Monday, March 30, 2009

if 'death' had to choose between Gulaal and Omkara...

Gulaal is probably one of the better films to come out this year. No doubt in this.

A few days back I happened to watch Omkara and there too like Gulaal - the denouement of the story leads to death of the main characters. But why at the end of Omkara do you feel that if ‘death’ was asked its preference than it would choose Omkara over Gulaal.

In Gulaal, one almost felt like "hey, hey wait...don’t pull the trigger - please add a little more somewhere – I would not agree with you if you pull the trigger now" - or "hey dude! Whats got into you suddenly" - if Dileep Singh, the character heard the "Maula" song that plays in the background - then his anger can be sufficient - because its such a powerful song - but then the character doesn’t hear the background music and react...but the audience may or may not – you can never know that.

The poetry in death of Omkara’s characters is a step ahead than the poetry of death in Gulaal. Although the later tries and match it up by the poetry in songs and making them play in the background – but sample this in case of Omkara:

Omkara's deaths have a superb use of top shots - eg: when Langda is shown chocking to death - extreme high camera position, top angle - low right corner of frame is Langda lying and on the top centre of frame stands his wife. Omkara and Dolly on the swing – both lying dead, and the swing moving - the final closing shot of Omkara - On both occasions there was a deliberate use of top angles and how.

The final shot is pure adrenaline rush – Even the climax when death lingers over its characters – there is an amazing use of cinematic elements - note the sound of the swing, the use of a lullaby (this one element is so shocking) - the fade outs and fade-ins as we approach the climax - normally I consider it extremely silly to use fade outs and fade ins - like in the span of such a short duration - As one great filmmaker rightly said; "The cut is the greatest invention of cinema" - so we better use it properly - But it takes a very deft handling like Bharadwaj to use those fades.

One of the facts that remain is that it was the great Shakespeare who was behind the main plot & story of Omkara – but having watched Gulaal thrice now – I know this fact for sure – that if death was asked to choose between them – then it had to be Omkara. On every other aspect of filmmaking both the films are almost at par. Maybe Editing is the only aspect where I would again go back to Omkara.

But that’s a discussion for another day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kupwara & Oshiwara - Two areas in two different countries

In a very serious encounter that is happening at Kupwara between the army and the militants, some 17 militants are killed and some 7 Army men had to give up their lives. The encounter is still on. Last night, as all of this was happening, it was to my utter disbelief to see that every news channel was so busy in showing us that DADA was Dethroned. Some IPL shit about shifting captains - and some other channels were discussing that idiot Varun Gandhi’s ugly comments leading to a debate between our politicians. To add to it there was a discussion about Tharoor’s gesture towards National Anthem – “Arrey guys!” Come on – lets just shake and wake our media – HELLO!!! There are people out there defending your country – and this encounter is of equal proportions to the Mumbai siege, its just that it is happening in Kupwara instead of Oshiwara – but look at the utter callousness. Times Now, the most raucous-creating dog amongst the wild bunch of media channels was so elated with their stupid journalist getting hold of Ganguly and asking or rather threatening Ganguly with insane questions, that it almost pushed the encounter to mere tickers, that come and go along with Kingfisher Airlines’ new rates for Delhi to Chicago. “Arrey koi inko jaake maaro yaar”. They are our own homegrown terrorists; these channel editors who select what news to be shown.

At the cost of sounding like a right wing speaker I would want to say that how can we even think of demilitarizing the Kashmir valley – look at all the infiltrations that are happening. Pakistan is a potent threat – there’s no two way about it – I just completed reading S Hussain Zaidi’s book – Black Friday and it proved along with all the necessary documents that Tiger Memon, Jaliawala – both were given Pakistan national identity cards, Passports, Visas to Thailand etc by ISI – because they carried the 12 March bomb attacks on Mumbai. I know how hard it can be for the people of Kashmir to live with the military and the guns on their heads lingering – I have been there, stayed for some 7 days – but just as a tourist – I cant understand their problems – in a few casual discussions with the natives there – it was so evident that they hate the Army. But what are the options we are left with?

I hate Israel’s policies towards Palestines, but I know that Israel makes all of its citizens/students to undergo military training for one year – its compulsory for all of them. Something like that should be done in India – I know its an extremely regressive thought in the first place. But look what’s happening to our Army. There are no takers to defend the country. The posts are not filled. They have to come up with attractive ads. The state/region I belong to can’t even pose of a regiment in the Army. And then to think of it – everyone wants to sit in their drawing rooms like me and pity the situation. If one undergoes the kind of army training just for a year - putting all the kids/women/men in equal position then maybe many of us would realize the importance of survival, the importance of integrity, a sense of ownership towards your country. As of now, we do not have any sense of responsibility. If the media is going to be the way it was yesterday night then what are couch-potatoes sitting before it going to do? As a B-grade film’s hero would speak: “Jihadis are better than us, they at least die for a cause, we do not have any”

Sometimes I think filmmaking is a luxury, an indulgence I have got myself into - I am hardly able to do anything for the nation that has brought me up like a privileged kid. I used all of the resources of this country and in turn I am hardly giving it back to it. Paying taxes is not the solution. We need to start thinking of alternatives. If every time after an encounter/Terrorist act, we are left with a body count of our fellow citizens, army soldiers than things have to be changed. Otherwise we will be the same – a terrorist act in a metro city – media footage – candle march - stupid discussions – end of story – “aage badho…”

I am just waiting for water level to rise above our heads. One day – someone will have to take an extraordinary step to curb this menace. After all we are a country in a desperate situation. You don’t believe? Here’s an example: Every day when I take the local train to work – I hope that there is not a bomb inside this train. I pray that the f**ing terrorists have not chosen this goddamned train.

Sarabor Ho Gayo Sheher Aur Sarabor Ho Gayi Dhara
Sarabor Ho Gayo Re Jattha, Insaano Ka Bada Bada
Sabhi Jagat Yeh Pooche Tha, Jab Itna Sab Kuch Ho Riyo Tho
To Sheher Hamara Kahe Bhaisaab, Aankh Mood Ke So Riyo Tho
To Sheher Yeh Boliyo Neend Gajab Ki Aisi Aayi Re
Jis Raat Gagan Se Khoon Ki Baarish Aayi Re....