Monday, August 18, 2003

teen deewarein: best of 2003 {official site}

Enslaved by three walls,
The fourth, a barrier in my will.
Break it I must, leaving behind a hollowness,
Sighs and screams begging to be free.
But free I am, free is my mind

Finally, Nagesh Kukunoor gifts himself a great script, which lets his directorial talents loose. A story of three prisoners on death row and an oppressed housewife who is working on a documentary revolving around these three prisoners in a prison run by a pragmatic jailor, and a little twist in the tale. Wonderful movie. Naysayers and observant people alike have noted the common gene pool it shares with Stephen King's Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption (which was adapted by Frank Darabont in one of the most lyrical prison dramas of the last decade). However, such comparisons are incidental, and don't do much to harm this film. The film has everything going for it: the excellent Naseeruddin Shah as the smooth-talking Ishaan; director Nagesh Kukunoor as the splendidly funny Nagya (other reviewers have noted that NK is a better director than an actor -- let this not indicate that Nagya cannot act: watch him in the promo spot he did for Raksha, and then watch him as an optimistic Hyderabadi and you can see how capable he is; Jackie Shroff in a good turn as the repentant Jaggu (a nod at Jackie's nickname previously exploited in several mainstream movies); Juhi Chawla, excelling as the documentary filmmaker Chandrika who has to deal with an oppressive husband (Vallabh Vyas in a great little role); Gulshan Grover in his greatest role as the jailor of the prison; Aditya Lakhia lending his all to a little role as Malli. A great background score from Salim-Suleiman complete with a motive undercutting the events of the film. Good dialogues. Oh, skip all this praise. Go watch the film. For the record, I loved the end as well (something that a few reviewers have had issues with).

Related: on the sets of the film

What's Nagya up to now? Tandoor, India's first food film (a genre exemplified by movies like Like Water, for Chocolate; Babette's Feast; Belle Epoque), with the Big B to boot. All the best to NK, along with hopes that he will be patient with his writing.

Personal note: Time to catch Mathulikal again. WHOOPS! That should read Mathilukal. Didn't mean to indulge in a intra-verbal spoonerism with my mother tongue. Thanks Karthik. {more about the movie}

addendum: The rediff review has good things to say about it but includes the following line: Welcome to mainstream filmmaking, Mr Kukunoor. We know you are here to stay.. I have issues with classifying this as mainstream filmmaking. It's still economic and indie, despite the presence of big names. I pray that Nagya avoids all temptation to plunge into mainstream cinema to dish out sour grapes like Nihalani with Takshak or Benegal with Zubeidaa.

No comments:

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.