Posts Tagged ‘Vishal Bhardwaj’

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..

 

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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?

MKBKL1

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?

When I am sitting in a theatre watching a film, and I find myself constantly shifting my position in the seat, or periodically checking the phone for email or messages, or generally being less attentive to the screen, it means that the film did not absorb me to that extent.

I found myself doing exactly that, in Saat Khoon Maaf.

After having said great things about Vishal Bhardwaj, it is unfortunate that I have to write about the first Bhardwaj film that did not work for me!

First of all, the structure of the film… like seven mini-episodes. Not sure if that works so well. It did not, for me. I would much rather have a  good single story from start to end.

Of course, this was a single story, with the central character of Priyanka, but individual husband-isodes, seemed like episodes of a soap opera. I had come to see a feature film and not a soap opera!

Priyanka herself was very disappointing. For the central, most significant role in the film, she came out seeming very ordinary, in all respects.

The film was dark too. Dark and dull.

Once you see the pattern – and well, you’d have also picked that up from media even before getting into the theatre – you could see it coming. Not leaving room for suspense of any kind, nor any intrigue. Almost becoming repetitive, and predictable.

That again, did not make the fare exciting, therefore.

Also at the end of it, I’d wonder, “so, what was the point of all this, anyway?”

With that kind of unanswered question, it is clear that the film did not work for me.

I would NOT recommend for it to be seen. Yeah, go ahead and watch the World Cup games instead.. 🙂

When I read this article about Vishal Bhardwaj in The Mint (Lounge), I was inspired to share the following thoughts:

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: