Monday, February 09, 2004

private detective/two plus two plus one{do jamaa do jamaa ek}

Aah. There is some justice in the world when decent filmmaking efforts still manage to get funding and distribution. Rajat Kapoor is already a familiar face thanks to diverse turns as Mahesh Uncle in Dil Chahta Hai, and the paedophile uncle in Monsoon Wedding. He was last seen in friend Saurabh Shukla's directorial début Mudda. Private Detective marks his own directorial début. Naseeruddin Shah effortlessly adds another acting laurel as the retired military officer who makes his money sticking his nose in the private affairs of the rich and strange. Rajat Kapoor employs elements of surrealism (Kenneth Desai's dinner conversation, the chaachaa who can read futures), and noir (minus the black-and-white mood) with a generally straight narrative based in realism. There is no desire to provide clean closure or happy endings. Watchful viewers will enjoy the uncommon use of slides as a motif. Got me thinking of Laura. The acting swings the gamut from questionable (Shambhavi Kaul) to bearable (Aly Khan, Kashmira Shah) to capable (Irfan Khan) to Naseeruddin Shah. Triviamongers will note Saeed Mirza's cameo as Meghana's (Kaul) father. That little appearance adds an implicit connection to another wonderful NFDC production from a talented clique that Mirza was part of: Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro. And another character actor pops up: Rajendra Mehra as Naseer's client. Was the name of Naseer's character ever mentioned in the film? Given Bollywood's tendency to filch without as much as a by-your-leave, it's nice to see acknowledgements at the end of a modest flick such as this one for all the sound bits used in the film (Culture Beat's "Mr Vain", Savage Garden's "I Want You", Krupa's "Apollo 440", and Robi Rob Club World's "Shake that Body"). Here's wishing Rajat Kapoor all success with Raghu Romeo. And Mr Kapoor, please please don't succumb to the wiles of Bollywood.

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