NAACHGAANA

  • Movie review by Anupama Chopra: Haider is deeply stirring
    film_maker | October 2, 2014, 12:46 PM | no comments | 39 views


    Haider
    Direction: Vishal Bhardwaj
    Actors: Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan, Shraddha Kapoor
    Rating: ***1/2
    There is much in Haider that deserves a standing ovation. Let’s start with the courage of director Vishal Bhardwaj. Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most difficult and ambiguous texts. It’s also his longest— it takes over four hours to deliver.
    Hamlet in itself is a beast to be tamed. Vishal and his co-writer, the acclaimed Kashmiri journalist Basharat Peer, transplant the play to Kashmir. It plays out against a socio-political tragedy that has been wrought over six decades and that has a Rashomon-like quality to it — the heroes and villains switch places, depending on the narrator.
    The result is a film that is problematic and far too long, but also thrillingly ambitious and powerful.
    The action takes place in 1995. There is something rotten in paradise. Pura Kashmir quaid khana hai, a character remarks. Haider, played by Shahid Kapoor, returns home from Aligarh.
    His father, a doctor who tries to save a militant’s life, has been imprisoned by the army. His house has been razed. His mother Ghazala, played by Tabu, has moved into his uncle’s house. The air is thick with deceit. Haider the poet slowly transforms into Haider the murderer.
    Haider was shot almost entirely in Kashmir, but Vishal isn’t interested in presenting the picturesque tourist spots. Instead, we see narrow lanes, unadorned homes and swathes of snow that turn red as the bodies pile up. Vishal doesn’t flinch from brutality — men are murdered and abducted by Indian forces while women weep and a strange madness envelops the land. It’s horrific.
    It’s also stretched and structurally disjointed. At one point, a romantic song randomly interrupts the flow. The Kashmiri accents are inconsistent. In places the narrative meanders, and Vishal seems to be losing his grip. At times, I got restless and wondered if perhaps the makers had bitten off more than they could chew.
    But the one thing that doesn’t falter is the talent. Kay Kay Menon, whose ability is wasted in films like Raja Natwarlal, returns to form as the conniving advocate who covets his brother’s wife.
    Irrfan Khan, playing the militant Roohdaar, brings an unflashy competence to the story. In the beginning, Shahid seems out of his depth; this is, after all, one of the toughest roles in literature.
    One that actors like Sir Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh wrestled with. But slowly Shahid comes to inhabit Haider, veering from rage to jealousy to madness in a heartbeat. And towering above them all is Tabu— the mother who aches, loves and ultimately loses.
    At the heart of Haider is the love between a passionate, complex woman who seeks a sliver of happiness amidst overwhelming circumstances, and her son, who both loves her with an unnatural intensity and hates her for her betrayal of his father. Vishal handles the Oedipal undertones with exquisite daring and understanding. This relationship powers the film. Haider must be seen for this alone.
    Go into the film knowing that it is problematic and unwieldy. And that it is one side of the story — Kashmiri Pundits get a token mention and, after being cast as the villain, the Indian army gets a line of praise for its handling of the floods in Kashmir.
    Those are stories that perhaps other filmmakers will choose to tell. But I can guarantee that you will emerge from Haider shell-shocked. And when was the last time a Hindi film did that to you?

    Article Link




  • I Candy
    film_maker | September 19, 2014, 6:18 AM | no comments | 52 views

    Thoughts on AR Rahman’s gloriously fun and wholly individual soundtrack for the new Shankar film.

    You know that familiar Tamil-cinema contrivance where a prisoner in handcuffs is being led away in a police van, and the van stops at a crossing, and the prisoner looks around furtively and sees a chance, and as the cops are looking the other way (or maybe after a scuffle) he slips out and runs into the forest, and he runs and he runs, and then, in a clearing, there’s a conveniently located shack where a sweaty smithy is pounding away on an anvil, and he looks up and sees those handcuffs in front of his nose, and he brings his hammer down and frees the prisoner? That’s the picture that kept coming to mind as I listened to AR Rahman’s soundtrack for Shankar’s I. Free. That’s what Rahman sounds like here. Free from the constraints of Tamil cinema. Free from hewing to situations. Free to leap off a cliff and land on a passing cloud and float away for a while. Whatever you think of Shankar’s filmmaking, you have to give him this: he wields one hell of a hammer. He liberates Rahman.

    Read full article here




  • Amitabh Bachchan: Bollywood star’s 10 million Twitter followers
    film_maker | September 4, 2014, 12:56 PM | no comments | 48 views

    Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has crossed over 10 million followers on Twitter.

    The actor is prolific on the microblogging site and is the most followed user on Twitter in India.

    The 71-year-old star, who has acted in more than 180 films, recently made his Hollywood debut in a new adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

    He also hosts the hugely popular Kaun Banega Crorepati, the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. (more…)




  • Richard Attenborough, Actor, Director and Giant of British Cinema, Dies at 90
    film_maker | August 25, 2014, 2:52 PM | no comments | 27 views

    Richard Attenborough, Actor, Director and Giant of British Cinema, Dies at 90

    Richard Attenborough, who after a distinguished stage and film acting career in Britain reinvented himself to become the internationally admired director of the monumental “Gandhi” and other films, died on Sunday. He was 90.

    His death was confirmed by his son, Michael, according to the BBC. (more…)




  • WELCOME TO THE NEW NAACHGAANA
    film_maker | August 23, 2014, 7:25 AM | 11 comments | 227 views

    Dear Members and Visitors,

    We are back. After a few months of inactivity and bad design (both which I take great responsibility for), I have redone NG from scratch so goes back to being the BEST Bollywood/Indian film experience ever. NG has been through a lot yet we keep on going while others seem to give up or vanish completely. Our resilience is our trademark and this says more about you, the member – the visitor – than about a blog or me. I have tried to do my part by fixing many of the mistakes of the past in this new kind of NG. I hope this iteration brings everyone a new jot – with old friends and new faces – as we all rise NG to power.

    To this, I say one word which says it all:

    NAACHGAANA.

    Love, (more…)




  • How to deal with flops
    film_maker | August 17, 2014, 2:03 PM | no comments | 280 views



    After Humshakals was criticised by viewers and critics, actor Saif Ali Khan too trashed the film, saying it was regressive and he regretted being a part of it and underestimating his audience’s intelligence.

    But how difficult is it for a director to stand by his own project, when the lead actor slams it by saying the film didn’t have a script to begin with? Director Teja, who has worked in Tollywood and Bollywood and directed films like Nuvvu Nenu, Jai and Nijam, feels that it is unfair of any actor to wash his hands off a project when it has failed.

    “And in Saif’s case, he had a triple role in the film and he practically occupied 80 per cent of the screen space. How could it be that he of all people didn’t know what was going on?” he says.

    Filmmakers Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K., who have directed films like Shor in the City and Go Goa Gone, have managed to get things going, and are working on their next film Happy Endings, even though Go Goa Gone didn’t fare very well at the box office. (more…)




  • The Hundred-Foot Journey: My Book, Their Movie
    film_maker | August 17, 2014, 1:26 PM | no comments | 131 views

    My surreal journey into the world of movie-making started long before my family and I walked down the red carpet two weeks ago. That was the night producers Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Juliet Blake showcased their beautiful film of The Hundred-Foot Journey, my novel about a young Indian chef who becomes a three-star chef in Paris.

    One of the most memorable moments actually happened last fall, when my wife and I visited the film set an hour outside of Toulouse, the mud fields where director Lasse Hallström and a long list of major-league talent, including actors Helen Mirren and Om Puri, were miraculously turning my little tale into a big-screen fable. Oprah Winfrey wanted to meet me, and so my wife and I nervously made our way to the producer’s tent, near the old farmhouse that had been turned into an Indian restaurant. Inside the tent, which was filled with lush platters of fruit, Oprah strode forward, shook my hand, and told me how much she enjoyed the book and how surprised she was to learn I wasn’t Indian. It was a bit like being summoned by the Queen — I babbled like an idiot.

    Richard C. Morais, his wife Susan, left, and their daughter, Kate, at the premiere of The Hundred-Foot Journey. Photo: Newscom
    But then I heard the voice I have had in my head for 17 years. It was my character, Madame Mallory, and I looked around for the source. There, on a small monitor in the tent, was a close-up of Helen Mirren, perfectly channeling my creation. I became a little emotional. “You must forgive me,” I stammered, “but it’s a bit overwhelming. This is my 100-foot journey.” Oprah fixed me with her leonine stare for a moment and said, “Richard, let’s face it. This is a lot more than a 100 feet.” (more…)



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