Sunday, October 28, 2007

conscientiousness and convenience

There are those among us who do not have a washer/dryer unit in their apartment and tackle their laundry at laundromats either within the apartment complex or without. One of the things we have to remember to do when we toss our wet clothes into the dryer is to clean the lint filter. The conscientious ones in our midst also clean the lint filter after the dry cycle is complete. Since the conscientious continue to remain a minority (an empirical conclusion), we are rarely spared the need to clean the lint filter before our dry cycle. The conscientious way of life drives us to clean the lint filter twice, while a lack of conformance means that we skip clean the lint filter after our dry cycle. The suppression of conscientious feelings thus allows us to get away with cleaning the lint filter just once: when we need it the most. The conscientious are also probably fretting about the need for washing the lint filter regularly. This, perhaps thankfully, is out of our control, since the laundromats are managed by another entity, from whom we can expect some due diligence.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

as Dhaal as it gets

[cross-posted on the Passion For Cinema blog]
Responsible for Divyashakti, an adequately downbeat tale of revenge driven by principles and loss bolstered by an interesting villain, Tau (pronounced: taauu), played by Amrish Puri and two films with Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan (Main Khiladi Tu Anari, a rip-off of The Hard Way and Keemat), Sameer Malkan was last heard of when he finished a songless thriller shot in New York City and Philadelphia called Lips: The Kiss Of Death starring Anuj "KKusum" Saxena and Maushmi Udeshi. Despite getting the skin bits excised and getting slapped with an A certificate, the film reportedly still hasn't made it to the marquee (or did it just quietly get out on DVD?). The film's about the development and consequences of the crush an illegal Indian in the US has on the enigmatic young sexy wife of a middle-aged millionaire.

aparaadh tabhii ruk jaaye jab ye kaalaa koT ban jaaye khaakii vardii kii Dhaal

That's the tail of Raza Murad's voiceover, which builds a crescendo to the opening titles for Dhaal, a film that, as the tagline tells us, is about the battle of law against law. Someone must've found the premise thrilling: On one hand we have the police officer's uniform representing the honest losing struggle against social evil; on the other, the lawyer's coat representing the abuse of legal manoeuvres that kept the evil-doers of society out of prison and powerful in the streets; Justice would truly be served (with fries and a drink, no doubt) when the lawyer's coat wrapped the police officer's uniform (not unlike paper wrapping stone) to protect it and strengthen its endeavours instead of pre-empting its every victory with bail applications and dismissed cases.

The need to subscribe to the Bollywood formula and an attempt to find a solution to the knapsack problem of clichés, however, can only mean that the idea was destined to go to seed at the first cry of "Action!" Having Sunil Shetty (as Suraj) on the cast roster only seals the deal. Despite being sandwiched between the likes of Vinod Khanna and Danny Denzongpa, this well-done beefcake manages a coup with the stuff he pulls off on the reels:
* he gets to romance the likes of Anjali Jathar
* he gets to write "Anjali Dewan" (Anjali Jathar) as the amount on the clichéd blank cheque that Danny offers him (Java programmers will note that this would cause a NumberFormatException)
* he gets framed in an illicit situation with the likes of Kunika
* he gets tons of tips on life from the likes of Ram Mohan
* he gets to lip-synch to songs sung by the likes of Anu Malik and Kumar Sanu
* he gets to fake it at playing the violin (while la femme Jathar does the sax-y honours)
* he gets to call Dewan (Danny) up and tell him that he plans to rape Anjali (Anjali Jathar)
* he gets to use a rod to knock a plane out of action and cause it to screech to a halt with the sound of car brakes
* he manages to rope in his garment outlet "Mischief" as one of the costume suppliers

Anu Malik's contributions to this tank of tropes cover some more requirements:
* dil maa kaa diinaa (one of many Macarena rip-offs): introduces the hero to the audience, serves as a plug for Air India, gets on your nerves especially when the music director steps up to the microphone
* gussaa ussaa chho.D / dil na meraa to.D (with lines like "just shut up and get lost" and "drop dead" tossed in for effect): introduces the romantic(!) pair, features the obligatory perfunctory anger that melts away
* whisky whisky whisky whisky whisky kisane bolaa whisky hai risky: reiterates the importance of liquor in movies about family, friendship and felons, provides another example of how difficult it is to be convincing as a tipsy toot
* haasil mazaa hai terii mulaaqaat kaa mujhe: attempts to cover the need for a fantasy sequence that emerges as a non sequitur in the narrative, provides evidence of the inability of the lead pair to pretend to play one or more musical instruments
* chhuo naa chhuo naa (with a female chorus lending conviction to refrains like "the night is young, touch me, touch me" and "the night is young, look at me, look at me"): serves as the item song in the presence of the villain of the film, serves as a chance for the actor playing the villain to warble, should he choose to (and in this film, he does)

In fulfilling the need for a comic track that doesn't need to have anything to do with the rest of the film, the film manages a coup by eliciting the services of the late Laxmikant Berde to play the villain's annoying son Dodo (that's his name; I kid you not), who keeps bringing prostitutes home as prospective spouses.

tumane apane paa.Nv se utanii dhuul nahii.n u.Daayii hogii bachche jitanii daulat hamane apane haatho.n se u.Daaii hai

(Dewan to Suraj)

One of the most extended pieces of product placement ever seen in Bollywood comes for Pari Basmati Rice (YT is unsure if this is a real brand or something made up to fill reel time and space in the film). In a scene set in a godown and sporting one of Anil Dhawan's many forgettable cameos, the merits of this brand are extolled ( pure white baasamatii rice, dii best chaawal in the world) and pun-laded groan-inducing one-liners are tossed at the helpless audience within and without the film ( log to pulis kii aa.Nkho.n me.n dhuul jho.nkate hai.n magar ham pulis kii aa.Nkho.n me.n chaawal jho.nke.nge). Anil Dhawan's character Sachdeva notes that although he doesn't drink, he will definitely relish the biryani made from this rice. This serves as a cue for some verbal diarrhoea from the villain dedicated to plugging the brand:

bhuuk lage to chaa.nd bhii roTii nazar aatii hai
(haa haa haa haa haa)
aage hai zamaanaa par bhuuk piichhe piichhe
saarii duniyaa kii baadii are do roTii ke niichhe
are chama.De kii jhopaDiyaa me.n aag lagii hai bhaiyaa
barkhaa naa bujhaaye bas bujhaaye rupaiyaa
aur phir bhii bhare na peT
to yaad aatii hai yaaro.n parii rice plate

Arun Govil might rank second only to Parikshit Sahni in playing characters who are destined to die in the course of a film. He does not disappoint here as he plays the world-weary Devdhar, who pulls out a tuft of hair from a goon's head near the opening of the film and then meets his end several reels later when a truck runs him over. It is probably only when this happens that we find out what his character's name is. His dying nonsense about living an empty life, however, seems like an unnecessary attempt at character development too late in the game. This is Arun Govil. He was meant to die. No words are necessary.

Director Sameer Malkan, writers Rajeev Kaul and Praful Parekh and dialogue writer Madan Joshi seem to have decided to devote all their creative attention to the villain of the piece, Pilot Baba, a name that came from the desire of his father, an airplane mechanic, that he become a pilot. Pilot Baba never managed to learn to fly planes (hawaaii jahaaz u.Daanaa), but managed to earn his chops bumping people off (aadamii u.Daanaa). Amrish Puri plays Pilot Baba with hammy relish right from his introductory scene in a cemetery on a rainy day. Dressed in a pilot's uniform (something that never changes until the end of the film), he looks on as a guy digs his own grave. When the guy protests that it's not right to bury a living man, Pilot Baba settles the issue with cold logic and a fatal bullet and then mouths the first of many snatches of dialogue laced with aerodynamic references: hamaare take-off me.n rukaavaT paidaa karane waale kaa yahii hashr hotaa hai kyo.n ki pilot baabaa kii flight me.n kabhii brake nahii.n lagatii. When one of his aides, who wears a red jacket in what might be an unintentional tribute to the phenomenon unleashed by the original Star Trek, is found to be guilty of betrayal, Pilot Baba snuffs him out and intones usane gaddaarii kii isaliye pilot baabaa ne usakii zi.ndagii kaa engine switch off kar Daalaa . Two of his other metaphor-laden lines appear later, one when referring to Inspector Varun Saxena (Vinod Khanna) (usane mere gusse ke gas station ko maachis dikhaayii hai) and the other when talking to Dewan (Danny) ( chalo mere saath fauran waranaa mai.n usake puliis sTeshan par bulldozer chalaakar use runway banaa duu.Ngaa).

It is with Pilot Baba that this film strikes gold. Aside from that, the iTrans-friendly title and a vertigo zoom in the final moments, this presentation from the JVG Group (which also manages to sneak a shot of its office in the film) suffers for focusing on the clichés instead of the camp.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

it's much better to be in india for interesting hindi movies

The recently revamped tridium of Galaxy Cinemas seems to have decided not to exploit the multi in multiplex. While multiplexes back home have allowed films like Johnny Gaddar, Manorama Six Feet Under and Loins Of Punjab Presents to breathe at the marquee, the Atlanta tridium of sub-grade desii viewing stalls continues to rely on big names and standard business patterns to choose filmi fare for viewers willing to shell out $$ to sit in passable seats laid out in a cavernous viewing hall with a sound system that barely meets the minimum statutory requirements. The recent playlist includes such memorable fare as Dhol, Dhamaal and, of course, the releases for this week, Bhool Bhulaiya and Laaga Chunari Mein Daag. Gone are the days when something like Darna Mana Hai would hit the marquee or when something like Ek Hasina Thi would show up at the now-defunct Marietta Star Cinema.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

vishal bhardwaj's next: julia

The "?" from the last post about this film may well be laid to rest. Vishal and Matthew Robbins were spotted in West Bengal scouting locations for Julia. Since he's signed on Franka "Lola" Potente for his docu-drama Julia, can we assume that this is the songless film he was talking about (link courtesy: LL) and not the musical he co-wrote (link courtesy: LL) with Matthew Robbins?

On an unrelated note: The wonderful soundtrack No Smoking, his latest collaboration with Gulzar and his second effort for Anurag Kashyap has been released and is as addictive a stimulant as the villain of Kashyap's film.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

a momentary lapse into literature

Thanks to samples from Aranyak, I now have another poet's work to explore -- Constantine P. Cavafy. The official website dedicated to his life and work offers his canon for perusal. Here are a few samples.

And he thinks of Prudence, how it fooled him,
how he always believed—what madness—
that cheat who said: "Tomorrow. You have plenty of time."
from An Old Man

A month passes by and brings another month.
Easy to guess what lies ahead:
all of yesterday’s boredom.
And tomorrow ends up no longer like tomorrow.
from Monotony

In trepidation and amid suspicions,
with agitated minds and frightened eyes, —
wasting away, — we plan how we should act
in order to escape the obvious peril
that so calamitously threatens us
from Ended
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.