Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tauba tera Jalwa

I live in a funny place. Let's see. The other night I got away quiet as a cat, to catch the late show of DevD. I was Desparate. Asking the missus along was out of the question. Firstly, this is the exam season, and she's busy with young Ayushi. Moreover I sensed she might not like it ( I'd heard the second half dragged a bit.) As luck would have it, the screen (screen, is an overstatement. It's actually the friendly neighborhood movie hall) was showing only matinee and evening shows of the flick. For some odd reason, Speed returns(hindi)U/A was showing on the night show. Not amused, I quietly crawled back, to many a jibe from wifey and dear daughter, gleeful at my misadventure. But did I give up? Hell no, I Was desperate.

Thus it happened that this afternoon I played possum and left office early, feeling terribly guilty and all, remembering the hazy old days of bunking school as a kid to watch Shakti . There were, in all, about thirty people in the theater, none of them older than 20. I was in a time warp. I was quite enjoying the film. Then, fifteen minutes from the end, with the story going around in circles, oh, another one of those childhood miracles. Blackout in the theater. Did I mention time warp?

It took inordinately long for the show to resume. After what seemed like a hour and a half(but was actually seven minutes), during which I'd completed two phone conversations and was now seriously weighing my options, action came back on screen. The film dragged to its compromise ending. Am I glad I stayed back till the end? I don't know. But boy did I enjoy my absconding schoolboy act? you bet.

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About the movie. Anurag Kashyap has a way with scripting. Like everybody else is saying, the first half is flawless. If Anurag's treatment has grabbed you by the collar from the very first frame, towards the end of the first half he lifts his craft to such a crescendo, it's like, where do we go from here?

Abhay Deol. One hears Amir Khan has kept a dog named Shahrukh. This lad can raise a kennel full of Khans one of these days. It's a pity his films are hardly getting mass attention. Then maybe it's better this way.

Mahi Gill. What can I say? Watch her to believe. In many ways she became the essence of Paro than in any other version we've seen. You'll say her role has been written too well. But then, you get a feeling she has that ability to redefine every character she plays.

I could go on about every bit player. But the truth is Mr. Kashyap has given his characters so much meat and so little greasepaint, you get to like his folks instantly. I simply loved the three singer/dancers who act as some kind of set prop to Dev's decadence. They reminded of the three balladeers in There's something about Marie, yet so different. It was funny in a very dark sort of way.

If Devdas, as in the original, was essentially about love lost and self-destruction, in the modern day version, he is more about lovelessness and decadence. He can get so bad he'll make SRK's Dev look like a teenager stealing a smoke by the side of the school gym. At the same time he'll be infinitely more vulnerable with his skinny frame curled up in just a pair of dirty jeans on the brothel floor. Coming back to it, that is the whole point of Anurag Kashyap's interpretation. One feels mighty impressed by his work. Towards the denouement of his film he looks a little lost, true, but that's acceptable for somebody with the kind of storyline he has taken on.

I'm afraid I'd given a miss to No Smoking owing to bad reviews. But come March, I'm not going to miss Gulal. It'll be fascinating to watch where Mr. Kashyap goes from here.


narendra shenoy said...

You made up my mind for me. I'm going and watching it!

Partho said...

Go man go! You'll not repent.