Pick This Flick 17:Paanch  

Posted by Praveen in ,


With respect to hindi filmdom, 2009 has been the year of Anurag Kashyap. The release of Dev D and the much delayed Gulaal ensured that there was no talk of competition. People were glad to be liberated from the clutches of larger than life movies and big production houses headed by eunuchs. The new age winner version of the loser Devdas and the red pride of the Rajputs were enough to prove this man's class. But there was one thing which saddened his fans. Kashyap's first movie 'Paanch' which was completed at the turn of the millennium was still lying in the cans thanks to the censor board which thought it will corrupt the young Indians. And so it was a surprise when a preview copy of the movie surfaced in torrent sites during the second week of this month. The uploader also added that the movie was given to him by Kashyap himself. There must be some truth in this considering the fact that he was bound to get frustrated due to the long wait for clearance and might have wanted his fans to see the movie.

At the outset, let me make it clear that 'Paanch' doesn't glorify violence. On the contrary, its a take on the futility of crime. Also, there's no in your face violence, the pools of blood or the manufactured gore. All you get to see is the atmosphere. 4 guys and 1 girl, members of a rock band, living, jamming, drinking, fighting and smoking in a shady godown. In the room, you see wall graffiti , Jim Morrison posters, beheaded dolls with red ink splashed all over, empty bottles and much more. The 5 live a wasted life and each moment passes with thoughts on how to waste the next moment. They live bang in the middle of Mumbai city, where people are busy every minute of their lives and yet these five waste day after day. They may be outcasts or they may have chosen to remain so. Nothing is said about the backgrounds. They dream of making it big as rockstars and the only thing that is holding them back is lack of money. And thats exactly where the problem starts.

Luke played by Kay Kay Menon is the centre point of it all. My respect for Kay Kay which was already at its heights breached all limits after watching this performance. There are moments that he will scare the hell out of you. Its such a well-etched character, a man powered by greed, ruled by his anger bone and totally unpredictable. The graffiti on his door reads "Tresspassers will be beheaded". Those scenes were he fools his friends into thinking that he's in a fit of rage when he's not, are pure class. And when he actually gets into a fit of rage, you will just stare with an open mouth. Then there's Aditya Srivastava playing Murgi, the same guy who played the cunning Karan in Gulaal. He seems to be the most sensible of the lot. Pondy is the perpetually scared guy who does whatever Luke tells him. His attempts to break free only lands in him more trouble. Joy is the perfect 'chamcha' who supports anything Luke does(including murder) thinking that he's a true friend. And then there's Shuli played by Tejaswini Kolhapure, the ultra modern girl who lives in with four guys and smokes and drinks with them. Its a surprise that this talented lady hasn't acted in many movies after this.

The story is loosely based on the Joshi Abhyankar serial killings that happened in Pune in the 1970s. The first killing is a result of Luke's uncontrolled rage. Its a classic scene where the act is hidden from us. The camera focusses on Luke in all his fury and the rest of the four looking horrified. Only a distant shot of the act is shown in between. Luke casts a scary spell on all of them and they all become accidental criminals. Each passing scene subtly indicates that, the fivesome are getting used to the cycle of violence and at some point they are even hungry for more. Its a cycle into which any alienated soul in any of our metro city can fall into. Sky high ambitions, joblessness, greed, envy, all can lead a slightly frustrated youth into this downward spiral. And no, dont expect the movie to provide any lasting solutions. Its just a document of what can possibly happen or what has already happened, with a little bit of thriller element thrown in. The narration at the police station adds to the drama. The eerie background score by Vishal Bharadwaj, with techno and rock elements increases the tension in the scenes.

Though made almost a decade back, it doesn't have that dated look. But it was made at a time when 'being bad' was not in fashion, unlike today. What really baffles me is why the censors have prevented this movie's release. Reportedly, they demanded some unkind cuts and Kashyap saab said 'NO'. I really dont understand the attitude of the censor board. Obviously headed by some outdated brains with heavy orthodox sensibilities, the board is doing a disservice to movie buffs by preventing the release of such movies. We are bombarded with trash movies on illicit relationships and what not, and here's a movie which sits out for no reason at all. Agreed there's strong language, but dont many of us use it in real life? Also, killings like this happen every day around us. What does we achieve then by preventing the depiction of those realities in our movies? Does denying the existence of such maliciousness around us serve to eradicate it? And do you really think that a person watching a murder on screen will get inspired and go out and kill somebody? what is the purpose of such mindless censoring, its time for a rethink. Censorship of this kind doesn't suit a democracy like us.

So...Download Paanch...kick the censors..

your crusader Praveen

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 30, 2009 at Wednesday, December 30, 2009 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

6 comments

Man it is nt true that it was entirely due to censor board that the film is in cans. I read in PFC that film didnt find distributors too. CB had cleared it long time back....

In my opinion Anurag is the only Indian director (or rather I would say bollywood) today who has risen to international standards.(The reason being there are many regional directors who have risen to international levels. They don't get recognition on national levels simpply because they dont fit in dirty world of bollywood)...

So everyone who want to see Bollywood film industry change for good, please watch AK's films

9:02 AM

I'll take your advice!

Wishing you a very happy new year!

11:04 AM

Hello brother, happy new year! :-)

4:30 PM

Happy New year Praveen ...
u got me interested here ..Indian censor board is like majority of Indians ...hypocrites ...cant take truth in right spirit ..and definetly Dev D and gulal were the best of 2009 lot ..look at the crap they are producing day after day !!

11:38 PM

Happy New year, Praveen :)

This review packs a solid punch! Shall get it downloaded, though I shall watch it only with company :)

Have a great year!

11:15 AM

@Rahul
thnks 4 the info on that..was thinking that it was solely because of the censors...True abt AK..

@Rakesh
happy new year to u too man :D

@scorpiogenius
happy new year to u too:)

@Preeti
yes..censor board has some of India's biggest hypocrites..

@Usha m'am
nice to see u back after a long time..
Happy new year:)

1:41 AM

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