Monday, August 31, 2009

A Whirling Dance of Nostalgia

It was way back in 2003 and I was going to watch India’s first sci-fi movie-Koi Mil Gaya
with my non-cinematic best friend, F. Both of us reached the cinema hall quite late and the balcony was booked. I guess it was the first and the last time in Allahabad for me when the balcony was booked for a 9-12 show. So we bought the stall tickets and amidst extreme temperatures took our seats with drunkards, rickshaw pullers, goons and other not so friendly cinema lovers. Later in the movie when Hrithik gets all fixed up by the alien, the man sitting next to me got up and started speaking to the screen-“ab aawaa, toka bataii, ab aawaa”…he was talking to the villains and tempting them to come and risk their lives with Hrithik now. His seizures grew more intense with every testosterone-raging action sequence as we concentrated sans any shirts (we had taken them off a long time back.i was wearing a vest and F was bare chest) more on him rather than the movie.
This is how I’ve seen films. Even the slightest mention of the non-acceptable social terms receive loud applauds and whistles. I remember paying Rs 80 for a Rs38 ticket for Lagaan and many others (once I’m at the theatre no price is big enough to scare me).
I had come out of cinema halls with people going nuts about a movie like Yaadein.
I’ve danced with people and shilpa shetty for “dilwalon ke dil ka qaraar lootne”.
A movie released meant I’m going to see it. Even the ones like Mast, Main Prem Ki Deewani Hun, etc etc. Every time a romantic scene appeared on screen I felt like watching it with my first girl friend because that is how I know romance.(ishq mein jalte hue saans tezaabi lage,raaz khulta hi nahin koi to chaabhi lage)
But over the past few years I sensed an alienation of my movie-going crowd from films. I thought it was due to the bad condition of cinema halls and the crowd became more and more temperate with every passing day. Few whistles, fewer shouts and a dented chaos. And that drew me away from cinema halls, actually more than the fall in the standard of films being made (meri aarzoo kamini,mere khwaab bhi kaminey)
Yesterday at the screening of Kaminey, it all came back. The same sense of acute helplessness on knowing that it’s houseful, return to the same ticket blacker who has sold me umpteen tickets, debate with friends that a Rs 40 ticket for Rs 80 is a fair deal, going into his small hut to get the tickets in order to dodge the policeman who is standing on the road and finally telling my friends euphorically that I got them. I always get them-vanity.
The movie rolled on and the shouts kept going louder and I joined them. Whistles for the kiss between Shahid and Priyanka, a loud shout at Priyanka’s mention of rape.
It also saw the return of that odd neighbor who sits next to me and it appears that he’s watching a film for the first time-giggling every time Shahid pronounced pha ko pha…
And she also knocked at the door of my memory when Shahid and Priyanka were arms interlocked, sight trapped (aji pehli baar mohobbat kit hi ahaan, aakhri baar mohobbat kit hi ahaan)
And the movie is just awefome!!
Vishal has blended all that I used to watch earlier and most of what I watch now with his own inimitable style. He entered the locked room of archetypical Indian cinema and stirred the motionless time inside it with his genius.
Every cliché of our cinema was given new wings and it all flew above my head while all his puppets were controlled with new threads (chikne chikne lach-che hain reshmi se phande hain)…
Shahid playing both roles to perfection as if played by different people, Priyanka’s totally in sync with her Marathi portrayal and every other character is a new face.
Mikhail is the new psyched chota-gangster; Bhope is your old local con cum politician blended with the new political upheaval in Maharashtra, Tashi is the latest drug lord signifying the drug mafia in Goa and all of them have their own identity, all are unique. You can write an entire 2 hour movie on any one of them individually and yet they all have been used like the finest ingredients are put in the exact amount to make the best Kadhai Chicken cooked by mom.
The best songs of the movie haven’t been used in the film because they’ll dent the pace, the look is as grim as can be because the title of the movie is Kaminey, and the camera is very close to the subjects because it’ll heighten the frenzy and the pace.
I would love to know the budget of the film because the shooting takes place either on the roads of Bombay or a few dilapidated rooms and the costumes appears to belong to the actors. Not a single thing is superfluous and it’s so rich without any gloss.

Thank you Vishal Bhardwaj for sending me back in time and for being able to say that I’m an Indian audience and we kick some serious ass with our cinema.
The best Independence Day gift ever.

1 comment:

Azfar said...

I loved it dear brother. "A Whirling Dance Of Nostalgia" is just fine. Well I am no ass to review what you write but the slight humour gets on perfectly well with the substance that you have to write.