“It’s Always Your Debut Film That Chooses You” – Zain Khan Durrani On Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz, His Journey & More

Director Onir’s latest film Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz is quite a deviation from his previous works which mostly took a serious look at everyday issues and the people affected by these. The film is a romantic drama which revolves around Archi or Archana (Geetanjali Thapa) as she is fondly called in the film. She makes a living creating internet memes and is addicted to a late-night radio show that is hosted by RJ Alfaz (debutant Zain Khan Durrani). The show sees RJ Alfaz narrating tales of love and longing in a very poetic or a shayarana style. A chance meeting and a host of WhatsApp messages lead them to meeting and eventually falling for each other. However, the path to their unison is not as easy as it seems.

The film which released yesterday to glowing reviews also marks the debut of it’s lead actor Zain Khan DurraniWe recently spoke to the actor about the film, his role and more.

Republished below are excerpts from the same.  Continue reading ““It’s Always Your Debut Film That Chooses You” – Zain Khan Durrani On Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz, His Journey & More”

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 Geetanjali Thapa On Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz and Staying Away From Social Media

 Actor Geetanjali Thapa made her debut with the critically acclaimed I.D. (2012) directed by Kamal K.M. The film which shared Thapa in the lead was feted at several international festivals including International Film Festival of Kerala, 2012 and Los Angeles Film Festival, 2013 where the film won the NETPAC Award (for the Best Asian Film) and Jury Prize for an Outstanding Performance (by Geetanjali Thapa). She followed this up with director Geethu Mohandas’ Liar’s Dice which won Thapa a National Award for Best Actress (Silver Lotus).

Since then she has appeared in a variety of critically acclaimed shorts and features such as Anurag Kashyap’s That Day After Everyday and Vikramaditya Motwane’s Trapped. The actor’s latest release Kuch Bheege Alfaaz hit the screens today. Directed by Onir, the film is a romantic drama which revolves around Archi or Archana (Geetanjali Thapa) as she is fondly called in the film. She makes a living creating internet memes and is addicted to a late-night radio show that is hosted by RJ Alfaz (debutant Zain Khan Durrani). The show sees RJ Alfaz narrating tales of love and longing in a very poetic or a shayarana style to be precise. A chance meeting and a host of WhatsApp messages lead them to meeting and eventually falling for each other. However, the path to their unison is not as easy as it seems.

Personally, the film is also special since it also marks the writing debut of Abhishek Chatterjee, a close friend and a fellow author of Madaboutmoviez.

We recently caught up with the talented Ms. Thapa and spoke to her about the film, her journey as an actor and much more. Republished below are excerpts from the same.Continue reading “In Conversation With Geetanjali Thapa On Kuchh Bheege Alfaaz and Staying Away From Social Media”

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.””

Dahan (1997) Movie Review: Engaging and Incisive Drama

DahanRecently, while spewing venom on the insensitivity with which the Indian media and the society in general deals with sexual harassment/ rape cases, i was made to wonder why most men hesitate to get married to a rape victim. Is it just because of them losing their virginity? After all, the rape victims are never to be blamed for it. Also the concept of a virgin bride has lost much of its significance. On sharing my query with fellow MAM authors on our group on a mobile messaging app, one of them explained that it is about the stigma attached to the whole issue. Our deeply conservative and rotten society doesn’t allow the victim and her family to move on with life very easily. Being cinephiles to the core, we try to find our answers in cinema. So another MAM author recommended Rituparno Ghosh’s Dahan to me as it tackles exactly the same issue i was grappling with. I was not much exposed to the acclaimed Rituparno Ghosh’s cinema and so i immediately followed up on the recommendation. As the end credits of the extra-ordinary film rolled, much of the doubts in my mind were answered.

Dahan(Crossfire), adapted from a novel of the same name, throws the spotlight on the moralities of the educated middle class of Calcutta of the 90s through a sexual harassment incident and a chain of events that get linked to it. In the film, Romita is molested and almost kidnapped on the streets of Calcutta. Her husband Palash, who is accompanying her, is also brutally assaulted by the men rendering him unconscious. Romita’s scream for help are ignored by others on the street except for a strong-willed school teacher Jhinuk who helps Romita escape from the clutch of the attackers. The film then goes on to explore that how despite the press hailing Jhinuk as a heroine and her identifying of the attackers, both the ladies face opposition from their families in their resolve to seek justice due to societal pressure and moral fickleness.

Dahan maintains a starkly realistic texture in its drama. It mostly steps away from melodrama despite handling a sensational subject unlike earlier efforts in Indian cinema like Santoshi’s Damini. The dialogues too are conversational and help us in identifying with the characters. The film expertly lays bare the insensitivity with which the Indian society makes it difficult for Romita to seek justice. It subtly shows how even Jhinuk’s fiance and Romita’s husband Palash are manipulated and pressurised in their workplaces into discouraging the ladies from seeking justice. Despite touching many other themes like the fallibility of ideals and their practicality, social stigma and male chauvinism amongst others, the clarity of thought in the film remains intact.

It is rare to see such well-etched and lovely women characters in an Indian film. Be it the resolved and uncompromising Jhinuk who is ready to risk her marriage for her ideals or the confused, submissive and caught-between-two-worlds Romita or even the fiance of one of the perpetrators of the crime who now doesn’t wish to marry a male chauvinist. The performances too by Indrani Haldar as Jhinuk and Rituparno Sengupta as Romita are topnotch. Ghosh successfully manages to evoke empathy in our minds for all his women.  But the male characters in Dahan on the other hand are quite uni-dimensional, an even more rare feature in an Indian film.

The subtlety ensures that points made in the film are not forcefully driven across. However, the scene where Palash violates his wife on the bed and the courtroom scenes could have done with more restrain.

Very impressively the sexuality in the film too has a matter-of-factness and maturity to it, case in point being the scene where Jhinuk’s fiance Tunir tries his best to convince his darling of not persisting with her resolve to pursue the case, but not before planting a few kisses on her lips.

Dahan could very well have ended on a feminist note, but here again the film pleasantly surprises you by subtly convincing us that in the end each individual can depend only on one’s ownself and nobody else.

Rituparno Ghosh’s Dahan is thus a highly recommended piece of cinema as it is not only a very well made and engaging drama that tackles a sensitive subject with maturity and subtlety, but also convincingly puts across rather pertinent ideas.