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Shaitan – A visual treat

June 20, 2011 4 comments

It’s been more than 1 year since I made the first post on my blog (1 year and 3 days to be precise) and it seems quite apt that I post a blog now, to celebrate an anniversary, sort of 😛 . So here I am – beginning to blog about the latest bollywood movie I watched. The movie comes from Anurag Kashyap (one of my favorite movie makers)’s stable, though directed by Bejoy Nambiar. But if you are a true Kashyap fan and if you are watching closely, you would notice that the movie is a tribute to the producer himself. All of that later.

First of all, full credit to the director – writer team for telling a story which is very much plausible in the current setup where we read about ‘youngsters going unruly and harming themselves and others’ almost daily in the newspapers. The fast-paced movie starts off on a very strange note with Amy (KALKI KOECHLIN) shown as a mentally disturbed character. Soon, the audience is introduced to the each and every member of the gang – KC (Gulshan Devaiya – acted in Dum Maaro Dum), Dash (Shiv Pandit of FIR, SAB TV fame), Zubin (Neil Bhoopalam seen him as VJ on Channel V) and Tanya (Kirti Kulhari – seen her in many ads) as the titles roll and we get to listen to the song – Bali, the sound of Shaitan (one of the many high points in the film).

The initial part of the film has a number of humorous moments as the group has a lot of fun and is at its very best trying to impress the new member in the gang.  Also I must admit there are lots of profanities and a number of jokes are not suitable to the ‘family audience’. But then again, the kind of language used was very much appropriate when you take into account the film’s characters and also the target audience. Just before the interval, the group is involved in an accident and the rest of the movie is about how the group gets deeper and deeper into trouble as one of the group members holds the whole group at ransom making decisions based on his whims and fancies.

The film also narrates the story of Arvind Mathur (Rajeev Khandelwal) who is a righteous cop and is having a troubled domestic life. He is assigned the group’s case – he does it pretty well – not without a few causalities, though and eventually the film reaches its logical ending. Throughout the film, the audience is made to realize how a person when pushed to the corner starts showing his negative colors and would hurt even the ones he cares for.

Acting department – Out of the 5 teenagers, I especially liked Shiv Pandit’s performance. Neil Bhoopalam also gave a controlled performance – sometimes mischievous and sometimes caring and understanding. Kirti Kulhari’s acting was decent for a debutant. Gulshan Devaiyaa and Kalki both looked a bit over-the-top. Rajeev Khandelwal and Pawan Malhotra have also put up a decent performance.

Story and screenplay- by Megha Ramaswamy and the director Bejoy Nambiar himself. The story is well told and the ‘cat and mouse’ game between the police and the group is shown in such a manner that the audience does not lose track of any of the parallel running tracks and the story unfolds without ‘spilling any beans’. And yes, the audience would cheekily admire the director’s gumption to show funny episodes even when the movie has supposedly taken a serious turn just after the accident. The only part that disappointed was that Kalki’s character was not at all original and was inspired by ‘The Ring’ (Making black crayon sketches) and ‘The Black Swan’ (repetitive scratching of skin when tensed).

Music and background score have been really good. Ranjit Bhanot (Also background score), Prashant Pillai and Amar Mohile are the music -makers. Many of the songs standalone, i.e. in the music album of the film don’t make much of an impact. But yes, on screen, when bits and portions of the song are played more as background score – you really love them. Apart from Bali, another song that stands out is ‘Khoya Khoya Chaand’. Also the ‘Pintya’ song kind of help you get into the Mumbai spirit during ‘Dahi Handi’.

Now the hero of the film – Camera work and cinematography. Kudos to cinematographer ‘Madhi’. The film would impress the audience even if there had been not much of a story simply because of the sheer beautiful camera-work. Some of it is just smart camera trick (but you still wonder how the scene was canned). For e.g. the scene where the person is seen falling from the 1st floor landing on the ground all in a single shot and also the one in which the TV is broken on the person’s head. Apart from the trick scenes, the slo-mo during the ‘Khoya Khoya Chaand’ and the scene where Kalki hits the water and when Gulshan Devaiyya breaks a bottle on a person’s head are all treat to the eyes.

And lastly, as I was saying the film is a tribute to Anurag Kashyap –

1)      The story line itself. So what if ‘Paanch’ could not be released. The story line of this one is very much similar to Paanch  and yes, more contextual and up-to-date.

2)      Classy and unprecedented camera work which could be matched by Kashyap’s Dev D alone (remember the scene where Abhay Deol dips his head in water and blood comes out of his nose?)

3)      The small episode starring Rajat Barmecha (of Udaan fame) where he kidnaps his younger brother really tickles your funny bone reminds you of a similar one in ‘No Smoking’. The narration during the scene where Kalki is kidnapped is also interesting and again reminds you of ‘No Smoking’.

4)       The chasing sequence when the rogue cop ‘Malvankar’ is being chased is something we have already seen in Black Friday giving us a glimpse of Mumbai’s slums and all that.

With that, I shall end my post here. Looking forward to more such ‘Kashyap’ movies. Oh Yes, ‘That Girl in Yellow Boots’ is somewhere round the corner.

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The Bangggg

September 11, 2010 3 comments

First things first – I have never been a great fan of Salman Khan’s acting skills, be it comedy or action and it has been some time now that I have watched a movie along with a hooligan crowd. But watching Dabangg along with the so called ‘non family’ audience was an experience in itself. The crowd was literally cheering each and every time Salman was making an entry into the scene (For that matter, the crowd even cheered some of the Child Salman’s dialogues 😛 ).

I had watched Salman in ‘WANTED’ and liked it. The so called ‘Tollywood’ touch was there to be seen in Wanted as it was made by Prabhudeva and was basically a remake of Pokiri. But interestingly enough, there were glimpses of the Tollywood action to be seen in Dabangg too. Salman Khan to his credit has for the first time (at least to my memory) played a character with negative shades. And he has sported a moustache for the first time (Technically He had sported a beard for Suryavanshi as well as Heroes).

Coming back to the movie, Dabangg is set in rural part of North India, probably UP – where power and politics hold sway. Chulbul Pandey (Salman Khan) is a corrupt cop who usually steals from the thieves themselves and calls himself Robinhood Pandey (Though he almost never ever is seen giving anything to the poor). He is utterly fearless (the literal meaning of Dabangg) and is very confident of his capabilities. Most importantly, his childhood experiences have been shown as the major reason of him being that way. He had lost his father at an early age and his mother (Dimple Kapadia) had married another guy (Vinod Khanna). They together have another son – Makkhi aka Makahnchand Pandey (Arbaaz Khan, who incidentally is the producer of the movie). As usual, his step father hates Chulbul and Chulbul grows up to be an angry young man. The emotional discord between Salman and his Step fathr and half brother sets the tone for the movie. During the course of the movie he falls in love with Rajjo (Sonakshi Sinha, Shatrughan Sinha ‘s daughter) and eventually marries her. There is also this political leader – villain Cheddi Singh (Sonu Sood) whose interests clash with those of Salman and quite predictably they end up in a bang-bang fight till death climax. But between all these, Sallu’s original style action and dance sequences, the umpteen witty dialogues and some interesting twists and turns keep you engaged.

Acting and presentation – Full marks to the whole costume, styling and presentation of Chulbul Pandey. Almost throughout the movie, Salman is seen wearing full sleeves, which in itself must be a first<!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]–><!–[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]–>. The shirt does come off eventually in the climax (the shirt is ripped apart by his angry, tensed, taut musles). The moustache, the hairstyle and some amount of personal touch from Salman himself makes the end result just so perfect for the character. Salman’s role, I must say was not a very difficult one but still he is probably the only one in the industry who could carry this character with such panache. The attitude and personality of a bad cop combined with perfect comic timing is executed superbly by Sallu. Other actors – Arabaaz Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Vinod Khanna were no great shakes. But Sonu Sood as the antagonist did complete justice to the role. Few words about debutant Sonakshi – apart from donning the role of a completely homely – gaon ki gori in her debut movie, which many of the current crop of heroines would find it difficult to do, she has put up a very decent performance in the limited number of scenes she has got. Her eyes do the talking most of the time and I must say, she looked extremely pretty in the film. Anupam Kher and Mahesh Manjrekar were royally wasted.

Cinematographer Mahesh Limaye I felt has not put in great efforts to capture the rustic charm of the countryside but yes, the main focus of the film being action, the cinematography has been commendable in that respect. The action sequences have been choreographed by the much experienced stunt director from Telugu cinema, S Vijayan who had also done it for Wanted.  Now we know from where the Tollywood touch was coming. The opening scene of Salman is a mis-mash of action sequences lifted from Shanghai Noon, The Matrix, and The Transporter etc. The music by Sajid Wajid and Lalit (Of erstwhile Jatin- Lalit fames) was awesome to say the least.  As expected, the crowd went mad when Munni Badnaam hui started off. The background score (not sure who has done it) was very catchy – a kind of music you have in those Spanish tap dances and it really gelled well with the film. Thinking about it, the tune was such that it was indifferent to action, comedy or romance and was easily fitted into any context.  Direction by Abhinav Kashyap was quite good, considering the fact that he had to direct such a big personality in his debut movie.  Being Anurag Kashyap’s (My fav 🙂 ) brother must have helped him a lot I suppose.

Dialogues- the film had some great dialogues – some very cheeky one liners and some serious ones.  The comic timing of Salman made sure these dialogues have the kind of effect intended. The dialogues where Salman tries to woo Sonakshi are also full of subtle sarcasm and dry humour.  And the fact the main protagonist is a pretty ‘patthar dil’ guy, we are saved from those endless melodramatic dialogues. In fact, in a supposed to be very emotional scene, Salman comes up with a really silly dialogue (and the next moment he bursts into tears too).  One famous dialogue which comes to my mind is “ Thappad se darr nahin lagta saab, pyaar se lagta hai” and also the famous “hum tummein itne ched karenge ki conphuse ho jaoge ki saans kahaanse le aur …..”. This one appears twice in the film 😛

In short, a must-watch film. All you Salman Khan believers and non-believers – please go and watch this movie. Specially non-believers to start believing. A sure shot hit and by the way, to quote Wikipedia under the RECEPTION head

“Early reports indicate that Dabangg could record the highest gross for the opening day, beating the previous high from “3 idiots”. Dabangg is likely to be the top grosser Hindi movie of all time.”

I am loving this…..

<!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]–><!–[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]–> <!–[endif]–>Salman is seen wearing full sleeves, which in itself must be a first. The shirt does come off eventually towards the end (the shirt is ripped apart automatically by his angry, tensed, taut muscles).
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