Pick This Flick 6-Changing face of Bollywood  

Posted by Praveen in , , , ,

Been a long time since I wrote something in the 'pick this flick' series. So, here I am offering you 3 movies in one post. 3 movies that are a commentary of the current troubled times that our country is facing. 3 movies that are a departure from Bollywood's tried and tested to death masala formulas. Am talking about 'Aamir', 'A wednesday' and 'Mumbai Meri Jaan'. Watched these 3 movies over the past 3 weekends.

'Aamir',directed by debutant Raj Kumar Gupta is a neatly packaged movie which will manage to keep you on the edge of your seat till the end. It is all done so tightly that even after the interval, you are left in the dark on what is actually going on. The movie starts with the words "Kaun Kehta Hai, Aadmi Apni Kismat Khud Likhta Hai?" (who said man writes his own destiny). As we progress into the movie, we understand the true meaning of these words. How circumstances force the protagonist to act in ways which he wouldn't even dare to if things were normal. Aamir Ali(Rajeev Khandeiwal) returns to India from London after a longtime. The scene where the customs checks his baggage more than once just because he belongs to a particular community makes you think. And aamir then asks the officer, "what if my name was Amit?Would you treat him the same way?". As soon as he finishes, the next man in queue arrives and utters his name 'Amit'. Aamir lives through a nightmare right from the time he steps out of the airport. He's forced to play a treasure hunt like game obeying the orders that he gets through a mobile phone from an unknown person. Am not revealing anything more as it'll spoil the experience of watching this movie. The climax is just superb. It is a slap in the face for those who sympathise with terrorists and blaming circumstances for their barbaric act. Some may brand this climax as too cinematic, but I for one doesn't think so. Its so apt. Kudos to the debutant cast and crew of this film for such a wonderful film.
Next up is 'A wednesday' directed by another debutant Neeraj Pandey. Its the story of a strange case narrated by police commisioner Prakash Rathod(Anupam Kher). He tells us about a man, played brilliantly by Naserrudin Shah, who called him up and told that he has planted bombs in 5 key places in the city and is set to go off in 4 hours. To prevent the bomb from being detonated, the police has to obey whatever he's telling. He sits atop a half finished building with all the latest gadgets and driving the police mad. To dispell the doubt whether he's a hoax caller, he makes them search out a bomb from the nearby police station, which he had placed earlier. Rathod employs his best young officers to solve the case. A young funky hacker is also brought in to trace the man's whereabouts. the hacker makes a really funny comment on the outdated equipments used by the police which leaves us in splits. The man also gives mysterious tip offs to the media regarding what is going to happen in the next 4 hours. This all leads to one of the best climatic scenes I've seen in bollywood in recent times. The speech that Naserrudin Shah gives at the end is just spellbinding. He talks at length about the plight of the common man faced with terrorism. A touch of class is given by not revealing the man's name even at the end of the movie. It just ends up as a case which doesn't have any official record. Its only there in Prakash Rathod's memory. In the same way, this movie will be there in the memory of everyone who has watched it. I really wish things like what is shown in this movie happened in real life too.
The final film in this series is 'Mumbai meri jaan' directed by yet another newcomer Nishikant Kamat. This is his first film in Hindi after his debut with the Marathi film 'Dombivili fast'. The film chronicles the life of 5-6 random people in Mumbai during the 09/07 train blasts. Rupali(Soha Ali Khan) is a typical news hungry journo who thrusts her mic into the face of grieving victims of some tragedy and asks that stupid question "how do you feel?". Her fiancee makes fun of her in this matter. Nikhil(Madhavan) is a professional who never travels in a taxi or doesn't have plans to buy a car, preferring instead the local trains. He also preferrs to work in the country having said no to lucrative offers in the US. Suresh(KK Menon) is a Hindu who has a suspicious eye over all the muslims. He reminded me of Edward Norton's character in 'American History X'. Then there is constable Patil(Paresh Rawal) who is soon to retire from service and spends his time making others laugh and teaching some good things to the hot blooded new recruit Kadam. Thomas(Irrfan Khan) is a madrasi tea vendor who finds himself a misfit in the big city of influential and rich people, which is clearly portrayed in that scene where him and his family visits the mall and ends up insulted. All these people's lives take a different turn after the blasts. Rupali loses her fiancee to the blasts and finds herself as the target of news hungry journos who are eager to sell her story and make a soap opera out of it.'Rupali ki rudali' reminded me of Aaj Tak. Nikhil who had a close escape from the blasts is scared to travel in trains anymore and prefers to take a taxi instead. Suresh suspects the muslim guys who used to frequent the tea shop as having a hand in the blasts. Thomas, in his fit of anger against the mall owners who insulted him, starts making hoax bomb calls to the city malls, which ends up bringing hardships to many. But in the end, something good awaits each one of them. The film is a tribute to the resilience of the Mumbaikars. The most beautiful thing in the movie is the portrayal of the change in Suresh's anti-muslim mindset. Towards the end of the film he is seen sharing a cup of tea with a musalmaan. This movie is worth watching just for that. And hope Raj thackerey sees this and get some sense into his bloody senseless head.

The timing of these 3 movies is so apt. We are having terrorist attacks every other day in this country. There are so many misguided opinions flying around everywhere. Films like these can end up educating people regarding the need of the hour and prevent them from doing anything rash. It also helps to reduce the building tension in the soceity. It also reinforces the idea that new directors can bring in fresh ideas. We don't need big banners, big stars or big money to make meaningful films that contribute in some ways to the soceity. For that, we need creative directors and powerful writers who can script things which are unthinkable in the masala framework. This new wave of cinema which is neither purely parallel nor purely masala can do a world of good to Indian cinema. It can bring in the audiences as well as increase the stature of Indian cinema in the world. Thanks to the multiplexes and the changing mindset of the audiences without which such a revolution wouldn't have been possible in Indian cinema.

PS-Sorry for the really long post. Can't help it. :D

images courtesy-dearcinema.com,indiatarget.com

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Monday, October 06, 2008 at Monday, October 06, 2008 and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


i have watched these movies.. hey infy trivandrum? a couple of my friends there... abhilash... archana HR, remya HR, and a lot of dancers...
u were there for this year's tech a break?
i was in IBS then...

11:08 PM

You're right Mumbai Meri Jaan is a lesson for Raj Thakeray types. Wednesday was a sign of frustration. But what was commendable is that they dont reveal his religion.
(I was pretty worried ud be reviewing Karz when I read the title!)

12:46 AM

am yet to see mumbai meri jaan .. but yes the other two were refreshing and also brilliant

1:58 AM

Hmmm... Nice.

Am no movie-buff; but yeah, liked reading it! It's good to see this changing face of Bollywood. Comes as a whiff of fresh air...


2:54 AM

Hats off to the entire crew of "Aamir" and "A Wednesday".Haven't watched "Mumbai meri jaan" yet...surely next on the line. And I hope Bollywood's face keeps changing as u said, in giving us more good movies or infact some sensible movies that sends out some message to everyone.

9:36 AM

Good post. It made for a very interesting read. Of the three movies, I have seen 'A Wednesday', and just loved it! It's so fast paced and thrilling and the ending was superb. Mind blowing work.

I guess this trend started in Bollywood somewhere with Farhan Akhtar's Dil Chahta Hai. Many good films have come after that a la Khosla ka Ghosla, Bheja Fry, Mithya, Honeymoon Travels, Water....endless.

Now, even producers are willing to make these small-budget-good-story films. UTV Spotboy. PNC films.

In this regard, I have great respect for Mani Ratnam Sir. There's something about his films. His stories are contemporary and believable. Not just all about Switzerland and chiffon sarees. Yuva, Guru, Roja, Nayagan, Anjali, Alaipayuthey, Kannathil Muttammittal.......beautiful works.It's my dream to work with him oneday :)

Pretty long comment, eh? When it's about cinema I just can't stop =>


10:30 AM

infy bangalore man..but my native is trivandrum..sadly donnow the people u mentioned. now whr r u working?

11:32 PM

yes..exactly.not revealing the religion is a masterclass from the makers of this movie
(How dare u think like that:P)

watch this one also..dont miss it

so hope u'll watch this movies:)

hope this is just a start and we'll get 100 more meaningful movies

good that u mentioned mani ratnam sir.one of my favourite Indian directors and people tend to forget him whenever they talk about talented Indian directors.am a die hard fan of him
U hope to work with him?acting ya technical? am I getting comments from a future film star?..hehhee:D

and coming to new wave in bollywood, all the movies u mentioned are low budget movies which were high on substance. Hope more such films get made..

and yeah..thnks 4 the long comment..:D

11:39 PM

i concur vit ur post..all these films r indeed hard hitting n thought provoking n the timing is just apt :)

I'd interviewed Rajeev Khandelwal (protagonist-AAMIR)


11:56 PM

hey, I never knew u were a journalist. tht was a nice interview..good set of questions..
wat is TWF?

12:26 AM

Yup, even I hope many more such films get made :)

As for working with Mani sir, I want to become his Assistant, and then move on to become a full fledged film maker. That's my dream *sigh*. As for acting, I wouldn't say no because never say never, but have never tested my acting capabilities ever. I want to join the NSD here in Delhi.

I have great respect for the acting profession. It's no mean task. Plus, you get to live so many lives.....isn't that wonderful and truly the essence of life, playing varied roles!

Hope my dream comes true one day, pray for me. :)

Take care

9:53 AM

TWF is Trans World..It's a Calcutta based news agency..I used to write for them..Now I'm with Rediff :)

1:29 PM

thts gr8 to hear. Hope all your dreams come true so that some years down the line I get to write a follow up post to this one..'the new face of Bollywood';)

and dont forget that I dont mind acting too...and acting in Mani sir's film is a dream. No probs even if the director is u ;D

11:03 PM

oh ok..is it a full time job with rediff?

11:04 PM

I haven't seen ny of these but I wud say the movies people like these days are not of the intense story and good plot types so they get flopped and I must tell u i hav a lot of favorites in those flops.

So its nothing but superficiality.

6:17 AM

Aww..thanks Praveen! That made me feel so special! It made my day! Thanks! And I'll see to it that you write the follow up post soon ;) And don't worry, I'll keep you in mind when I am writing my script, but you have to report to the sets on time. I hate latecomers! Ha ha so good to talk like this! Just hope this becomes the reality one day...

Tara :)

12:03 PM

I loved A Wednesday...yet to see others though..

4:36 PM

yes, the fact that a movie is hit doesn't mean its a good one bcos it wud turn out to be mostly masala entertainers. But, what I intended to say was that the scene is changing now and people are accepting offbeat movies with varioos new themes. So, as a result good movies are being made more frequently nowadays..

thts bad. U shudn't be so cruel to poor latecomers like me..But I hope once I get to act in a film, that will change:P

dont miss the others ..

7:37 PM

Nice meeting you da.
Will come back here.


9:32 PM

same here man

11:45 PM

Been an age since I've watched a good Hindi movie in the theatre [ I do believe that is the best way to experience a movie:)].

And just reading your reviews [which you do like a pro..:)] makes me want to get CDs of these at least to get the feel of it!

Your writing is consistent, clear and easy to connect to. A good pen name too.. Crusader:)

Keep 'em comin'!

7:07 PM

thnks 4 those nice words. it felt good:D

10:40 PM

Nice one praveen..
I watched "Wedenesday"
Its an awsome movie..

Havent watched the rests..will be watching soon..

3:25 PM

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