Posts Tagged ‘Madhur Bhandarkar’

In the course of my elaborate explanation of eating a Rajdhani Thali, I did share the fact that we saw two movies, back-to-back on the Sunday. Let me quickly share my views on these movies.

I was seeing Jail with a fair bit of expectations, given my general respect for Madhur Bhandarkar, and the type of movies he makes, where he goes deep into a subject, and makes it very informative and usually engrossing also. While I had no doubts that Madhur would give us an excellent understanding of what Jail life is all about, I was hoping that there would be a good story behind it as well. In the past, I have appreciated his Chandni Bar, Corporate and Fashion for having a good mix of both – information and story – but found Page 3 to be more of a documentary. So I was going into Jail with that question in mind.

As it turned out, I was justified in my concern. As expected, Madhur does a fantastic job in showing us the realities of jail life. Far different from the glamorous views of jails that we might have seen in other movies (Angrezo ke zamane ke jailer, Dr. Dang ki thappad ki goonj and many others come to mind!). Unless you are a celebrity inmate like Ketan Parekh or Ramalinga Raju, the real jail that you are likely to see if God forbid, you have to land there some day, is more likely to be the one that Madhur shows us in Jail. And which is extremely crowded (inmates packed like sardines), largely uncaring, poor barracks, hopeless sanitation, terrible food and the like. Not to speak of the elements around.

So one thing that Jail will succeed in doing is to make people shun all kinds of crime. You really don’t want to land up in a jail like the one seen here!

So this part of Madhur’s agenda is successful. The information sharing.

In terms of the actual film and story and other details, unfortunately, it falls short. By a lot. For many reasons, I think:

1. He has not been able to get a good performance from Neil Nitin Mukesh. I am consciously NOT saying that Neil is NOT a good actor. I think he delivered a good performance is Johnny Gaddar. But in Jail, where he had a phenomenal opportunity with a powerful role, he is only good in parts. In fact, for the first half, he is terrible in dialogue delivery. Like someone reading out a paragraph from paper, and not emoting! He could have done a lot better.

2. The other characters are not built much. There are small flashbacks to few of the fellow inmates in jail, for their stories, but that’s about it. For the rest of the time, those characters just make up the numbers on screen.

3. Unlike Neil, for Mugdha Godse I am feeling now, that Fashion was an exception, and otherwise, she is a poor actress. In All The Best, they tried hard to “hide” her on screen. In group scenes, in dances, she was almost purposely kept in the side frames, or had long shots taken of her. Now we know the reason. Here in Jail too, she shows that she cannot really emote!

4. And as for the mother (of Neil in the film), she is still in her TV soap opera state. Nothing much to write about.. !

5. But the most important factor could be the subject itself. Jail is where life stops. You don’t go out to party, you don’t keep meeting many new people, you don’t have much room to suddenly fall in love and go dancing around the trees, etc. Unlike in a Fashion industry, or in Chandni Bars, or on Traffic Signals, or in a Corporate setting, for example. So the subject is largely limited in its expanse. You can talk about this main character, show a bit of flashback of other characters, show the pitiable life there, and then show the morose faces that go from hope to hopeless. That’ s about it.

So under these constraints, the film at best is an average fare. If you are a Madhur Bhandarkar fan and must see all of his films, please see this one too. If you like to understand different aspects of society, and are interested in Jail life, then also see this one. For the rest, you may comfortably give this a miss, and wait for “Kurbaan” whose preview provides a lot of hope of good cinema!

Last couple of weeks, I have not viewed new films. Wanted to see London Dreams, but then a Facebook review by a friend sealed its fate for me. I wasn’t venturing into that one.

Read the reviews of the relases for the day. Jail, then some long name movie of Ranbir Kapoor, and The Informant.

Although I take newspaper reviews with a HUGE pinch of salt, and if it is by Avjit Ghosh in the Times of India, I completely reject it, but with all that, there is a view of what the film could be like. And Nikhat Azmi’s reviews today are giving me some hints:

1. That Madhur Bhandarkar is doing via cinema, what Arthur Hailey used to do with books. Get deep into a sector and give us the reality view there. We read all of those Hotel, Hospital, Airport and others that Hailey dished out, and which made for compelling reading, and a deep understanding of the business there. And Madhur, via Chandni Bar (the bar girls’ and the bars story), Page 3 (the dirt behind the glitz revelation), Fashion (what the industry is really about) and the like, has been giving us those insights now. And this time, he is taking us inside the Jail. Not the decent Teen Deewarein style jail of Nagesh Kukunoor. But the dirty, overcrowded jails that are a norm in most parts of India. Now if there is a good story too, it might just be excellent cinema. Looking forward to seeing this one.

2. The other thought is about Ranbir. Or lets say Ranbir vs Neil Nitin Mukesh, just for example. Their grandfathers were very close friends and colleagues. In fact, the latter’s grandfather was the “voice” of the former’s! Then, their fathers went different ways. Nitin Mukesh at best, was a moderate success. That is only to be not uncharitable. Rishi Kapoor on the other hand, was perhaps the best Kapoor actor, bar none. Made a lot of films. Danced, romanced. Very popular. But did not win serious accolades for his acting, and in multi-starrers, he was usually the second lead. In spite of his charm and success. In fact, he is delivering some of his best roles in his second coming now, as a character actor. In fact, Rishi Kapoor never won awards, till he was given a lifetime achievement award recently. More like a consolation prize 🙂

I fear that Ranbir might be headed the same way. And it can be his choice, and nothing wrong with that. But if he is a keen actor and wants to also create a good body of his work, then he must choose his projects better. More of these dumb ass fare, and he will get slotted into a romantic hero like his father, while Hrithik, Imran, Neil and others go after the really great roles.

So by the way, you’ll get the picture on what I think about the Ranbir-Katrina flick releasing today. I’ll pass.

3. Finally, The Informant! sounds good. Like a real story, and not some make-believe, out of this world fantasy. I will strive to see this one too.

4. Then there is this film that I want to see, but have no clue if it is playing, and where. Our Oscar nomination for the year, the Marathi film, Harishchandrachi Factory. Or something like that. This story of Dadasaheb Phalke, I am sure, will be an awesome inspiration. People who break boundaries, chase their dreams, and create history, like Phalke did, make for great viewing (or reading), and which is why, I’d love to see this one. As soon as I find out where and when!!

What are your plans for weekend movies?