100 years of Indian cinema – festive week at the movies

Shootout at Wadala
Tarantino-esque is in. Scene by scene, shot by shot- it’s a meticulous, classy film, where even the splash from the dhobi wash is captured at a slower shutter speed and seems to tell a story of its own.
As a story, the film does not falter. It is humane. And both John and Kangana, no great shakes in the emotion department, acquit themselves reasonably well. But I did wonder if the real Manya Surve had gotten as needlessly bloodthirsty as Sanjay Gupta’s Manya.
Also his sidekicks are cardboard figures. His guru at the jail, for instance, is middle aged; one would expect him to have other things to do than hang out with the younger lot at dance bars. Also it seemed like the director had promised Siddhant Kapoor and Tushar Kapoor some exclusive footage. So while they babble out risque jokes, the rest of the gang look indulgently or vacantly at them- they could have been busy lighting their cigarettes or having a murmured conversation before they actually get involved in listening. The group dynamics of the gang is weird- however, considering it’s a newly formed gang, that’s excusable.
Most of their outings are to avenge some wrong done to Manya- why wasn’t a professional gang looking for some mean, meaty jobs?
The dialogues are a little stilted and often play to the gallery, especially the ma-bahen gaalis, which is what many of my young neighbours in the theatre, seemed interested in. And sure enough during the interval, at the coffee line, there was this young titch loudly yelling the F- word for effect. I had a worrisome thought that this ilk of movies will start to glamorize violence and cussing. Is our youthful audience mature enough to understand that you don’t have to tote guns or be foul-mouthed, in order to be witty, and that in real life, you are your own scriptwriter and you may not have an audience to laud you on?
Then the love-making scenes… there was a brutal passion when Manya goes for his girl and he quite forgets that he once upheld the right of a prostitute to sleep or not to sleep with someone. That his girl melts into his arms after the token resistance was childishly like a Mills and Boon romance.
There were these little nigglers, but none of them detract from the impact of the film – to see reality up close and larger than life.

Bombay Talkies –
It’s a movie for movie lovers, with plenty of internal references to the Hindi film industry. A fitting tribute to the 100 year old entertainment industry!
The four half-hour shorts built on narrow premises blossom into delightful stories with unconventional endings (at least two of them do).
Randeep Hooda was the surprise package of Karan Johar’s film on marital relations and homo-sexuality. He conveyed the repression of a closet homosexual very well. And while the movie ends predictably with his wife leaving him, she, the wife, played by Rani looks fantastic as the dying-for-sex neglected wife. I especially liked the part where she slides open her wardrobe to reveal sunlight bright saris all screaming for attention.
Dibakar Banerjee’s film, adapted from a story by Satyajit Ray, is about a small town stage actor, who is now jobless. The story gives a quick insight into the travails of the ‘other half’, the insecurities of actors on the small stage and the casual ruthlessness of the film world, which nevertheless gathers diehard fans. It was a glimpse of ‘an extra-ordinary day in the life of an ordinary man’ and Nawazuddin Siddiqui was outstanding.
Zoya Akhtar’s film was a wonderfully non-judgmental about the young boy who prefers dancing like Katrina to coaching for football. Ordinary men, women and children do ordinary things. The Bollywood influence in their lives is obvious but not shocking, if one doesn’t assume the role of parent or psychologist.
Anurag Kashyap’s film is the stuff great short stories are made of. If Premchand had written it, it might well have been a great short story titled “murabbe ka safar”. Built around the jar of amla preserve, the story highlights the ridiculousness of human desires and vanities, and of course, the Bollywood tadka that spices up most Indian lives.


About madhuriwonders

read - pray - love -write - watch films. and a girl's gotta eat,too.
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