Posts Tagged ‘Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’

bmb_titleI was in for a wonderful treat on the Sunday morning.

Yes, totally loved Bhaag Milkha Bhaag for many reasons!

I was reminded of ‘Chariots of Fire’, a film I had seen many years back, but which remains one of my favourite films till date. There is a certain excitement about stories based around sport, and Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, is of course, in that genre. The sweat and toil, the determination, the hard work, the competitiveness, the rivalry, all of these are emotional elements and they draw the audience in.

At the outset, here was an extremely talented team at work!

Starting with the director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, one of the sharpest and most talented young filmmakers in Indian cinema today. I had found his first venture, Aks, to be a very interesting experiment. And then of course, Rang De Basanti was an iconic film. I had liked his next one, Dilli 6 also. So this one comes as yet another great piece of work by the young man. bmb_rom

His partner in crime from RDB and Dilli-6, Prasoon Joshi is very much present here as well!

He takes care of a super story, screenplay, dialogs and lyrics. His brilliance shows in all of these aspects!

Binod Pradhan does a fabulous job with the camera, especially on some scenes filmed in Ladakh. Shankar Ehsaan Loy put together a very credible composition for the times when the story has been based.

That’s an awesome team working at the back.

Of course, the one hero is the original story, and the man himself, the Flying Sikh, Milkha Singh!

It is amazing to see and note the life that he lived.

A child of the partition days, he saw the extreme pain and angst of separation, was brought up in very tough environs, took to stealing coal to make some money, and from that kind of background, emerged to be one of the best athletes that India have produced, and perhaps one of the best sportspersons that India has every produced. Now that’s quite a rollercoaster of a life!

Kudos to Farhan Akhtar for delivering Milkha Singh to us!

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His is an absolutely brilliant performance. He has clearly put in massive effort to get it right. From the physical development, to the running style, the look, the accent, the Punjabi language, the dancing.. everything. And he delivers well on all of these. Clearly, he seems to be the perfect fit for this role.

Some great shots he delivers include the extreme face crunching pain that he feels as he runs hard on the tracks, or when (the many times) he falls and gets hurt, or his scenes with his sister, or the time when he returns back to his old home in Pakistan, or when he comes back with his medals and gives a medal to his first coach and falls at his feet, etc. etc. All great scenes, very well acted!!

There are good supporting performances from Pawan Malhotra and Yograj Singh as the coaches, and Divya Dutta as Milkha’s elder sister.

Divya Dutta and Pawan Malhotra were in Rakeysh’s Dilli-6 too, and are also two really good supporting actors, who leave their mark, even in short roles.

Sonam does not have much of a role in the film.

The young boy who plays Milkha Singh as a child also delivers a fantastic performance.

It was very interesting to see the country glued on to the radio when Milkha Singh was taking on his Pakistani counterpart, and when he emerges winner, the kind of celebrations that India witnesses, were bigger than what we see these days, when India beats Pakistan in a cricket match!

Overall, Milkha Singh’s story is told very well, in interspersed flashbacks, in almost a similar way that Mehra had mixed the characters and story of India’s pre-independence revolution with modern day characters in Rang De Basanti.

In summary, this is clearly the best film to be released so far in 2013. There is a good chance that the Best Director award for the year is already decided in favour of Mehra, and even if that were to be in doubt, rest assured that the Best Actor award’s a taken now! Others will be competing for 2nd place to Farhan Akhtar.

Not about the movie, but here are some life lessons that one picks up from the movie:

1. Sometimes there is a deep rooted event or incident that provides the maximum motivation / drive

2. Everyone could screw up. Recognise what’s happened, refocus, ensure elimination of the screwup factor, and dedicate yourself back to the motive

3. It’s all about FOCUS.

4.There are no short cuts in life. Hard work, dedication, obsession about one’s goals.. that’s what it takes to succeed.

5. A good coach makes a huge difference

6. A good coach will drive you to your limits, as he knows what you are capable of, and wants you to deliver it all

7. You need to consciously switch OFF your distractions if you want to get your ultimate goal
Cheers!

Go, see Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.. !

 

 

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I have been warned by a friend not to reveal too much about the film in the review, so I will keep it brief. But at the outset, I must refer to my prediction in the form of a pre-release preview about Billu and Delhi 6. On February 8th, I had predicted that Billu will be kind of average and Delhi 6 will be a good film. Well, I had stuck my neck out and talked about 2.5/5.0 for Billu and 4.5/5.0 for Delhi 6.

From what I can see from official and unofficial reviews, I am not too much off the mark. And in my own book at least, I am quite on the dot with Delhi 6. Based on what I read about Billu, I have not felt it worth to go and see it!

I have already covered my tribute to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and talked about the actual performances in Delhi 6 in earlier posts. So what else can I say without saying too much, about the film?

There is an amazing capture of old Delhi. The place, the people, the life there. The energy of the place. You can clearly feel the pulse of the place.

The song with the New York – Delhi mashup is a brilliant piece. That is the kind of genius stroke which for example, we saw in the ‘Woh Ladki Hain Kahan’ song in Dil Chahta Hain.

There are small shades of Swades, but not much. Although there is the NRI factor, its not been overused just to sell the film in the overseas markets.

Like Rang De Basanti, smart work has been done by mixing up history / mythology as mirrors / pathfinders for today, and especially as conscience calls for the characters in the film.

The climax is always the biggest challenge for any filmmaker. What is that fantastic ending that he must depict that audiences leave the theatre awestruck?! And many a filmmaker has fallen short at that pedestal. If the film has to be faulted, it is in this space, for Delhi 6 too. At the end, the climax is a bit hackneyed, and undos a lot of the good work done earlier.

Rest its money and time well spent, and I recommend it!

There, I have summarized it, without telling too much. Hope my friend approves 🙂

There are some great performers in Delhi 6 – on-screen and behind it too. Before sharing my impressions on the film itself, I thought I would touch upon these.

On screen, Abhishek has the longest role, of course. But there is nothing much to write about him and his role. I mean, he does a competent job, but no huge scenes, nothing fantastic, considering that he was the absolute and complete hero!

Sonam Kapoor had a small role. But she did that well. And also came out looking extremely pleasant on screen. I repeat myself when I say that she looks like the Juhi Chawla. Especially that effervescent smile of hers. So much like Juhi’s. I would love to see her in longer and meatier roles in future.

I noticed that Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra was born in the same year that I was born! I know a few people from our generation who have a Waheeda Rehman fixation. I don’t. But I know others who do. Perhaps Rakeysh has one too. Waheeda Rehman, for her age, puts in an extremely credible performance. She did that in Rang De Basanti too. I am sure she has maintained her health well, and she has put in hard work to execute the role.

Likewise, amongst the older folks who come for character roles every now and then, Rishi Kapoor is one who again manages to leave a mark, even in smaller roles. In Delhi 6, he has a very small role. And he does a good job of it again.

Three very talented actors make their presence felt in small essays here. Vijay Raaz (who can forget his Monsoon Weddings character?!), Divya Dutta and Atul Kulkarni. All of them have good characters written for them in Delhi 6, and perform well.

Om Puri, Supriya Pathak and others do a fair job.

Among the behind-the-scenes acts, there are 4 outstanding performers.

First of course, it’s the director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra himself. I have paid a separate tribute to him. That he has also written the film makes for special mention. The heart of the film is in the writing. And more of it, when I cover the film itself. But suffice it to say that it is a great job of writing and direction that Mehra has done.

Then there is the cinematography of one of India’s best cinematographers, Binod Pradhan. Coming from the Vidhu Vinod Chopra stable, Binod has fabulous works like 1942 a Love Story, Mission Kashmir, Parinda, Devdas, Munnabhai MBBS, Rang De Basanti and others to his credit.

In Delhi 6 also, Binod leaves his magical touch. The camera panned across a nearly 360 degrees to capture the Friday prayers at the Jumma Masjid is breathtaking. Even the scenes capturing nightime life and lights in old Delhi are very well captured.

Then, there is lyricist Prasoon Joshi. Who comes up with some great lines once again. Considering his advertising industry exploits, he must rank as one of the most creative and talented persons in India. Period.

And of course, finally, you have to salute the master, A. R. Rahman. By tomorrow morning, he might have become an Oscar winner too (he has 3 nominations for Slumdog Millionaire, and the Oscars happen in about 12 hours from now). In Delhi 6, he delivers some great numbers.

The best and most hummable is Masakali. Check it out here:

My other two favorites are Rehna Tu and the title song, Delhi.. or Dilli.. whatever!

Rakeysh has managed to get some great performers together and they have delivered a fine result in terms of Delhi 6!!

I saw Dehli 6 today. And loved it. But more about it later.

I thought it fit first, to write a few words about the filmmaker, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. And I must add, if it was not already obvious, that I am a big admirer of this very talented director. I would believe that he is among the best that we have in Indian cinema today. And I am looking forward to many excellent films coming out of his repertoire over the years.

I presume I was one of the few people (lol) who had seen his first venture. It was called “Aks”. In fact, I remember that we had gone from our company, and several of us in a group, in fact. And all of them did not last through the film. Several left mid-way. Yeah, it was that kind of debut.

I had sat through the film. And while not really enjoying it much, I was certainly impressed with the subject chosen, the method of expression. Very bold, Very different.

In fact, it tackled an interesting subject – shades of Good and Bad within the self. And how one can manifest over another. To an extent, the theme carries forward in Delhi 6 too. In the form of the ‘black monkey’ metaphor.

So though Aks was no great success, I presume it got its fair share of critical acclaim.

Which got him going on his piece de resistance movie, Rang De Basanti. An excellent film for the times, it delivered its message in no uncertain terms. About the angst of the youth, about the restlessness that they face, and their clear thought about not wanting to take any more nonsense. The presentation was extremely creative. From the eyes of a foreigner who was here to make a film, and taking on idling youth to do her movie. And then even as she went over her story from the times of India’s freedom movement, the extent of juxtaposition of the story to current times, and to the lives of the actors, was the way the story got presented. Interspersed with great acting performances and excellent music (A. R. Rahman).

Rang De Basanti did create a stir beyond the film itself. Where people came out of theatres feeling good, they also carried the message forward, and the people’s voice against various unjust political wars, can be partially attributed to the impact made by the film.

RDB was a classic in that sense. Got Mehra a lot of acclaim and recognition, and finally he was taken to be a serious film maker. He won a host of awards for RDB.

But all through the fame and glory that he got, and the many TV appearances as a result, what came out from Mehra was a consistent humble message. Acknowledging Aamir Khan. Acknowledging Ronnie Screwala. And others. Maintaining a calm front that kept talking sanity, never letting success go into his head.

In fact, one program on TV really brought him out as a class act. He was on the Karan Johar show along with Rakesh Roshan, Raju Hirani and Kunal Kohli. Along with Karan Johar there, they made for some of the more successful directors in India. And in this interaction, the one voice that kept responding to many questions in the best way, was the voice of Rakeysh Mehra. In fact, that show kind of gave an impression that Rakeysh was the most thinking director from amongst them, Karan Johar was certainly the smartest, Raju Hirani had a good feel for the masses (maybe a good ad filmmaker’s trait), Rakesh Roshan was perhaps the best businessman, and Kunal Kohli was out of place there!

And now, Delhi 6. Another great work from Mehra. Some part of his style and his convictions carry on, I guess.

The part of the evil inside people, comes back from Aks.

The mixing of history / mythology to current story characters is done here again, as was done in Rang De Basanti. In this film, it’s the Ramayana and the black-monkey story (from Delhi folklore) that are mixed up to drive the film’s message across.

But more about the film in another post.

For now, I would just reiterate my admiration for Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra. Really glad to have such great talent working together at the same time – Mehra, Ashutosh Gowariker, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Farhan Akhtar, Raju Hirani, Madhur Bhandarkar, etc. Film enthusiasts like me never had it so good.. 🙂