MADAARI POWERFULLY CONVEYS WHAT IT WANTS TO CONVEY

Madaari is a powerful film because of the message it conveys – an element that effectively counters flaws that we may discuss in the art of filmmaking here.

And it does so sensitively, touching cords. The film is not just a sensitive portrayal of a father-son relation but is also an apt expression of a common man who is crushed by the system. It is a vengeance story with no personal vendetta. It is as variegated in portrayal as the human thought can be, especially of a man who has lost his everything including the will to live and who wants to avenge his loss at any cost but who, at the same time, is bound by the larger cause of ‘what is right and what ails’ the system.

A vigilante thought process underpins the character developments in the movie – a thought element that we all have in our lifetimes. It is its leitmotif.

The main protagonist in the film loses his son in a flyover collapse which is caused by irregularities and corruption in its construction. The film explains well the internal struggle of a man who fails to accept this loss and chooses to concentrate his anger on the corrupt system that is plaguing the society – that caused the collapse.

A vigilante film is basically about uncommon heroics of someone from among us. The good thing about Madaari is, that though it’s basic premise is far-fetched, it tries to look real – like the reflection of peace and innocent happiness that the main protagonist’s character displays when he finally succeeds in telling to the masses that he has kidnapped the home minister’s son and why he has done so – something that the whole machinery is trying to keep under wraps.

And the film does it with élan. Character development is a high point of this film – every character that is a stakeholder here contributes with heart – the main protagonist, his son, his wife, the captive who also happens to be the son of the home minister, the home minister and his wife, the cop, the corrupt politician and so on.

A home minister who leaves his son in a minimum security school hostel to seek political mileage, a dejected father who abducts that son and roams across many states throughout the movie, a cop who decides not to kill him after knowing his real story and indirectly helps him, a cop who aspires to get the plum posting of some state governor after retirement – unbelievable, unreasonable premises – but then isn’t it not about the most vigilante movies – and, in fact, with all the superhero movies?

Yet we love them – be it ‘The Equalizer’ or the Batman movies of the Superman movies or the Iron Man movies or our very own ‘Krrish’.

It is because of the human psychology – where we all, more or less, at some point of time or regularly – face its brunt – and the main protagonist of the movie is shown taking on such (rogue) VIP elements.

It is because such films give wings to our fantasy that craves (and at times cribs) because of the fundamentally feeble nature of human beings who have been harassed by a corrupt system – something that we all face – and find ourselves forced to compromise.

Madaari portrays that.

MadaariFacebook

©SantoshChaubey

Featured Image Courtesy: Madaari’s Official Facebook page

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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/

GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN AND PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA 2: DIDN’T GET ‘GHAYAL’; NO ‘PUNCH’

Yesterday happened to be a day when I randomly caught some motion in action – from two Hindi movies – recent releases and products of the commercial cinema from the Mumbai film industry.

And since most of the output coming from Mumbai is simply rubbish, it mattered to me when I invested my time on them.

There was a historical and observational connect.

Historical because I like three movies of Sunny Deol to the point that I can watch them again – and in a serious composure – Arjun, Ghayal and Ghatak.

Observational because I had left the other movie watching midway after someone, somehow, had taken me to the theatre playing the movie ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama’.

The movies in point yesterday were ‘Ghayal Once Again’ and ‘Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2’.

There was natural inclination to catch ‘Ghayal Once Again’ as ‘Ghayal’ was really a good cinematic production incorporating ingredients of a revenge drama in an optimum blend of socio-politico-cultural milieu of India of the time, and not just its metro India. And above all, the movie was loaded with a balanced dose of emotional exploits.

There was this urge to see if Sunny Deol could redo his that feet in this movie – or had built more on it – or had just somehow managed it – or had messed up with the brand equity of a good movie franchise.

And after watching the movie, even if in bits – my first and last reaction is – it is not at all ‘Ghayal’ once again.

Though it is much better than the crap being dished out by the Mumbai film industry and even by Sunny Deol, we can say Sunny Deol has just somehow managed with it.

And that is a big letdown.

The movie looked more like a polished version of new age social media lingo and technology and a botched up PR attempt of its main climactic location and the underlying theme behind the movie. The premise that the movie is based on is a ‘very real’ possibility in our society but it has been ‘very poorly’ handled here. The characters, the characterization, and the elements associated with them don’t impress. Sunny Deol doesn’t impress. The emotional mix here sounds more like a diatribe or misplaced element. The rage expressed by the characters is simply outrageous – their pragmatism impractical. And the movie does a ‘very very poor’ job in getting inspired from Jason Bourne’s iconic trilogy and its cyber-snooping warfare.

And Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 – well, I was not able to complete watching the movie even the last time – even if I had a free ticket – and associated goodies. But the movie achieved some cult status afterwards – as it is reported. And that now it has come with a part 2 tells it also did some good business back then and sent out feelers that there was a market for such products.

Sometime later, at some point in my past, I came across its ‘monologue-esque scene’ – a long duration frame with one of its characters speaking his mind out finally on ‘a girl in a boy-girl’ relationship – emptying his heart out – ejaculating all the frustration, irritation and anger of years. Though I don’t have much experience in all this boy-girl affairs, of spending time together and staying together, I do have some observational learning experiences and I loved the flow in that particular scene. A sort of punch was here in this scene.

And that scene was the reason that I went to watch the movie yesterday – the qualifier being restricting my engagement to some selected scenes.

And the movie, in fact, was even more boring this time – with no innovation – similar plotline – and in fact even similar circumstances around characters. It was like an old script being enacted by different characters. Okay, the premise is evergreen – social media age love story – and many would find its ‘betrayal theme’ pulling – but the narrative here is really poorly developed. And above all, the long duration monologue-esque dialogue looks jumbled this time. The flow last time looked natural. This time it looked so flawed, so made up. In fact, the whole movie seems like a gibberish that you don’t care to attend to. Simply, no punch here!

©/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

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION AND JEAN-PAUL SARTRE’S EXISTENTIALISM

‘Is ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ best cinema tribute to Jean-Paul Sartre’s Existentialism?’

Well, I had not thought so sweepingly on this line even if I had already watched the movie multiple times, until the last night when I was reading about it.

The Wikipedia page on the movie had this ‘sweeping’ statement:

“The film has been critically acclaimed for depicting Jean-Paul Sartre’s ideas about existentialism more fully than any other contemporary movie.”

When I further dug in to find its originating source, I stumbled upon a web page of ‘Philosophy Now’ magazine with an article by some Alexander Hooke on the movie – but available only to subscribers beyond its initial few lines.

These lines are:

“Hope helps keep us alive and anticipating the next sunrise with joy rather than gloom. It enlivens projects and maintains focus. Hope is sustained by the confidence we have in our knowledge of the situation, although the possibility of being deceived, by others or ourselves, can undermine this confidence. Still, hope promises a time or place where things will be better, even if it seems we’re stuck in perpetual hell. Accounts through the millennia depict hell as a realm full of fascinating and ghastly demons, endless tortures, with Satan ruling with a fiery fist, and where hope is impossible.”

Yes, the movie is all about that – in fact a subtle depiction of – in most real and practical ways possible.

And I believe when it so rightly writes about ‘hope and hopes’ – even if we are well aware of limitations, the write-up will certainly have its own logics to discuss about ‘Existentialism’ in the movie, especially Sartre’s Existentialism.

Now, there are three characters central to the movie:

The one which presents before us a characterization epitomizing hope – believing in his existence and persevering to see it materialise, even if it means decades of focused job on something, to steal the day finally for him.

The next one is a sort of crusader of hope with faded charm, helping his friend in difficult times and giving him the means to sustain his ‘hope’ and at the same time, is resigned to his fate, is not sure of his identity.

The last one is like the first one, but in an audacious way, pinning his ‘hope’ on others’ shoulders – thinking of an existence for him and going all out to usurp it.

How do they play out their ‘existences’ and their ‘hopes’ in the movie? Let’s ‘watch’ the movie again.

Let’s see.

©/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/