CLIMAX….AND HOW IT CLIMAXES….CLASSIC INDIAN MASALA CINEMA WAY

In a palatial mansion, well-fortified, with guards and otherwise, there is a wall, unplastered, wall made of single row of bricks, looking ugly and totally out of place, waiting to be razed down….like it happens.

Inside the wall, the villain, clad in a polo outfit, is vigorously trying to rape a woman….like it happens.

The woman is crying for help, in the oversized mansion, secluded by the poor wall, and guarded by plenty of goondas….like it happens.

Anger is simmering….like it happens.

When it reaches to the helping ears, it starts boiling. And the helping ears rush to help. A big bang!!!! Like it happens.

And the ugly, out of place bare bricks wall is suddenly down, receiving its freedom, away from this palace that is phony for its standards, making its very existence in the frame a sham.

And, the helping ears are in, with body, with soul, with emotion and with anger – all on simultaneous display.

(Specifics of characters are interchangeable here with the sole distinction that the premises always remain the same – they may be of any age – of any sex – of any social class – even of any species.)

Soon we see the protagonist(s) of the frame on rampage in the mansion, throwing goondas here and there. The scene takes some time before collars of the villain is grabbed so that the fighting spirit and skills can be shown in totally, with mandatory bulldozing to overdose levels….like it happens.

Though the goons are still trying to give him a fight, like they were trying from the very first moment, he is outmatching them, making whirlwind rounds of the hall and in fact the overall mansion premises, its rooms, even jumping up and running down stairs, with impeccable somersault moves and acrobatic skills….like it happens.

As the good vs evil fight progresses, more and more goondas are seen biting the dust. There reaches a point when the boiling point of anger is right there with its intensity sending goondas packing, broken and aching….like it happens.

And after an epic fight, the frame cut to the next one where we see the main protagonist (of all) chasing the rapist owner of the mansion. He is the saviour of the moment and soon he is there, to melt the core.

Now desperate and running, the rapist reaches to his gun somehow (or for that matter any other weapon as per the script) somehow and is now taking aim.

There is pin drop silence in the ambience….like it happens.

The watchers have left their munching-grazing midway….like it happens.

But, but, while taking aim, the daddy goonda had not seen the other protagonist who was just behind the rapist, like even the viewers had not seen him in the frame for a long time. We don’t see him charging but all of a sudden, the other protagonist comes between the villain’s aim and the main protagonist, as the routine is, that the other protagonist is sacrificed by the script.

The anger, the tension, now starts spilling over….like it happens.

The main protagonist of all, the saviour of filmmakers and viewers alike, is up on the habitual murders and serial rapist now, ready to snatch the gun and take over the scene in finality.

And lo and behold! Flash and smash!

Like the situation has been conceived, the gun is either snatched and thrown away by the saviour who then shows his martial arts once again or the weapon’s is acted upon in such a way that its aim does the course correction to find its ultimate target – the rapist (or the villain).

Most of the times, the weapon is retired so that viewers can see some ‘real action’, in flesh and blood, in a syrupy cocktail of emotions. And the very next moment, the daddy goonda is in iron grip of our hero. He punches him, kicks him, tosses him up and away, he applies every trick of regulated and free style fight. To the credit of the rapist goon, he is a sturdy fellow who can weather the just excesses committed by the hero till it meets the appetite of viewers….like it happens.

How the climax climaxes!

Bang again!

A glass wall here, a door there, and furniture’s all around in the room get smashed down and we find the daddy goonda on the floor. From that point, he paces out, saving his life from the ongoing wrath of the saviour but fails miserably. He wishes to be a Jamaican sprinter but the script curses him to be an Indian one….like it happens.

It’s the finality – the finality that releases tension. And viewers are back to their normalized ways – grazing, munching while watching the emotional reunion of the caller and the called – the saviour and the saved.

It’s time for some garnishing, some dessert, the cherry on the top of the cake!

Tears are in free flow mode. Many of the viewers in the theatre are clapping, sobbing, and some even crying. The chatter, that had gone silent suddenly, is alive again. The job is well done. Filmwallas have performed their duty. And viewers have paid it back by reacting dutifully.

🙂 🙂 The Way It Is….The Classic Indian Masala Cinema…. 🙂 🙂

©SantoshChaubey

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/

LINCOLN IS..AS GOOD CINEMA IS..

Good cinema is refreshing.

And at times, it proves levitating as well.

Like most people, I also love films – but I am quite selective about what I watch and how I watch.

Films are a brilliant tool to learn from, to think over and to create a lasting memory worth revisiting – the meaningful cinema is all about that.

Films are also the most potent tool for soft communication (or for soft power projection) when the need is to reach masses not restricted by boundaries.

Films created with a ‘craft conscience’ are case studies in themselves to study the art and craft of cinemamaking, to analyse the subject they are based on and to look into the values of the society they are set into.

Such thoughts come to mind whenever I watch some good, meaningful film. And all these thoughts were there again when I was watching ‘Lincoln’ again this evening – a world cinema classic, a production with honourable values in the annals of cinemamaking.

The 2012 film about Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US President, by Steven Spielberg focuses on the final months of Lincoln’s life. It is a moving document to study – for those who are well-informed, for those who are just familiar and for those as well who are not at all aware of. The movie is an important modern day source of one of the most important emancipatory moves made by humans to empower fellow human beings in a democratic society. In fact, the concept of a free society with constitutional equality for all began with this history-making decision executed by Abraham Lincoln in 1865 – making discrimination based on skin colour constitutionally illegal in the United States of America.

Yes, there have been and there are debates and critiques about the cinematic representation of the historical developments in the film but a good piece of ‘meaningful’ cinema liberates you to enjoy the show and inspires you to know further – like, I believe, many would have tried after watching the movie.

The art, the craft, the soul, the flesh – all ingredients of great cinemamaking are here in blossoming health I can say – with acting, with direction, with writing, with lights and camera, with score, with sets, with costumes, with props and so on – and historically, the movie is accurate enough to make viewers sit and experience the age defining development in the modern history of human civilization in making in a thrilling, riveting fashion.

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

SHOLAY: THE PERFECT MASALA FILM

Because its ‘implausibility quotient’ is almost nil owing to a brilliant storytelling..

Obviously, 15th August is known to us as a special day because it is our Independence Day.

But this year, it is also the 40th anniversary of one of the most iconic products of Hindi Cinema/Indian Film Industry/Masala film genre.

Today, Sholay is completing 40 years of its release.

And Sholay is a perfect example of making Masala films, if we see ‘Masala filmmaking’ as an art. A Masala film is a mix of different genres and is generally not considered an artistic achievement. But Sholay transcends here.

Its plot so artistically absorbs any flaw, any loose end in the narration that we usually don’t feel any implausible development while watching the movie.

Now that is a big statement because every Masala film, no matter how big a blockbuster it becomes, has many revealing ‘implausible’ elements in its plotline.

But Sholay’s plot brilliantly (and effectively) suppresses all those elements.

And that plot, that narration, that storytelling is completing its 40 years today – being told and retold all this while – becoming a part of day-to-day lingo with its characters becoming eponymous with societal traits – something that rarely happens with a particular feature film.

And what compounds the – interest is most of the actors and crew members of the film are alive to relive their experiences. Yes, it would be better, at a different level, if Amjad Khan, the actor playing the most iconic character of the movie, Gabbar Singh, would have been here to share his thoughts on this occasion. Amjad Khan is not between us but he made Gabbar Singh immortal – the most talked about character of the movie.

Sholay is ‘perfect’ Masala film based on a plot revolving around one character’s pledge to seek revenge from the main antagonist of the movie. The storyline is strengthened by brilliant acting by every actor – lead and side. The main revenge plot and the different sub-plots are so intrinsically woven that we don’t feel any gap or jump.

If Gabbar Singh, Thakur Sahab, Veeru and Jai are our evergreen stars, so are Soorma Bhopali, Angarezo Ke Jamane Ke Jailor (Jailor), Mausi, Rahim Chacha, Sambha, Kalia and so on.

What happened with Sholay, its wide reach in the masses that has touched times and generations, has happened rarely with a Hindi film.

The movie not only became a classic property for its actors, but also for its director, music director and story/script writers. Every aspect of the film was so tightly packed – right frames in a right sequence – packed neatly one after the other – that we don’t come across boring moments and frustrating questions – something that dilutes interest in any plotline.

The film has borrowed heavily from classic Westerns and even from some Hindi movies but its high point is that it has been successful (and efficiently so) in showing them as its own – in showing them as the inherent plot elements.

It was a perfect blend of different condiments – a spice that has always remained hot and colourful – irrespective of what the experts (and analysts) say – both, for the movie and against it. The filmmakers might not have thought on those lines that some experts say. After all, how could they, if they had to release their movie during the days of Emergency in India?

Filmmakers here wanted to deliver a Masala entertainment package and they excelled in that with Sholay.

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

THE FILM WAS UTTER RUBBISH, TO THE EXTENT THAT IT HELD ME..

COLORES INFINITUM

The film was utter rubbish, to the extent that it held me with my television to watch it – a movie in a South Indian language, dubbed in Hindi – as is the norm on Hindi language movie channels these days.

As happens in one of the main plots of masala films, the hero is an honest government official. He advises villagers, in this case (the movie’s), not to deal with the villain and his gang. The rowdy, ruthless villain, who does illegal things with his illicit empire, however succeeds in duping villagers in connivance with a corrupt justice and a cocky lawyer. `

He buys their land at a low price. The very next day the corrupt judge orders higher prices, the market price which the villain had suppressed from coming into public domain, for the piece of land that makes the villain rich by truckload of money.

Villagers, after hearing the court’s order, feel cheated, and approach the main protagonist, the hero, apologising for ignoring his ‘cautionary remarks’ earlier. After a routine display of friendly displeasure, the hero takes up their case. He files complaint against the villain and the parties involved in this duplicitous land deal.

Obviously, as the plot demands, it unnerves the hooligans involved. They hatch a conspiracy. System is with them – corrupt elements of judiciary and police.

I skipped the movie after it as I had some other work. When I came back, the plot angle showing the ultimate supremacy of the villain was to begin. With a truckload of goons and with system in his pocket, gang of the villain raids the hero’s house. Due to his terror, no one in the village comes forward to help the family.

They chain the hero with a tree in his compound. Ladies of the family are subjected to all heinous crimes possible. Hero’s son and father are made to serve the gang with all their demands, including fetching alcoholic liquor for them.

Days go on, with the hero remain strapped to the tree. His beard goes dense and dishevelled, like his whole countenance has become.

After perpetrating more than enough of their barbarities and inflicting severe humiliation on the family, the gang leaves, believing the hero is more than subdued by this time.

Now, the supremacy of their villainous events end here. The plot needs the final act by the hero – taking revenge – killing all those who are responsible for his family’s condition.

His father unchains him from the tree and after routine emotional expressions (shots), he goes straight on the job. He kills the local policemen who were co-opted by the villain – in open public. He is then shown in a jail as he kills the local police station chief outside a police station. There, a senior police officer, who is with the villain, tries to kill the hero. But the hero beats him and is shown climbing up the straight, plastered wall of the jail. The villainous police officer chases him. He follows him on the wall which the hero is shown climbing like a lizard.

The upper periphery of the wall has iron angles charged with electric current. But the current doesn’t affect the hero – a plot requirement I think – while the villainous policeman, who is trying to grab the hero by pulling him down, is thrown away by its shock. And the hero easily escapes.

There, outside the jail, he meets a good samaritan sort of policeman. After the hero pleads, the righteous policeman is shown allowing him to go on his revenge course.

The final moments of the film’s climax begin here. One by one, the hero kills every member of the villain’s gang behind his family’s devastation. The main villain – as the plot requires – is the last one. And as the plot requires – the hero goes on a killing spree in open – and he is supported by children and adults, including his son.

In the end – as the movie requires, keeping its viewers in mind – the hero goes back to the ‘good samaritan policeman’ to surrender.

And as the plot requires – keeping in mind the sentiments of its audience – the ‘good samaritan policeman’ refuses to ‘arrest the hero and send him to the gallows’.

And as happens with a South Indian movie, the hero is shown possessing superhuman powers in this movie also. He is not show physically beaten even when he stands chained to the tree in his house. He is shown mentally and physically superior and as the plot needs – he is also a powerhouse of emotions – and his course doesn’t follow the basic course of logic.

The audiences need his superiority to win in the end – and as written – he wins.

That is one of the typical South Indian masala flicks based on a ‘revenge plot’.

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

ELEMENTS OF A MASALA FILM: MOST ‘PERCEIVED’ REVENGE ACTION FILMS BEGIN LIKE THIS!

The main protagonist, or the hero, has his origin, his home, in a nondescript place – a village, a small town or a place where police (law and order) are like non-existent (or have been effectively co-opted).

Father of the hero happens to be a simple family man who is incorruptible. He never compromises on values of universal honesty and preaches and teaches his children the same. And he finds, in his wife, an uncompromising partner for the same.

The family background is modest but the family is mostly idealist and happy with content family members. Even if the family is shown financially not doing well, the family values of universal norms flow through every member of the family.

Conditions are shown that make the hero’s father take on the villainous elements – the antagonist and his lot. Either he is a honest police officer who doesn’t allow them to work or he is an honest man (of any profession) who somehow is proving hostile to the interests of the gang of the rogue guys.

In quick succession of orchestrated (and expected) events, the villainous elements get upper hand, killing the hero’s father or creating a situation where the father is forced to take his own life.

Now, there are three possible scenarios on it – scenarios that are widely used in most masala movies:

— Villains collude with the villainous policemen and hatch a conspiracy to kill the father (or a similar figure). The film set-up shows sacrifice of an honest man ‘as an honest man’.

— Villains collude with the villainous policemen or other people to defame the honest man to the extent that he is shown forced to take his own life.

— Villains collude with other villainous elements, prove that the hero’s father is a corrupt and criminal figure and kill him in Kangaroo sort of justice.

And it all happens in front of the hero – in his childhood, in his teens or even in his grown-up/mature years – a hero that is shown incapable of doing anything but crying on this turn of events.

The events that force the family to relocate – to a place depending on the plot of the film. Days of peace are shown turned into days of hardships.

The hero’s mother is shown to remain honest while his son evolves – either into a good guy or a bad guy or an anti-hero (with elements of both) – with ‘revenge’ as his main thrust to take the story forward. Some plots have more than one son. In that case, though both sons are good human beings, they follow good or bad paths to fulfil the mission – to exact their revenge on the perpetrators who started a chain reaction – a sequence of events that ends with their doom in the film’s climax.

The internal family struggle for values that comes with this relocation forms the mid-course narrative of all revenge based action packed masala movies – the evergreen genre of the Indian film industry.

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