* For 1, after a long time a Hindi movie shows some real-life characters from across the spectrum of the city including the underbelly. Real-life characters spout real-life dialogues (and in one memorable case; that of Thomas played by Irrfan Khan: hardly spouting any dialogues at all). Real-life characters in real-life surroundings and for a change not wearing designer clothes or living in gated communities
Its about sets of lives (families, relationships….) intermeshed with the Mumbai train blasts carried out by Muslim terrorists (presumably!). Some lives overlap, others are independent tracks.
- Kay Kay Menon, struggling to make ends meet selling computer hardware, displaying an antipathy towards the ‘other’ – the Muslim: displaying attitudes (and responses to situations) that most of us may be familiar with.
- Madhavan plays an idealistic Mumbai-ite who cares for the environment and for the fellow inhabitants of the city,
- Irrfan Khan the ‘Madrasi’ immigrant who hardly understands the city’s lingo and is trying to fit-in somehow,
- Soha Ali Khan, the typical sound-byte seeking journalist who loses someone close in the blasts and life suddenly changes,
- Paresh Rawal as the soft policemen who compromises, has compromised at every step but still retains a soft core,
- Vijay Maurya, the new recruit to the police force and P.Rawal’s colleague, the one with the idealist veneer but struck with despair at the life that awaits him
Watching this movie is like going through the experience of actually being a part of the frame being shot. Their lives become our lives for a moment. Their problems, ours. Their sorrow, ours. In all the despair, the message of live and let live comes through subtly and gross-ly, through metaphors and similies and through analyses of the impact of our actions.
* For 2, some great acting from some master craftsmen viz: Kay Kay Menon, Paresh Rawal, Irrfan Khan ably supported by Soha Ali Khan, Madhavan and others
* For 3, a script that floats lightly, leaves you with an elevated state of mind inspite of the sombre tone / topic for the movie
* For 4, photography that’s not intrusive, but with lots of unusual angles providing a totally different viewpoint that delights
But most of all, it points us towards something that’s been missing from most Hindi movies nowadays…..some good acting without resorting to cheap tricks to trick us i.e. designer clothing and sets, heavy makeup, smart-alecky dialogues in Hinglish, exotic locales et al….It also addresses the other lacunae of current Hindi movies: a lack of a strong storyline, and insufficient probing of the depth of emotions.
Favorites of 2017: Nonfiction - *B. G. MacCarthy:* *The Female Pen: Women Writers and Novelists 1621-1818* (NYU Press, 1994) This book and the one that follows helped shape my 2017 fict...
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