Sunday, July 04, 2004

jungle, girlfriend

If only RGV could have wielded all the clout he commands now when he had made Jungle. In itself the film isn't too bad. The opening sequence (an army squadron making its way into a hostile forest) complements the opening credits as they fade in and out. Chowta works wonders with another collection of synthesizer drones giving us the sense of ominous menace. With aplomb, the jeep blows up after the final opening credit. We are then transported to the urban setting where we see the young lovers (a confused Fardeen Khan and the incomplete Urmila Matondkar) well into an advanced stage of love [although since we still need songs, we get flashbacks]. Nevertheless, there are family issues, which impede smooth sailing for the love boat. Events move back to the jungle and a family holiday turns into a horrifying experience, when the filmic avataar of viirappan (here known as Durga Narayan Chaudhari and essayed with quiet menace by Sushant Singh -- credited only by his first name) and his cronies hold a busload of people hostage to negotiate the return of their captured colleague (an uncredited menacing turn from Vijay Raaz). Rajpal Yadav munches merrily at the role of Sippa. And Kashmira Shah shows up in a role more bearable than most of her forgettable work [although one can see the item number coming several light years away]. The songs do hinder what promise this film had, as does the presence of the pathetic exhaust-pipe-voiced presence of Sunil Shetty. What is interesting though is that structurally this film resembles Roja so much it could have been called Ramgopal Varma's Roja. After all there is the Ratnam/RGV connection: RGV co-wrote Thiruda Thiruda and Ratnam co-wrote Gaayam. Very interesting indeed.

Which somehow brings us to Karan Razdan's "progressive" tale of a lesbian nutcase. With strong echoes of movies like Single White Female, Razdan proceeds to demonstrate the complete lack of sophistication that one might expect from a flick like this. Clearly, this mainstream film that attempts to "be different, give people more interesting subjects, [all that B.S.]" only manages to position stale B-movie fodder in the multiplex. The preview actually has more explicit content than this sorry state of affairs (something also seen with a waste of footage called Paap). The first sounds you hear against another stellar aural abomination ("background score" they call it) are the ambiguous sounds of a woman panting. Turns out Isha Koppikar's jogging on the beach. Everything that follows adheres strictly to the formula of the ghisaa-piTaa genre: wasteful song-n-dance routines (the Nadeem-Shravan homage is courtesy Anu Malik's chhoTaa bhaaii Daboo[sic]), tired dialogue, less-than-incompetent acting[sic], stale suspense you can smell miles away. You see the two lassies (Isha K and Amrita "I should have stuck to doing item songs like dillii kii sardii" Arora) executing such intimate dance moves you wonder if not one but both were lesbians[sic]. Yet, Isha's the one: "I'm a lesbian. ek la.Dakii ke jism me.n qaid ek la.Dakaa". So much for a deep intelligent exploration of the issue. About the only shard of novelty this film seems to have achieved is make a jealous friend a lesbian (and an inaccurate one at that -- yeah, you become a lesbian because you were sexually abused as a kid. sure). As if to lend credibility[sic] to the proceedings, director Karan Razdan does a "mai.n bhii Subhash Ghai" cameo in the first song suno to jaanaa (jaanaa (jaanaa (jaanaa))). The subtitles were a product of denied insomnia: the spoken words "please mujhe pick karo" are translated as "please ditch me". [SIC] I say. And there's the hamaare hasiin jalawe/our satin fires. And if you're still awake by the time the end credits roll, you see AA and Ashish C [north-indian B-movie material] visit Tanya (IK)'s grave. So, Tanya was not Hindu eh? That would be another pat justification for safe lesbianism. Oh yeah, here's another example of how committed people were to the film: The standard disclaimer opening the film goes "all characters in this film are fictional any resemblance shall only be coincidence". Typos are one problem, a complete grammar knockout is another. I am Jack's complete lack of surprise.

No comments:

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