Posts Tagged ‘shahid kapoor’

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..

 

Advertisements

Mausam is veteran actor Pankaj Kapur’s first directorial venture. 

He has delivered some great work as an actor, on television as well as on cinema. And as per perception, he does appear to be a ‘thinking’ actor. As would be the wont for a serious thespian of his kind, over the years, he may have had a lot of ideas, on the kind of cinema that he’d like to make. If he got a chance..

And then he got that chance. With Mausam.

And he went ahead and put all those ideas into the one and same film! Perhaps not being sure if he’d get a second chance (after seeing Mausam, I do have doubts – maybe he should just stick to acting).

And so we have Mausam where the story moves from and covers:

– Incidents like 1992 Babri Masjid riots, 1993 Mumbai blasts, 1999 Kargil war, 2001 US 9/11 incident, and 2002 Gujarat riots,

– Locations from small town Punjab, to Mumbai, to Scotland, to Switzerland, to Ahmedabad.

All of these are not mentioned in passing, but have a place in the narrative.

You’d think that packing so much into a feature film would make the film a fast paced one, right?

Surprise, surprise!! With so much that Pankaj Kapur covers, he still manages to play the story in crawl mode. Ultra slow..

Yes, the story seems to not be going anywhere often. So sitting in the theatre, I check my mail on the phone, I put out some tweets, check Facebook etc., even as the story is unfolding (well, “not” unfolding in fact…!) on the screen in front of me!

Some of you may want to stop here, if all you wanted was a verdict. Yes, its a clear no-no.

But for what it’s worth, let me share a few more thoughts on the film:

– I love the visuals in the film. Then I look at the credits. And I am not surprised. Binod Pradhan’s an absolute master cinematographer. And he’s done a brilliant job here too. From the visuals of Punjab (the best of the lot) to Scotland and the cement pipes, the camera and the lights have worked their magic.

– Small-town Punjab has been captured well. The prosperity on the one hand, the humor (the ‘musical chairs’ scene is funny), the global connections, the characters like the taangewala, the youth and their options in life, the girl besotted by the handsome neighbor, etc. capture the early 1990s’ Punjab well. We also discover how Atlas Cycles and others have built their fortunes!

– It is also interesting to understand how, in this modern world, in a single lifetime, a person could go through so much. Aayat (Sonam Kapoor) is born and brought up in her early years, in Srinagar. She gets uprooted from there and sent to small town Punjab, for a while. From there to Mumbai, then to Scotland, back to small town Punjab, then again to Scotland, to the US, and then, to Ahmedabad. And by this time, she’s still about 25-26 or so. Wonder what else she has coming up, in her life. While this does not happen to everyone, it is not something that is unbelievable either. This is the kind of world that we live in. Amazing, isn’t it? The kind of extreme swings that life can give, and how one has to keep adopting today.. very interesting!

– I guess it takes an experienced and successful Aditya Chopra or a Raju Hirani to follow their  gut, and stay close to the conviction that they have, about their narrative. All other filmmakers are subject to tremendous insecurity and fear of failure, due to which reason, they include ‘elements’ that are not really connected to the story, but which have commercial appeal. Is that the reason for introducing Scotland / Switzerland in Mausam, for example? Could those locations equally have been Mumbai or Bangalore, otherwise? Why not? But a) the visual appeal of those locations, and b) the Scottish and Swiss Tourism Boards bankrolling some dollars in return for the “product placement” would have found attraction. The dance item a the end of the movie also, had no relevance, but added to appeal to the Shahid fans. You never saw such gimmicks in good films of yore, and directors narrated their stories, and that was it!

– I am sure girls swoon for Shahid, and he looks good, and uniforms do create a special appeal. However, other than some smart dancing (I rank Shahid only next to Hrithik in terms of dancing abilities, on Indian screen today) and cute smiles, there is nothing great about his acting here. There are scenes where he literally acts poor and in others, he is average. Perhaps his father, the director, has also not given him any special histrionics, which could have been a distinct possibility, given that he was the central character, and on screen, perhaps for more than 80% of the time! Rakesh Roshan drew out much better juice from his son’s talent pool, than Pankaj manages to do here.

– Sonam Kapoor has to look pretty, hum a few “haanji / naji” kind of dialogs, giggle a bit, etc. She does all of that. Along with the Kashmiri carpets and the Atlas cycles, she’s part of the furniture on the sets! Her height actually makes her look ungainly in many scenes. Dressed in the typical loose fitting Punjabi salwar kameez, as a student earlier, and and also in the last scene, as a married mother, she looks very funny. I think they have purposely not taken too many side-by-side standing scenes of Sonam and Shahid. Else she’d come out looking taller than him. She does give a perception of being taller, which Shahid obviously has a small frame. Not a great pair, in that sense..

– I did not quite see the relevance of the title, ‘Mausam’. Of course, it is a passage of time. But most stories are. What might have been a better title is “Taalen”. The story if anything, is a story of locked doors!! If you see the film, you will know what I mean… 🙂

In summary:

1. Amol Palekar did a terrible job as director of Paheli. Pankaj Kapur falls in the same trap now, with Mausam. Great actors, who when they have got their opportunity to direct a mainstream Hindi cinema with a largish budget, lose their original sensibilities of film making, and go overboard, trying to pack too many things. Also depend a lot on the main sellable actor (Shah Rukh in Paheli, and Shahid here). And end up making a dud. Mausam is a box office cropper. Pankaj will have a tough time finding backers for a second venture.

2. Shahid Kapoor is capable of more and has shown us too. He needs to put more into his work, and choose scripts that suit him better. His overall frame does not make him a convincing senior Air Force officer, no matter he thrown in a moustache there. Walking around inspecting the aircraft makes him look like a mechanic of the aircraft rather than an ace pilot!

3. Sonam Kapoor. Well, she’s fine. She’s not a fantastic actress, so she’s good to be in the glam face on screen kind of roles, make some money, have a good life. Yeah, she’s fine!!

It hurt more as the cinema had raised the ticket prices to 270/-. Was not worth the money. Hope the mausam changes and we get better cinema in coming weeks.. !!