Winner of the National Award for Best Non-Feature Film for Amdavad Ma Famous (2015) & co-writer of Trapped (2017), Hardik Mehta is now all ready with his first feature film as director, Kaamyaab which is now going to be having its world premiere shortly at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival. Here’s what Hardik had to talk to us about Kaamyaab & more.Continue reading “On ‘Kaamyaab’ & More: In Conversation with Writer-Director Hardik Mehta”
Very rarely do one get to witness a stand out climax in our romantic dramas like the one we see in Manmarziyaan. One that is sans the melodrama or the cliché settings (say like an airport or a railway station). It is something wonderfully set up by director Anurag Kashyap, who for a change grapples here with something more mainstream.
But the ending is only part of the tale. For first, you must reach there. And unfortunately, for that you need to tread a path that is familiar – as familiar as the Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam template, or the Rab Ne Banadi Jodi ones. Or for those familiar with South movies, as back as the Mani Rathnam classic Mouna Raagam or an Antha Ezhu Naatkal (remade in Hindi as Woh Saat Din). Here too, we watch as a young woman fall in and out of love, leaving the men in her life to helplessly sit back and watch as she sorts out the messy affairs of her heart.
The lady is none other than Rumi (Taapsee Pannu). She is a happy go lucky, free spirited young woman who likes to live life on her terms. Rumi has no qualms in sneaking in over her boyfriend Vicky and indulging in some ‘f-yaar’ away from the eyes of her family members. But when her folks do find out, she immediately takes control of the situation stating that she wants to marry her Tinder find. She even promises that if her boyfriend fails to show up with his parents formally with an alliance, she is willing to be the sacrificial ‘donkey’ and shall be up for an arranged marriage with any idiot who her family deems right.
That is the confidence she shows in her lover. But little does she know him. Vicky Sandhu (a terrific Vicky Kaushal) is a hopeless irresponsible bloke, a DJ by profession, is so in love with Rumi that he can leap rooftops for his love but the first to run away from any talk of commitment and marriage. He is the kind who is all set to elope with his girl, but without a penny in his pocket. And most of the first half is spent with Rumi trying to get some sense into the guy’s head and get him to be serious about their relationship in a more responsible manner for once.
Enter Rajbir aka Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan) , a investment banker from London, in town looking for prospective brides. But when the marriage broker shows him a pic of Rumi, he is immediately fixated on the woman. Despite being aware of her torrid affair with the Dj dude, Robbie still decides to risk things on an alliance with Rumi.
Anurag Kashyap thus brings these three diverse characters into the setting of middle -class Punjab to give you this bold take on the above-mentioned template. The loud Bhansali style Gujarati setting of Hum Dil De…,makes way for a subtler Punjabi one.
It is important to note how Kashyap and writer Kannika opts to keep the script free of any villains. Therefore you do not see the usual scheming family members or the screaming babu-jis in this one. In fact, all of Rumi’s family appear to be supportive of any decision that Rumi makes, that is she if makes up her mind. Having lost her parents at an earlier age, she cleverly manipulates things to her advantage with her aunts, uncles and grandfather to get whatever she desires. And as much as reckless and rebellious, she is also shown someone to be attached to things that she holds dear and near. Notice how she wears her father’s shirt when she goes to ask Vicky to propose to her.
But Rumi is as complex a character that can be, volatile and affectionate in equal measures and Taapsee Pannu has absolutely nailed this one. In what is easily her career best performance, Taapsee is in full control over her multi-faceted character. She is undoubtedly the life of the movie. But she gets wonderful support from the rest of the cast. Vicky Kaushal absolutely rocks as the irresponsible man-child and despite all the flaws of the character, Vicky still makes the character so endearing, without putting a foot wrong. Abhishek Bachchan, returning after a gap of two years, unfortunately is still playing the bland Ramji types- the kind he played in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna,. However, the writing fails to do justice to this third wheel and even performance wise- Abhishek despite his calming assured presence, fail to really bring anything new to his portrayal.
Despite its predictability , Anurag Kashyap and writer Kanika ‘s treatment keep things interesting. The characters here are not boxed into any stereotypes and each have enough shades of grey to keep the viewers hooked. In fact, there is this constant motif of duality that is the center-stage of this script whichKashyap keeps exploring with these characters. And to drive home the point, he deliberately keeps throwing the visual cues like the dancing twins (Poonam and Priyanka Shah) or the twin guys we see in the Kashmir episode.
It is a welcome return for Kashyap to the romantic genre after a series of crime dramas since tasting success with Dev D. But Kashyap being Kashyap, gets into his fair share of indulgence that makes the movie appear a slog at 155 minutes. As we grapple with Rumi’s indecisiveness, Vicky and Rumi’s antics get a little too repetitive and brings down the energy at a lot of instances. You would find yourself wishing that these two would for once make up their minds and move on.
Glad to find Kashyap and writer Kannika truly liberating Rumi and unchaining her from the Bollywood rulebook that defines how a leading protagonist should act and behave onscreen. Virginity and sex is never brought up as a hindrance to anything as the big issue over a small tissue is outright thrown out of the window in this unflinching take on love, lust and marriage. In fact, right at the beginning, in the scene when the family members discover Vicky in her bedroom Rumi’s immediate reaction is ‘ So what?’
Successfully aiding Kashyap’s return to the romantic genre is partner from Dev D days – Amit Trivedi. Together with lyricist Shelly, the team has come up once again with a scintillating soundtrack that really works wonder and is effectively used to keep the narration stay afloat , capturing the various moods as required.
Cinematographer Sylvester Fonseca does full justice in capturing the hustle bustle of the small-town Punjab. Kashyap also cleverly uses food as one of the crutch points. Lassi, pakoras and such mouthwatering delicacies are served aplenty and all the food talk could whet up an appetite in you. So it is best advised not to watch it on an empty stomach.
Manmarziyaan, like its title, seem to be content doing its own thing as it pleases. Refusing to cater to the tried and tested, it constantly pushes and rebels its way out of the labels. Kashyap and team may not have exactly hit it out of the park but has managed to carve out something distinctly bolder from the usual bunch of glossy rom-coms and romantic dramas that Bollywood churns out. And much like its characters, Manmarziyaan is a movie that needs to be accepted with all its imperfections.
cast: Taapsee Pannu, Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal
Music: Amit Trivedi
Directed by Anurag Kashyap
Oru Kidayin Karunai Manu (A Goat’s Mercy Petition) is a forthcoming Tamil drama film, written and directed by Suresh Sangaiah. The film features Vidharth and Raveena Ravi in the lead roles, with a goat playing a pivotal role. Produced by Eros International the film has music by R.Raghuram while R.V.Saran is the DOP and Praveen K.L is the editor. A village tale based in the interior of Tamil Nadu, the film is an official selection at the ongoing New York Indian Film Festival. Continue reading “Oru Kidayin Karunai Manu: Trailer”
Double Feluda is an upcoming Bengali language crime thriller drama film, based on the Bengali sleuth Feluda, created by the acclaimed and renowned Oscar– winning director Satyajit Ray. Directed by the latter’s son Sandip Ray, the film marks the comeback of both Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Saheb Bhattacharya, with the former returning to the iconic of Feluda and the latter playing his sidekick, Topshe. The film is reportedly said to be released for Christmas, 2016 to mark the 50th anniversary of the iconic creation. After going with Abir Chatterjee as Feluda in Badshahi Angti (2014), Sandip Ray has gone back to Sabyasachi and Eros International has stepped in as the producer. Sirsha Ray is the DOP and Subrata Roy is the editor, the original Feluda theme music by Satyajit Ray has been retained in the film.Continue reading “Double Feluda: Trailer”
This year a popular brand is introducing some new categories in their film awards and I thought I might help them with the finalists.
Best lead Actor in a static role: John Abraham for Dishoom- He manages to keep the same expression throughout the movie, a feat which not even accomplished actors like Naseer have been able to do. For this, he has even managed to get a lifetime award nomination competing strongly with Sunil Shetty. Moreover, his abs have started acting better though a similar feat was attempted by his bare bottom earlier. The director had to give him a cigarette throughout the movie to ensure that he didn’t give any unwanted expressions either.Continue reading “Dishoom: The Battle of the Beefcakes”
Rohit Dhawan is an interesting name for a Hindi film director. The man obviously gets his surname from his iconic father, David, but it is his first name which lends an aura of interest to this entire name business. Rohit Dhawan seems to be inspired by ‘100 crore’ man Rohit Shetty and his stylized action sequences, and when you mix it with the inherent David Dhawan brand of humor and a bit of more inspiration from Hollywood buddy movies, you have the brand new Dhawan on the block.Continue reading “Dishoom Movie Review: Typical ‘Entertainer’ that Respects Your Time for a Change”
In the midst of all the offbeat plots covered by Bollywood in 2016, like Kapoor and Sons, Ki and Ka, Neerja, Udta Punjab etc, there are times when one ends up craving for some old school masala, although lately, it’s only the Khans who’ve managed to keep the genre alive, especially with Salman Khan’s Sultan ending up as a monster hit. So when the trailers of Dishoom showed up, they promised old school masala with a mix of maar dhaad action and some David Dhawan styled humor, but does Dishoom deliver on this promise?Continue reading “Dishoom Movie Review: Sucker Punch”
It is but natural to fall in relationships that seem to appear rosy initially, only to appear as a difficult proposition later on. Yes you do tell yourself that you would try and adjust and expect the same out of the other person as well, but then you end up realizing that it is not all that simple eventually. Have you ever gone through any such relationship or heard or know of someone who has gone through it? Chances of hearing a yes from most people are extremely high and I am sure of the same. Ok here are some questions for us to ponder over-when a relationship seems to have probably reached its end what do we do? How sure are we that we gave it a fair chance to succeed? Are we willing to let go of each other amicably if it comes to that? Most importantly do we actually manage to move on in every way possible once the relationship ceases to exist?Continue reading “Praktan Movie Review: Life’s a Journey, You Have to Move on at the Right Time”