Sunday, June 19, 2005

muhabbat me.n nahii.n hai farq jiine aur marane kaa / usii ko dekhakar jiite hai.n jis kaafir pe dam nikale [june 18, 2005]

movie poster
Sudhir Mishra's Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi [official site | notes on the soundtrack] is easily IMO the best film of the year already. It's one of the best pieces of political cinema. It's one of the best love stories on screen. It's one of the best scripted films ever (and the best scripted film this year). It has a wonderful soundtrack that NEVER intrudes. It has the best performances ever. Sudhir Mishra and his team deserve a week-long standing ovation for restoring my faith in Hindi cinema. The under-rated, under-privileged (forced to include songs in Calcutta Mail and thus destroying what promised to be a taut film) and hyped-for-the-wrong-reasons (see: Chameli) delivers a tight slap on the faces of all his detractors. The experience of watching this movie was indescribable. I am usually multi-tasking while watching most movies regardless of how good or bad they are. With this one, I was only taking my customary notes. The film never (and I meant that; NEVER) struck a false note. I was with Siddharth, Geeta and Vikram, icons of a disllusioned generation lost in a tide of socio-political upheaval and despondent failures. Every step of the way. And once the end credits began to roll, I knew that I couldn't watch another movie (or do anything else) for the rest of the day. Amazing! I haven't felt that way about a movie in a long time. Hats off, Sudhir Mishra.

The end credits began with a dedication to the late Renu Saluja, Mishra's wife, one of India's great editors, who succumbed to cancer in 2000. That set me thinking about the autobiographical resonance of the film's central triangle. In almost Layla-esque fashion, Renu Saluja was married to Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and then later to Sudhir Mishra. I would hazard a guess that these relationships (and the associations with the FTII brat pack) afforded the film a personal angle that elevates it light years above the commonplace.

Related: Vidhu Vinod Chopra's wife (and sister of Vikram Chandra and Tanuja Chandra) writes an obit to Renu Saluja (incidentally, the movie by Blondie Singh that she refers to is Bollywood [more here], an adaptation of Shashi Tharoor's wonderful Show Business).

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