Friday 26 October 2012

The If's And But's Of Cinema

Hindi cinema has now changed it's face all together. What was once family based, with wholesome entertainment based upon usually one or two standard formulas, has now gone into a transformation and emerged as the so called "WHOLESOME ENTERTAINMENT" usually based upon 3 or 4 formulas.

Different Cinema so as to speak is here no doubt, but we are so influenced by our history of films that the mindless and overly used formula still stays as it is. Every new film that we see is at that stage of evolution where we can still see our ancestors even though from the looks of it they seem like a new breed.

There are the absolutely unnecessary love angles which serve no purpose, break the flow of the film and to be honest there are no more beautiful locales left for our fearless couples to romance anymore. There is that incessant need from our writers(actually it's the producers who have this constant need but let's attribute the story to the writers for a change) to involve two human beings of the opposite sex into a forced and often irritating and unreal "romance".

The plot of the film will be interesting but half the time is spent in indulging in other aspects losing the focus and hence losing interest. This where the classic line comes in, "The Film was good but.....". This "but" has haunted the likes of me for a lifetime now. every film has that one unnecessary mole on it's face which instead of enhancing the beauty kind of drives the focus onto just removing it from it's place.

A good film does need one thing said well instead of ten things trying to fit in. Now that I have made a point here, I have to prove myself by showing some instances where you are convinced about it. This will happen like any 90's serial, in the next episode. See you then.....

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Director's Of Time: Madhur Bhandarkar

OF all the better known directors, there is one director who seems to have a name always bigger than his films in stature. Madhur Bhandarkar is a great success story to look at and admire. Starting from a very humble video shop to a director of main stream Hindi Film Industry seems a filmy story in itself.

Starting his career in significance would be as the assistant director to the maverick director Ram Gopal Verma(maybe the next in line). He went on to direct a very lesser known film called Trishakti. But success was not to concede and very truly he went on to make his second film which deserves some applause and admiration, Chandni Bar.

Taking the reality of harsh and suburban lifestyle of that time frame, when people were making dramatic and flamboyant cinema, Madhur came up with a script which not only was real but also hard to digest. Creating an inspiration and hard hitting woman centric script in an age where women were only there to be kidnapped by the villains, was a real choice by a real director.

Arguably his best work was Chandni Bar because there were no expectations from him and he was just a new comer trying to make his mark.

He went on to direct two more films in the same league with great acting and a strong script with Satta and Aan, but Aan showcased his commercial inklings a bit too much for my taste.

Maybe the movie he is best known for is Page 3 which came out in 2005 and was critically and commercially successful. A script which can only be written by someone who is from that industry it showcased something that we all knew existed but were too shocked to see it on celluloid.

The pacing of that film was a bit off with some really unnecessary sequences thrown in to fill time. But overall a good film with very apt direction style and dialogues. For me the best delivery of that film was by the extremely talented and equally under rated Atul Kulkarni.

After the success of Page 3, Madhur seemed to have lost his thought process, trying to make movies which were in his theme but not from his heart. Corporate could have been his best film yet but horrible casting and a predictable and over the top story arc threw off the spectators and critics.

Fashion bought him success again but I felt it was the same story with a backdrop change. The story was again too puffed up and not very close to reality of things. Caricatures were more prominent than characters.

Jail, Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji and the very latest Heroine are all attempts by a director trying to achieve success and a "HIT" rather than trying to tell a story or even make a film( Dil Toh.....).

The one film which really struck a chord with me was Traffic Signal. A good film with good sequences and really a basic plot with simple characters. Believable cinema at it's best but with some filmy doses added along the groove. The most memorable sequence portrayed very beautifully was the climatic uprooting the signal where the entire premise of the film revolves around.

It showcased very beautifully the way people make a living in this city and how a family is growing on the streets, giving the city it's life. It aptly displays the helplessness and dependencies of people on the most inanimate objects which will not be even given a second glance at.

A movie which deserved much more but again lost out for some reason or other.

Madhur Bhandarkar is a very talented director with some wonderful skill for etching a script to touch the hearts of the audience. He has that grip on reality of things and should really stick to it without thinking much about success and failure. I say this for one simple reason, no one will forgive you for slipping us one more "Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji".

Let others scream and dance their way to piles of money, after all your stories are about them dancing and you making a film out of it.

Sunday 19 August 2012

The Men Behind The Chaos

A film is not comprised of only a select few people, it is always a joint venture. There is always a ateam who come together and workout how the film will hsape. In this team the directeor is the leader, it's his baby but there other aspects to the film other than just direction. These aspects even though are very crucial to the film, are often forgotten or down right taken for granted by the public. Nobody comes out of the theater saying how beautiful the film looked, with bright colors or dark atmosphere, this compliment is rarely heard even from established critics. This is because of negligence, in our industry all that glitters is gold. People who make the film are always secondary while the people who star in it are primary. This point is very evident in the recent passing from one of India's finest cinematographers Mr. Ashok Mehta.

Quite few people other than the people in the industry are aware of how brilliant this man is. His work mainly consisted of standing behind the camera dictating the look and feel of the film. This is the very first tone that sets the mood for any film, thus is the most important aspect when it comes to presentation of the film. But this like many other technical field is heavily ignored once the film is released, they don't even get a proper mention at award ceremonies. Always the filler awards are such awards which deal with the technical aspects of the film. This raises a concern over the lack of interest the film industry itself has in it's own life support system. These people are so crucial to a film that they have the ability to make or break the film.

For instance look at the way the cinematography of the film Kaminey. This film relies heavily on this fatcor for the basic reason that it sets the tone for the ongoings of the screen. Good and/or bad can just be felt by looking at the color composition of the shot. This is the kind of emotions that can be stirred by a simple color change. Tassaduq Hussain has done a fantastic job as the cinematographer and has really set the bar high for such off-commercial films and peculiar style of story telling. Like cinematographers there are other people deeply involved in the film but always ignored. The top among them being the editors.

Editors are the directors best friend they are the ones who patch up the film and decide how the film flows in reality. It is the extension of the director's vision and the skill of the editor that determine the final draft of the film. Editing can do wonders in escalating a moment in the film. Good edits with great synchronized background score are the crucial point that help the film achieve a status which can take the audience in a trance. Be it funny, drama, romance or action all emotions need that perfect edit or that moment is lost. The best editing that I say recently was for the film Rang De basanti which had P.Bharthi  as the editor. Brilliant editing with subtle and jump edits both edits used perfectly to create a cinematic moment.

Like editors the cameramen, the sound technicians, the make up artists, the background score, the writers, the dialogue writers, the screenplay writers are all ignored dimensions of a film. Hardly anyone acknowledges or appreciates them for a fine job they do. A film can never be complete without the expertise of such talent and these people are always on the back burner because the most important aspect is always the star in the film. I feel there should be awareness that a film not only works because the actors or the director but also because these people have given their best to it.

The point importantly, here is, that these aspects of a film are also an art form, I don't wish to undermine the actors but these technicians don't hold any less regard in my eyes. In accordance, I wish more respect be given by the industry itself to these technicians so that the general public learn from them and at least acknowledge and give credit to the people who deserve it. Hat's Off to you for being the people who stand behind the film even when nobody stands behind you.

Friday 17 August 2012

New Blog Started

In reverence I am a film lover irrespective of the language, of course! So it seems rather unjust to talk about hollywood in a blog which is about hindi films. So to justify that itch to talk about films in general but to steer clear of the confusion I will be starting a new blog which will deal with English films only. So I hope you enjoy and follow.