Friday, February 27, 2015

DUM LAGA KE HAISHA: वो तो है अलबेला

For anybody who has grown up in the 90s, it is almost impossible to not like director Sharat Katariya's film, 'Dum Laga Ke Haisha'. Especially for those who have heard Kumar Sanu-Alka Yagnik songs on audio cassettes - on loop, rode Bajaj scooters, wore grotesque sweaters (in my fashion book) that were made at Tibet and sold at roadsides in small towns of North India, and those who are aware of the concept of a now slowly dying ritual - सामूहिक विवाह.

As the trailer already shows, DLKH is about - a mismatch made in heaven. The couple that was never meant to be, but that did become, and a great one at that. Ayushmann Khurrana and Bhumi Pednekar play the central parts, Prem and Sandhya - but their lives are not central to their quirk-laden families. Watching DLKH for me was like attending a family wedding - you like some of the attendees and dislike, even hate some, but you only wish well for the couple that is getting married. DLKH stays in the couple's life for a little longer, when things get sour. Very sour.

Watching DLKH was a series of nostalgia attacks for me. I spent a large chunk of my life at Indore, so the lingo used in the film wasn't alien to me. I loved the words employed by Prem, Sandhya, and their respective families - I had heard many such conversations. It was a world I could relate to. Just last evening a friend of Rani had dropped by, and he told me that I should wake up every morning, slap myself and thank God that I found somebody like Rani to be my life partner. I agreed. Compared to the superwoman Rani is, I perhaps don't deserve her.

DLKH is also mostly about that feeling - what is a perfect match? Who is the right person who you should spend your life with? Is there really something called the perfect match? We are all imperfect, but the best part is that we find love and peace with our imperfections. Prem and Sandhya in DLKH are that - perfectly imperfect. They make up for each other's shortcomings, and life goes on. Just how simple a love story can get. No doubt it takes a lot of effort for Prem and Sandhya to get together, but when they do, they can move mountains.

I connected to Prem, played by Ayushmann - he is a prick. I was one, not very long ago. But he is also ALL heart. I also suffer from the same problem. If I love you, I will go as far as Raghu in Badlapur went. If I don't, there is a very thin chance I will waste even a minute with you. I just might - if you are Rani's friend or her guest.  Prem in DLKH is a closet lover boy - the one that I am, and the one that used to be the soul of Yashji's films. He is a mush-ball but slightly apologetic about it. It is just about arriving at the magical moment when Prem falls in 'prem'. Thereafter ho gaya kalyan :D

I don't know why, but the character Prem also reminded me of the Sunil played by Shahrukh Khan in Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa... वो तो है अलबेला... हज़ारों में अकेला... सदा तुम ने एब देखा, हुनर को ना देखा   

I think the reason Aditya Chopra greenlit this film is that it is the closest to Yashji's school of romance. Something perhaps he would have been proud to produce, had he been alive. DLKH celebrates pristine love as it is meant to be. With a little bit of family banter thrown in. Director Sharat Katariya has done a great job, both with writing and directing this film. His passion and earnestness come across in every frame. The attention to detail is... GOBSMACKING!


Watch this song NOW.

I don't want to take away more from what you will discover in the film after watching it yourself. We can share notes after you've watched. Ayushmann as Prem in DLKH is not just carrying his wife on his shoulders, he is also shouldering the film itself. DLKH is not your regular romcom or braindead entertainer, it is an experience - An endearing tribute to an era that was. The one that I grew up in. The one where I first fell in love. The one where I experienced heartbreak. The one where Kumar Sanu was the voice of love and longing.

Please watch Dum Laga Ke Haisha this weekend. Thank me later.


Friday, February 20, 2015

BADLAPUR: An eye for an eye...

2015 has just about started, but I don't know why I already think that there will perhaps not be a film better than Sriram Raghavan sir's 'Badlapur' this year. It is a dark, twisted story about revenge, and all those who are clued in to the story from trailers, interviews and other miscellany, know what's coming their way.

You know it all...

As most of you would reckon, this isn't a conventional review of what 'Badlapur' is all about, who acted well in it, and how many crores it might make at the box office; given the fact that it is an 'A' certified film. I have been a fan of Sriram Raghavan sir since 'Ek Haseena Thi'. His third film 'Agent Vinod' did upset the apple cart slightly, but ever since I came to know that he is making 'Badlapur', I was excited to watch it. More so, after I came to know that Sriram sir has pitted Varun Dhawan against Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

Chalk-cheese, rum-wine, cake-mutton, Gandhi-Hitler... so many variations struck my mind as far as the casting is concerned. I got to read the rough script of 'Badlapur' from an email address that I didn't know of - I read it as any self respecting fanboy. I was sweating by the time I had finished reading it. Could a film like this be made in Hindi? In my lifetime? In the Hindi film industry?

Quick flashback: I met Sriram sir when he was giving interviews a few days before the release of 'Agent Vinod'. I think I asked the stupidest question ever posed to him... I asked - You look like just another happy person, especially like a conservative middle class South Indian; how do you come up with such twisted stories? He smiled at me, embarrassed at the question... unable to reply to my stupid question. I moved on to the next question. Quick flashback over.

A little less than 20 minutes into 'Badlapur,' I had internalised the central character. Once upon a time I used to be a copywriter who used to wait to work on a condom account. Lingerie account I didn't even aspire for. So I had owned the guy, Raghu - he was me and all the other creative people I knew during my stint in advertising, rolled into one. Definitely not the nice ones. The twisted types. Especially a Malayalee guy, Padma Kumar C.K., who had a long name, who, for us was PKCK. In my first Old Monk session with him, he admitted that he was a Communist, and had killed a few people back in the day. I was scared shitless. That was the first and last time we drank together.

I am the kind of guy who feels guilty when the mosquito bleeds on me after I slapped it hard to death. I don't know what would it take for me to kill a human. This is the reason I knew that Raghu's reason to kill humans for revenge has to be strong enough for me to sit through 'Badlapur'. I cried almost through the first half of the film, and that's the reason I thought what Raghu did in the second half was justified. A creative mind that is depressed for more than a decade; in my book, could facilitate a world war, if nothing worse. Here Raghu had lost the two people who he loved the most in the universe.

Blood-spill was inevitable. What I wasn't expecting was who possibly would be the victims of his rage. Who actually is the victim here? Who is the hardened criminal? Was money the motive? Was it just sex? Did Raghu ever feel guilty of what he had done? Did he live happily ever after? Who was he fighting against? Was he angry with the cop/s, or those who ruined his entire existence without even intending to do so? What is justice? An eye for an eye? A life for a life? Two lives for two? Three for three? How will it ever help anybody? What the fuck?

The 'Jee karda' song captures the essence of 'Badlapur'. While many of us might just lick our wounds, and move on in life - not all of us are the same. Will one revenge a random road accident? What about rape? Was SRK's character in 'Baazigar' justified in doing what he ended up doing? What about Madhuri Dixit's character in 'Anjaam'? And Vijay Deenanath Chauhan? Is revenge pointless? What is the point one proves - especially when a life is lost? Somebody said, "revenge is a dish best served cold...," but what about those who like it hot?


I am certainly not saying that I endorse what path the central character chose, in the process of taking revenge against those who destroyed his universe, just to ensure that he finds peace... or even come to terms with his loss, which only he knows how deep it was. All I am trying to say that I loved Sriram sir's 'Badlapur' to bits, and for some odd reason connected with Raghu and the choices that he made. The world - the mood - the characters - their motivations... somehow I just connected. 'Badlapur' is one of those rare films that manage to find an audience these days. It has its flaws... not denying that.

Any film / scenario that involves innocent lives being lost, for no reason strong enough, will find its haters, but 'Badlapur' is a film about a guy who lost his own plot while he was plotting the rest of it it for a good fifteen years or less. Objectivity, perspective and much more is lost, when the loss is way too personal. May be that woman shouldn't have died, or perhaps he should have given away the spoils to charity... Why is the evil man not evil enough for all us to hate him unanimously? What about the evil guy's sidekick? Why does the evil guy have a loving mother, like the rest of us?

I could perhaps go on and perhaps write another script that just involves Nawaz's character and the one played by Huma... But that's just me... I truly hope 'Badlapur' finds its audience, and then drives home the point that revenge is pointless, beyond a point. What we need to realise is that you can't or shouldn't go all out and become the Gabbar, or the Mogambo when you could be Arun bhaiyya. The ultimate success of Sriram sir's 'Badlapur' depends on the fact that who is the audience rooting for on the way back home.

I personally think that the written material of 'Badlapur' could be made into ten different films at the very least. It all depends on who chooses to make it, and what the intention of the maker is. What I took back from Sriram sir's latest film is that peace is a better idea. Even if we fight till the last person standing has collapsed, what remains is a lonely existence. What does one live off? Memories? They were never enough in the first place. The operative word that makes sense in this zone is - LOVE.

There is enough of it for all of us. It is all about looking for it in the right places.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Aaj sab se zyaada khush hoon main...

A Keyrun Rao original

Maut ke niwaale khaaye bahut,
Zindagi se parhez karta raha,
Ishq ke ghoont tujh se miley they,
Bas zehar ki talaash karta raha.

Rooh mein andhera bhar gaya tha,
Saanson mein meri ghutan si thi,
Raahein bhi chalne nahin deti thi,
Soch par bhi mere gehra saaya tha.

Aaj sab se zyaada khush hoon main,
Aansoo bhi ab khushi ke aate hain,
Ek teri noor mein roshan rehta hoon,
Aaj-kal khwaab bhi achche aate hain.

Aaj sab se zyaada khush hoon main,
Teri raah mein mohabbat ki goonj hai,
Teri lafzon mein mere ishq ki azaan hai,
Lagta hai ke naya ek banda hoon main.

Aaj sab se zyaada khush hoon main,
Lagta hai shayad meri nazar lag jaayegi,
Teri hansi mein meri muskaan rehti hai,
Tere saath meri ye umr bhi nikal jaayegi.

Maut ke niwaalon mein swaad nahin tha,
Zindagi bhi kuchh kuchh bujhi si thi meri,    
Tere saath mujhko bhi main raas aa gaya,
Marne waale ko zindagi ka swaad aa gaya.

Friday, February 6, 2015

CineMaa kasam… fully filmi

A new poem inspired by the 'Fillum' song in Shamitabh

Kuchh pal andhera sa tha shuruaat mein,
Koi akela aaya tha, kuchh kisi ke saath mein
Phir ek nayi kahaani shuru ho gayi parde par
Badi taaliyon aur seetiyon ke bauchaar mein 

Har hafte koi ek nayi kahaani, kisi ki bayaani 
Chaahe bachpan ho ya khilti hui aapki jawaani
Jaan chhidakte hain hum, Dil lagaate hain hum
Zindagi ho jaati hai awesome… CineMaa kasam

Koi actor ho ya star, ya phir ho koi superstar,
Sukh-dukh ke hain saathi ye apne kalakaar,
Unki banaayi duniya mein hum sab khush hain 
Ghar ke paas theater hai, why do we go too far?

Andhere se roshni ke beech apni ye zindagi hai
Chaahe jaisi bhi hai, kyon lagta hai ki sahi hai
Jaan chhidakte hain hum, Dil lagaate hain hum
Zindagi ho jaati hai awesome… CineMaa kasam

Har ek kahaani kisi na kisi ko toh touch kar jaati hai,
Kisi se bore ho jaate hain, kuchh achchi lag jaati hain,
Jaane-anjaane hum kuchh waqt saath bitaate hain
Kabhi kabhi anjaani dagar mein khud se mil jaate hain

Kahaani jaane kiski hai, aur kehne waala kaun hai,
Bol jaane kisne likha tha, aur gaane waala kaun hai 
Jaan chhidakte hain hum, Dil bhi lagaate hain hum
Zindagi ho jaati hai awesome… CineMaa kasam

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

What a joke...

I still haven't managed to convince myself enough to pay people (individuals or groups) to make me laugh. I keep myself amused enough most of the time.  Also, as a struggling film-writer I am usually broke most of the time, so I would rather spend whatever little I make to pay for movie tickets, buy DVDs, and order a book online, once in a while.

Like all those who spend most of the waking hours on the internet, I knew of AIB since they had started doing podcasts. I didn't particularly like them, so I don't qualify as a fan. Thanks to the BIG names involved, I also knew of the AIB Roast well in advance. I didn't whore myself out to buy the expensive ticket, despite the fact that the proceeds would go to charity.

As they say, charity begins at home. In my case it's usually at some dingy bar in the vicinity.

For me it was just another day, when the AIB Knockout happened amidst a HUGE audience, and it didn't bother my piddly existence one bit. I am sure nobody at the 'roast' missed my absence as well. A few weeks passed by, and I saw the teaser / trailer of the AIB Knockout on the official channel. I swear it had grabbed me by my balls. I hadn't seen anything like this, that too at this BIG a scale.

Like every other creative keeda, I was rubbing my hands in wicked glee. WHAT DID I JUST WATCH? Confession: I have ugly, dark and wicked corners in my khopdi ki jhopdi, but this was something else. For once I regretted not paying people to make me laugh. May be I should have attended the AIB Knockout after all. From whatever little they had shown in the trailer, I thought these guys have collectively created history. HAWAAI FIRING!

A few more weeks later the edited version of the AIB Knockout was put out. I was eagerly looking forward to it. Everyone was talking about it; even the Lokhandwala dudes who usually discuss their workout regimes and protein intake were discussing the show in hushed tones. The roast started with a BANG, and I was laughing like a dervish possessed. 30 minutes into it, and I was getting bored. May be it was my mid-life-crisis, or the jokes were getting too repetitive for my liking.

Same old, same old... There were flashes of genius, but they remained just that - flashes of genius. I felt relieved that I didn't pay to watch that stuff. My wallet jumped out of my drawer and hugged me tightly. The 10 rupees' notes in it started doing ghaati dance all over my study table. BUT that's it. I didn't take to the streets screaming that I was hurt and left cheated. Hell, how could I be cheated when I didn't even pay for it. I knew what was coming my way, and I watched it. END OF STORY.

What prompted me to write this piece is the shit I have been seeing floating around ever since some random fungi decided to express their displeasure over the AIB Knockout on National TV. These jokers have saddened me no end. Every time these regressive fossils open their foul mouths, our country goes back a few decades. I wish we could just shut these idiots up. If anybody needs to be probed or punished, it has to be these peddlers of the pseudo 'sanskriti and sabhyata'.  
As far as the AIB Knockout is concerned - Guys, well tried with the roast this time, but expecting much more next time - that is, if you aren't sentenced for life or some such.

What a joke...