Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dhobi Ghaat

After films like Lagaan, Taare Zameen Par and Peepli (Live), Aamir Productions is back with another project – Dhobi Ghaat (Mumbai Diaries).
As the subtitle (in plural) suggests, the film is about the lives of four different people in Mumbai- a painter- Arun (Aamir Khan), Shaay, a New York based investment banker on a “sabbatical”, Yazmin Noor (Kriti Malhotra), an innocent girl from UP who has never been to Mumbai before she is married off here, and Munna (Prateik), the Dhobi. As you would expect, their lives are intertwined in a strange manner. It would be difficult to reveal these entanglements without giving away the total plot, so go watch it for yourselves.
If people decide to walk out of theatres complaining, “story nahin hai”, they would only be partially wrong. Stories just form the most superficial layer of the film and hence there are not hundred events one after the other like in a James Bond movie. The movie is about the city, its different facets, its meaning to each one who lives here. It would not be wrong to say that it’s the city that’s the protagonist of the film. Kiran Rao has beautifully used various means to do so; “chitthis”, photographs, guided tours, views from different kind of windows, different kind of residences and many more. The viewer definitely knows that not even of one the characters nor anything that makes up for what they are, is not a matter of chance, every color has been carefully chosen to complete this tableau. Although color and poetry play an essential role, lack of adequate background music seems to bother the viewer at times.
While Aamir Khan tends to be “old” and repetitive, Prateik is the showstopper! His smiling, crying, blushing, everything is to die for! Kriti Malhotra and Monica Dogra are pretty convincing with their roles.
Rather than the film being constituted of diaries of these people, it’s a diary of the city itself. Like the eternal nature that becomes the “seul soutien” for the Romantics, the city is the silent witness of every little movement. You can just confide in it.
The film ends with the most unconventional confessions of love...If you always thought life in Mumbai was like a harmonious synchronized piece of music, but you could not compose it, Kiran Rao does it in the most aesthetic fashion for you. Must watch for all city lovers. And for those who do not belong here yet, this Mumbai Darshan is totally reliable and enjoyable!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Printed Rainbow

Printed Rainbow is a short animation film that won three awards at the Cannes International Film Festival. As animation is not something that Indian film industry takes pretty seriously, it’s an honor to have a filmmaker like Gitanjali Rao and her films.

The film starts in black and white and for a while one tends to forget the “colorful” title of the movie. This movie is about this old lady who lives alone in an urban apartment. Well, not exactly alone, with her cat. Color appears for the first time when the lady opens a wooden box that contains her collection of colorful match-boxes with hundreds of different designs. The only human presence in her life is that of another elderly man of the neighborhood who visits her regularly to exchange match-boxes. These are not just match-boxes but our granny’s gateway into a fantastical world full of colors, in contrast with her black and white life.

What really steal’s the audience’s attention is the brilliant imagination of the filmmaker and the minute attention paid to the laws of Physics in the use of color, light and movement. What is also very interesting is the use of parts to depict the whole. The background score is pretty intriguing in certain parts of the movie. The constant alternation between internal and external focalization, color and black ‘n’ white, biting loneliness and frenzy of the dream world gives the film an appealing rhythm.

It is the final scene and the end note that add a whole new meaning to the movie. It’s really commendable how Rao has been able to put up a masterpiece in a short span of 15 minutes. A little sensibility on your part, and you are sure to enjoy the film and love it too! Super job!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Dosar- The Companion- A 2007 entry for the Cannes International Film Festival, this film gives several reasons for it to be one of the seven films selected that year. Functioning through three plots, the thread that weaves them together is marital fidelity. Dosar is the story of Kaushik (Prosenjit Chatterjee) who cheats on his wife Kaberi (Konkana Sen Sharma). He is caught when he and his mistress meet with a car accident that kills her on the spot while he is left seriously injured.
What strikes the audience first and foremost is the making in black n white. The classic look makes the film extremely appealing, and one is tempted to ponder upon the director’s decision to try his hands on this technique when blinding colors seem to be imperative to make a good film. It seems to make sense to use B&W for a theme that has appeared in art and literature since time immemorial! But he would not be Rituparno Ghosh if he didn’t make something magical out of this ordinary theme. It’s not just using different plots that make the film interesting but it’s the presenting the opinions of all the characters on the issue that compels the viewer, in his turn, to contemplate.
While Konkana Sen Sharma takes the cake as usual, Prosenjit Chatterjee, too, is a pleasant surprise for an audience that’s not so familiar with Bengali Cinema. The spontaneity of the actors puts them easily into the skin of the character. Their intimacy in terms of thoughts is very well brought out by all the actors. The constant duality of strength and helplessness of Kaberi’s character could not have been presented any better than this!
Kudos to the costume designer for having kept it simple and thus, apt. Flowers and poetry have more than an ornamental use in this film, they punctuate the story. The wisely title has been wisely picked to mark the different kinds of companionship.
For those who are already familiar with the genius of Rituparno Ghosh, the film is yet another reason to celebrate; and for those who are not, its time you watched some of his films, starting with this one.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


ज़िन्दगी यूँ थी बंदिनी
जैसे काली घोर कोई निशा
प्राची की एक किरण सुहानी
अब हैं मैं और मेरी ज़िन्दगी विपाशा

अब पंख बने हैं आशा
हुई हूँ मैं यूँ दिवानी
बस उडती जाऊं बिन खोजे दिशा
नशा कर रहा है यूँ मनमानी

आज है कुछ नयी उषा
आज है कुछ नयी जवानी
आज है यूँ खुला आसमां
कौन जाने कहाँ है ज़मीन...