Posts Tagged ‘Gulzar’

HaiderVishal Bhardwaj has clearly earned his place in the Hall of Fame of Indian cinema! I would rate him as one of the most creative filmmakers that we have, and of course, he also is one of our best music composers (to begin with!).

His latest creation, Haider, clearly bears his stamp of class. I have heard people say that this one is Vishal’s best work so far. I would personally not go that far, not because I can pick some other film that deserves that position, but simply because it is a tough call to make. Vishal has made many amazing movies, and Haider does rank amongst bis best works, but I would find it hard to give it a specific number 1 tag.

While the admiration for Vishal Bhardwaj is clear and total, another person that demands an even greater acknowledgement is William Shakespeare!! I have not read much of Shakespeare but of course, recognise his stature! After seeing Haider, I read up a synopsis of Hamlet and realised that Haider was so closely related to the original story. And that is amazing! Haider as a story, is very believable in today’s times, and yet, it’s inspiration was Hamlet, which was written by the Bard of Avon, who lived from 1564 to 1616!! A story written nearly 400 years back, continues to seem relevant in today’s times, is the absolutely mind-boggling fact to appreciate!

VishalbAnd as I now relate to the other works of Shakespeare that Vishal has converted to movies, viz. Omkara and Maqbool, what comes out as a common ground, are the complex characters that he sketched.  Tabu and Irrfan in Maqbool, Ajay Devgan and Saif Ali Khan in Omkara, and Shahid and Tabu here in Haider, play characters with extremely mixed and complex minds, and it is their behaviour that makes the very interesting story-lines.

Salute to the most amazing writer ever, perhaps, William Shakespeare, for writing such timeless beauties!

Having heard and read enough about Haider, I couldn’t wait longer than the morning of the first day of a long weekend, and landed up at a 9-30 am show! And as the canvas opened up, very early, I could sense a similarity with Gulzar’s Maachis, which incidentally was the Bhardwaj’s first major film as a music composer, in 1996.

A society ravaged by terrorism in the names of freedom struggle, the accompanying free hand to the army, and which creates its share of monsters and abuse, the disturbed youth and disturbed life in the region, the helplessness and resigned fates that people feel under the circumstances… all of these were seen in the Punjab of Maachis, and were felt similarly, in the Kashmir of Haider. Gulzar, Vishal and Tabu were the common factors in the two films, as were the snow filled winter mountains!

A67_ssVishal does love to work with his ‘regulars’.

I guess, Shahid Kapoor may do nothing for 3-4 years (or do some inconsequential stuff) before Vishal gives him a great film each time, and he should be happy with that state. After Kaminey, this is the next big one for Shahid with Vishal, and it is indeed, a tremendous, power-packed, central role. Subdued by the character, Shahid needs to bring out a range of emotions, and he does so quite brilliantly.

Tabu is another regular Vishal Bhardwaj favourite, and she is clearly one of the best actors we have. She picks and chooses her films, so we don’t see much of her, and it is always a pleasure to get those rare opportunities of seeing her on screen. Like Maqbool, her character here too is a challenging one, and she is impressive as ever.

While Hamlet apparently had a strong Oedipus complex from the central character, here that aspect is underplayed. But a strong emotional relationship does exist between the two.

Kay Kay Menon is one underrated actor in Bollywood. Over time, across many films, he has shown his acting prowess, and he does so here as well. Shraddha Kapoor also gives a very credible performance, and does look the part of a Kashmiri girl. There are good cameos from Kulbhushan Kharbanda and another Bhardwaj regular, Irrfan Khan.

haider1There are stunning visuals of Kashmir, especially the snow clad mountains and trees, the beautiful foliage. And as the credits conveyed at the end, all of the Kashmir scenes were actually shot in Kashmir, no matter the security issues etc. So we got a chance to see the absolutely fabulous landscapes that Kashmir is about.

Original score from Vishal Bhardwaj had to be good! Specifically, he has brought in tremendous authenticity with sounds and words from the region, which evoke emotions related to the story, even as you hear the songs. Gulzar and Faiz Ahmed Faiz have been credited for the lyrics. Gulzar, of course, had to be there! Vishal’s and Gulzar’s is a strong bond, almost approaching the one that Gulzar shared with R D Burman, maybe..?!

The Bismil song which enacts a scene, so to say, from the story, is quite like the “Janm leke kahi phir woh pahocha wahin..” recap song-scene from Karz. But it is interesting to see that it is not just Vishal Bhardwaj’s way of enacting the story, but that this was part of the original Shakespeare tale!!

And even as you marvel at Hamlet and Shakespeare, and at Vishal Bhardwaj and Shahid Kapoor and Tabu, what is most striking is the reality of life in Kashmir. As a dialogue says, “the entire Kashmir is a jail” or another that urges Haider to go to Aligarh, so as to “experience another India, where there are no day time curfews, and night time closures”. Such has become life in Kashmir, and with it, it has taken a toll of entire generations of people, of trade and tourism, and deprived the world of seeing “Jannat” on the face of earth!! Thank you, Vishal Bhardwaj, for giving us a perspective of all of this..


The biggest motivator for me, to get into the theatre and see Matru ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (yes, that’s a mouthful, isn’t it?) was Vishal Bhardwaj. I have been an unabashed admirer of the man’s work, and have blogged about it in the past.

M_Id_116521_vishal_bhardwajNot that I have liked all of his work, and have even shared my misgivings.

But irrespective of some wins and some losses, overall, I believe that Vishal Bhardwaj is one of the most creative persons in the film industry today. As a composer, as a director and as a producer, he has a fabulous body of work. Maqbool, Omkara, Ishqiya, The Blue Umbrella, Makdee, Kaminey, etc. are films that have left a mark.

Coming from that background, and promising to be something different this time, MKBKM was worth viewing. And while it was indeed very different from most of his previous works, I enjoyed the film thoroughly.

There are some standard Bhardwaj elements in the film – Gulzar (of course!!), Pankaj Kapur (Maqbool, The Blue Umbrella), Shabana Azmi (Makdee), the small town / village based story and accompanying language style including expletives (Ishqiya, Omkara, etc.). I guess some of these are what Bhardwaj identifies well personally (he has small town beginnings, and has an amazing rags-to-riches and accidental discovery story), and thrives in depicting these.

So what does Bhardwaj cook for us in MKBKM?


Well, a fun and whacky look at a Haryana village where the property becomes attractive to a politician, at the potential cost of the farmers there, and what then becomes, the typical efforts by the good guys to save the day.

The story is not that much, but I just love the outrageousness of it all.

The characters are well developed, even some of the smaller ones. And all deliver well. Imran is impressive. He has a powerful voice and looks sharp. Anushka’s great talent for sure. She can be exuberant as well as sensitive and fits this role well. Shabana Azmi lives her character well. Well, she is too good an actress, and this role does not stretch her much!

But the top honours are definitely reserved for Pankaj Kapur. Given a good role and room, he can deliver an astute performance, and which is what he does here. I guess, he can be compared to his co-brother, Naseeruddin Shah, in terms of that talent (respective wives, Supriya and Ratna are sisters). MKBKM2

The music is good, and the title song at the end, after the movie ends, is a lot of fun, in particular.

Most importantly there is a fun element right through, with strong Haryanvi language, including a liberal dose of expletives! Some may not appreciate the language or the madness that goes around. Which is why I saw the diverse reviews – good and bad – before I went for the movie.

My own verdict is positive, and I would recommend this movie.

What’s your view?

What can I say about R D Burman that I have not already said before.. ?

So here’s a different approach. For those who haven’t heard enough of him, I want to share a few specific snippets of a few of his songs. So you can appreciate the brilliance of the man.

Remember that most of his work was in the 1970s and 80s, way before the fancy mixing equipment and electronics came into the picture. And during those days, how he created this magic..

1. Heard of the song, “Jaane Jaan, Dhoondta Phir Raha.. ” from Jawani Diwani? Randhir Kapoor and Jaya Bhaduri starrer. See how RD starts it off. The effect before Kishore starts singing, and how Asha hums together in the background, keeping pace with Kishore, before coming up with a strong “.. main yaha.. ”

In the same song, you can see Asha’s class, but I would still credit RD for ‘directing’ it that way. The voice modulation, changing over to an almost Usha Uthupesque baritone..

Of course, you should see the full song to really enjoy it all.

2. Then there is ‘Kuch Na Kaho’ from RD’s last film, “1942, A Love Story”. The song was beautiful also because of the awesome picturisation by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. But let’s appreciate the fine parts of the song.

For example, again, the music to set the song up and get it started. Unfortunately, Kishore Kumar was not around, and he would have done far better justice to a song like this.  Now see this piece. The music before the words come. Then, as the words are sung, keep your ears to the background sounds. There is a magic about them. And overall, can you feel the effect like the song was playing somewhere in the hills far away, with a slight echo out there.. giving a feeling of that mountainous regions?!

To repeat, Vidhu Chopra has shot this absolutely brilliantly. One of the best romantic songs ever to be seen on screen. Manisha never looked as good on screen as she did in this film. If only Kishore was there to sing this one!

And here’s the complete song. It is one to die for!!

3. A near narrative of a song is another old favorite of mine, “Jab Andhera Hota Hai” from Raja Rani. Bhupinder and Asha Bhosale enhance the high impact of the song. Starts slow, moves up a notch.. and gets high impact, as Asha belts out, “..jab savera hota hai.. yaaha..”.

The full song with all the 1970s glitz and sound, for those who want to indulge!

4. Another classic, a song that actually recites a poetry. Beautifully executed by Asha Bhosale, conceived by Panchamda, written by Gulzar. Here’s the start..

Again, one excellent romantice piece, from Ijazat, “Mera Kuch Saaman Tumhare Pas Pada Hai..”

Check out this music in the interlude, even as Asha recites, “Pacchad me kuch Patto Ki Girne Ki Aahat..”

Also listen to this part. Amazing music. And then listen to Asha especially the part where she stretches the end so beautifully at “Ek Akeli Chhatri Me Jab Aadhe Aadhe Bheeg Rahe Theeeee”. And again the music just after that. Can you imagine the challenge of putting tough poetry stanzas of this kind, into music? When we hear the finished product, it appears good and nice, but the challenge of composing this one, and recording it, needs to be visualized!

The complete song, with the lyrics to enjoy.

The list can go on, and this can be a long, long post. But the idea was not to be exhaustive, but rather, to give a glimpse of the richness of R D Burban and his work.

We miss you, Panchamda..!!

To conclude, here’s a Panchamda classic, that tells its own story. About how Panchamda captured life in every moment, and left us all with such a rich archive of entertainment content:

Here are my views on Ishqiya directed by Abhishek Chaubey, produced by Vishal Bhardwaj:

And I refer to Gulzar and the music in the film. The best one clearly is ‘dil to bachha hai’. So here are the lyrics and the song.. enjoy:

It has been a special year for India. At competitive international events, where all these years, India was nowhere in the race.

First it was the Olympics. Where, we have forgotten how to win a hockey medal for years. And where other than hockey, India was not even in the consideration for any medals.

And where in 2008, out of nowhere, India picked up not one, not two, but THREE medals! It was quite unbelievable. For sports like shooting or boxing or wrestling were never considered to be India’s forte. It is one thing to be in consideration once ina while, at the Asian Games or at the Commonwealth Games. But at the Olympics, we were not even in consideration. And then, to come from nowhere, and pick up three medals was quite awesome.

Likewise now, at the Oscars (whatever Amitabh Bacchan might think of these, the Oscars are truly a global recognition in the world of cinema, and they reign supreme in stature), our best hope used to be that one Oscar for the best foreign film. And the country would be going gaga over a Lagaan making it to the final round.

And then, from nowhere, we had this international film with an India theme, Slumdog Millionaire. And in which many Indian artists had a role to play. And no less than 3 of them were annointed as winners at the Oscars earlier today. A R Rahman, Gulzar and Resul. With Rahman getting TWO Oscards in fact.

And if that was not enough, in the documentary film section, there was another Indian winner for the film, Smile Pinki.

So it was a great day for India.

India has come of age and there will be many more winners to follow these few now. Cheers! Jai Ho…