Friday, February 15, 2008

Movies ‘R’ Us: #3-2008

1. Hyderabad Blues 2 (1998)

A Nagesh Kukunoor film. Hyderabad Blues 2 was presumably created to encash on the success of the 1st of the series. Not having seen the 1st of the duology, I can't comment on it.

As regards this movie, it is blessed with an amateur script (the kind a kid fresh out of the film institute would write as a debut script), low budget and fairly bottom of the barrel actors (starting with the hero himself: Nagesh Kukunoor). Thankfully for us, in his subsequent films Nagesh handed over the acting department to more competent artistes. Thank god for small mercies.

So HB2 deals with the post-marriage blues of the protagonist which include the decision to have a kid, sexual attractions and frictions at the workplace and handling marital tensions.

So you have amateurs delivering dialogues with a dead-pan face, a patchy script which tries to gel together individually thought-out humorous situations into one whole

About the only scene I would recommend is when the divorced wife (Rajshri Nair) begs her husband (Nagesh K) at a marriage, to return to her. A great piece of acting there. In fact come to think of it, Rajshri is more than competent throughout the movie.

2. Aks (Reflection) (2001)

To digress slightly, I need to note down a beautiful sher (verse) on ‘Aks’ before talking about the movie itself

Meri Zindagi Kisi Aur Ki (My life belongs to someone else)

Mere Naam Ka Koi Aur Kai (Someone else lives bearing my name)

Mera Aks Hai Sare Aaina (You see my reflection in front of the mirror)

Pase Aaina Koi Aur Hai (Behind it is someone else)

Rakesh Mehra is the acclaimed director of ‘Rang De Basanti’, a big Aamir Khan starrer hit in the recent past. Aks was his experimental debut which though technically acclaimed, probably never recovered its money.

Synopsis: A police inspector (Amitabh Bachchan) arrests a super-criminal (Manoj Bajpai) (with a predilection for masks and murdering high-profile personalities) and murders him later in an escape attempt. The criminal (who is fond of quoting the Bhagavad Gita) returns in spirit form to occupy the body of AB and goes about on his evil business. Oh, and by the way, Raveena Tandon plays the role of club dancer (stripper) girlfriend to Manoj Bajpai.

The movie itself fails to be gripping. Lengthy monologues abound to give the impression of something substantial, but alas, it does nothing to raise the wreckage of the film above water. And you have to wade through scenes depicting an aging Amitabh with a school-going kid to boot, a villain with a raspy voice going down to bass spouting verisimilitudes from the Hindu holy book, the Bhagavad Gita. It’s a movie quite puerile in its plot, execution, script, vision. Lofty moral lectures and inept dialogues eat away at the movie’s integrity. The songs unfortunately do not add to the film, instead they are unwelcome instrusions.

Amitabh disappoints and sorely at that. He remains Amitabh through and through instead of stepping in the shoes of the character: grand gestures and baritone voice modulation abounds.

The love scene between the possessed Amitabh (possessed by the villain Manoj Bajpai) and Nandita Das is pathetic to say the least. If ND feels that silly giggling = foreplay then watch this scene if you have the guts to digest it.

What is slightly unusual in this mainstream hindi movie is the villainy of the villain and the lengths he will go with his depravity. Perhaps one reason why it did not do well is because it’s a thriller, it aims to be scary and that is always going to restrict your viewership in India.

So all-in-all it’s a film that tries to be smart……..and ends up with its face flat in the dirt. If you must insist on some takeaways from the film, watch the song ‘Ye Kali Kaudiyali Raat’ starring Raveena Tandon. I couldn’t find it on Youtube though.

3. Pukar (The Call) (1983)

Pukar does have a rather unusual setting and era for the movie. It’s Goa when it was under Portugese rule. Its a Big B movie that hardly has anything else to recommend to it other than the man himself.

The movie lacks refinement, whether in script or story or flow. Perhaps the only saving grace is the songs. So without lingering on anything else let me turn to them.

Amitabh Bachchan seems to have been at the peak of his X factor powers around this time. Watching him is a delight, especially in the songs. The music is by R.D.Burman (2nd husband of playback singer Asha Bhosale) who is supposed to be a genius.

I really don’t know what to make of the songs of this ‘genius’. His voice (he has sung a few of these songs) seems so raw at times if not off-key and some of the tunes seem to have been under the influence of alcohol. But some tunes are delightful and wonderfully different too. Check it out and decide for yourself.

Samundar Mein Nahake

Tu Maike Mat Jaiyo

Are Jaane jigar Duniya main

Tera To Mai Hu Diwana

Bach Ke Raina Re Baba

So to summarize; if you must see the movie then you must be a die-hard Amitabh or RD Burman fan.


Produced and Directed by Ramesh Behl

4. Yaarana (Friendship) (1981)

Another one of the Big B’s stupid movies lacking in execution, vision, style, effort….

And another movie where the only reason you might choose to watch the movie is the Big B himself or for the songs.

AB has obviously not yet lost his funny bone the time this movie was made (he seems to have lost it these days). The movie is silly, downright silly. Yet what makes it watcheable is the Big B. He plays the village buffoon, displays unerring instincts to appeal to both the urban and rural class. You can see a fierce determination in his eyes and an X factor that would make him much loved amongst all sections of society.

And as for Kishore Kumar who has sung many of the songs in this movie: You hear him sing and you know he is something special

Watch this movie as a tribute to both of them.

Bhole O Bhole

Chookar mere man ko kiya tune kya ishara

Tere Jaisa Yaar Kaha

Saara Zamana


yves said...

Hey, Nirvana,
Have you seen other films by Nagesh Kukunor? I'd be interested to hear about what you thought of Dor and 3 Dewaarein...

Nirvana said...

I'll try to get DVDs for the pics u have mentioned and review them.

Thanks for your comments. I would like to know how u got interested in Indian cineama since i assume u are a French national not of Indian origin.



Beth said...

You're right, there are definitely a few funny moments courtesy of Amitabh in this Yaarana. Thank goodness!