Tag Archives: AMIT TRIVEDI

devaa aa gaya … DevD has arrived

devaa aa gaya”… announced Dharamdas[Tiku Talsaniya] in 2002’s version of Devdas. But my Dev hadn’t arrived yet. What SLB did was excellent, poetry on celluloid; but what AK has done is more like a sonnet. I would not like to compare the two becasue SLB had his version while AK has his own subversion [pun intended].

SLB took great pains to re-create the past, an old era near Hooghly while AK has done a whole lot of research to portray Dev for the present and future. He has set a benchmark for other writer/directors becasue this is a movie that respects the sensibility of a mature audience. AK has gone a few notches up in the story-telling department. Black Friday looked like a docu-drama and No Smoking went into a fantasy and looked like AK had lost control due to his over-indulgence; but DevD is a perfect blend between visual imagery and story-telling … like Coke with Vodka.

I have followed DevD diaries and have been reading about it from inception to conception to gestation and finally reproduction. And it was worth the time that it took, becasue he has got everything right; well almost. I thought the second half dragged a bit, lost a bit of momentum; but it ended well.

AK has moved Devdas to Punjab, from Kolkata, and rechristened him as DevD. That in itself is a huge shift and makes us realise that Dev belongs to Gen-X. He has pleasure trips, guilt-free sex, enjoys a good smoke and lots of liquor, has sex-chat with Paro; in fact his dad quips in that Dev has acquired new taste .. “chicken chhodke fish, whisky chhodke vodka aur asli ladki chhodke sookhi baas ki bamboo ke peeche bhagna”. Thats Dev, always running away; sometimes from Paro, sometimes from Chanda and most of the times from himself.

He loves Paro immensely but his arrogance gets the better of him. He loves her so much that he breaks a bottle on the head of one of the villagers who brags that he has had a nice fuck with Paro and that she is great in bed; but his chauvinism does not permit him to make love
to her. So great is his arrogance that he belittles Paro, breaks her heart and pushes her away to marry somebody else. The realisation dawns on him only when her ‘doli’ is about to leave with the blaring ‘Emotional Atyachar’ in the background. Perfect song that describes the feeling and captures the emotions of Dev.

Then enters Chanda in his life. A precocious girl who was wronged by her boyfriend, he shot a video of her giving a BJ and circulated it. The shame that her parents go through when media guys hound their house waiting to make a scoop, finally makes her run away. She has been disowned by her mom as well as her friends who refuse her calls and she finally lands up in a dingy brothel, or should we call ‘pleasure house’ where rich brats visit. Dev is also brought here by a pimp called Chunni.

Some people don’t find love all their lives, but Dev fortunately or unfortunately finds love twice; this time in the form of Chanda. But both the times he fails to recognize it. When he was with Paro he did not realize it was love till she left him, and now that he is with Chanda the thought of Paro keeps haunting him. He wants to meet her once, make love to her. Meet he finally does, but Paro has moved on in life. She has been mature enough to compromise and she accuses Dev of not being in love with anybody but himself. And thats the last we see of Paro, totally out of Dev’s life. While Dev is still not able to accept this fact he drowns himself in alcohol and in his drunk stupor
he over-runs 7 people o the footpath in his BMW.

In the final reels, after his dad’s death he has a near miss accident when a car crashes against a wall beside him. And that brings in a new consciousness and he decides that he has to move on. I shall not reveal the ending but all I can say is that this Dev is a guy of the new generation; and hence the ending had to be new and believable too. A special mention should be made of the fantastic music-lyrics duo, Amit and Amitabh have done an excellent job. All the songs are apt and they have been weaved into the movie; they are almost like a smooth narrative. Mahi Gill as Paro was brilliant in the movie. She has everything it takes to make an actress, an amazing range of expressions – from grief to grin, from anger to anxiety, from love to loathing…everything. Kalki as Chanda was good but she could not express herself through her voice and face; she needed lines.

The editing was slick and 360 deg camera rotation was used to great effect. Cinematography was fantastic, capturing the beauty of Punjab, the loneliness of Delhi streets, the filthy room of Dev, dingy brothel areas; everything was shot well. And finally, Abhay and AK…from concpet to conundrum…they created it. Abhay has rasied the bar for himself, he is no longer competing with anyone but himself. I am waiting for his next and of course AK’s next titled Gulaal. Until then
… dhol yaara dhol.

This post was first published on PFC

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Posted by on December 16, 2009 in bollywood, movie review, movies


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filmfare awards 2009 … bucking the trend, sanity is being restored, or at least an effort is being made to do so, in the 54th Filmfare Awards. I was so glad to see movies like Rock OnOLLO and MMJ winning, and movies like RNBDJ and Dostana taking a backseat. Although the nominations were a little fuzzy[some categories had 5 nominations and some had 6, just to please a few people I guess], but given the limited scope of the nominations, most of the awards were well deserved.

Let me start with the Lifetime Achievment Award section. Bhanu Athaiya was a very good choice, especially because costume designers have never really been given their due. In fact, the Best Costume Design category was introduced so late, in 1994, only after seeing what Manish Malhotra’s costume did to Urmila Matondkar; from a demure girl next door he turned her into a sex symbol overnight. Back to Bhanu, she won the Oscar for Gandhi[1982] and that’s been her greatest achievement till date. But considering her work in Bollywood, she did a good job in Lagaan, Swades,1942ALSChandni and Razia Sultan. Her list of work shows her predilection and brilliance for period dramas where she has a fantastic sense of color, fabric and designing.
Om Puri being awarded this, ahead of Naseeruddin Shah, that was a bit of a disappointment. I think they should have been awarded together at least. These two giants of the arthouse cinema in the 1980’s did some terrific work. They have not been given enough credit, but this award is probably a way of doing so.

Coming to the Critics AwardShahana Goswami was deserving of it. Her work in Rock On was awesome, her raw talent and the spontaneous expressions shone through very well. But at the same time, Manjot Singh for OLLO was not a very good choice in my opinion. In fact, Paresh Rawal and Abhay Deol deserved it more than Manjot. And outside ofOLLO, Paresh Rawal for MMJ or Naseer for A Wednesday would have been a much better choice. Nishikant Kamat forMMJ was again a good pick, but I don’t understand this Special Jury Mention for Prateik Babbar and Purab Kohli. What does this award mean? And why Prateik Babbar?? For slouching on the couch, being untidy, and having the foresight that Sushant Modi[Ayaz Khan] is not the right guy for his sis?? And Purab Kohli! He had nothing to lose in Rock On, he was just caught in-between Arjun Rampal and Farhan Akhtar’s ego clash. When they called the band off, he happily joined his dad’s business; when the band was reinstated he started driving around in the SUV once more. He was happy either ways and did not help further the cause of the story.

Talking about stories, Best Story for Rock On was a little surprising. Lots of films in 2008 had amazing stories to tell, like AamirA WednesdayMMJ. I kept cosoling myself that Dostana and Ghajini did not win it. Best Screenplay was awarded to MMJ and Best Dialogues to OLLO and I had no complains with it.

In the techincal awards section, two awards that I didn’t agree at all are Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction. I thought OLLO was shot on location, so where was the Production Design. And the costumes looked like everyday stuff, jogging suits, sneakers, waist-coats, casual wear. In fact, Jodha-Akbar deserved both these awards, for the elaborate sets and the intricate jewellery and costumes. I would like it if someone can explain this to me.

I was happy with all other awards, like Best Cinematography and Sound Design for Rock OnBest Editing went toMMJ, it could have gone to A Wednesday or Aamir too[except for the dragged last 20 mins]; and I cared less for Best ChoregraphyBest Action and Best Visual Effects where the winners were Pappu Can’t Dance SaalaGhajini andLovestory 2050, respectively.

I was totally ok with the debut award for male, being shared by both Farhan Akhtar and Imran Khan; similarly the female debut award should have been shared by Asin and Anushka Sharma, instead Asin took it home.

Arjun Rampal for Best Supporting Actor was good, but Kangana Ranaut for Best Supporting Actress was unexpected and undeserved. Shahana Goswami for Rock On or  Ratna Pathak for JTYJN would have been a much better choice. The problem with Kangana’s performance is that, she is unidimensional and has no range. Give her such a role, and 9 out of 10 times, she will just sleep-walk through it like in Life…In A Metro or Gangster or Woh Lamhe.

Music awards were doled out pretty judiciously. Sukhwinder Singh for Haule Haule and Shreya Ghosal for Teri Orewere really good choices. For the award of Best Music Director, I am sure it must have been a close fight betweenShankar-Ehsaan-Loy who produced some great score for Rock On and ARR who was also competing against himself with 3 nominations. But, ARR winning for JTYJN did not go down well, I shall consider this as an award for all the good work Rahman did in 2008, i.e., Jodha-Akbar and Ghajini included. And ARR for Best Background score of Jodha Akbar was good news. Regarding the RD Burman award, not sure how this is rewarded, but I think Amit Trivedishould have been awarded. Finally, the lyrics award for Javed Akhtar was also fine for his simple and meaningful words in Jashn-e-bahara.

Talking now about the mainstream awards, no complains about the Best Director and Best MovieAshutosh Gowariker did a great deal of research and a lot of hardwork went into Jodha Akbar. There was nobody more deserving than him, in the category. I would like to contest the Best Actor and Best Actress, though. Taking for granted that its more of a popular vote, Hrithik and Priyanka still did not deserve it; they may have won but they were not the best. In fact, newbie Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai did a better job in RNBDJ and Jodha Akbar, repectively. Even if it was popular vote, then Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai should have won.

All said and done, I think the awards were balanced out pretty well. I would any day accept these results than watchRNBDJ/Ghajini/Dostana take away awards and accolades. I would like to see some transparency in the entire process, though. The system should change, at least introduce a jury for popular award and give 50-50 weightage to public votes as well as jury members votes. That way, there will be more clarity in the process.

At the end of the day, good cinema won. At least the awards will help further the cause of independent cinema and meaningful work, and be appreciative and motivational for film-makers who want to tell us new and different stories. And I hope this trend will stay, not just prove to be an abberation. Perhaps, haule-haule se hawa lagti hai

This post was first published on PFC

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Posted by on November 7, 2009 in bollywood, movies


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