Posts Tagged ‘vidhu vinod chopra’

Managed to get to the Star Movies Secret Screening yesterday. Basically an invite-only movie screening organised by Star Movies, where you don’t know what movie you are going to see, until the movie starts inside the theatre!

Had missed the last couple of these invites due to travel etc., but managed to reach yesterday.

And was happy to see Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s first Hollywood film, Broken Horses.

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At the outset, it is an amazing feat by an Indian producer and director. To go west and create a product that it totally a Hollywood film. Not an NRI story, not an India-based story told to global audiences. This is an out-and-out American film, in appearance. Characters, actors, location (what looks like Southern Texas maybe, close to Mexican border!)… everything. Not even a remote connect to anything Indian, on the front side. Of course, on the back of it, are many Indian names, including producer and director, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and many others in the crew.

So first of all, salute to Vidhu Chopra for this dare, and for making it happen!

So how does an Indian director go west and create a product there?
Does he pick a script from some US scriptwriters? And try to see what will be interesting and appealing to the western audience. Also to “feel” the script enough, to be able to passionately direct it and create a good product out of it.

This can always be challenging.

So what’s the next best thing?

To see if you already have a script that can be adapted to that audience!

Yes, we have heard and seen American movies being converted to their Indian equivalents (even shows like 24, for example). What happens in such instances, is that the western storyline gets “adapted” to an Indian setting. Some play with the story, some Indianisation, and of course, adding song and dance, if workable..

Has anyone been audacious to think that an Indian story / script can be converted to appeal an international viewer??

Well, that’s the path that Vidhu Chopra adopts.

And of all the body of work that he has himself directed, perhaps the one that suited best for a western adaptation, was Parinda.

And which is exactly what he does in Broken Horses.

Adapts the story of Parinda, quite brilliantly, into an American setting, with the same anger and passion, and creates a really fascinating product.

I for one, liked the treatment although, you can’t help but compare the actors to those in Parinda. In specific terms, Nana Patekar was definitely better as that character, compared to his Hollywood equivalent.

I have loved Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s films, from Parinda, to 1942, A Love Story, to Mission Kashmir, etc. Of course, he has produced some amazing work too. Here with Broken Horses, he scales one new peak.

Congratulations, Vidhu Vinod Chopra!

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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!!