Tag Archives: anurag kashyap

Why Make ‘Raavan’ When You Can Make ‘Housefull’

“Statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.” – Aaron Levenstein.

The box-office report of Raavan and Housefull is out there for everyone to see and infer what they want to. And when I say Raavan, I actually am talking about movies like Dil Se, Gulaal, Firaaq, Parzania etc; and when I say Housefull, I actually am referring to movies like Welcome, SiK, Kambakht Ishq etc. Obviously, these are movies of different genres but the one thing common is that, they were all on exhibition in theatres, multiplexes etc and we know the fate of all of these movies.

So, what lessons do we learn from the BO reports. I don’t know because I am neither a critic nor a movie maker or a trade analyst; just an avid movie watcher. And here are some of the things that I have come to realise, over a period of time.

Story & Screenplay Why bother writing about problems of people in the relief camps of riot affected victims or the inspector trying to track down the goons involved in Bombay bomb blast or a radio-journalist trying to interview an ULFA terrorist or the caste/class divide in red-alert zones of Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh? We don’t want to see such non-existing issues which are hyped by media. We want to see what issues a common man faces. We want to see how a bartender in London handles the visit of his father-in-law, we want to see how a ‘panauti’ copes with life and wife, we want to see whether Uday Shetty is able to find a suitor for his sister, an intelligence agent walking around with a lie-detector and how a bumbling sikh becomes King of Australian mafia. These are the real issues we are plagued with.

Characterisation This is one area where Mani, Anurag and others really need to work upon. I mean, why take pains in writing the character graph of Dukey Baana when people are happy with Aarush; why write Meghna and Preeti when people actually want bimbos like Deepika Padukone and Lara Dutta, why sketch Amar Mathur and Beera when Riteish Deshmukh is able to make people laugh at his stupid antics? Who is watching the growth and maturity of a character! People are busy sniggering at the immaturity of the 3 hunks with a baby, and the reverse growth of stars like Akshay Kumar. And then, someone like Anurag comes along to give us Rananjay SIngh. What! Is that a real name? What happened to the Raj’s and Rahul’s and Gupta’s and Malhotra’s. Give the characters a real name, please!

Locations & Cinematography Why does someone like Mani Ratnam go to all these beautiful locales in North-East (Dil Se) or the Malshej Ghat and Athirapalli Falls (Raavan)? Why did Anurag Kashyap make a movie in backdrop of Rajasthan in Gulaal? To bring a level of authenticity to the story-telling! But who needs that? People are happy watching an entire cast camped and cramped in a rented mansion (Housefull, SiK, Welcome). So, what if the mansion only has a few rooms, a big dining hall, a grate, huge portraits of prententious people and some make-believe classic paintings. We want to see that, nothing else. Please don’t show us serene environments, breath-taking views and sceneries of visual pleasure. We neither want authenticity nor aesthetics. We are not concerned about how scenes are shot because we are not here to appreciate beauty and splendor.

Music & Lyrics Someone really ought to stop Gulzar from penning songs. What were the lyrics of Satrangi Re, Ranjha Ranjha and Thok De Killi? We don’t want songs that make sense, force us to think, create visual imageries. And Piyush Mishra be damned with the Ranaji song and his stupid take on Ye Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaye To Kya Hai. See, that’s exactly what everyone these days are telling, ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai! So, please stop penning such outdated songs and give space to the new breed lyricists who say ‘O Girl You Are Mine’ and ‘Hush Hush Hush, Papa Sleeping’. See, now these sound like some real song and are so convenient to sms our friends. And what was Rahman trying to prove with his tunes in Dil Se and Raavan and many others; that he is Mozart From Madras! Has he not heard of Pritam and his ilk who struggle day and night to create original tunes which leave a lasting impression! With whom is Rahman, Vishal and others competing? Take a break dude! We want songs like Bhootni Ke, Bebo Mai Bebo and not something silly like Behne De, Dil To Bachcha hai Ji and Aarambh Hai Prachand!

Direction This definitely is the most over-rated job. I mean, any Tom Dick and forget it, can become a director. We have had action directors and stuntmen become directors, choreographers turned into directors, photographers and ad-film makers took to direction; and sometimes we have had entire movie being ghost-directed. So, who the hell needs the sophistication of Mani Ratnam or the detailing of Anurag Kashyap or the perfection of a Bhansali or the hardwork of Ashutosh Gowariker, please call on a spot boy to take the next shot.

Production/Finance This has to be the toughest job of all. I mean, if you approach Nadiadwala with script of Swades or Gulaal, then he will need so much time to mull over it because the movies are so unchallenging and silly. And what about all the criticism he will have to face for a good product. Its so much easier to produce a ‘Housefull’ where you have your friends and relatives on the sets having a party; my God, its such a stress-buster. No wonder SRK was so relieved when he produced OSO & MHN but was so tensed about Chak De and Swades because he was not producing such tacky works.

Actor/Actresses The last piece in the jigsaw, did I say last! They ought to be the last, but they are often the first ones to be onboarded in a project. Everything else revolves around them. With my limited knowledge, I assumed that a bound script, location finalisation, camera angles are decided first; and then actors/actresses come into picture. But no, actors make the movie their personal statement; often changing lines and locations to suit their needs. After all, its so difficult to extract good performances from Nandita Das and Seema Biswas; but its so much easier to cast Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif. Oh! please don’t wonder and let me explain. Whatever be the movie, the set, the location; they are consistently bad. They can give you the same expression in the bedroom/bathroom/drawing-room with such perfection, 100% strike rate. They don’t even have to get into the skin of the character, they are the character. Imagine how difficult it would be if actors got so intense that they cannot get the character out of their head. Its so much easier to cast Tushar Kapoor and Fardeen Khan who can walk in and out of characters as if they were changing clothes.

Coming back to the quote on statistics, what it reveals is the changing taste buds of the audience and what it conceals is a dangerous trend of dumbing down the audience as they lap up bad movies without blinking.

A Question To The Movie Critics And Reviewers I know you guys did not approve of Kambakht Ishq and Housefull and gave it 2 or 2.5*, maybe more. But, didn’t Dil Se and Raavan also get the same stars? So, don’t you see any difference between Raavan and Housefull! Was Raavan all that bad or was Housefull all that good? I am actually amazed that all the great performances in Housefull was neglected, all the fantastic music and lyrics went unobserved, all the pains taken by the film crew to shoot in such difficult location of the various bedrooms of the mansion was ignored. And in Raavan, we promptly noticed camera slip-ups, shoddy performances and the carelessness with which certain scenes were shot. I mean, how can you compare an auditorium filled with intellectual dignitaries rolling with the effect of laughing gas and a silly shot where Ash is just falling down a waterfall, clinging onto a branch and then slipping again; how tacky! Shouldn’t both movies have been reviewed without prejudice and bias, based on their individual merits and using the same yardstick. Then how did both these movies get the same kind of rating?

A Question To The Movie Go-ers Do we watch a movie to have a good time and nothing else? Even if we are looking at entertainment, was Housefull all that entertaining and Dil Se all that dull and boring. Did the movie Welcome make more sense than Gulaal? Why don’t we watch movies which go beyond the obvious, which makes a point and brings an issue to light. Or are we merely looking for cheap humor and titillation, hollow entertainment and slipshod quick movies.

And Finally Why should someone make a Raavan and be lambasted when he can easily make a Housefull and get away?

This post was first published on PFC

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Posted by on July 26, 2010 in bollywood, movies


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‘ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai’ revisited

Piyush Mishra has carried forward from where Sahir had left-off. In his mesmerizing words he reminds what a worthless life it is and what worthless causes we are chasing at our own expense. He also makes a reference to Iqbal’s sitaron ke aage jahan aur bhi hai beautifully. ri Duniya…
Surmayi aankhon ke pyaalo ki duniya
Satrangi rangon, gulaalo ki duniya
Alsaayi sejon ke phoolon ki duniya
Angdayi todey kabootar ki duniya
Karvat le soyi hakeekat ki duniya
Deevani hoti tabiyat ki duniya
Khwahish me lipti zaroorat ki duniya
Insaan ke sapno ki, niyat ki duniya

Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai

Mamta ki bikhri kahani ki duniya
Behno ki siski, jawani ki duniya
Aadam ke Havva se rishte ki duniya
Shayar ke pheeke lafzon ki duniya

Ghalib ke, Momin ke khwabon ki duniya
Mijaazon ke, un inquilabon ki duniya
Faiz, Firaq-O-Sahil-O-Makhdoom, Mir ki, Zauk ki, Daagon ki duniya

Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai…

Palchhin me baatein chali jati hain
Palchhin me raatein chali jati hain
Reh jata hai jo savera vo dhoonde
Jalte makaan me basera vo dhoonde
Jaisi bachi hai, vaisi ki vaisi bacha lo ye duniya
Apna samajhke, apno ke jaisi utha lo ye duniya
Chhut-put si baaton mein jalne lagegi, sambhalo ye duniya
Kat-pit ke raaton mein palne lagegi, sambhalo ye duniya

O ri duniya…

Vo kahey hai ki duniya ye itni nahi hai
Sitaron se aage jahan aur bhi hai
Yeh hum hi nahi hai, vahan aur bhi hai
Hamari har ek baat hoti vahin hai
Humey aitraaz nahi hai kahin bhi
Vo Aalim hai, Faazil hai, honge sahi hi
Magar falsafa ye bigad jata hai jo vo kehte hain
Aalim ye kehta vahan Eeshwar hai
Fazil ye kehta vahan Allah hai
Qatil ye kehta vahan Eesa hai
Manzil ye kehti tab insaan se ki
Tumhari hai tum hi sambhalo ye duniya
Yeh bujhte huay chand basi chiraagon
Tumhare ye kaale iraado ki duniya…


Posted by on May 11, 2010 in bollywood, lyrics, movies


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‘sarfaroshi ki tamanna’ revisited

piyush mishra re-wrote the legendary song for the movie ‘gulaal’ keeping in mind the current scenario. and he has done a wonderful job.

sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mei hai
dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-qaatil mei hai
waqt aane pe bataa denge tujhe aye aasmaan
hum abhi se kya bataye kya hamare dil mei hai

o re bismal kaash aate aaj tum hindustaan
dekhte ki mulk saara kya tashan kya chill mei hai
aaj ka launda yeh kehta ‘hum to bismil thak gaye
apni aazaadi to bhaiyya laundiya ke til mei hai’

aaj ke jalso mei bismil ek goonga gaa raha
aur behron ka wo rela naachta mehfil mei hai
haath ki khaadi banaane ko zamaana lag gaya
aaj to chaddi bhi silti angrezo ki mill mei hai

dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-qaatil mei hai
waqt aane pe bataa denge tujhe aye asmaan
hum abhi se kya bataye kya hamare dil mei hai
sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mei hai

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Posted by on December 24, 2009 in general, literature, lyrics, movies


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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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