Wednesday, October 25, 2006

yawn-thony kaun hai

[september 03, 2006]

{notes about who is cletis tout? and its Bollywood bastard[0] Anthony kaun hai?}

Raj Kaushal hits an all-time low with this Sanjay Dutt-Arshad Warsi vehicle that continues the growing tendency of current Bollywood filmmakers to reference and quote from film history to elicit some support on the grounds of nostalgia. The narrative references Yash Chopra films[1], the guy caught on video killing a girl[2] is called Lucky Sharma[3], Gulshan Grover's character hums old Hindi films songs[4], albeit grossly out of tune, the dead guy is named Anthony Gonsalves[5], Sanjay Dutt's hitman is named Master Madan[6] (and he watches Bollywood movies[7]). Warsi's character's name (Champak "Champ" Chaudhary) raises a laugh once and then proceeds to become just as irritating as a persistent itch.

Spotting Ravi Baswani convincingly impersonate a piece of prime ham will induce more grief and anguish than watching European art cinema without subtitles. VJ Anusha Dandekar, who shows up as Rosa, the former object of Champ's attentions, merely serves as the object of ogle-aasans by a drooling male audience. Minissha Lamba, who, by deductive logic, is the "heroine" of the piece, replaces Rosa as Jiya and offers some pelvic[8] perspective in compensation for oomph.

There are bad lines but these rarely transcend the sporadic genius of "the kiss of conjugal bliss." If you think that's enough reason to watch this enthusiastically excerebrose jejune jaunt, I have to say no way, no way[9].

This has been a floccinaucinihilipilification of farraginous film.

[0]: more about Daddy-O

[1]: Dutt's character gets Warsi's character to revisit his flashback in the style of the Chopra style of films; it's an inspired touch and marks one of the few specks of originality that the film can sport (even though the joke doesn't fly higher than an ill-fated chicken fleeing about at a poultry farm)

[2]: When we see Lucky kill the girl, we also see our friend Anthony filming the whole deal. All this is done through a series of edited shots. In a spectacular exploitation of stochastic serendipity, the video that Anthony films also contains the same set of edited shots. This not only gets POV wrong, but also makes the evidence inadmissable (because it was doctored); you would think that something as simple as a video clip would not be subjected to the machinations of the gangrenous minds of Bollywood filmmakers, but ... whom am I trying to kid here??!! (October 27, 2006: JR gently notes that everyone's favourite black comedy Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro also featured a similar abuse of POV and montage when the bridge havaladaar recounts his encounter with Vinod and Sudhir on TV: I could now eat humble pie or claim that this was a creative exercise mixing surrealism (um, who was on the bridge filming this anyway?), parody and expressionism (yeah! right!); I choose the latter.

[3]: The clean-shaven twin who woos the rich gardener's lass in Gol Maal

[4]: Songs include and ham hai.n raahii pyaar ke and suhaanaa safar

[5]: The Christian third of the most popular ternary secular offering from Bollywood, who gatecrashed an Easter party in a tux with gibberish to boot

[6]: This is culturally the most egregious nod, but one must not err on the side of purism by condemning the perverted reference to the child prodigy

[7]: very few really, given that such an embellishment would distract our furacious friends from their mission of furnishing us with specious flummery

[8]: She, who is obsessed with her growing hips

[9]: The opening credits are accompanied by an impassioned attempt at cool that sports these words as lyrics. The Nose[10] strikes gold with this film, and people who ignore the warning during the opening credits are served a reminder at the end of the film in the form of an incongruous (does that surprise you puTTan?) music video featuring Dutt and Warsi and a sea of thongs; As if this wasn't bad enough to jar your sense of time and space, another music video hits you: this one features The Nose with cap and coat rendering another cover of "The Rhyme Of Runny Nose"[11]

[10]: 'nuff said

[11]: The song's ishq kiyaa kiyaa, or, to be precise, i.Nshq ki.nyaa.N ki.nyaa.N; and you've really had enough with the footnotes, haven't you?

Monday, October 16, 2006

anurag kashyap's diary goes online

image courtesy:
Oz's baby Passion for Cinema serves as the host for Kashyap's diary accompanying the making of his next film No Smoking with John Abraham (produced by Vishal Bhardwaj and Kumar Mangat). His first PFC post may be found here. Here's to more interesting reading from the man who seems to "walk cinema, talk cinema." And needless to say, one hopes that his trilogy of unseens (Paanch, Black Friday and that love story set in a dystopian future called Gulaal. And what of Allwyn Kalicharan? Here's hoping there are no more additions to this list -- even Orson Welles had a few (and so few they were) completed films under his belt.

elsewhere: pointers to and notes from oz's Kashyap interview | a pointer to an intimate look into the turbulent life of Mr Kashyap

update: [october 18, 2006] And this merits an article in the Mid-Day. Wow! [link courtesy: oz]

Friday, October 06, 2006

did your script get selected for the oscar library? get in line

The stench began with the "selection" of Parineeta's screenplay. The live-in labour of languor called Salaam Namaste (music review) and the boring Taxi No 9211 were next. This time we got even more misleading hints:

So far, only rare Bollywood films like Lagaan, Kal Ho Na Ho, Parineeta and Salaam Namaste have been able to find a place in the Oscar library.

The inclusion of 'Taxi Number 9211' in the library is an honour for its director Milan Luthria, writer Rajat Arora and producer Ramesh Sippy's Entertainment One.

Note the interesting use of the word rare. Note also the implications of honour.

Then we had another [1] disastrous rip-off of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels called Phir Hera Pheri (produced by the man with the most consistent remake run in Indian film history) that, when abbreviated, unfortunately shared the same name as a cool piece of technology with a left-recursive name. More honour was experienced.

And finally what might well be Bollywood's most hated profitable movie of all time, KANK (aka Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna aka pyaar na mujhase karatii ho / don't stay, go!), found more reason to coo from the rooftops:

Karan Johar who is currently in New York was extremely elated and overjoyed and considers this as a great acknowledgement of his work. Karan Johar has received mixed feedback towards his movie but feels that the script of KANK being acquired by Oscars Library is a victory for him as people are relating to the characters of the film.

It was a feat that Kal Ho Naa Ho had also pulled off, giving Karan Johar the incentive to do the Quick Gun Murugan strut.

What we're talking about, johns and janes, is how producers have begun to capitalise on the inclusion of scripts in the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

That it wasn't a question of merit should have come as no surprise to people familiar with Bollywood. Have you forgotten the countless jokes about movies predicated on scripts that lay solely in the eyes of the beholder? Of films that merely served as agglomerations of visual reenactments of sequences from foreign movies? Of "original" compositions that originally came from elsewhere?

The library holds more than 32,000 books; 1,800 periodical titles; 60,000 screenplays; 200,000 clipping files; 30,000 posters; lobby cards, pressbooks and other advertising ephemera; over 8 million photographs; over 300 manuscript and other special collections relating to prominent industry individuals, studios and organizations; sheet music, music scores and sound recordings; production and costume sketches; artifacts; and oral histories.
Don't you find it strange that unoriginal screenplays including those of Ek Ajnabee (Man on Fire) and Taxi No. 9211 (Changing Lanes) are included in the library?

Old faithful Anurag Kashyap (last related post) provides the best note on the subject along with a slice of cynical lime:

There are no criteria. Any random script is selected for the library and it is sad. Somebody who has never gotten any attention gets excited when somebody looks at them. Even the biggies get so excited. Look at Karan Johar who was thrilled when KANK got selected in Hamburg. 10,000 films go to Hamburg every year. I think it is this excitement that is our own failing. They are all like frogs in a well and don't know what is happening outside.
The people at the library keep track of films that have a good opening and select them. Sometimes producers too put their script forward and take pride in their work no matter how bad it is.
Getting your script into the Oscar library is not a big deal the world over. It is only when a film gets selected for the Oscar library in India that it makes news.

On a slightly related note, flash back to the Mansoor Khan yawn-o-rama called Akele Hum Akele Tum. This was a film that merrily filched from Kramer vs. Kramer (primarily) with material for the milieu from A Star Is Born. The Hoffman/Streep starrer swept away Oscars for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Film and Best Adapted Screenplay. Back home, Khan's filch fry continued its plagiaristic pursuit by roping in Anu Malik for the musical numbers. Mr. Malik lived up to his reputation as an "inspired" music director. The crowning moment was the song sequence where we saw Rohit (Aamir Khan) forced to sell his composition dil meraa churaayaa kyo.n (note the strangely apt use of the word churaayaa) to an inferior yet successful music composer duo Amar (Harish Patel)-Kaushik (Shafi Inamdar). You had to be really daft not to notice the sly dig at Nadeem-Shravan. Well, as the song continues, we see the duo winning a Filmfare Award for this song while Aamir mopes away in poses of isolation photographed to make the audience go "aw!" (Triviamongers may note that Ayesha Jhulka makes a cameo as the presenter). Well, guess what, this friggin' song was a rip-off too -- of George Michael's Last Christmas. I challenge the Bollywood machine of the 21st century to come up with something to top this. In the meantime, I'll grab another slice of irony.

[1] The previous rip-off was the first half of a double dose of ennui called Plan that came from the Sanjay Gupta camp; the second half merrily "adapted" another flick called The Suicide Kings.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

the dark side of anurag kashyap

A Tehelka interview [courtesy: oz] reveals the harrowing past and strife in the life of the talented unfortunate Anurag Kashyap. There are quite a few interesting nuggets about Black Friday:

I wanted Irfaan Khan to play Badshah Khan and Naseeruddin Shah to play Tiger Memon. They both turned us down. We were making the film during the Gujarat riots and both actors were uncomfortable playing Muslim terrorists.

There's a note about the ill-fated Allwyn Kalicharan (which had, for some weird reason, given me the impression of being some kind of desii Training Day) [and that really should be Allwyn]:

in 2003, I tried to do Alvin Kalicharan, a black, mad amalgamation of everything that comprises a Hindi heartland childhood: Bal Bharati, Champak, Manohar Kahaniyan, Satya Katha. Six days before the film, insecure, confused, Anil Kapoor pulled out.

One must note here that Anil Kapoor's look in Musafir owed a lot to this Kashyap project.

There's also a nice note about some of the important films of 2006:

I see things changing. Films like Omkara, Rang De Basanti, Khosla Ka Ghosla, and Lage Raho Munnabhai are proof of that. A film like Lage Raho makes me insanely jealous, but it also sets me thinking. There are other lighter ways of doing the same things. Perhaps I am too intense, black. Too ridden by demons. Javed Akhtar says anger gives way to cynicism, then to humour. For me, that last transition still remains. We think we can change the world — we can’t. But with humour, people understand more.

There's also a lot about a history of abuse and depression. Not pleasant reading, but it makes you wish circumstances would give this guy a break.

pointers elsewhere hereabouts: rohit karn batra interviews kashyap for | oz interviews kashyap

Monday, October 02, 2006

the darkness lifts

Perhaps it's time to throw away your copy of that poor-quality low-res pirated edition of Kashyap's honest unflinching film based on the 1993 blasts. The Supreme Court has ordered the release of Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday once the pronouncement of the judgement is done.

elsewhere: notes on the music | a collection of links to (among other things) a Kashyap interview, notes on a screening of Paanch, reasons for the ban on the film, the Maqbool connection and an interesting list of Kashyap's guilty viewing pleasures.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

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