Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Sairat: Simplistically beautiful, tragically relevant

Searing. Wild. Innocent. Naïve.
Archie and Parshya’s love for each other is all of the above. Set in a remote village of Maharashtra, their love story is all that Bollywood has explored and over explored since its inception. Archie is the apple of her family’s eyes and belongs to the high caste, Patil, household. Her father is the influential legislator of the village. She is confident, unapologetic, and knows how to ride a bike and tractor, unlike the other village girls. 
A still from the movie. Photo Courtesy : Internet

Parshya, on the other end of the societal spectrum, belongs to a lower caste family, in which, his father does fishing to sustain them and his younger sister helps their mother with household chores. Parshya is a bright kid, a poet at heart, capable of making his cricket team win single handed, and good with studies. His father has high expectations from him as he orders him to find a white collar job, lest he end up fishing like his father. 
It’s love at first sight for Parshya, but in no time Archie reciprocates. And therefore, starts their whirlwind romance, filled with slow motion sequences, magic weaving poetic songs, few fights and more tears.
‘Yad Lagala’ should be declared the romantic anthem of this year. It is a beautiful rendition expressing how the flutters of first time. You have to witness the magical moment when Parshya and Archie are dancing at a party to ‘Zingaat’. The crowd in the theatre goes crazy and they break into a jig as if this is the greatest and only joy. Such is the magic of music and movies, transcending every barrier.

Parshya is absolutely adorable and is sure to leave many young hearts racing.
A still from the movie. Photo Courtesy: Internet
You can trust Nagraj Popatrao Manjule to deliver the best and hard-hitting climaxes to a movie. Interesting bit of information: Manjule is also in front of the camera this time. Try spotting him. *winks

They say the essence of emotions gets lost in translations. But, seeing the records the movie is breaking at the box office in terms of revenue it is generating (the movie saw a nationwide release on 29th April 2016 and is still going strong in theatres) and analysing its impact on a wide range of audience, the saying has been proved wrong with this one film.

Nonetheless, it is not better than his first film as a director, Fandry (I highly recommend. Please do a favour to yourself and watch it.). Maybe, that is because the storyline is a little predictable. Having said that, I would also like to honestly admit that Manjule effortlessly and successfully keeps the audience hooked.

It is a finely done piece of art that brings to the silver screen the tragic and harsh realities of our ignorant society.  

Tuesday, 21 June 2016


“There are few films which feed your soul. They make you happy, they inspire you and most importantly, they reaffirm your faith in human relationships. Nagesh Kukunoor's latest venture, Dhanak, is one such film.”

After a LOT of struggle over the weekend, I managed to get a ticket for myself of the small- budget film, Dhanak. I was glad that a film like this, with no ‘big names’ (crowd-pullers), was running houseful in almost every theatre I tired getting a ticket.
I hugely rely on two things before I set my heart to watch a movie: my instincts about the film, and the other, on the vibes it gives me. Being such a sensitive movie-watcher, I felt a little disgusted with the crowd that was coming in to watch, Dhanak. Here is an excerpt of the conversation my fellow viewers where having, right at the start of the film.

Sunday evening. Movie hall. Huge crowd trickling in as others are settling. The starting credits of the film rolling on the screen.
Next to me, in the first row, a family of 2 adults and 3 kids are sitting.
Adult 1: Ye kaunsi movie hai?
Adult 2: …….
Adult 1: Hero kaun hai ismein?...Kya naam hai movie ka? Kya??! Dhanak? Wo kya hota hai?

Not to blame anyone, but a little research would have not hurt! Feeling pity for them and a little disappointed, I decided to concentrate on the film running ahead.
I have faced this dilemma many times. Movies that touch your heart are so difficult to put into words. Masters of the pen can only translate into words what masters of film making translate on the screen. And in that regard, I feel extremely disappointed with myself.

In Pari’s quest to get her younger brother vision back, the kids are out on a mission to tell everyone that the world is really not such a bad place to live. The best part is the brother-sister’s heart-warming chemistry. Not for a second will you doubt these earnest performers.
Every day, on the way to school, they flip a coin to decide whose turn it is — Salman Khan or Shah Rukh Khan. Pari and Chhotu, with their whole heart, worship their respective heroes. He to Salman and she to Shah Rukh. They have blind faith on their heroes, so much so that, after the coin decides whose turn it is, both banter about the superior special powers of their favourite star and then, as they start walking, the story session begins. This sequence in the movie is purely priceless.
A still from the movie. Photo courtesy: Internet

It’s hard not to feel for Chhotu. It’s hard not to feel for Pari’s concern for her younger brother. Their innocence will make you laugh and cry at the same time. They argue and fight daily. But, Pari’s only support is Chhotu and his is Pari.
The way the two kids (Chhotu was 8 years old and Pari was 10 years old when, in 2014, the movie was shot) have been directed, speaks volumes of what expertise the filmmaker, Nagesh Kukunoor, has.
There is a particular scene where Chhotu and his new found friend are playfully stuffing jalebis in each other’s mouth. Krrish Chhabria nails it as Chhotu in this particular scene. What a star performer!
The still from the film where Chhotu nails it. Photo Courtesy: Internet

The album of the film can be pitched to be the richest of the year, so far. Tapas Relia, who has earlier worked with Kukunoor on Lakshmi, delivers a colourful soundtrack that is majorly folk but with a contemporary twist.

Yet another rendition of the classic ‘Mast Kalandar’ with a twist of promoting world peace and compassion for fellow humans, will be the ear-worm from the album, it refuses to leave you mind even afters after you have left the theatre. I found it to be one of the most engaging versions of the song. Actor-musician Chet Dixon rap-sings in this one along with Devu Khan Manganiyar's ethereal voice.
A still from the film, featuring Chet Dixon. Photo Courtesy: Internet

You know that feeling of contentment that overwhelms you when your favourite singer finishes singing your favourite song. The experience is soul-touching and is cherished for long. That sense of gratitude. That sense of satisfaction. Dhanak was one such experience for me.

Films like these need to be encouraged, to reach multiple theatres and be watched by millions of people. It is a film which stands for everyone to have child-like innocence, spread peace, love, optimism, compassion and practice the art of humanity.
Amidst generating headline-hitting curiosity, I know, most of you must have already savoured the bigger release of this weekend, Udta Punjab, but this humble and soulful story of a brother-sister bonding, deserves all your love and attention at the movie theatres.
A delight for every humane heart, this is a must-watch across all age groups.
PS: Not to miss Suresh Menon in a little but soul-stirring performance.  

A still from the film, featuring Suresh Menon. Photo Courtesy: Internet

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Main Aur Charles mein ‘main’ kaun hai?

As perplexing the title may seem the movie, I guarantee, is no less. This should be attributed to bad direction and a very slow narrative.
The 'real' Charles Sobhraj, on whom the movie is based. Photo Courtesy: Internet

No, no, don’t mistake this piece of writing to be a movie review yet again. This is just my way of venting out the disappointment I suffered while I watched the movie. Randeep Hooda playing the celebrated criminal, Charles Sobhraj, sent my expectations soaring high. He did not disappoint. With an actor of his calibre, it did not come as a surprise when he charmed everyone with his flawless, effortless acting; something only expected from him.
Hooda as Charles Sobhraj in the movie. Photo Courtesy: Internet
Complementing his portrayal of a suave but equally ingenious Sobhraj is Adil Hussain in the role of a police officer who is in charge of the jail break case. His mannerisms and fine detailing in his acting, made him stand out.
A still from the movie. Photo Courtesy: Internet

Production design is commendable and the only saving grace apart from the impeccable acting on display. Apart from these two delights, there is not much that would hook you to your seat, leave alone push you to a ‘bite-your-nails’ situation. The narrative misses out on opportunities to induce suspense and curiosity with the story at hand.

Hooda is a sheer waste of talent in this one. One time watch, only for him.

This classic song found the beautiful Kanika Kapoor's voice in the recreated version of the film. Have a look, it helped me feel better after the disappointment that cam from watching the film.