Gamak Ghar Movie Review: Ozu and Kore-eda subtly echoed in form and poignancy

It is not very often that you are treated to an Indian film as meticulously constructed as debutante Achal Mishra’s Maithili language drama Gamak Ghar(translated to ‘village house’ and pronounced as ‘गामक घर’).The young filmmaker’s control over the cinematic form is impressive, especially his mis-en-scene. The sources of his inspiration also filled me with much delight.

Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda is one of my most favourite contemporary directors and I spent a better part of the last month devouring his oeuvre. I am still under the spell of his subtle, minimalist cinema that unexpectedly leaves you emotionally wrecked, much like another Japanese master Yasujiro Ozu’s films. Many a movie buff has lamented over the absence of such intimate domestic dramas in Indian cinema, despite the large potential. Imagine my delight on spotting the influence of these legendary filmmakers in Gamak Ghar.

The opening frame of the film sets the mood.

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Lathe Joshi Movie Review: A minimalist social drama with depth and humour

In the second half of the film, our protagonist Vijay Joshi (Chittaranjan Giri) rides his humble bicycle to the sprawling bungalow of Mr. Sathe who’s the owner of his workshop from which he has recently been laid off. A guard accosts him at the gate telling him that being bed-ridden due to illness, Sathe is not entertaining any visitors. Joshi has worked diligently at the workshop for 35 long years and knows that the boss acknowledges his contribution. Yielding to Joshi’s persistence, the guard makes a call to Sathe’s home from the gate. After Joshi lets Mrs. Sathe know over the phone that he wants to have a word with her husband, she asks Sathe if he’s willing to meet a certain Vijay Joshi. We then see Vijay hearing his boss’s answer – “Oh is it Lathe Joshi? Please let him come.” And, our protagonist smiles for the very first time in the film. It’s just a slight stretch of the lips, but it’s enough to notice that he is feeling a resurgence of pride in himself. The beauty of the film lies in this ability of it being able to evoke an emotion, without seemingly making much of an effort or say quite a bit, without apparently saying much. It’s this minimalistic approach that makes even a tender smile soar so high.Continue reading “Lathe Joshi Movie Review: A minimalist social drama with depth and humour”

Xhoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields) Assamese Movie Review: Touching tale about growing up in violent times

Mumbai-based director Bidyut Kotoky’s Assamese film Xhoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields) is one of those movies that come across as so deeply personal that you are certain that the events unfolding on the big screen must be, in one way or the other, autobiographical in nature.

The autobiographical elements are not difficult to spot with the protagonist Niyor, played by Nakul Vaid (of Ab Tak Chappan fame) being an Assamese filmmaker himself, based out of Mumbai. Bidyut Kotoky has also dubbed the voice of the protagonist, giving the film a further personal touch. It feels as if the director is quite literally narrating a story, but in an audio-visual form.

Xhoixobote Dhemalite is about how violence deeply impacts the impressionable minds of innocent children. Set mainly in the 1980s of Assam when the North-Eastern state witnessed violence that left about 1,800 people dead. The focus here is not so much on the reason behind the riots, but on how children are always the worst victims of them.Continue reading “Xhoixobote Dhemalite (Rainbow Fields) Assamese Movie Review: Touching tale about growing up in violent times”

Aamhi Doghi Movie Review: Priya Bapat gives career-best performance in this moving tale of womanhood

The promos of Aamhi Doghi would have you believe that the film is only about the relationship between two women – a young, confident and frank Saavi (Priya Bapat) and a shy, traditional and calm Ammi. The title of the film also suggests the same. The film, though, is only partly about the camaraderie between the two. The trailer of last week’s Gulabjaam had almost reduced the layered and touching film to a slapstick comedy. Aamhi Doghi’s case is somewhat of the opposite kind. The promos had raised my hopes sky high, but the film didn’t turn out to be as good. That is not to say that the film lacks nuance, I was only expecting it to be something different.Continue reading “Aamhi Doghi Movie Review: Priya Bapat gives career-best performance in this moving tale of womanhood”

Raakshas Movie Review: Uneven blend of reality and fiction

What if I tell you that I recently saw a film that tries to merge a dark fantasy and a violent real world with a little girl in the centre of it all? In the background of a bloody battle between the establishment and leftist rebels, the little girl is asked to complete certain tasks by a mythical creature, to get something she strongly desires. Well, no, I am not talking about Guillermo del Toro’s film Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). But the film i saw by debutante writer-director Dnyanesh Zoting borrows the above elements and more from the highly acclaimed Spanish movie.Continue reading “Raakshas Movie Review: Uneven blend of reality and fiction”

In Conversation With Onir On Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz, Kolkata And Lot More

Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz has opened to glowing reviews by the critics. National Award winning director of the film, Onir, who’s made highly acclaimed films like ‘My Brother Nikhil’ and ‘I Am’ before, talks to us about this latest venture. He has lovely things to say about the screenplay of the film written by our very own Abhishek Chatterjee and a lot more:Continue reading “In Conversation With Onir On Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz, Kolkata And Lot More”

In Conversation with editor Irene Dhar Malik: “An objective and if necessary, ruthless, editor can benefit the film immensely.”

We recently caught up with the Irene Dhar Malik who has edited Onir’s upcoming movie Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz starring Zain Khan Durrani and Geetanjali Thapa in the lead role. It is a special film for us at MAM as our very own Abhishek Chatterjee has written the story, screenplay and dialogues. Irene also edits documentaries and has won a National Award for her work in the docu Celluloid Man.

So here we go:
Continue reading “In Conversation with editor Irene Dhar Malik: “An objective and if necessary, ruthless, editor can benefit the film immensely.””

Phantom Thread Movie Review: Challenging, yet deeply fascinating drama!

Ambiguity. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s Mr. Anderson’s favourite word in the dictionary. The American director, often held as one of the best of his generation, has a penchant for creating a cinematic world which is at once captivating and mysterious. While watching his films you are never really sure of what kind of people his characters are or what they would do. Neither can you predict the direction in which the film is going, but, nevertheless, you are smitten by whatever is unfolding on the screen. It’s like going on a long, slow ride through the countryside, so lost in the sensory pleasure derived from the scenic beauty around, that you don’t really bother about where you are heading. You blindly trust your driver to take you to a destination that would certainly be worth the ride.Continue reading “Phantom Thread Movie Review: Challenging, yet deeply fascinating drama!”

Notes from editor Jabeen Merchant’s Masterclass

Ever since I have started to take an interest in film editing, I have learnt how crucial editing is to the documentary. More often than not, a documentary film gets made on the editing table. While shooting a documentary there are far too many elements out of your control, so the use of determining the structure of the film in a screenplay is quite limited.

There are a number of blogs, website and video channels that help you know more about the craft of editing (documentary as well as fiction films), but nothing beats a live interaction with a stalwart in the field. So when I learnt of a Masterclass on ‘Constructing the Documentary Narrative’ was to be taken by veteran editor Jabeen Merchant at the ongoing Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), I made it a point to attend it. And as expected, it was quite an enriching experience. These were the major takeaways from the Masterclass:Continue reading “Notes from editor Jabeen Merchant’s Masterclass”