Sunday, September 02, 2007

A tale of two films

This weekend I checked out two films of differing styles and character. In a way, it was a journey from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Chak De India
Even if I discount the immediate post-viewing mass hysteria, Chak De is not just a film. It’s a revolution of sorts, hitting at the centuries of obscurantism in traditional Indian society that viewed women, for obvious pecuniary and sexual reasons, as second class beings, existing only to satisfy the whims of the superior and powerful patriarchal class. So, when SRK, subdued, unshaven, sober and refreshingly restrained, gets down to create a world cup winning women’s hockey team, he puts a minor but significant foot in the door for women to assert themselves as individuals. Though it begins as a private battle to redeem himself and regain his lost pride, it ends up breaking a mould, and what a rotten mould it was!

In this lies the true triumph of the film, besides the obvious winners in terms of a taut script, invigorating cast of actors and a never before seen SRK minus his customary stutter, cultivated drawl and over-the-hill flamboyance. The film tugs at your heart and makes you want to do something for this much maligned, much abused country, desperately short of heroes and good tidings. In a subliminal way, Chak De is very much the story of the underdog that too deserves her moment in the Sun.

RGV Ki Aag
On the other hand, RGV Ki Aag is a self indulgent fantasy unfolding without any logic. Looks like the film was made when RGV was in a prolonged state of daze and most definitely had ear plugs on. For the soundtrack is so loud and pompous, it is designed to wake up even the dead. RGV has managed to accomplish an almost impossible feat of making AB and AD look trite and wastrels as actors, not a minor achievement by any score. Urmila’s pelvic-in-your-face movements notwithstanding, the film does everything in its power to make your spirits droop to a new low. You begin to get angry at the sheer stupidity of it all.

Was this Sholay revisited? Bull! Even if you don’t compare it to the original classic, it’s a waste of a film. Things happen because a crazy self-obsessed director willed them to be, with absolute disregard to the intelligence of his audience. The script is almost non-existent, and whatever little is, is banal, pedestrian and overly pretentious in trying to evoke gutter-like and guttural quality from its lead protagonists.

The film is shot with dark overtones and darker undertones, in the belief that it’s the new mantra of gangsta flicks, and each character is like a caricature of his or her self, bereft of dignity and conviction, choking on his or her brooding intensity that seems so whacked out and unreal. If it was meant to be a spoof, it falls flat on its glitzy egg-splashed face.

What the hell was RGC thinking? That he would crap a truckload of stars and the audience will lap it up? Loud, pretentious, contrived, it’s shit served on a silver platter with a generous dash of stale perfume which simply doesn’t work. The audience has moved on; RGV needs to move to a rehab.

Check out Chak de India. It will restore your faith in good cinema, and hopefully, in India.
And check out RGV Ki Aag only if you lack self esteem and want to feel sorry for yourself.


Blogger soumya mukerji said...

Aptly described, sir! Esp. the words used for RGV ki (doused) Aag… it’s an awesome review!

Also visited your site, saw your ad copies (incidenatlly, i helped Rafat's team with some of the Indiatimes Mail launch copy), read a few poems (Brutes in the Bottle, Xanadu and more) and previous posts. It's beautiful writing, esp the soul in your poetry. Can I have a copy of Apassionata :)?

11:33 AM PDT  
Blogger santre said...

Thanks, Soumya. You are being way too generous. And yes, you shall have a copy of Appassionata. Take care...

2:35 AM PDT  
Blogger santre said...

Thanks, Soumya. You are being way too generous. And yes, you shall have a copy of Appassionata. Take care...

2:35 AM PDT  
Blogger soumya mukerji said...

No sir, that's what I honestly feel. Looking fwd to my copy... thanks :)

10:12 AM PDT  
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4:04 AM PDT  
Blogger Parry said...

Hi Sanjay,
So we meet on the web after 10 long years. Aptly so, for you were predicting new media rise, way back in 1997-98. This yearend has been wonderful.I connected up with my dipsite batchmates online,while Krishnan met me in the flesh. I have just begun posts on my blog. You havent updated your blog for quite some time now! Let's use this as an excuse to write some more, in the New Year. Warm Greetings to you, the missus and to the now very grown-up Soven!

11:10 PM PST  
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3:59 AM PDT  

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