Thursday, June 06, 2002

Fingerstyle guitar, NTJNH Phase III and the Wednesday Night Movie

So, my fingerstyle guitar instructor at the options classes made it yesterday evening. His car collapsed as he was on his way here last week. Fingerstyle is fun. The exercises are going to be gruelling, but thanks to some prior knowledge (if you pick up Clapton's 'Hey Hey' off Unplugged, you can get more comfortable with the exercises). I also found out that Leo Kottke is pronounced with the last 'e' long (as in 'seen'). Interesting!

I finished off the tail third of NTJNH and honestly, I didn't find it that bad. Yes, I have been spouting enough venom to kill snakes themselves, but let me explain. The last third (as with the section I caught on Tuesday) does not suffer from the problems that plagued the first major chunk of the film: bad acting, hamming competitions, epileptic spastic expressionism, terrible experimental songs ad nauseum. Thus, the lesson for Mr. Sablok is to focus on the unsaid more than the tritely said. The long tail end of the film has little dialogue (although the background music from Raju Singh, which got me thinking of Jon Bon Jovi's Blaze of Glory but had a nice vocal refrain by Abhijeet that started off like the infectious RD Burman-intoned refrain from Mere Jeevan Saathi, got to my nervese on occasions when silence or some subdued motif would have sufficed). My favourite parts (from what I remember): The destroyed moments: Rahul discovering that Akshay did not marry Esha (pronounced Ay-sha) at all (too much bad muzak and montage and some uneven shot/reverse shot sequences), anything that used slow motion (clearly 'the moment seemed like eternity' is graduating to cliché status). My really favourite aspect of the film: Kya Yehi Pyaar Hai from Rocky (one of the late great R. D. Burman's most ethereal compositions), which serves as the catalyst for the whole mail affair. The song appears in its original form for the first time on the car radio right before Rahul and Esha encounter the goons. That little musical moment completely thwarts any attempts by Mr. Ripoff Roshan to best it. Overall, cut out all the songs (or go back into the past and get the late R. D. Burman to do the score), get a good dialogue writer, quit the Chopra candy store and make an honest film. Esha could pass muster with a rhytidectomy, but someone with a more malleable less ambiguous face would help a great deal. Saif is honest, especially in the closing moments and Hrithik needs a little work (or a little chip inside him to buzz him every time he crosses the ham hilltop) and he should be fine (although a good body does not a fine actor make). Overall, I am rather surprised the film didn't flop, since it's right up the alley of most people out there, who don't seem to really care about cinema as a medium of expression. The film had all the right elements for the different markets including the largest segment, the North, (or perhaps that was an unconscious tribute to Dharam Paaji). Is this a good sign or just a lull? Wonder if the line between the classes and masses is getting uncomfortably blurred...

Related: NTJNH Phase I, NTJNH Phase II.

We also started watching Maine Pyar Kiya (which trumped Parinda for Best Film at the Filmfare Awards). Lots of terrible juvenile lines and acting. Yet, the film is reminiscent of those 70s comedies that had their heart in the right place, which would explain its success at the box office. We stopped before any of the hits songs off the ripoff-laden score by Rajshri-camp member RaamLaxman (except the title song, of course, a desi version of Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You")

Parwana (1971) was the main attraction for the evening. Known for Amitabh's first negative role (yes, potential spoiler) and for the Kishore Kumar song "Simti Si Sharmaayee Si" (among other competent songs) on the only soundtrack Madan Mohan composed for an Amitabh starrer the film has some heavy dialogue and a special appearance by Shatrughan Sinha (who keeps taking off the glasses he can't bear to wear). Was this the first Shatru-Amitabh film? Navin Nischol is the leading man (another first here?) and Yogita Bali is the bone of contention of Shri Nischol (as Rajesh Singh) and Shri Bachchan (Kumar Sen).

Mahesh spent most of the film asserting that the music director was R. D. Burman for the following rather valid observations:
- The songs bore the instrumentation and orchestration whiff of the late Burman

- The predominance of Asha Bhosle

- The rather 'unpleasant' songs afforded to Mohd. Rafi

- Who else would think of using Rafi as the singing voice of the Big B?

Of course, unfortunately for him, the man behind the music was Madan Mohan (although the similarities in style are interesting). The set piece of the film is the murder that Kumar executes (well, I told you there were spoilers here...). Again, Mahesh remembers this as a lift from a foreign film, whose name he couldn't remember. Some piece of information we can wait on.


The inevitable on-screen instrument gaffe: The opening music of "Simti Si Sharmaayee Si" features the acoustic guitar. This is picturised on Navin Nischol playing (horrendously, of course) a red-black electric guitar (Unplugged too!!!)

Temporal error: Unarguably, the most memorable part of the film is the cleverly planned murder. The catalyst for Kumar's plan is an invitation card to the nuptials of Shakuntala and Vijay. The card presents the date of the wedding as Friday, 13th August, 1970. If you continue to note the dates in subsequent scenes, you will notice the error. When Kumar sits at his typewriter to type out the fake note to his victim (Ashok Verma played by Om Prakash) the wall calendar shows the date as Friday, 12 August. Later on when Shakuntala calls Asha (Yogita Bali) over you can see the wll calendar in her bedroom showing the date as Saturday, 13 August. Two against three (plus a mention of the date later in Kumar's flashback) make the correct date as Friday August 12, 1970. Now, if you calculate the day of the week for August 13, 1970 you get Thursday. Compound errors! {check online}

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