Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ankush - A movie review

The distinguishing feature of the movie is neither brutal rape nor gruesome murders not even discourse given by four protagonists in court room but slow degeneration of a generation, bit by bit. Potential criminals are not made in accidental moments of hunger (read Rajesh Khanna's Roti) or personal revenge (read Agnipath) or concoction of the above (read Deewar) but are byproducts of alienation, unemployment, low societal status working on young psyche bit by bit.

The slow degradation starts when the credits end, showing rivalry over 'Ganesh Visarjan', a popular festival in Maharashtra. Their identity to external world is rooted in their own 'mohalla' (__wadhi ke launde). The gang fights and subsequent victories do not pull them in 'Alice in Gangsterland' myth of RGV (those have their own place) but the four loafers still remain in veranda of an empty house where street and home, shadow and sunlight abut. A symbol of being neither in safe, secure, comfortable zone of a house nor anonymous, isolated and mean streets. Each of their families or the absence of it shows lack of support but a spineless elder brother, old age spent mother, elder sister who uses illicit means for income are more of literal readings.

In terms of protagonist's development they did not become smuggler/criminal of international repute such as V.D. Chauhan in Agnipath. A common element in such mainstream movies of social discourse is transgression. Transgression from rural/town to metro runs parallel with ascendanc of protagonist. (Agnipath, Deewar, Namakhalaal, Muqaddar ka Siqandar. Wrongs to Kalia where done in Bombay but he was still a 'bhaiyya' unaccustomed to Bombay ways). Protagonists of Ankush lie within the social laboratory of Bombay mohallas/chawls (locality) in petri dish of the mohalla.

The difference between these four and gangster 'Sublaya' and shades of criminality elicit their decadence: saving a girl from eave teasing, hired hands to vacate an illegal tenant, gang rivalry skirmishes to picking up fight in frustrated state of mind to murder.

Another important aspect was protagonist repent illegal means not for ill mother (read Deewar) or confused parentage (read Parvarish) but outcome of their own violent means. They never get steeped into gutter of criminal world and their is no glorification of violence. In essence the tussle between evils of society are not directly mapped to personal revenge and question of what path should be taken is left unanswered just when audience where convinced taking law in one's own hand is the way to go(unlike Rang De Basanti).

Defining moment for me was when Shashi's (Madan Jain) brother distances him, Shashi finds relief in the fact that last barrier of family's respect is removed and his tussle between two worlds of employed middle class salaried men and criminal do-as-you-please is removed for he had been a trishanku all the while.

The role of social worker Manda and her grand mom and their discourses remain aloof from over utilized words of love, peace and non violence and are based on 'Shradhha' or trust (please correct me if I am wrong) which need not be about being religious. The debates are terse and clearly avoid hyperbole, action sequences are no novelty just that they do not carry AK47s or pistols always, some of them are quite long drawn. Music does not interfere with the narrative and in fact the prayer adds a lot to what movie tries to convey.

For a first movie N. Chandran showed a lot of maturity which unfortunately he could sustain only till Tezab which carries the same subtext as Ankush.

Friday, March 14, 2008

[Observation] SRK the gal stealer

It has been observed that Shah Rukh Khan's oeuvre has been taking another man's girl:

Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa: This is one of the cutest and heart felt movie I have seen coming out of SRK's stable, the rest are dud studs. Two boys fighting for ek aanaa (Are bhai mere paas ao chaar aana le lo). Though he tried hard SRK lost her to get Juhi Chawla at then end. Now we know more was yet to come.

Baazigar: 'Haar ke jeetne wale ko bazigar kehte hain' despite desperate measures from Sushant Ray [Inspector Karan] he could not have Kajol, neither did SRK but who cares about Sushant Ray.

Darr: Now this was hell of a creepy movie made by SRK and I am sure he could never out do himself, how could he with deep into all the chocolate romance and KJo . SRK gave new lease to crank callers and parents dreaded naming their girl child : K k K k iran. (Was this the start of K fantasy for KJo).

Anjaam: SRK vs MD. This was indeed a unique movie devoid of cloying romance, butterflies-in-her-eyes heroine. Madhuri was not some one's gal but what the hell SRK went for her and did not get her.

DDLJ: Simran was going to marry Kuljeet [Parmeet Sethi] no wonder heartbroken he went for Archana Puran Singh

Yes Boss: Bubbly Juhi Chawla was going for Sidharth Chaudhry [Aditya Puns-Choli]. SRK was even pataofying her for his boss but...

Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: Now this time he took a long shot and took Sallu's gal yes Kajol right in the wedding ceremony and Sallu was more than happy to give her. Sallu a bird in hand is better than 2 in the bush they say. Or 'hath ko aya moonh na lagaya' as Crime Master Gogo [SuckThee Kapoor] said in Andaaz Apna Apna

DevDas [pronounced as Dev The Ass]: This was a movie where he lost the gal, went for her and then died at her doorstep. This indeed an out lier where he did not get the lady and still the movie was a hit

Chalte Chalte: In true SRK style he just walked away with Rani from Sameer [Jas Arora]. He proved he can get his gal back even when she left him post marriage

Kal Ho Na Ho: Though he himself did not take a gal away but SRK found his protégé in Saif giving him all the tricks for 'chhe din, ladki in'.

Paheli:SRK here was taking well his own girl! The ghost SRK took human SRK's gal. People who stayed alive till the end please let me know who got her?

Chak De: Well there was no other guy's girl for him but who cares he had his plate full

Om Shanti Om: Now ShantiPriya was even married to horse-on-dope-look-alike Arjun Ram-Pal [i.e. friends of uncastrated adult male sheep] but eventually got her in afterlife. Little known fact is that Sandhya [a.k.a Sandi] was my gal before she went away to Mumbai for that darned audition :( so that makes a double whammy.

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna [a.k.a. Kabhi Alvida Na Dekhna]: Love triangle? square? Forget all that try making the most complex polygon out of 4 points! Ever tried, I am sure you will get KANK. Well as with Paheli I could not finish the movie, some please let me know did SRK and Baby-AB got to swap their better halves?

I might have left few, readers are requested to add to the observation originating from my dear friend and room mate Asheesh Kumar.

Trivia: Does any one remember Yeh Lamhe Judaai Je (2004) between SRK and Raveena Tandon? Found this baffling entry in IMDB while doing 'research' for the post.

90s saw the tectonic shift in guys n gals running away from house which was Amir Khan's forte [QSQT, Dil, Dil Hai ki Manta Nahi]. The rate drastically dropped after SRK's entry and soon it became fashionable even for straight-out-of-crib actors like Jimmy SherGill to come prancing in a wedding and take away the gal with family's consent. And stories did not end when hero and heroine fall in love / get married.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Jodha Yuckbar

Now I am all ears and eyes for a historic retelling of yonder age epics if done in a good 'taste'. Mr. Gowarikar's movie paints Mr. Jalaal in modern color. That too is acceptable but to make him a caricature of liberal, democratic, peace loving, metro sexual, secular, benevolent king straight out of Nandan kids magazine stretches the point a little too far.

I would accept that too but then to go on and make a drab story written as if a school boy has to fill pages in a subjective exam where need of the hour is to give at least 12 points in answer to a six marks questions. "How Akbar met Jodha and how he deflowered her" is one line summary of this epic. You might need it in your next board exams so take notes bummer.

It is like Gobhi Manchurian served in Bangalore's eateries. The only similarity recipe has with anything remotely Chinese is a certain Gobi desert somewhere northwards. Mr. Gowarikar uses clichés to pepper this tasteless Moghlai dish:

* Husband's Health?: Go pray in front of gawd and wait for the song to end and wait for divine providence to shine through beautiful window. But wait, where are the clanging bells? And lashing rains? Sure you could have some lightning too. Atleast she could have banged her forehead at the mandir-ki-chaukhat if you could have allowed her

* Babe acting pricey?: Show some brawns with a sword to turn her on. Still no luck. Invite her for a sword fight [ahem, ahem], let things get a little sultry and ..... oh the maid interrupted (Jalaal's thought bubble: "ménage à trois? [winky] [winky] no sen-sooar board will not be able to digest this, forget it will take her some other day. bourgeoisie b*&^h"). Nothing prevails give a pro poor budget and win her back ("Hmm it is politics that turns her on").

* Mahamanga's kahaani ghar ghar ki antics never worked because she did not think aloud like saas bahu vamps. I can't recall that serial in which some lady in a throaty, husky voice would should 'Nikkaa' at appearance of vamp. Mahamanga lacked the kilos of makeup too.

* Extended end fight which seemed like Dandiya Raas. The clichés should not be tampered with. No car chases? Have some horses some camels thrown around and you get clincher of a climax.

* Death in beloved arms: Let all the parties converge at single point and all wet complaints 'geele shikwe' get resolved. "Hum tumhe samajh na paye sumermal... Bhaisaaa..., jodhaaa...". But where was the melodrama? It should have been something like this:

J: "Bhaisa aap hume yun chhod ke nahi ja sakte"
J: "Keh dijiye ki ye jhooth hai. Ek bhadda mazaak"
J: "Aap tomato sauce laga ke aye hain, kahiye na"
S: "main ja raha hoon jodha..... jalaal jodha ka dhyan rakhiyega, bade nazon se pala hai ise"
S: "Dekh behna maine ab tak teri rakhi apni kalai main baandh rakhi hai apni Timex ke saath"

(Readers are requested to play a melancholic veena at the background when reading the above dialogues)
Overall I think Yuckbar should have done following additional to what Mr. Gowarikar made him do:

* Worn red ribbon to support the cause against AIDS
* Decriminalized homosexuality
* Brought Uniform civil code
* Issued decree to punish any one caught farting in public (it causes global warming jahaan panaa)

Radio Eff 'Em

People in Bang-galore esp. the code monkeys who are found in company provided vehicles to commute would relate to my rants better. What can you do sitting in a closed vehicle with fellow passengers whose social life is as dead as yours? Only topic of discussion can be speculation on infrastructure projects in Bangalore and project details of the organization that you just left behind a while ago.

Yea get alive with Radio Eff 'Em. "Radio FM [frequency] [channel name] [catch line]" is the template for their introduction together with a jingle to jangle your nerves. The shock treatment , in pavlovian manner, will make you salivate every time the RJ spouts the station name: "Radio One whatte fun" "Sakkath Haut Maga" "Station for fat-a-fat generation"

The claim purported by these agencies is that its all about music whereas music is the last thing in their minds. Now all of them have random people calling them to answer quizzes, place a song request. The most irritating ones are when these radio jockeys call people on their relatives or friends behest to pull boring hoaxes and making us privy to dazzled recipient's ignominy. Stoned
happy go lucky jockeys seem to possess a cloying aura touching every one's soul through ears in a singsong manner. RJ Vasanti Hariprakash seemed an exception with some grey cells between ears instead of reverberating vacuum.

The channels do increase non-Kannada speaker's Kannada diction by a few words: Swalpa, Sakkath, Maga, Hedi (Madi is already on their tongue) but the spectrum of music that they cover is narrow like Bangalore's by lanes ("Rafi. Whooz this gruffy ruffy doode? Listen to sakkath haut suckeera!!"). Channels give endless rehash of same 'latesht' songs which listener would encounter soon in another channel. Forget oldies of yonder age when things where black n white there are many classic and even catchy number of 70s, 80s, 90s. What happened to them?

The idea for the post came when last night in my own cab I was browsing radio channels which was more like monkey testing. Thats when I accidentally visited AIR and suddenly time slowed down, noise outside seemed irrelevant and I could feel cool, moist air billowing from coolers of my old home in hot loo-ridden North Indian summers as I would tune radio at my home waiting for dinner to be served shouting at the fan of the gigantic cooler with no aim at communication. For the uninitiated there are kool acoustic effects produced if you shout near different part of the coolers. Thats what they do not teach in your engineering schools.

"Is gaane ki farmaish ki hai jabalpur se humare nanhe sathiyon ne jinka naam hai chunnu, munnu, pappu, raju, pinki aur sunita" "Geet ke bol likhe hain anjaan ne, mukhya awaaz hai kishore kumar ki aur ........." Wow it was so soothing compared to blaring private channels competing with traffic noise. And AIR plays the latesht numbers dyoode.

PS: BTW I was mulling over the tagline : "Musth maja madi" and thought what piece of unimportant junk it is. Just claiming to have fun might not be the best tag lines in the world. Then the truth hidden in vocabulary crypts dawned on me. Musth (with the mandatory hech at the end) is actually a little known English word meaning:

An annual phase of heightened sexual excitement in the males of certain large mammals (especially elephants); is associated with discharge from a gland between the eye and ear
Now did you gather it is a hidden comment on mammal discharges and not just a soulless play of word for yuppy generation and people say we lack sex education.