Friday, May 22, 2015

TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS: Ho gaya hai pyaar phir se


Please read after watching the film. PLEASE. Do read after watching. For those who want to know what I think about TWMR in general, I will say that it is a laugh-a-minute fun ride. If nothing else, 'Oye hoye Pappiji' will keep you in splits throughout the film. I think it is high time director Aanand L Rai makes Pappi Weds Pinky or some such - Deepak Dobriyal is that awesome! I would watch this sequel of Tanu Weds Manu again, just to see him chew every scene that he is in.


Please watch this song from Tanu Weds Manu.

When I first watched Tanu Weds Manu, and this song played - I was sobbing like a baby. I had to leave the theatre as many old memories came flooding in and my crying was a little too loud, and I didn't wish to embarrass myself any further. I bought a ticket for the next show, and cried some more for Manu, and myself, at a bar close by.

I didn't cry as much during the second viewing, but I knew that Manu was doomed. There was no way in hell that he could live happily ever after with a flawed-so-messed-up-in-the-head Tanu.

I knew our brother Manu has travelled all the distance to come and shove a cactus up his ass and live with it for the rest of his life. Manu was a simple guy after all. He only knows how to love. He can't deal with Tanu who is but a bag of various stages of fuck ups. I had sensed it back then that they were headed for a divorce. End of story. Sad panda. What to do? Move on.

Back to present day.

Now I am a happily married guy, and the word 'divorce' scares the shit out of me. Not because I am afraid of the alimony business, it's only that I know nobody can love me as much as Rani does, and vice versa. That's the thing about hopeless romantics - for us it is either the whole hog, or none at all. Tanu Weds Manu Returns is a testimony of that. Tempt me with the best alcohol in the world, but I will only choose my Old Monk rum. Also, Old Monk rum is the best alcohol in the world.

It takes some serious talent, a combo of director Aanand L Rai and writer Himanshu Sharma to make the funniest film about something as sad and devastating as a divorce. I will not be surprised if they make a film about people dying, and their funerals that follow, and I will still be laughing my ass off. These guys are made of something else. More power to this team. As much as I respect A. R. R. sir, I still hope and pray that for music in his films, Mr. Rai sticks to Krsna sir & Rajshekhar sir.  

If you don't believe me, listen to this song:

Coming back to Tanu Weds Manu Returns, it is as flawed as it characters, but it is also as endearing as its characters. I want to hug all the characters in the film - especially Raja Awasthi aka Jimmy Shergill. I think the writer Himanshu Sharma is a bloody sadist deep down - he writes characters that you fall in love, and wish the world for them, and then he puts them through the worst shit imaginable. Just imagine, I was trying to convince myself that Tanu will get better post shaadi..

Alas, Tanu gets worse and poor Manu has to pay the price. And poor Kumari Kusum aka Datto aka Kangana Ranaut. Yaar just hand over all the 'Best Actor' awards to Kangana already. I don't know what spoon she was born with, but she converted that spoon into a golden spoon now. Just how many female actors in Hindi cinema get such author-backed roles? She seems unstoppable. I think she can play the role of Manu too, in the next TWM franchise and still be as awesome, even better may be.

Sample this: I overheard a guy during the interval sutta break saying, "Yaar Tanu aur Kusum kahan se ek jaise lagte hain? Apna Manu bhaai baawra ho gaya hai pyaar mein." One smart guy was speculating that both Tanu and Kusum were the same person. Another genius brain in the smoking zone had decoded the double role by saying that Manu is just imagining things - Chemical Locha. When you hear such things, you know that the actor has triumphed.

A BIG SHOUT OUT TO R. MADHAVAN. Like among the female actors, nobody cries like Vidya Balan; amongst the men, nobody cries like Maddy. I can't see him cry. I don't want him to cry. I hate everyone who makes him cry. I will personally go punch people who make him cry. He is a happy guy. When he says that he doesn't even lech at his wife, I believe him. Maddy has been that guy for me ever since I first watched him cry in 'Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein'.

It was a surreal feeling to watch Tanu Weds Manu Returns at Chandan (Juhu), and see the audience go apeshit each time Deepak Dobriyal was in the frame. Also, it was the first time when the audience gave a standing ovation to a film, first when the interval was announced, and then after the end credits were rolling. That sums up my TWMR experience. Guys who watch a film at Chandan and other such single screens are those, whose verdict you can trust.

Before I sign off, listen to this:

Go watch Tanu Weds Manu Returns. We all need those laughs.   

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Piku: Some deep emotions let loose in motion

The day I first saw the trailer of Shoojit Sircar's 'Piku,' I knew I had to watch it - first day first show. Since the trailer released till I watched the film today, I have lost count of how many times I revisited it. I already knew it is the kind of film that will touch me, move me, and become a part of my family in the form of a DVD & live happily with me ever after. My excitement to watch it FDFS was growing by the day, and then shit happened.

The better half had a problem with her motions, and we had to wait till Saturday evening to go watch the film. I swear I am not making up this shit. CineMaa kasam!

A confession before I begin writing about Piku - I find it very hard to stand Bengali people. They are too snobbish for my liking. Some of them even tweet to each other in Bengali. Strangely enough, the filmmakers who have influenced me deeply through their work are Bengalis - Sujoy Ghosh, Shashanka Ghosh, Dibakar Banerji and Anurag Basu. The latest addition to this elite club is Shoojitda. I went mad with joy when after finishing a narration, the producer's feedback included the fact that my script is in a very Shashanka Ghosh zone. 

Without wasting any more time, let me get started on Piku - When Bachchan saab gets an author-backed role, he elevates the the film to some other stratosphere. Deepika Padukone emanates some inner radiance and lights up the frame like no DoP ever can ever facilitate. If Irrfan can stand up to the legendary actor like Bachchan saab, and still chew the scene effortlessly, there's no stopping him. A thundering drum roll, hawaai firing & wine ki barsaat for my new hero - 

Juhi Chaturvedi

By now you must have guessed that there is not much I am going to reveal about the film. This blog only orders / requests / begs / tantalises / pataoes the readers to watch Piku, as soon as you can. The trailer gives you an idea of what to expect, but if you choose to read further, I will give you some subtle reasons why you MUST watch Piku this weekend. Please don't let the U/A certification deter your choice - the makers have been smart enough to keep it entirely clean.

You might think that 'potty humor' isn't your zone, but that's because of Sajid Khan. Potty and constipation are just metaphors employed by Juhi and Shoojitda. Piku is about life in general, and relationships in particular. A daughter coming of age, and a father going back to his nascent childhood. A son trying to tolerate his family by trying to replace the father, and the family just acting difficult - like all children tend to do. There's no explanation to this behaviour.  

Piku is also about other peripheral relationships - the one you share with your maid, the one you share with your personal doctor, and so on... Hard as I try, there couldn't be a better name to this film than 'Piku'. The film revolves around Piku, the girl of today, stuck with a father of yesteryears trying to get in sync with his progressive daughter. Everything that was supposedly wrong with Deepika's 'My Choice' video, stands corrected in Piku. I am not telling you more - go watch the film.  

Picture this: It was the second day after my mom-in-law moved in with us. She has several medical ailments, and has survived them all thanks to the rockstar that she is. That day I had only stepped out for less than five minutes to pick up some grocery, and the minute I come back, she is running around the home with a broom cleaning up the home. I was aghast, as she is not allowed to stress herself. Since that day she has been our baby. We ensure that everything's in place so that she is calm.

I connected with Piku and her life because I have a 64 year old child at home who gets cranky at times. We understand that all she just wants is our attention, but Rani and me being busy professionals, we are unable to be there all the time. Having been a professional nurse in her prime, mom-in-law takes care of herself when it comes to prescribing medicines for herself and taking them on time. It's just the emotional space with many voids that brings out the 'trouble child' within her.

Before I get too emotional, I hand over the blog to Rani... 


For me Piku is not just a film, its an experience. The same kinds anyone would experience with older people around them. I was fortunate to have my grandmom live with us when I was younger. She was a rock solid woman and our household which only had women, got some kind of magical strength because of my 80+ years old grandma being with us. She was also a typical Malayali Christian, who would call my friend Sachin Mathews as "Mathai kutty" (which I am sure he hated) or start blabbering unpleasant things in front of my male friends if she didn't like them. She would win laughing championships (Yes, there is such a thing in Kerala) and could make you feel miserable at the same time. But despite everything it was the unconditional love she had for me, which she expressed in a very strange way that would make me do anything and everything for her. 

Piku is about the complex relationships around us. Our frustration stemming from the ones (Especially who we love the most) being a certain way. Its learning to deal with small things. For e.g- It irritates me to no end when my mom makes noise while she chews food, but I have learned to yet be proud of her wherever we may be, while she is relishing her food (whether it's a five star or a small dhaba) because now the priority is also that at least she is relishing that particular meal. 

Piku says to Rana at a certain point, "Ek waqt ke baad, hamey hamare parents ko zinda rakhna padta hai". Sometimes, what our parents say or do just doesn't make sense, but its their way of asserting their importance or trying to feel their existence in someway. And at other times, its long after they are gone, that we realise why they behaved unreasonably at a certain point. My first impression of a 'mother' was my grandma, who brought me up from when I was 1 and half years old. It was after she was gone that I looked back and realised why she would call out to me incessantly, and I would come running from either cooking in the kitchen, or from playing outside,  to get her water from the refrigerator which was placed right next to her bed... It was because her legs used to go numb, which I was unaware of back then. Did I get upset at those times? Yes, I did get upset sometimes, not always though. 

There was a time towards my grandma's last days, when she couldn't move out of bed. Yet she hated being given bed pans. She would gather all her strength and go to the toilet herself. Once I remember, she perhaps couldn't control till she reached and she was so upset that she almost cried apologetically. I cry every time I imagine that expression on her face. When we were kids, they would have cleaned us a million times over, yet nobody would want to burden themselves on their kids ever. Before I get more emotional, let me just say that please go experience PIKU. 

Let this piece of cinema take you on a 'Motional' ride ;)