R Balki is sort of an enigma. The seasoned adman has so far directed 4 Hindi films – all of them beaming with exceptional ideas but somehow the end product does not have the finesse that it should have or rather could have achieved. No, don’t be offended because I have referred to films as ‘products’ – Balki’s sensibilities and ideas are resplendent with his advertising background and product is not exactly a term repulsive to ad-makers.Continue reading “Ki & Ka Movie Review: Great Idea, Patchy Film and a Brave Arjun Kapoor”
The thing about R. Balki is that he is a truly gifted man. He has the talent to come up with the most unorthodox ideas, and present them in the most credible manner on celluloid. In his capacity as an ad filmmaker, it is safe to say that he is par none. After all, with a resume, that boasts of some highly memorable ad campaigns, like the heart-warming “Daag Acche Hai” campaign for Surf Excel and the powerful “Jaago Re” campaign for Tata Tea, not many will dispute the extent of his creativity. Unfortunately, this has also been his shortcoming when it comes to feature length movies, as his quirky sense of detailing doesn’t stretch far enough to make an impact on the audience.
Therefore, when he takes on the rather contentious issue of gender dynamics in Urban India, one does approach his latest offering with some trepidation.Continue reading “Ki & Ka Movie Review: Gender Dynamics for Dummies”
It was the Diwali day of 1993. As for every kid of the nineties, my day dawned with the excitement of new films and colorful crackers. I still vividly remember the morning, when I entered the hall after the customary fireworks to hear the 26 inch Onida TV, literally exploding with some breathtaking stuff – music that I had hitherto never experienced. Sun TV, that had just started its streaming that April, was airing a special program on a new Diwali release incidentally.
The moment I heard the amazing sounds, I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen, nor could I move another step, my brains instantly freezing, unable to digest the insane brilliance of what it had been exposed to, without prior warning. Everything about those five minutes hit me so emphatically that, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days together. I was mesmerized for a long, long time. But little did I realize back then that I would end up being so irreversibly smitten, writing about this unbelievable piece of magic, twenty-two years later.
With all due respect to our evolved language comprehension skills let me tell you that there are some cerebral experiences like this one that can’t be caged under the confines of a vocabulary or visual syntax. But still, whats the harm in giving it a shot?
In a brilliant celluloid moment, that is drenched in unapologetic candor, squeezed for candid hormonal truths with a quirk nonchalance and hung to dry with a poignant touch, the lively and ambitious Tara finds herself stranded in the suburban lanes of Ahmedabad, after missing her train back to Mumbai, with the hot, metrosexual and commitment-phobic Adhitya, who had followed her all the way to a new city, after being totally smitten over a single date, now contemplating on the options of spending the fateful night in a cranky lodge. When Adhi tells her with a mischievous grin that there is only one room that they would have to put up with, she smiles. This guy is in form and she seems to like it. It’s there, written all over her face.
When she bluntly questions Adhi if he has it in him to stay with her in the same room over-night and remain well-behaved, he nods with a chuckle. With the exact smug smile, when she goes on to ask him if she has it in her to stay with him in a closed room and remain well-behaved, we chuckle with a nod. If you heard a random voice inside your head that goes something in the lines of “The floor is all yours, Mani!”, you probably are not to be blamed. You have been dragged into some imminent, tasteful wizardry, by a master magician. And you have just been witness to the first part of his trick,‘The Pledge’. Mani shows you something ordinary, his object; in this case, two young people away from home who don’t seem to let the binding rules of the social structure come in the way of their personal decisions. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it’s indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course… it probably is or isn’t. But you are already sold.