A Tale of Two Movies

Posted: November 27, 2005 in Uncategorized

I happened to catch in the course of the week, the fact that there were two interesting movies that I had wanted to see, but had missed them in theatres, and which were to be premiered on television on the same Sunday, i.e. Nov 27th. And I decided that I was going to see them at home, and declared to the family that those two time slots of mine were booked. And for a change, I was going to view them, seated in one seat, with the phone off, and without chatter, as if I was seeing the movie in a movie hall itself.

And as it turned out, the effort was worth it.

I caught on TV, then, a couple of very good movies. And here are my views on both of these.

1. Yahaan:
This was the first of the two that I saw. When the movie was to be first released, in theatres, I had been fascinated by the promos that ran on television, and the one haunting song, “Puchhe jo koi meri nishani, naam heena likhna..”. Just that one song that I saw made me want to go and see the movie, but unfortunately, I did not make it, to the theatres then. When I saw this on TV today, the single biggest factor that struck me by the end of the film, was the awesome photography.

I can safely say that more than 90% of this film had outstanding cinematography. This is just so rare. I have seen some great visuals in many other movies, but I have rarely seen a single film where virtually each and every scene, so fascinates you, in the manner in which it is picturised. The lighting, the sepia tones, right through, the beautiful landscapes, some outstanding closeups, all of these were remarkable. That fact itself tells me, that a lot of hard work went into the planning and making of the film, and it for me, is a certificate of the director’s passion, conviction and sincerity. This should always be the case, but unfortunately, today more directors seem to be interested in churning out things, quickly, with the commerce in mind, and not so much the art!

Going beyond the visuals, the film was in a similar genre at a broad level, as 1942, a Love Story, or Mission Kashmir, or even Machis, to an extent. Love in the midst of war. But it certainly was not a copy of any of these films. It had a very clear story, and some very good performances. Jimmy Shergill must be one of the most underrated actors in the industry. When the world seems to be going gaga over the Zayed Khans and Shahid Kapurs and Fardeens of the world, I think Jimmy Shergill is a better actor than all of these guys. And here was one performance where it clearly came out. The new actress also put in a good effort – without fanfare, without much makeup or costumes support, without any item songs, she managed to make a mark. And the look that the director gave her was so beautiful, and very Kashmiri. The red cheeks, the fair face, the eyes, were all a natural Kashmiri look.
The music was also well researched and sounded very authentic. There were no artificial dream sequences put in, to justify and disco song or some unnatural music.

And besides everything, films like this one or Mission Kashmir, bring out so well, the tragedy of Kashmir. A once heaven-on-earth full of prosperity and happiness, now reduced to poverty, terrorism, fear, insecurity. What a shame that things have come to this point. Will the good times ever return? Will it be a paradise again? Films like Yahaan certainly make you think about it, even bringing an odd tear into your eye, even as you are sitting in the comfort of your living room, in Mumbai, and watching the film unfold on your television screen. Now, that is good cinema!

All in all, an afternoon well spent, in engrossing fare.

2. Sheher:
The other movie that I saw at night, was Sheher. Starring Arshad Warsi, popular for his comedy sidekick roles, playing a serious hero, here. And he does a decent job, in this cop-mafia-underworld thriller. Again an oft repeated genre, this film was not anything like a classic or even outstanding. But it was a worthwhile effort, based for a change in Lucknow and UP, and not in big bad Mumbai. There have been several flicks highlighting the Mafia rule in Bihar, and we all associate Bihar with underworld, thugs, dacoits, gun weilding politicians. Here is a film that exposes similar situations prevalent in UP as well.

Well, an okay film, which deserved better returns at the box office, than what it got.

Thats what hit me, about both these films, at the end of the day. At a time when junk fare like a Garam Masala or a No Entry, can light the box offices on fire, well made and interesting movies like Yahaan, and to a lesser extent, Sheher, come and go in a hurry, not getting any kind of a return that they deserve.

Like governments, filmgoers too get films that they deserve. If we do not support good cinema, we should have no reason to complain when we keep getting the No Entries and No Parking Places and No Standing Rooms dished out at us!!

  1. […] jimmy shergill, minishha lamba, photography, picturization, postaday2011, song, yahaan 0 I had shared my views on this small (almost forgotten?) film, Yahaan, long […]

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