Thursday, January 08, 2004

the incomplete glimpses (being thoughts on movies where the tape ended abruptly)

tehzeeb: a long thread on this blog explored the uncredited debt Khalid Mohamed's second directorial venture owes to Ingmar Bergman. What he also owes the Swede is an apology. Something he also owes the discerning audience as well. Once again KM puts together a pool of talent (at least in the technical department) and comes up with nothing but a sorry metaphor for fancy toilet paper sold in Macy's that has more visual appeal than practical import. ARR's soundtrack for the film wasn't very satisfying and once I saw the visuals I gave up all hope (aka I was confident that the FF button would come to my aid once again). Can't say much about the performances either. The dialogue and the screenplay provide evidence of lost hope: had someone more competent been in charge, this would be have been an engaging hommage to Bergman (minus the deceptive simplicity of course). The Chopin fragment becomes an excuse to inflict aap ko mujhase on our eyes and ears. Urmila Matondkar deserves credit for constantly trying stuff beyond mainstream cinema, but this is not an example of an out-of-band film. Shabana Azmi sleepwalks through an inadequately etched part. Diya Mirza acts true to life. Arjun Rampal is stiff. Diana Hayden sucks elephant butt and Namrata Shirodkar's cameo should have been knocked off the editing table. Satish Kaushik once again gets a part that saves the film, but this is another somnambulistic venture for him with little grace. There are so many painful sequences and the one that irked me the most was Tehzeeb's antakshari sequence as she entertains her mother and sister (WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???). This is, like Fiza, a standard mainstream flick trying hard to appeal to the "classes" while violating everything that they would hold dear. Kenneth Tynan described a critic as "a man who knows the way but can't drive the car". Something leads me to believe KM has even forgotten his directions.
avgat: After a voice-over introduction by Aditya Pancholi, this semi-decent honest effort at another Mumbai gangster yarn opens with a POV sequence (the POV is that of Ramya -- played by Ajinkya "i'm still alive and acting" Deo -- the protagonist of the film) that reminded me of the experimental motif in The Lady in the Lake. The film then employs a conventional third-person POV for the flashback, which comrprises the bulk of its content. There are the usual plot devices: a senior individual (in this case a cameo by Anil Dhawan) gets knocked off after a song of debauchery, murders transpire around the Ganesh festival; religious-nationalist jingoism. But this is the first film I've seen that uses the word Thulla (slang for cop). (There are probably other precedents that I never noted before). But now I await a good tape so I can get through the rest of the film.

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