Friday, July 15, 2005

the curious incident of the dog in the doldrums

[july 04, 2005] (in which another damp squib called Mulaqaat gets those ones)

Flashback: Vishal Bhardwaj gets signed on for the songs of a film called Mulaqaat (don't ask me why that 'a' ended up where it is ... the Hindi spelling [iTrans: mulaakaat] doesn't make the same jump). After he gets a few interesting songs (for some more background information and a brief review check out Subhash K Jha's notes), the plug got pulled.

Flash-forward: The soundtrack was not the only relic to get excavated (I'm still trying to find it); the movie made it too. I'm not sure if this ever went to the cinema hall, but I was pleasantly (honestly, I had to catch this at least once) surprised to see a tape sitting on a shelf in the video store.

The Plot: Think of Kasme Vaade and shred a lot of the excess baggage and the second Bachchan. So we have Javed Khan (son of Karim Siddiqui, played by Jackie Shroff), a calm, peaceful, amiable (you know the type) poet and his ardent fan Archana Vithalrao Patkar (Madhoo), who loves to sing his poems/ghazals (segue one of Vishal's compositions, the exquisite tum mile to nahii.n). Javed has a close friend and benefactor in Jas (Govinda's nephew Vinay Anand providing ample evidence that bad ham cannot sing, dance, or act for nuts). Love happens (Javed and Archana, just in case you were wondering), and the marriage is registered. Javed's father, younger brother and little sister are awaited before the marriage can take place. A night of celebration ensues (where Javed and Jas cavort about to another effective Vishal strictly-for-the-sequence song whisky risky where Roop Kumar Rathod's capable vocals get butchered by the egregiously aggravating intrusion of Vinay Anand, who insists on singing for himself). Thence, in a fight with some ruffians who attempt the obvious with Madhoo, Jas ends up impaling Javed (see also: Muqaddar ka Sikandar). The film then decides to go to sleep at this point. Javed's calm father (Kulbhushan Kharbanda, depressed and world-weary as ever), opinionated hot-headed brother Akhtar (Milind Gunaji in training for "ham of the year"), and innocuous cherubic little sister Shabnam (debutante Shivani Rathod?) arrive; Jas hosts them; and everyone keeps up the act that Javed is "out of town"; Jas and Shabnam fall for each other; all the concerned parties are obviously offended by all this (especially when the truth comes to light). Nothing really makes sense, yet this domestic drama plods to the finish line at which point Akhtar ends up killing Archana (thus providing an antidote to Javed's death).

Redemption: The Vishal compositions are the only blessing in this mess-fest. His third composition, the ethereal Suresh Wadkar song ye meraa giit doesn't make it to the screen. Pat yourself on the back for spotting quotes from the whistle melody at the core of Rajesh Roshan's 500 miles lift jab ko_ii baat biga.D jaa_e, as well as from Pancham's famous jalaparii theme (remember Saagar?). How about Children by Robert Miles?

Surreal: (and meaningless) -- every scene involving Jas and his secretary

Howlarious: The usual presence of a dude playing the electric guitar during a song when an acoustic guitar is being played on the soundtrack; Milind Gunaji's shock and breakdown after having shot Madhoo

Dedications: This film has not one but three. Special thanks are also extended to Mahendra Kapoor (presumably for allowing his son Rohan Kapoor to provide us a rankling qawwaalii in the film). On to the dedications. There's one that goes "we miss you priya rajvansh (brother and friends)". Then there's this tricolour-inspired opening note from Jankidas (probably the same late character actor who was also the only Indian to have broken the world record in cycling between 1934 to 1942 and the only Indian member of International Olympic Committee at the Olympic Games in 1936 at Berlin):

promise to mahatma gandhi

fulfilled by jankidass

by making mulaqaat

    meeting of two religions

The last one is the best: in loving memory of our beloved SOFTIE (dec. 30, 1994 - march 3, 2000) (in the background is the photograph of the canine in question). Softie even tail-ends the opening starring credits (and can be seen for barely a minute in the film).

Familiar faces: Aroon Bakshi and Reeta Bhaduri as Madhoo's unnamed brother (an obsessive cricket fan) and sister-in-law.

Mystery: The music is credited to Vishal and Suman-Sudeep (also responsible for the background score [see above for the real sources]). Jha's review doesn't mention them at all. Which underscores my question: Who the hell are they?

Lest you forget, this was an unusual love story by Sagar Sarhadi (the man behind Bazaar, Doosra Aadmi, Kabhi Kabhie, Noorie and Pankaj Berry).

If you want more current guaniferous ventures, check out the notes on Revati that appeared a little later down below ...

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