NOW ANTI-SUPER HEROES

Anti-heroes have ruled the roost in every cinema. They have been one of the most important tools of parallel, meaningful as well as mainstream commercial cinema and they have been ‘the’ most important theme element of the experimental cinema. They are best used to represent the discontent on social malaise.

The parallel and meaningful cinema like the ones made by Govind Nihalani or Shyam Benegal or many others in our country or like Steven Spielberg’s Oskar Schindler or Mario Puzo’s/Francis Ford Coppola’s Vito Corleone and Michael Corleone. The mainstream commercial cinema does in its trademark ‘masala’ ways like Khalnayak’s Sanjay Dutt or Ram Lakhan’s Anil Kapoor or Deewar’s Amitabh Bachchan or like the main protagonists movies like The Transporter series.

And now it is the turn of the anti-superheroes.

And the reason is – like the anti-heroes, the superheroes provide more options to develop the characters – there are more shades to show including plenty of greys and therefore more (and interesting plot elements).

Since almost of them are American imports (or exports), it is needless to explore or talk about any other cinema.

Suicide Squad is the latest offering in the series of the movies that started sometimes back. These movies have superheroes who are sort of supervillainous in their attitudes.

It all began, we can say with Hancock, as it is the movie that comes to your tongues initially. It introduced to us (on a mass scale) a superhero who had loads of grey shades in his character yet he was the hero because he ended up doing good things, punching and packing up the bad guys. Then there were many X Men movies who had characters with shades of grey who initially did bad things but then ended up doing the Good Samaritan jobs.

More recently, the trend seems to have picked up from Deadpool which did brilliant business. It is again an instalment in X Men series of films. It has a superhero owing his genesis to some scientific experiment gone horrible wrong but an experiment that gives him superhero abilities. He is foul mouthed and lives a life that cares for his personal sphere of life only. And the latest offering in the series is ‘Suicide Squad’.

To continue..

©SantoshChaubey

LOVE – SOUTH INDIAN FILMS STYLE!

Funny – at its most insane!
Boisterous – at its most verbose!
Pampered – at its most mollycoddled!
Rowdy – at its most gaudy!
Outrageous – at its most audacious!
Cosmetic – at its most superficial!
Melodrama – at its most dramatic!

The hero:

  • Drives auto-rickshaw, or,
  • Is a bicycle riding college student, or,
  • Is a street vendor of vada-pao, or,
  • A goonda living in a slum.

The heroine:

  • Is from heaven.
  • From a family of high and mighty politicians, or,
  • A larger than life businessman, or,
  • A mafia Don flying in chartered plane.

Rarely, the narrative is developed with role-reversals.

Either the hero approaches the heroine or the heroine has the ‘instantaneous’ love-at-first-sight, no time is wasted in coming to the point – its direct and precise – irrespective of the ‘class’ difference – without going into details – like smooth and efficient!

Love happens so readily – only after few sitcom scenes – and the glues is so strong – that you feel that these films are the true representatives of a ‘classless’ society.

Either love is so ripe or directors are so experienced in these movies that they don’t waste any moment in nuances of going ‘in between the lines’ – or they refuse to see the beauty there that others see!

True post-modernists! Iconoclasts in their own league – so much so – that they have started a league of their own, their ‘own Masala’ within the larger ‘Masala Films’ genre! Proponents and followers of Communism should take their worldview (social take) on society seriously!

(P.S. – While randomly picking up a Dhanush’s movie on TV!)

(P.S. – South Indian cinema produces some of the finest movies in India every year. This is just about the so-called mainstream gibberish that is so prevalent even in the Mumbai cinema or the Hindi film industry – though, even there loves doesn’t happen so readily – and is certainly not ‘class-less’!)

🙂 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE REVENANT AND THE HATEFUL EIGHT – SEASON OF WHITE WESTERNS

These are two movies, two auteur movies that any moviegoer who loves watching films for the art of cinemamaking would love to watch – again and again – because there is much more to read in between the lines – in frames – in props – in body languages and silence(s) of characters – and in locales – in fact, it is always a pleasure when a film offers elements on platter so much of semiotics.

Locales – the most important part of Westerns after ‘body language and silence’ of characters – are in abundance here – with an abundance of symbolisms – here in these two movies.

These are no doubt White Westerns – dominated in every aspect by snow-clad mountains – their environs – their dialogues – the conversation they hold – the push that they give to the characters.

Classical Westerns are about simple but difficult men in difficult, barren, arid terrains of stone-clad mountains and sand spreads.

These White Westerns, the latest run of which began with Django Unchained, we can say – are stories of difficult men in more difficult terrains – snow, ice and the expanse which primarily steers the plot.

And coupled with brilliant performances, which are equally brilliantly directed, the locales in these two movies give us timeless masterpieces of the world cinema.

We can say had it not been the premise of these two movies – the lyrical flow of death in the ravines of life in the most uninhabitable and inhospitable parts of the world – we would not have such influential films – the visual language of which transcend the boundaries of filmmaking, especially in The Revenant.

TR-THE

Featured Image Courtesy: Movie posters from Wikipedia pages on The Revenant and The Hateful Eight

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

THE REVENANT: FIRST THOUGHTS THAT COME TO YOUR MIND

Obviously I am writing it in my context – but I am sure many would concur..

‘The Revenant’ is very lonely and sucks its viewers in its spaces – in its oblivions – in its living quarters – in its horizons.

‘The Revenant’ is probably the next most perfect narrative development of a book after ‘The Lord of The Rings’ trilogy.

‘The Revenant’s landscapes are, its cinematography is – I would say gripping – keeping you hooked to the whole frame and not just to the central characters – and this excellence has a beautiful rhythm frame after frame. You not only listen to the characters here but you also try to sense what the spaces around them are trying to say.

‘The Revenant’ is one of those rare movies where the film locales are as important as the script, the acting and the direction.

‘The Revenant’, a straight revenge plot, is taken to higher realms of filmcraft with powerful performance by every character in the movie, especially by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.

‘The Revenant’, inspired by true events (as it goes), is an incredible life story of a man – played immaculately well by DiCaprio. He simply looks natural.

‘The Revenant’ is pure auteur – those who have watched other movies of its director Alejandro González Iñárritu – can easily read his style-statement in every scene.

‘The Revenant’ is a director’s movie – its actors are director’s actors – and its narrative is a director’s narrative.

‘The Revenant’ is one of the rare Westerns that try to deal sensitively with the history of Native American tribes – even if the scope is very limited here.

‘The Revenant’ should bag multiples Oscars this year – including the ones for the ‘Best Director’, the ‘Best Actor’ and the ‘Best Picture’.

The Revenant

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

Featured Image Courtesy: Screenshot from The Revenant’s Official Website

WHEN YOU LOVE REVENGE FLICKS

And not when you watch them as time-pass entertainment or a conscious film watcher to see how a particular narrative has been developed:

It is because of the human psychology in a society like India where VIP culture is deeply rooted as a cultural practice (or malaise) – where we all, more or less, at some point of time or regularly – face (or feel) its brunt – and the main protagonist of the movie is shown taking on such (rogue) VIP elements.

It is because such films give wing to our fantasy that craves (and at times cribs) because of the fundamentally feeble nature of human beings who have been harassed by rogue (or corrupt) elements – something that we all face – and find ourselves forced to compromise. Yes, exceptions are there but then it is not yet time for any of them to become norm in our society.

And we can see they vary according to the subsets of societies in India – like South Indian flicks portray an ‘all supercharged, superhuman like hero’ who first faces life’s troubles due to bad elements (VIPs – politicians, police, criminals with VIP sort of stature) – and then take on them with a force that dwarfs even the best bravado shown in the films made in Mumbai – because VIP culture or personality cult worship in India is most deeply ingrained in the South Indian culture.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

SOME ‘JOLLY’ WATCHING..

I love watching this movie, especially when I try to sense a ‘good’ and ‘humoured’ satire in Hindi cinema.

Yes, the movie is not a masterpiece but has been lifted to a ‘master sort’ of level by brilliant performance of its actors, especially the character delivered to us by Saurabh Shukla – the eternal lower court judge – in his full flair – in his characterization’s full tenacity.

The subject line is not so innovative but is popular enough to ‘be sensitive to masses’ – a drunk scion of a rich business family kills some people under his vehicle’s wheels – and his ‘superrich’ family tries to manipulate and subvert the legal system to get him out.

We have seen it so many times in real life.

So, there is nothing new about it in the movie.

But, then, moviemaking is as much about the subject matter as it is about the treatment of the narrative.

A good narrative treatment can lift even an ordinary plot to the levels of a ‘watchable feast’.

Here, a ‘common but sensitive to masses’ subject has been treated well by the director. In spite of routine song and dance sequences, transition from one frame to the next looks logical. The dialogues are punchy and ‘poignant’ at places – especially in the climax of the movie – the final scene that gives us all a ‘jolly’ feeling.

‘Jolly LLB’ is a treat to watch – because of some powerful acting by its central protagonists – the three legal eagles – the brilliant lower court Justice and the good and the bad lawyers – and they are supported well by some supportive characters.

Anyone who has experienced how the Indian courts function, especially the lower courts, can correlate with the frame by frame development of the movie.

The judge, who ultimately proves that he is incorruptible and whatever he had said was basically part of the routine/social human behaviour, acts so naturally that one can identify him with what happens in natural settings.

The good lawyer is also a human being, like you and me, and finally evolves as a normal human being who is in a dogged pursuit to undo some wrong. Again, this is very human. Circumstances make, break and shape a man (or woman).

The bad lawyer is perennially bad and ‘haughty’. He is cunning enough to see his profit in every move and goes to any extent to achieve his purpose. He does everything illegal to fulfil his objectives in his ‘legal profession’. We can so easily identify him with real people in the said profession.

The high point of the film, in spite of its illogical but light-hearted humorous insertions, is that we act hooked to its scenes, especially the ones in the courtrooms and we spontaneously move from one frame to the next.

The film scores because most of its scenes are worth watching multiple times and we feel the need for its ‘sequel’ after the show is over.

And it was one of those ‘jolly’ times last night again while watching the movie (again) – with freedom of controlling the movement of its frames.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

IN A FIRST, ACTORS FROM HINDI CINEMA GET PADMA VIBHUSHAN

In the annual tradition, the Government of India today announced its ‘Padma’ awards recipients.

And the nine Padma Vibhushan recipients, Padma Vibhushan is India’s second highest civilian honour, include two prominent faces of the Indian film industry or the Hindi language film industry – Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan.

And these two names come with a first – before them, no other actor from the Hindi films had been conferred India’s second most prestigious civilian decoration.

Interestingly, the 2012 Padma Vibhushan decision had seen controversy when an RTI reply revealed that these two names – Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan – were in the initial list of 37 names of the search committee but were not in the shortlist of 20 sent to the award committee.

Before 2015, though India recognized its artists including those from the entertainment industry, very few came from the mainstream entertainment industry (to say, mass entertainment), and certainly none from the class of actors who drive the focus of the world’s largest film industry – the Hindi cinema of the Mumbai based film industry.

An analysis into the Padma Vibhushan awardees so far, from 1954 when the awards were given the first time, returns with 55 awardees recognized for their contribution in ‘Art’.

And just eight of these are from the ‘craft of cinema-making – V. Shantaram, Satyajit Ray, Lata Mangeshkar, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Asha Bhosle, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Zohra Sehgal and Akkineni Nageshwara Rao.

On further narrowing down the list, we see that only five have been from or having association with the Hindi language film industry – actor, filmmaker and director V. Shantaram, director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, singers and sisters Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle and actor and choreographer Zohra Sehgal.

All others come from the fields of art like classical music, classical dances, fine arts and paintings and literature.

For the fields from the ‘craft of cinema-making’, Bharat Ratna does give better comparative results.

Since its inception in 1954, Bharat Ratna has been conferred on 45 individuals so far including three from the ‘art of cinema-making’ – Satyajit Ray, M. G. Ramachandran (actor-turned politicians and Tamil Nadu’s chief ministers) and Lata Mangeshkar while Padma Vibhushan has been conferred on over 300 people with just eight names to count.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey–https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/