Posts Tagged ‘Boman Irani’

A movie in the time of IPL, is almost like love in the time of war.. !
Unthinkable? No great movies get released for a month or more! What a blow IPL has given to the film industry.

And yet, in the midst of IPL, this Shyam Benegal film, “Well done Abba” released, and I overcame my film-withdrawal symptoms and landed up to see it.

I am glad for the likes of Shyam Benegal and Vishal Bhardwaj, for showing us a real ‘other India’. Away from the gloss of the city life, or the underbelly also (the so-called multiplex ‘life in a metro’ genre), away from the jazzy foreign locales of Chopras and Johars.

Bhardwaj is all about UP, and Benegal this time, takes us to small town Andhra Pradesh.

The film, in terms of story and treatment, is close to an “Office-Office” kind of television serial. Exposing the corruption all over, and the exploitation of the poor, via the various yojanas and all. In that respect, the story is not really such good film material, and might have been better delivered on the small screen.

But add to the story, the elements of viewing life in small town AP, and that adds an additional value element to the cinematic experience. And makes it worth the 2.5 hours.

You end up ‘feeling’ for the Muslim mother of 5 daughters, with the husband working in the city somewhere, and having to face the burden of getting the girls married. And who finds the match with an Arab sheikh to be a good one for the eldest. You also feel disgusted at seeing what you already know – the complete chain of corrupt apathy – which results in the poor not getting a basic requirement like water!

Boman Irani gets to play virtually a solo hero. He proves that he can carry a film on his shoulders. He gets into the skin of the Hyderabadi Muslim, with accent, mannerisms and all, completely.

Minisha Lamba’s is a spunky character and she delivers well. She’s done it again, after Yahaan, where she was a Kashmiri girl in similar circumstances. She needs to be seen in more glamorous roles too. I believe she has it in her, to deliver those as well.

But wonder about the creasy line that comes up on her cheeks, every time she grimaces?! Kind of funny..

The film is slow. No typical masala film elements. So a huge departure from routine stuff. Not everyone will like it. But a good break during IPL as you already have enough of glamour and glitz (Shilpa, Preity, Deepika + cheerleaders) there. So Well Done Abba is refreshing change then..

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So the title of the post says it all. 3 Idiots is a wonderful, wonderful movie, and I recommend it to one and all. So if that is all that you wanted to know, read no further.

But if you’d like to know more, here’s the first clear message. That in Rajkumar Hirani, we have one of the finest story tellers in Indian cinema today. From the Munnabhai series to 3 Idiots now, we see Hirani’s films combine some fascinating elements: light-hearted comedy which does not need to be slapstick and yet generates the guffaws in the audience, emotions that manage to wet your eyes, a message to the society, and in the end, a fantastic feel-good factor. As you come out of his movies, you have a smile on your face, which says that it was time very well spent there, on the cinema seat.

Yes, that seems to have become the trademark of Rajkumar Hirani, and which is certainly how 3 Idiots is too. And I am sure that Vidhu Vinod Chopra has a big role to play as well. I suspect that he is not a typical money-providing silent producer, but rather a keen team player shaping out the details of the film, and in that respect, the Hirani-Vidhu Chopra combo is one of the best things going in Indian cinema today. Cheers to them, and may they keep brings good films to us.

3 paras done, and I have not even mentioned the name which is the only name, otherwise read everywhere else, where 3 Idiots is being written about. Yes, Aamir Khan. Undoubtedly, he is brilliant, and the film completely rides on him. Which in some sense, is a shame. I mean, Rang De Basanti was not called 5 Rebels or Dil Chahta Hai was not called 3 Great Friends, and yet Aamir shared a lot of the screen space with others. And here, a film is CALLED 3 Idiots, but for most parts of the movie, it is 1 Idiot, and then perhaps another couple of quarter idiots, making a total of 1.5 Idiots on the whole!! This is just an observation. But from the narrative point of view, or from our enjoying the film itself, it does not matter at all. Aamir works, nay, he rocks! As usual!!

If Rocket Singh celebrated the Salesmen, 3 Idiots celebrates Engineers. As an Engineer myself, the entire education system shown is so completely identifiable. It was almost nostalgic in that sense. The extremely quirky character that was built around Virus or Viru Shahastrabudhe (Boman Irani) seemed exaggerated, but rest assured, in all engineering schools, some such highly quirky characters exist, in the garb of faculty! Boman of couse, is another great member of Hirani’s team, a fabulous actor, and he does a great job.

Madhavan does not get many moments to excel. In a far shorter role, he had made an impact in Rang De Basanti, but here, he appears almost like a hero’s buddy, hanging around with him. Sharman Joshi, the 3rd Idiot, does have his moments. A few high charged scenes show his innate ability on screen, and we wish that he gets better roles to showcase his awesome talent. Kareena, for most parts, is good eye candy, and which is fine with us. If you must have eye candy, get the best available one in the industry today!

3 Idiots has its genesis in a book of Chetan Bhagat’s (which I have not read) but I believe Rajkumar Hirani has taken off from there, and built an amazing story with plots and sub-plots nicely woven in. In fact, this is another Hirani trademark that you see in the Munnabhai movies as well. For those who do not remember, the character and the story of Jimmy Shergill in Munnabhai was not trivial, and in fact, an excellent sub-plot, with its own climax before the real climax! Likewise, Hirani brings in sub-plots here as well. The delivery of Mona Singh’s baby, and what it takes to make it happen, is one such climax before the real climax. Keeps you glued to the seats, and does not allow the story to meander.

Likewise, Hirani has the uncanny ability to create symbolisms that the audience carry with them beyond the film. If it was the “jadoo ki chappi” in Munnabhai, here it is the “All is well” chant. Yes, it has left a mark, and if proof is needed, one has to only check my Facebook wall, to see how many have combined this phrase with their Christmas greetings!!

In conclusion, I would only say that my respect for Rajkumar Hirani has gone up multifold. Yes, the world is talking about Aamir Khan, and he does drive the movie. But I see this even more as a Hirani film, the masterful story telling, the simple and effective manner to entertain, without needing to resort to slapstick, without needing item numbers or unnecessary schmooze, or violence. Without needing to go to Switzerland (like Yash Chopra) or without needing half the industry best in his film (like Karan Johar). Yes, indeed, Hirani delivers in the way cinema should. With a good story. Told and shown well. Simple, but touching the heart, making you laugh, and making you cry a bit as well.

Cheers to Rajkumar Hirani!!