Talking Movies

Talking Movies
Talking movies

Friday, 18 January 2013


The hot Maya Luthra (Chitrangada Singh) and handsome, Rahul Verma (Arjun Rampal) make a deadly pair. More so when they flirt with each other. She in a drunken swagger almost falls over him at the first meeting. He asks, “ jaan boojh kar gir rahi ho?” She shoots back, “kya pata.” Soon he is her boss and she, the talented eager to learn copywriter. Work meetings lead to late hours of working together in the bedroom amidst heavy flirting. The flirting somehow makes way to humiliation when she furiously brings him sandwiches and coke to him and he asks jokingly for condoms. Exchange of meaningful glances, holding the hand for  lingering, long seconds, casual brush of the shoulders and sexual jokes acquire a new meaning as a game of power and politics creep into the boardroom . Soon Maya charges Rahul with sexual harassment.

Social worker, Deepti Naval presides over an indoor meeting for two days and hears both give their versions of their tumultuous relationship over 7 years of working together. The story (Manoj Tyagi) has plenty of promise but doesn’t quite go behind closed doors and cops out in a convenient ending.

The screenplay (Manoj Tyagi, Sudhir Misra) goes back and forth and has too many flashbacks within flashbacks, causing unnecessary drama and confusion. Dialogues  (Manoj Tyagi, Sudhir Misra) are abrupt and deliberate with attempts at flippancy, with lines like “I was the fairness cream in her life” or “ I’m not saying, you are saying it, You’re not saying, I’m know what I’m saying.”

Director, Sudhir Misra has constantly attempted different and interesting subjects. The sam
e is true of Inkaar. However it begins and ends at the premise itself. Everything in the film is forced and contrived right from the ad agency backdrop, the sharp camera movements and rapid cuts. Drama and tension is attempted through on-the-nose dialogues delivered in unnatural, hysterical performances. Sexual and political dynamics are talked about but not explored fully.

Arjun Rampal remains restrained and controlled. Chitrangada Singh is not convincing in dramatic scenes. Deepti Naval does not have much  character to define her but her presence itself makes a difference. So does Vipin Sharma as the loudmouth Gupta.

Music by Shantanu Moitra with lyrics by Swanand Kirkire, remains the only plus, especially two songs.. “tere mere darmiyaan… Maine barf si kahi, shola ban tujhe mili...” 

Inkaar in its superficiality, remains a bold subject with a  banal treatment.

Friday, 11 January 2013


A particularly well shot, lyrically written scene shows a power hungry Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) describing his dream to the flirtatious, sly politician, Shabana Azmi. They look down at a beautiful stretch of rich, harvested land which turns into a concrete mass of skyscrapers and malls as Mandola talks with animated fervour. Suddenly it starts raining heavily. Shabana laughs in wicked glee , commenting on the farmers’ approaching plight. Mandola looks down at the water soaked fields and freezes. He has just seen a pink buffalo.

The scene along with the title suggests everything about Matru Ki Bijli ka Mandola. It is symbolic ,crazy and baffling with imagination let loose and wild. Plus there are moo sounds of two kinds: one of the buffalo variety, the other of Mao type. To get the moo bit, one needs to first adapt to Vishal Bhardwaj brand of absurd theatre  humour and style.

After Maqbool, Omkara, Kaminey and Saat Khoon Maaf, certain elements are now expected from a Vishal Bhardwaj film. Plenty of crazy but entertaining theatrics, Shakespearan tone if not an adaptation, eccentric characters, rustic backdrop,fabulous music and choreography which is so celebratory that one does not care about figuring it out. Its enough to simply sit back in amusement and indulge some imagination.

The story revolves around the usual landlord and farmer conflict.A village in Haryana, is named after rich landlord, Mandola (Pankuj Kapur).Mandola by day, is a capitalist who fleeces every farmer of their birthright , with dreams of turning the rich , harvested land into a ‘progressive ‘industrial belt. By night, he is an alcoholic communist  who gulps down 42 plus pegs, drives over liquor shops with his limousine along with his driver accomplice, Matru (Imran Khan).He is capable of taking off in planes in drunken stupor. When the plane catches fire, he uses it to light his cigar before jumping off with a parachute. At night he is also his own enemy, the farmers’ spokesperson rebelling against Mandola,the calculating landlord.

Mandola has an equally crazy daughter who dives into lakes in skimpy tshirts and shorts to entertain the villagers. She is engaged to the chief minsiter’s  son(Arya Babbar) as part of Mandola’s land deal with the politician. She revels in what Matru, her childhood friend, refers to as her ‘Meena kumari complex”.Matru is the only village savior around.

Written and directed by Vishal Bhardwaj (Screenplay co writer,Abhishek Chaubey ),the film, intelligent in parts, revolves around Mandola’s alcoholic antics and his fear, symbolized by the pink buffalo. However, Mandola’s crazy characterization takes over the story completely, diverting often from its Maoist content as well as Matru and Bijli who happily prance around in gay abandon. So much so that it becomes a pleasure to simply watch the fun all three actors are clearly having in the craze contest. Bhardwaj’s dialogues, as usual,with elements of dry wit,political references and rustic abuse, help in sustaining interest in the otherwise meandering plot.

Pankaj Kapur as Mandola, is magnificent except when he mumbles indecipherable Haryanvi which is most of the time. Imran Khan, despite, slipping well into a havy beard, mooch and turban, is out shadowed often by the fantastic talent around him.

Anushka Sharma  as Bijli, shines, shimmers and thunders her way through every song and scene, however ridiculous it is. Shabana Azmi as the scheming politician  is wicked to the core; her sharp,cold eyes are enough to freeze animals wilder than buffaloes. Gulabo, the pink buffalo, rules.

Gulzar’s lyrics  match Bhardwaj’s foot tapping music with lines like ..”nazar mein tu hi tu hai, tu meri Timbuktu hai…Oye boy charlie”.

Watch this film for its half amusing and imaginative Leftist take. Also, to catch Pankuj Kapur sitting astride a pink buffalo whose presence continues to baffle.

Friday, 4 January 2013


When you try to state something profound but lack vocabulary, you might end up delivering something profane. In other words, Rajdhani Express.

 For instance, there is a discussion on the view from the train window, of people shitting outside, amounting to a comment on India, which itself sounds like a whole lot of crap.

A debut film by writer/director, Ashok Kohli, this is also tennis player, Leander Paes’s off track move from tennis to acting. A few scenes in the film force Paes to laugh and cry at the same time to show “paagal zamana hai..”. Little knowing probably that this is the reaction this movie evokes. Rajdhani Express, in its efforts to prove that the only safe place in the country state is an asylum; takes  weird situations to prove its point in a way tackier and shoddier than Indian railways.

Four strangers meet in a railway compartment of Rajdhani Express going from Delhi to Mumbai. A writer,Banerjee (Priyanshu Chatterjee),A fashion designer (Sudhanshu Pandey, Keshav (Leander Paes),a gun toting poor man -in -love -with -rich girl, and an ‘item girl’( Puja Bose). They drink. They start sharing secrets. Keshav  either stares out of the window or glares at the rest. Meanwhile, a cop (Jimmy Shergill)tracking the train and terrorist report, spends contemplative time in front of the mirror, trimming his thin moustache. A news channel reporter, Achint Kaur is busy making it a breaking news story. A politician is somewhere involved, even if just to talk in Marathi to his wife about their saving accounts. As for the plot, one is left clueless.

Tacky and pretentious lines, disjointed screenplay and shoddy camera work with amateurish usage of steady cam; makes the film rest completely on the actors. Jimmy Shergill makes his presence felt despite not having anything to do except walk around in important action mode. Gulshan Grover as a railway TT, easily steals every scene from the other four actors playing the major roles. All four including Paes, Chatterjee, can easily compete in who is more awkward than the other. Achint Kaur as a stressed out newsperson, pulls it through despite little substance in the role.

The songs  include “Koi Umeed” with lyrics written originally by Mirza Ghalib, perhaps the only thing which  justifies the film’s supposed political intensity.

Watch if you must for Leander Paes’s brave debut. Stay sane.