Monday, August 24, 2009

So Fast So Furious

There’s something about being ‘fast’ that I think is over-rated. People are just way too obsessed with being fast, aggressive. Fast city, fast car, fast technology, fast person, everything and everyone ‘fast’ is to be revered, feared or respected. The Go-getters. The Winners. You got to have it all, and have it now. I mean, everywhere you go, anything you do, we want our things NOW. Instant gratification is the order of the day. Age, wisdom are passé. Something to be sniggered at. No wonder, we have so many 18 year olds hanging around in agencies who know absolutely nothing about advertising (And at their age, they are not expected to know anything about it), but man, they are smug. When you know nothing, to have a little bit of humility doesn’t hurt but then like I said, humility is passé. I wonder what these kids are drunk on. Ignorance, I guess. Because the less you know, the more you are not afraid of what you don’t. And if you are ever confronted with something you don’t know, you can always google.

People are so obsessed with getting and doing things so fast that it is mind-boggling. I mean, we got our ATM machines, and we get hopping mad if the guy in front of us takes more than 3 minutes for his transaction. We cannot wait to get in or out of a cinema hall or an airplane, as if elbowing out other people will fetch you better seats. Sheehij sent me this video and that’s when I thought of writing this post, because I so believe in what this bloke, Louis CK, An American Stand Up, Actor, Writer, Producer, Director says. We’ve come such a long way in getting things so fast at our disposal that we don’t value what we have. We are so dependent on the machine that the moment it falters even for a second, our world comes crashing down. People don’t have such expectations from fellow people. You’d be still okay with your girlfriend coming an hour late for your date, but god if your ATM machine fucks on you for a moment, you’d be cursing like crazy, like it owes you something. I have forever hated the way people think they have absolutely all the fucking right in the world to talk crap about the ‘aunty’ airhostesses of Air India. About how rude they are and how unattractive and old they are. You know what??! You are rude. Give her a fucking break. She’s your hostess, not your slave! And it is only a 2 hour journey. Your own mom or wife wouldn’t come running to you if you ring that bell so many times in 2 hours.

And this apathy and intolerance doesn’t just restrict to machines. People are critical of anybody who’s not ‘fast’. There’s something really malicious about the way one is treated if you don’t fit into their scheme of things in terms of what’s fast and what’s not. I have been a part of such maliciousness too. And more often than not I’ve been told that I talk to much, think a lot more than that. That I am not aggressive enough. That I am a drifter, not a go-getter. Too old. Too fat. Not FAST. Well, heck, I am not! And I used to be quite troubled by it. I wanted to be like the ‘fast’ friends I have. I wanted to be them. But I can’t. Because it’s not me. I don’t believe in self-help books, but one day somebody told me I’ll forever be like this, because it is me. And the day I develop a sense of humour about it, I’ll be a happy man. That was awesome advice. Now I try not to be so apologetic about who and what I am. Everyday I struggle with it. Every day, my jokes are on myself. A sense of humour is a wonderful thing. It’s helped me a lot.

I am not your quintessential winner guy, but I am learning to be happy with what I am. To sum it up, I’ll use a quote from Jerry Maguire, “I don't have all the answers. In life, to be honest, I failed as much as I have succeeded. But I love my wife. I love my life. And I wish you my kind of success.” No, thanks??

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fuch Feriouf Fun!

Identical twins have been one of the formulas long used in Bollywood. But to take a cliché and to treat it in a way that it becomes a ‘genre’ film, now that’s quite an achievement. And that’s what Vishal Bhardwaj has done. Again! Much like the Koreans, who take a subject like revenge and create masterpieces out of it.

So there it is, a film about the good and the evil . And everything in between. A movie about love and deceit. About cultural differences and geographical divides. About crooks and gangsters, about freaks and opportunists. About characters with opposite beliefs but intertwined fates. About very little white and a little black, and a lot of grey.

The good being Guddu, a stammering NGO worker and the bad, Charlie, his identical twin, jo ‘Fa’ ko “Fa’ bolta hai. They both want to make it big in their life, they both have goals set for themselves. But the similarities end just there. They are as different as it can get. Guddu is an honest NGO worker, while Charlie is a small-time race course better. Both have and want nothing to do with each other but their fates collide and they end up in a situation where they only have each other to survive. What follows then is a rollercoaster ride that ends in an explosive climax. One of the best climaxes I have seen in the recent times.

Really good and convincing casting has been forever a strong point of Vishal Bhardwaj’s films. Kaminey keeps up with this trend. Shahid has portrayed both roles very effectively, but call it my bias or a problem, I look at him on the screen and just can’t help wondering ‘oh, he looks so much younger than anybody and everybody around him, younger than his heroine and even fresh faced Mikhail (brilliantly portrayed by Chandan Roy Sanyal). Priyanka Chopra is very believable as a marathi mulgi (Vishal bhardwaj supposedly had to woo Priyanka to do this role. Well, she should call him up every day and thank him.) Amol Gupte is so entertaining as a manipulative crook cum aspiring politician. The verbal duel between his character Bhope Bhau and Mikhail, played by Chandan is one of the best moments of this film. The others in the cast are very apt and nicely portrayed.

In keeping with the dark theme of the film, the sun hardly ever rises in Kaminey. Throughout the film, it is dark, muggy and brooding. The editing is top notch so is the camera work. But at times, the keep-the-camera-roving-all-over-the-place gets a bit too much. I know, that’s exactly what the intention was, in keeping with the delirious sequences, but then still it gets way too disorienting at times. The dialogues are crisp. Vishal and Gulzar have forever made brilliant music together, Kaminey is no exception. It’s a shame that hardly anyone else uses a gem like Suresh Wadekar.

Vishal Bhardwaj is a master of linear storytelling, he’s portrayed that in all his previous films. He forever has had really good material, whether it is adapting Shakesperean plays or a Ruskin bond story. But in Kaminey, there’s a shift from his style and is much ‘Tarantinosque’, if I may use the term. So yeah, it is no Maqbool, it is not even Omkara. But Kaminey is a great watch nonetheless. It might not be Vishal’s the best film, but whatever anybody else does, he does it so much better. He is arguably the best we have in the Bombay Film Industry and perhaps one of the best in the world.