”

A statement that I did not like and now a screenplay that has moved me. See how Kashmir was described?

“environment which is marked by very high degree of uncertainty and complexity and an asymmetric environment where you cannot differentiate between a friend and a foe”

The structure of the screenplay is Exactly that.

Uncertain,

Complex,

Asymmetric.

The screenplay Is Kashmir.

– Nadi Palshikar

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There is a distinct smell of honesty in things which are fundamentally correct. You have got to love anything when it is done with utmost sincerity and no sluggishness. This is why we wait for Vishal Bharadwaj’s films and music. His latest offering is out, and we strongly recommend you get a taste of it. Here’s why:

So Jao – The eerie calm of a dark night perpetuated by heavy bass notes and a near mourning dead voiced ensemble consisting of Bashir Lone, Bashir Bhawani, Muzamil Bhawani, Mayukh Sarkar, Aalaap Majgavkar and others take upon themselves to scare the life out of us in this calm yet intense song. The singers might all be mourning but they are in perfect sync and you will find yourself reaching for the repeat button without a doubt. The sound of shovels attacking mother earth is impactful, to say the least. Top class!

Jhelum – Yet another dark song where the music arrangement is spread out. The magical electric guitar surprises you as it creates an atmosphere of contemplation. Vishal, helped greatly by the words from Gulzar, paints a picture of grief, the kind that will suck you and might make you sad, very sad. I might be thinking too much but then I feel the words ‘jhelum hua kharaa’ came out right from Gulzar’s heart as he reflected on the massacres he witnessed, during partition. That perpetual sinking feeling owes a lot to the wonderful Simaab Sen who has produced this song in the album. Vishal Bharadwaj doesn’t sing much in films. We wonder why.

Gulon mein rang – The thing with good poetry is that it can never be badly performed (unless of course, KRK decides to rap it). To make it even better, words have been modified and what’s better than to see Gulzar and Faiz in one song! We honestly didn’t expect much from Arijit Singh, (who is breathing these days with microphone attached to his throat) because we knew, the sound would be indistinguishable from most of his songs off late. I won’t say we were shocked and surprised with his rendition here. It is strictly average but the music arrangement takes it a notch higher, especially the hopeful note on which the song ends. Talking of this iconic kalaam, even Mohit Chauhan did it nicely here.

Ek aur bismil – With an adorable arabian touch and sufi setting, this version paints a fantastic belly dance setting in the mind. The clarinet in the song is exact and lends much richness to the song. Unlike the ‘bismil’ song (to which this song owes its title and tune) which has a podium/stage setting, this feels more intimate, street like and humble.

Do Jahaan – Call me an incurable romantic, but I cannot wait for Suresh Wadkar singing a ‘suresh wadkar वाला’ song. No, I don’t mean ‘totey udd gaye’ (ek thee dayan) sort of song. I mean ‘tere liye’ (7 khoon maaf) sorts. A lazy setting that somehow has become Vishal Bharadwaj’s forte along with Suresh Wadkar’s depth is something to look forward to. This song is exactly like that. An added bonus is to hear Shraddha kapoor’s voice which doesn’t sound processed and adds a ‘real’ feel to the song.

Aaj ke naam – After her fantastic ‘har ghadi’ in D-Day, Rekha Bharadwaj gives us a ‘by the tabla’ ghazal that has ‘tragedy’ written all over it. This is also a work of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Vishal Bharadwaj quietly sneaks in gentle keyboard notes to give a contemporary feel to the overall setting. Since the ghazal talks of so much sadness (With the excellent use of ‘new’ words for hindi film songs like – ब्याहता), extreme caution is advised because it will leave you sad, very sad.

Khul Kabhi – Good things were said about this song by Vishal Bharadwaj himself in a recent interview on Radio Mirchi, Bombay. Perhaps what Vishal Bharadwaj didn’t estimate was the flood of Arijit Singh’s songs with whom we are playing ‘catch up’ on daily basis. This song is good and we couldn’t help feel that this should have been sung by Vishal Bharadwaj himself. No doubt that would have been the thought at the time of composing it. It is a ‘FVBV’ song all the way (For Vishal, By Vishal). Arijit is efficient and average at best, what is lacking is the exclusive, infectious feel that this tune and crazy romantic song deserved.

Bismil – The ‘stage’ song! With Sukhwinder, there is always a danger that perhaps he will sound too ‘sukhwinder’ and hijack the song. It doesn’t matter in this case because there is an army of excellent back up vocalists, and a ‘beyond awesome’ rabaab at work along with him. The song paints a dark picture of deceit with an upbeat tune. The lyrics give away everything there is to correlate with Shahid Kapoor’s anger in the film. These days when music composers take pride in saying ‘ये गाना डांस फ्लोर पे महिना भर बजेगा’ , here is a song which might become a hot favorite of people who are into stage dramas. The overall feel reminded me of ‘Sheher’ of gulaal which can also be re-created on stage with impact, if only some people are up to it. A thunderous song that gives you a feel of large auditorium. Kudos!

Aao Na – I feel Vishal Dadlani somehow saves his ‘year’s best’ when he teams up with Vishal Bharadwaj. While I still maintain that ‘Dhan te nan’ is his best, this song stands right next to it. The passion, drums and singing, all are just top notch. Did I miss anything? Oh yes, that bloody mother of a tune on guitar. I cannot write enough good things about this song. Double thumbs up!

Vishal Bharadwaj and Gulzar have given us a brilliant album that has right shades of dark, much like the background and context of the film. In a year that has been marred with too much trash and vomit inducing tracks, Haider is what leaves a lasting sweetness on our taste buds.

As Vishal says, क्या बात है!

– by @rohwit

A new Vishal Bhardwaj film is always cause for celebration. Even his weakest films have so much to savour, and in an industry so plagued by intellectual and creative bankruptcy, Bhardwaj is the rare filmmaker who could perhaps truly claim auteur status- he produces, directs, writes, composes- and does all of it with a style so distinctive and quixotic- there’s no mistaking his stamp. We’ve got to admit, we’re fanboys, and unashamedly so.

The much awaited trailer for Mr Bhardwaj’s new film ‘Haider’ has arrived along with a trio of posters. Haider is based on Hamlet and is the final film of his Shakespearean Trilogy (preceded by Maqbool and Omkara) and stars Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor and Kay Kay Menon among others (including Irrfan Khan in a special appearance).

Notably, Haider has been co-written with Kashmiri author and journalist Basharat Peer and also marks the filmmaker’s first collaboration with cinematographer Pankaj Kumar, who is best known for shooting Anand Gandhi’s Ship Of Theseus. Click here to read an interesting article about Peer’s collaboration with Bhardwaj.

Take a look at the trailer and posters and let us know what you think: