Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kaminey - Raw and Racy!

I remember seeing Omkara and being fascinated by it. It had a rawness in the music and in the rusty setting. The story itself didn't bother about sophistication and showed all emotions unmasked as they ought to be shown for the viewer to grasp the frailty of human nature and the folly in believing otherwise. Another Vishal Bharadwaj product that I loved immensely was Blue Umbrella. It had something so pure about it that was hard to put a finger on, yet brought a charm and appeal to the innocent village life and its sweet pleasures in the hinterlands of the country.

Kaminey, though the critics seem to have a taken a liking to ever aspect - doesn't meet the expectations I had after Omkara and Blue Umbrella. It definitely depicts the gangster world and deals again with fickle minds that get swayed hither and thither by the hunger for power and money. The first half is riveting stuff. It brings out the contrast between Charlie and Guddu (the two brothers played by Shahid) very well. The songs are sincere attempts in that they sit well with the story and I should admit that in hindi cinema at least, of late, there is a marked departure from dreamy lines that serve no purpose.

Songs - the lyrics and the music - a vital part of our movies, go a long way in bringing the audience to the theatres. "Dhan ye tan" and "raat ke dhai baje" will make anybody dance with joy! The background music is also good making the viewer an integral part of the action on offer. There is hardly any story but this doesn't need a story to convey what it wants to. In terming the movie "intelligent", I would say that some critics have underestimated the audience.

The second half, save for some marathi intensive exchanges and funny dialogues with two characters trying to shoot each other disappoints in comparison with the first. Vishal Bharadwaj, quite admirably paints a caricature of the regional vote bank inclined politician and succeeds in exposing his true colors. When we know that money and power hold considerable lure to people who lead lives constantly on the edge and get excited easily, the confusion on offer with competing bids to divide loot, will, depending on perspective, draw applause or indifference. I wasn't much impressed.

Acting wise, Shahid Kapoor has proven that he can be more than just a chocolate boy and Priyanka Chopra, more than just a glam doll. Probably, the stutter instead of lending more credibility, did the opposite and I am less inclined to attribute much better adjectives to Shahid because of that. The supporting cast is good enough. What lacks in the movie is something more concrete for the viewer to take away. I would say that I have seen better cinema on similar subjects in tamil. To sum up, a raw and racy movie that could have been a little better!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Losing innocence - Aimless meanderings!

Nostalgia strikes more often at inopportune times when one is sad. Recently I read that happiness is something that we realize in hindsight after the event responsible for it has ended. How true it is! When we identify that we are happy, it flies off, elusive and out of grasp...

I am back home after a good three months and everything feels so alien and so intimate at the same time. Talking to friends I realized that even though we hadn't seen each other for some time, things have rarely changed. We chatted away like the good buddies we are and topics weren't hard to come by and conversation didn't cease for a minute. There wasn't any uncomfortable silence. I have eperienced it only with people that I have spent reasonable time with.

I do feel that social networking and its cousins have made the word "Friend" so commonplace that its meaning sometimes gets lost. Some things take time to happen and friendship is certainly one of them. Unless one spends time with someone, gets to know the person they are slowly and begin to share with them events in one's life, and they in turn, the events in their lives, friendhsip will not get nurtured.

It is also important that compatibility is not so often about sharing the same likes and interest than about a tolerant nature that is willing to give the other person enough space. Incompatibility, the word that is bandied about so readily is more a sign of impatience than real conflict. Today, we are so conscious of time and so selfish to pursue our own interests that we find that we are also becoming increasingly impatient, with ourselves and with others. As a result, we lose the ability to see things as they are. Inconsiderate behavior, marked by glaring insensitivity to other's feelings, a brutal hurry to get things done at any cost and placing one's own interest at the foremost of everything - these are all consequences of a lifestyle that we have come to adopt.

That certain people think they can get away with anything and everything by attributing rude behavior to a sense of business is pathetic. Aggression and testosterone can get people only so far. Sadly, due to a premium placed on the ends rather than the means, sensitivity and concern take backseats and aggression gets rewarded leading to a vicious cycle.

The whole point of this post is that we are losing our innocence and falling prey to a way of life that breeds indifference, intolerance and hatred. If we look at ourselves in childhood, surely we can learn a lot of lessons. Some memories never lose their freshness and remain evergreen in those crevices of the mind that nothing can penetrate them and steal them away! There was no malice in the games we played, no hate in the words we spoke. Instead there was a hope that we nurtured, a hope for a tomorrow full of brightness and color. We surely believed that there would be competition, but perhaps never realized that it would be at a great cost!

Is love the opposite of hate and is freedom the opposite of slavery? Not at all! In defining love and freedom like this, we delude ourselves into believing that we love each other and we are free when the reality is starkly different. We can fool ourselevs as long as we don't want to confront the truth! Money, fame and rewards are not equal to peace of mind and ultimately that is what counts! The means and not the ends!!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Love Aaj Kal - A commentary on the changing mores

"Main Vo Hoon
Jo Chahoon Vo Paoon"

"Haaan hota hoon mein jis raste pe
Aaye khushi wohin"

Ever since the first trailers started to come, I wanted to see Love Aaj Kal. The songs had an energy and the visuals going to and fro between the past and the present, an appeal. I was not disappointed when I saw it yesterday.

As societal mores change, so do the preferences of the young. In a world which places a premium on pace, where is the time to hold on? Where is the reservoir of patience to maintain relationships as they pass through turbulent waves, get tossed and turned due to the pulls and pressures of a demanding career? The "practical" way out does seem to be "move on". That is why Love Aaj Kal starts with a breakup party. Meera (Deepika Padukone) and Jai (Saif Ali Khan) decide to breakup since Meera is going to pursue her dream in faraway Delhi.

As the movie progresses, they realize that they have shared too much with each other to forget, to take comfort in another relationship, that their time together led them to understand each other in ways that increasingly seem more natural in hindsight. I have told the story pretty much here.

Deepika apart from looking as gorgeous as ever, scores in the acting arena too. She has essayed her role with marked elan and grace. Playing a character that requires an uncanny sense of humor is not very easy and she comes out scoring pretty high. Saif Ali Khan, we know did extremely well in Hum Tum and this movie demanded something of that humor. He looks very natural and we can recognize in him a certain kind of male who at face value wants to take life as it happens, has lofty dreams, but scratch the surface and one finds that he has a heart too. (Bollywood style!) Rishi Kapoor as the reminiscing old gentleman makes one smile.

The movie's biggest plus is its music, lyrics and dialogue. All the three resonate well with the modern youth. The dialogues are fast, short and confused. The music is peppy, has some flair and sits well with the storyline. Lyrics - some quoted in the beginning - don't touch a discordant note though they aren't too deep. In funny lines, we see the characters singing for joy and yearning for distances to be bridged. Neeraj Sridhar appears to have taken up playback singing for movies full time after Billu Barber. We now know where Mohit Chauhan is a complete natural and he delivers again in "Yeh Dooriyan". All the songs are well shot and the lead pair has worked hard on their dance moves.

The first half is thoroughly breezy while there is some emotional melodrama in the second to make the package complete. I would recommend to go for this one and enjoy the fare on offer! Imtiaz Ali knows how to deliver hits that the young can identify with. I thank him for that!