Thursday, January 27, 2005

Warrior Poet Or Sorrier Duet?

Sadly, the latter.A Duet of Ghai and his disaster-streak. In times of Bollywood taglines syndrome such as Aan: Men at work [ wasnt about road repairers either] and Baaz:The Bird [yeah. Dictionary inspired titles were the norm once] Kisna: The Warrior Poet had an exotic feel to it. Kinda like "Warriors of Heaven and Earth" or suchlike. And hey, why not? the trailors were truly exciting with horses swords and feet twirling at 45 degrees to the ground..hurrah! finally! A movie to excite international audience [raking in awards perhaps] and appease the period-movie starved desi population. A Painstaking account of a woefully painful pain of a panned movie [oh allright.pain pain geddit right?]

Oh, damn! you actually clicked on "read more". duh! didnt i tell ya was a lousy movie? Let me guess, you into a "i want to read for myself and make an informed decision" mode? Well allrighty then asked for it [rolling up sleeves and practicing ear-wriggles to scare off opponent]

So am well seated in near empty theatre carefully trying to avoid popcorn on floor [as they make crunchy noise and sometimes i like that noise and sometimes i dont and and..screech!] I dont know about you, but the whole swishing logos of any production company excites me in a theatre so waiting patiently for mukta arts to come up. Hey, whats this? Ah ok. An ad for Ghai's Institute for film-making. shabana azmi and a host of others speak eloquently of the institute. Try darnest best to be in "aha!india's answer to NYU film institute" mode and almost succeed as still in good-natured mood.

Movie titles--hurrah!! beam happily at companions who are intensely analyzing structure of popcorn [not the one picked from the floor. One from a NEW packet]. Notice a black and white horse all through titles and ponder over significance of this perceivably reused "Mcdowells whisky" kinda clip but let it pass.

Old liddy from Britain in a reminescent mode attempting to recall "myera keeeesna"--suitably impressed by the mouthing of hindi dialogs et al. Flashback begins with Brit family in hillytown of india. Little girl pally with little boy and other little girl unhappily dancing in far, so good. Little girls, as expected become big girls as do the boys and allz well till brit girl is on the run during independence time--sure enough, along hops little boy aka kisna to help distressed damsel.

Significant moment in the movie- This is the point when Ghai fills up the application form to take leave of his senses. Application approval comes through at this poignant moment and Ghai whoops in delight and proceeds to mess the movie, inch by inch, meticulously in manner of a craftsman whoz profession is to destroy.

A few things that work in the movie first though [like grandmoms insist you put an "om" above test paper for goodluck--and then you proceed to fill it up with trashiest garbage as a paradoxical joke]

The Music: A.R Rehman and Ismail Darbar are fantastic. Background scores rock, only the action on the screen couldnt keep up with it.

Cinematography: Surprisingly inconsistent. Puzzling repetitions of same shots over and over again as if the cameraguy lost all the film he had recorded shots on and is reusing 5 basic shots to salvage his paycheck.To be fair, those few shots are good.

Dances: The new actress'[isha sharwani] dance routine is probably what antara mali lamely attempted in Naach. She is phenomenally good, but her dance has been overused like my pair of faded denims. Barely tolerable towards the end. She has attempted to skillfully blend classical dance with gymnastic movements and is brilliant. But it soon gets downright ridiculous when she climbs up the veins of a banyan tree at the drop of a hat --strongly resembling the betaal in vikram-betaal.

Sushmita sen in yeah, an "item" number: Yeah i know.Item numbers are hardly the highlight of a movie, but this woman sizzles still. She is awkward at Kathak--a dance for the nimble footed that she certainly isnt. But she is arresting and the visuals for this particular song are extremely appreciable.

The Actors: They did the best they could. Crippled by a lousy script written by a person obsessed with killing the movie, they could only do so much. The British actress is appreciable, but not as much as the hype claims. She is refreshing to begin with and soon wilts soon enough, justifiably so. For a professional dancer, Isha is good--expressions she excels in and that makes her acting adequate. Vivek Oberoi seems tired and jaded---not surprising.He probably has no clue what to do--where to put the effort. Its only towards the end that he seems to perk up to act-only to succumb again to mindblowingly crazy dialogs.

The actual awful hell of it all

The script, dialogs and oh well, the direction.

Yeah i know--what else to a movie right? Its like great naan and nothing for it to go with--buttery naan is all very good and all but dude, wherez the curry?

Script ran like most of my blogs do--loses steam soon. The only bonding you could see onscreen was between Kisna and his brother, an angle that was starved of development inspite of potential. chemistry zilch between the main guy and his lady love[s]. an ill-placed vivek mushran looks cheesy, and unnecessary.Towards the end you can sense Ghai's panic-mode- here is an excerpt to prove that.

Kisna and Elizabeth scooting into faridabad enroute to delhi. Suddenly confronted by Violent looking men who demand to know if Kisna is a Hindu or Muslim [partition-time hungama conveniently used]. Valiant Hero replies "i am kisna" [duh!] and proceeds to massacre them. Running continues--encounter a buncha cops on the lookout for them [one policeman actually goes--'license plate ENG 999. Matlab 1000 se ek kam"] and escape again. Badass lecherous villain scoops elizabeth into godown and unbelievably, does a "mard kaun hai main dikhata hoon" routine [a pointless backshot of elizabeth to invoke sympathy in manner of 80's movies]. Kisna thrashes guy and runs again--when another buncha guys turn up to ask [ahem] "tu hindu hai ki musalman" [GROAN!] Elizabeth [who strategically places a cross on kisna's chain] proceeds to lecture them on a "kyooon aisa jagda kaaar raaahe ho". And, hold your breath, just when recurring villain is thrown into a burning building a minute later, elizabeth is trapped needlessly [wot an attention hog] under a jeep. The punchline of this whole narration? the above happened in 10 minutes flat.

Dialogs: Suck. Subhash Ghai has this great concept of a movie, an interesting time period but proceeds to make a ram lakhan or a trimurti out of it. He just cant get out of that mode, period. Dialogs range from "You wait here. Lemme go get the tickets awright?" mouthed by a hindustan ki kasam kisna in 1947 to "arey yeh to india hai.yahaan sab chalta hai" by illiterate village belle [huh? they dont say that even now!].Inconsistency with the period for sure, but the dialogs are no different from 1980's masala flicks and that grates on me a bit.

Subhash Ghai has officially lost it- While there arent many movies i WANT to like [unless by ramgopalvarma or is a spiderman flick] this one disappointed me inspite of the many allowances I gave as 'small mistakes'.

Yet, this movie should stand out as a brilliant example of how when actors, music directors, most cinematography and choreography and concept could be GREAT a director and an editor can single [or double] handedly butcher it.

I havent seen any movie of Ghai's after Khalnaayak [which i really liked] and i've been told i shouldnt be surprised considering pardes, taal and yaadein. I would have much preferred seeing his brilliantly conceived trailors bunched together on big-screen. And for the curious, he does appear in the movie [thankfully not as a bespectacled villager on a bullock cart] but after the titles pointing needlessly into the horizon in a brave sunset pose.

Another weird note: I am no movie reviewer, but I have come across reviews that either call the movie brilliant [which leads me, the conspiracy theorist, to believe they were bought over] and others who vaguely claim the movie to be inspired by titanic [sheesh! coz the old lady remembers kisna. Desperate association?] or [hold your breath] last of the mohicans [dont even ask who. (psst taran adarsh on indiafm)] just coz its the fight of two lovers in bad times [like every other 'romantic' flick isnt].

Deciding to analyze popcorn structure at the cinemas the next time,

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