Monday, February 23, 2004

aanch: buried in the marsh

Saw this along with a mixed bag of films (including Kundan Shah's dungfest) and never blogged about it at that time. Trust Bollywood to infect the minds of almost anyone who thinks of a promising idea. One genre of interesting ideas is exploring a conflict between two figures -- usually male (pervasive sexism) -- predicated on causes as clichéd as childhood friendship turned sour by misunderstandings or something as simple yet promising either as the meeting of two different (and conflicting sets of ideals) or territorial strife. And yet the trappings of puppy love and tree hugging have nipped numerous studies in the bud. Take Mahesh Bhatt's Sir. Here you had Naseeruddin Shah and Paresh Rawal doing their acting roots proud, with some cult help from Gulshan Grover. Instead of focussing on this interesting angle, what did M. Bhatt do? Focus on the dumb trite paper-napkin-plotted romance featuring his fidgety daughter Pooja (who has since gone to more involved Paaps) and the stiff Atul Agnihotri. And more recently, a promising directorial début exploring college politics with a rousing turn from the talented Irfan Khan (or Irrfan) called Haasil underwent meltdown as we were forced to watch the confused Jimmy Shergill and the dumb n' cute Hrishita Bhatt indulge in a burgeoning romance that worked more as an exercise in realtime slow motion and a cure for insomnia.Paah!

The latest addition to the pool is Aanch. Drawing from a real life politician, Nana Patekar's dialect-y Mahadev, the spokesman for Mandaur's pride and joy, dorns village garb and Reebok boots and engages in a war of ego and twisted village principles with Paresh Rawal's Jawaahar Pandit. Since we are in the domain of Bollywoodian tradition, we must have a love story to provide conflict. Yet, we get two vastly raw and mostly untalented wannabe starlets. And so we have the usual bag of trite song sequences: the dance routine on the stage of some set or in a club (another set) to introduce the hero; the G-rated wet dream. The film also accomodates the off-the-shelf Karwaa Chaut component, which means we have another song sequence to sit through. A minor bonus hearing Nana lending his voice on and off screen with sun morii raanii. One must also note the presence of Nana's erstwhile muse Ms Ayesha Jhulka, whose cute smile has long since lost its appeal. She has precious little to do (even less that what she had to do when she had top billing as the hero's love interest), and yet gets second billing on this flick. There are painfully obvious gaffes in continuity as well. The most noticeable one is during the opening moments when a Ma.nDaur resident called natthuu beats up a man from the rival village of Amarpur. His "i-do-not-know-what-it-is-called-but-it-is-the-clothpiece-slung-over-the-shoulder" falls on and off at random. And there is a painful leap of faith with the physics of the climax (which, incidentally, also merits cultification). Supporting actor spiders will note the oh-so-special appearance of Vishwajeet Pradhan as Jawaahar Pa.nDit's son Santosh. Still, given the other films I had on my plate, this one was the most rewarding, simply because of good ROI where nothing was expected.

No comments:

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