Tuesday, June 01, 2004

yugpurush/the idiot, the french connection

A Nana Patekar vehicle helmed by Parto Ghosh (who even makes a dialogue-less cameo near the end of the film) that seems to be inspired by elements in Dostoevsky's The Idiot. Interesting. The film itself is a mishmash, and clearly qualifies as an example of interesting material in the wrong hands. Rajesh Roshan manages a few decent tunes (including ye jiivan path meraa by Ravindra Sathe, ko_ii jaise mere dil kaa by Asha, and ba.ndhan khulaa by Preeti Uttam -- daughter of composer/arranger Uttam Singh) and horrors like ##hello hello##. Of the cast, only Nana manages to make it clean. Everyone else succumbs to the "acting bug". Manisha's dialogue delivery and mannerisms seem like leftovers from First Love Letter, Ashwini Bhave fails to convince me that she can work just as well in Hindi cinema as in Marathi cinema, and everyone else should have opted to be part of the scenery. And Jackie Shroff only manages to convince you that his heart is in the right place, and that everything else is purely incidental. The dialogue and the editing are uneven. Had someone more competent been given the reins of this project, it might have been a strong worthy feather in Nana's cap. As it is, NP had had enough disappointments straddling mainstream and quality cinema: Krantiveer (where his performance was marginally appealing in a morass of mediocrity), Wajood, Yashwant. ATC got him a bit of both worlds: satisfaction as an actor, and a return to mainstream audiences. Here's hoping his directorial project with RGV goes well. And could some writer step up and give him something decent to do?

Which brings me (somehow) to The French Connection. This two DVD release has the original film, and goodies like commentary tracks, a BBC documentary. Apart from holding the record for the best car chase sequence ever put on film (was that record ever equalled or surpassed?), the film boasts a cool soundtrack, great performances and dialogue, and a feather in the cap for neglected director William Friedkin. The racial slurs might startle people used to sanitized politically-correct film and television. 'Tis a pity Friedkin never made it really big. Now if only I could get my hands on Sorceror.

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