Gullyboy – Rapping his way to break all shackles

The word ‘success’ is a relative term that comes with varied definitions. For a teacher it could be helping her students pass an exam, for a farmer it could be that first crop of the season, for a poor father it could be educating their kids and for ‘Murad’ it’s rapping his way to break all shackles.
The tagline ‘Apna Time aayega’ resonates with the emotions of every aspirant out there and it’s no surprise that the song has turned into a new anthem of success.

What’s in the story?
Gully boy is your rags-to-RAPS-to-riches. It’s the traditional story of an underdog making his way to the top, that has been encompassed in mumbai’s underbelly. I must admit that the ghettos have never been painted so beautifully on screen.

We have Ranveer as ‘Murad’, who has a thing for writing and an ear for rap. Murad’s father is a driver who curtails his son’s ambitions to roti-kapda-makhaan, for he thinks that reaching for the skies is a thing cut out for the privileged.

The audacious Safeena (Alia Bhat) is his love interest. Her antics supply the doses of humor to make us laugh and smile. And her affection supplies the much needed dose of life to murad.

Winging his dreams is MC Sher – another rapper from the by-lanes of mumbai, who has earned his own bunch of followers. When the underconfident Murad meets Sher, the former discovers his definition of success.
Sher provides rhythm to Murad’s rich poetry and turns him into a rapper – GULLY BOY.

GULLY BOY battling his socio-economics and winning the coveted ‘rap contest title’ forms the crux of the story.

DESI HIP-HOP
Hip-hop has been an evolving subculture in certain parts of the country. Underground rappers must have been an unheard thing for most of us, until DIVINE and NAEZY rose to certain prominence.
While the movie isn’t their biopic, it has certainly taken a leaf or few from the lives.

ZOYA AKTHAR
Familiarising us with an alien tradition, weaving an underdog story out of it and still making us root for the protagonist is perhaps the biggest win of Zoya and her fellow writer Reema Kagti.

The ghettos of mumbai isn’t a new destination on the maps of Indian cinema. But offering a new visual perspective to it, perhaps, has added to the movie viewing experience. It looks familiar yet new, beautiful yet real.
Montages is Zoya’s forte. Her montages supply powerful photographs of human emotions.

And replicating her style in ZNMD, she has made a wise use of her father’s poetry skills – giving us poems filled with worldly wisdom.

RANVEER, ALIA, MC SHER AND THE ENSEMBLE CAST
We all know that Ranveer is a capsule of volcanic-energy. Burying his off-screen persona behind that baby-innocent face, he pulls of a restrained performance that could be labelled as ‘tremendous’.

In Dil Dhadakne do, he was a rich-kid with a lost voice and in here is a lower middle class guy with a similar conflict. Reflecting melancholy in his eyes throughout the movie, he is endearing as ever. This movie is a valuable addition to his short filmography that boasts of diverse and memorable roles.

Similar thing could be written about Alia. In here, she churns out those giggles, brings out those smiles while playing the second fiddle to Murad.
Camouflaging herself into every character that she plays can’t just be tagged as ‘talent’. There’s a lot of hard work that she puts in there.

Siddhant Chaturvedi as MC sher picks your attention. He stays with you for his effortless performance and because of the beautiful way in which his character has been written.
The cast that also includes his friends Mohin, father Vijay Raaza and his mother other among others, is one of the best cast ensemble in recent past.

NOT JUST ANOTHER MUSIC-MELODY-FEST
A movie about an aspiring musician is bound to be loaded with umpteen songs and this movie is no exception.

But what Zoya has certainly done right, is preserving the historical essence of hip-hop culture. The songs reflect on the socio-economic problems and comes across as a channel to vent out personal frustration. And every rap provides a powerful commentary relevant in present times.

Music has been composed by wide range of musicians, mostly hip-hop rappers. ‘Mere Gully mein’ the original song by DIVINE and NAEZY, has been reprised with similar visuals. May it was the director’s way of paying them a tribute.

I particularly loved the way the background score leans towards classical music in the later part of the second half, culminating in to the beautiful ‘train song’ 🙂

‘Apna Time Aayega’ led to whistles and cheers in my screen.

WHAT ‘I FELT’ COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER
Something that was seen in all her movies – ‘Luck By Chance’, ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’, ‘Dil Dhadakne Do’ and now ‘Gully Boy’. Her obsession with ‘keeping it all tidy’.

It wouldn’t bother us when we watch a glossy ghetto in foreign movies, but while watching a desi one, may be keeping it a little more rustic would have helped us get soaked in the lower-middle class life. Owing to this fact, his socio-economic problems ‘appeared’ like first-world problems, in spite of being important. (or maybe it was only me)

In her segment of ‘Lust Story’, the platform for empathy was beautifully laid out ‘visually’. In here heavy banking has been done on the performances and the writing.

Also the musical life of Murad rarely sees a failure, except for his first underground rap battle. In the rest other parts of the movie – It’s an upward curve. May be planting few more failures would have added to the emotional quotient.

The forced twist in the auditions – MC Sher’s eviction and Murad’s selection were two distinct and powerful emotions.

I don’t know if it was the execution, editing or writing, but neither the sympathy for MC Sher’s eviction nor the empathy for Murad’s success reached its emotional fulfillment. There was an emotional confusion.
Well as they say, nitpicking is a lot easier job then going out there and shooting your own movie. But my tiny little complaints shouldn’t take away the glory of the movie.

THE FINAL WORD
‘Gully Boy’ is a beautifully packaged movie with traditional narrative but impeccable performances accompanied by powerful music.

Understanding the prose of the rap would be an additional take away, but the underlying story of ‘rags to riches’ is a formula that always works.
If you have an ambitious person in you, go hit the theatres. And while ‘Apna time aayega’ plays, root of the underdog ‘Murad’ and the underdog in ‘you’.

PS: Movies like this should be watched without an interval to savor its beauty.

-Chan

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Withdrawal Syndrome – A conversation

Author’s Note: ‘Conversations’ is a series of fictional short stories comprising of conversations between the fictional ‘ME’ and a fictional ‘SHE’

SHE – Who drinks coffee at 1 in the afternoon?
ME – (grins) Well, if you walk into that coffee shop with me, you would know.!
SHE – Wow.! Instead, why don’t we walk into that FINE-DINE across the road and find out who on the freaking earth would have lunch at 1 in the afternoon..!

Was she irritated? I grew confused and kept quiet for a moment.

ME – Okay.! Tell me one thing. On a scale of 1-10, how hungry are you?
SHE – Well, I don’t know about hungry.! (pause) But if you ask me how angry I am on the scale of 1-10, I would say that the scale is about to snap now.

She was certainly irritated.

ME – Did you have coffee in the morning?
SHE – No.. I didn’t..
ME – See.. there you go..!
SHE – What?
ME – The withdrawal syndrome!
SHE – (confused) Eh?
ME – You consumed zero caffeine today.! And you have already begun to show the withdrawal syndrome..!
SHE – Look! I don’t even know if that was an attempt at humor. But I am real hungry now..!
ME – There you go.! Symptom number one – Increased Hunger
SHE – (restraining anger) Do you even realize that you are seconds away from getting yelled at?
ME – And that would be the second symptom. Irritability coupled with anger.!

I grinned, but she didn’t. My laugh died a silent death.
She stared at me for a while and began to walk away. She entered the restaurant and I followed her into it. She sat down and I picked up the menu.

ME – (surfing through the menu) Okay listen.! You want to start with some soup?
SHE – Yes..! Let us..!
ME – (confused) But they don’t have soup in here.!
SHE – (shouts) Then for god’s sake, order something that they have in here..!

The entire restaurant fell silent for a moment. I fought awkward glances from everyone in there.

ME – This has gone out of my hands.!
SHE – What?
ME – First it was caffeine withdrawal syndrome. And now you are showing ‘Soup withdrawal syndrome’.!

She didn’t respond, not with words. She grabbed the menu card from my hands and quickly glanced through the items.
Waiter arrived at our table.

SHE – Give me number 4 in the starter and number 7 in the main course. And make it spicy.!

She passed on the menu to me. I snubbed the menu card and placed my order.

ME – (to the waiter) Listen. Give me number ten in the starter and number nine in the main course.!
WAITER – (confused) But there’s no ten in the starter.!
ME – What? No ten? You got a nine in there?
WAITER – We got only eight items in the starters sir..!
ME – What’s the eighth?
WAITER – Lava chicken sir..

I think for a while.

ME – Why don’t you do one thing. Prepare Lava chicken and make it extra spicy. Make it your tenth item in the menu, name it ‘volcanic chicken’ and bring it to my table.

I grinned at the waiter and he threw an unhappy smile at me, before exiting into the kitchen. And we dived deep into 2 minutes of silence.

SHE – Okay listen.! I am sorry.! The hunger got on my nerves.! And the mood swings thanks to the cycle of my month..
ME – That’s okay.! (smiles) Thank god I stayed calm..!
SHE – (smiles) Else?
ME – Else, I would have missed an opportunity of having starter number ten, main course number nine with the lady number one.

She smiled, gently. And then, Silence…

ME – And wow.! Look at us.! I was a lunch boy and you were a coffee girl.! But today we have opposite cravings..!
SHE – (smiles) Well.. Things gotta change right?
ME – Yes..! Like the coffee that they served in your favorite coffee place.
SHE – What about it?
ME – Earlier it was a bad coffee place..
SHE – (laughs gently) And you like it now..?
ME – Na.! Now they have gone worse.! But things not good for you, that’s what we get addicted to..!

Gentle laughs exchanged. Soft Jazz in the restaurant, continues to play. Soft Jazz in the restaurant, continues to play.

SHE – (smiles) You have changed.! A lot.!
ME – How about my sense of humor? Still intact..?
SHE – It”s like my favorite coffee place. It has gone from bad to worse (laughs)
ME – Ah.! Beware.! You might pick addiction.!

We both laugh gently, yet again. Followed by, awkward silence..

ME – Anyway.. As you said, things gotta change and so should people. We are meeting after a year and I sincerely hope that I am coming across as a better person and not a different one

She didn’t speak. Me neither. Waiter arrived at our table with the orders. We slowly began to munch the starters.

SHE – What was running in your mind, when you asked us stay away from each from each other other for a year??
ME – You know I am weird, don’t you?

SHE smiled softly.

ME – Hmm… you know when you start watching movies, reading stories, you sort of begin to imagine the ‘would be happy moments’ – Scripted beautifully, executed to perfection.

I grabbed a tissue, wiped my mouth and continued.

ME – I thought an year of staying away, would induce longings and when we finally meet, it would be one of the happiest moments in our lives
SHE – (poignant smile) Did that work?
ME – You tell me..!
SHE – Well… I don’t know.! This is strange. It’s completely awkward (pause) It’s like I know you, but I don’t. And it’s this strange confusion.! If all the memories that we had together, was it real or was it figment of imagination? or a beautiful dream that I had as a kid that’s appearing blurred now?

Poignant silence…

ME – Tell me one thing?
SHE – What?
ME – Am I coming across as a stranger?

silence..

SHE – May be… yes.. (pause) I mean, I can still see the weird you.! But I think it’s me.! I think I’ve changed as a person
ME – So you no longer interested in trivial talks? weird conversations and poor humor?
SHE – I don’t know..
ME – Well.. I know..
SHE – What?
ME – It’s the withdrawal syndrome..
SHE – From coffee?
ME – From ME..

Silence..

ME – Well… I guess, you are right.! We are strangers….

I get up and made an exit from the restaurant, leaving her in pensive silence.
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After ten minutes….

ME – Are you expecting someone?

I walked into the restaurant and pointed at the chair across her table. SHE frowned in confusion, and then smiled gently.

ME – Ah. I am here in the town after an year. The town has changed, a lot. Afraid that I would be lost, I was looking for a person to have a lunch conversation with. Would you mind?

She smiled gently.

ME – I shall take that as a yes…

The waiter arrived with the bill.

ME – So lady, what will you have?
SHE – I had my lunch. I could stay until you finish yours..
ME – Oh.. Then how about some bad coffee?

Without waiting for her response, I turned to the waiter.

ME – Get us two cups of bad coffee
WAITER – Sir.. but we have only latte, espresso, cappuccino, Macchiato..
ME – Well.. Any of these would anyway make a great bad coffee.. Get us two cups..
WAITER leaves in confusion.

ME – (smiles) So..Let me start with the formal question. What do you do for living?

She held her silence, before she spoke.

SHE – Listen… I know you are trying hard. I want to smile, I want to talk to you. And as much I think about it, its making me increasingly uncomfortable and filling me with awkward feelings.. And I am certain that we can never get to being the old us..!

There was a strange sense of pain. I looked at her for a while and smiled. The jazz playlist continued to play.

ME – May be you are right.. We can never get to being the old ‘us’.. That might spoil all our beautiful memories, the happy pictures that we have in our mind (Pause) But we could try being the new ‘us’…


SHE – And what is the new ‘us’..?


ME – Two strangers.. who’ve met for the first time.. Have a long memorable weird, funny conversation. And while they converse, they also know that this would be their last ever meeting..

I smiled. There was a long silence, before the waiter arrived at our table with the orders. We picked the coffee cups and took our first sips.

SHE – So..Let me start with the formal question. What do you do for living?


                                                                                                                                                       -Chan

Leave Me Alone – A conversation

ME – So tell me exactly.. What happened?
SHE – It fell into the pool from the first floor .
ME – I thought cats knew how to swim..
SHE – The pool was dry.. it hit the floor..
ME – (laughs) that’s a funny way to die..

SHE glared at me, through her sadness. I stopped laughing and blurted out.

ME – I mean..I am sorry for its death. I do…
SHE – That’s okay..!
ME – So are you okay now?

SHE continued to look sad.

ME – What does the silence mean? That you are not okay?
SHE – The silence means that I want to spend sometime in silence..
ME – (confused) Oh..! Does silence help?
SHE – I don’t know. I will only know if you stop asking me questions and let me be by myself. So, please .. could I get a moment alone?
ME – Yeah. You could. But when do u want it?
SHE – (irked) Now..!

Awkward silence.

ME – I mean.. I am confused now.. Does it mean that I should leave or would you be leaving?

She looked at me for a while, got up and began to walk away. I quickly ran behind her.

ME – Listen..
SHE – (turns around) What?
ME – Why would the cat jump into a water less pool?

SHE was visibly annoyed.

ME – See.. I was trying to understand.. Did it really think that there was water in the pool or did it accidentally slip and fall?
SHE – Na.. It had a rivalry with the cat next door. So that cat plotted a murder, pushed mine from the first floor and made it appear like a suicide.!

Awkward silence and then I break into loud laugh.

ME – You are joking right?
SHE – (restraining) What do you want?

My laugh died…

ME – I want you to smile..
SHE – I shall… I need sometime..

She began to walk away. I began to follow her. She stops, turns around.

SHE – I asked you not to follow me..
ME – (confused).. No you didn’t say that.. You just told me that you want to spend sometime in silence.. So I was following you silently..

She glared at me for a while..

SHE – Okay.. Stop following me, stop talking to me and Leave me alone..
ME – Come on.. You can’t keep adding rules..
SHE – See.. I understand that you want to see me smile.. I shall, eventually. But for now, it’s important for me to be sad for something dear that I have lost..
ME – Why is it so important? I didn’t cry for my dog when it died..
SHE – I never knew that you had a dog..
ME – Apparently we had one, when I was a kid, 4 year old. Car ran over it. But more importantly I didn’t cry..
SHE – You were a kid! Why would you cry?
ME – Well.. I had cried when I had lost my mickey mouse eraser

She looked at me for a while.

SHE – You cried over a lost eraser but not over a dead dog. Wow..! What does that tell about you?

I think for a while..

ME – I don’t know. That’s a difficult question. Don’t confuse me now. You just tell me what should I do to make you smile?
SHE – Leave me alone..
ME – I don’t think that would make you smile..

She began to walk away.

ME – Hey.. I figured out the answer..!
SHE – For what?
ME – I cried over a lot eraser but not over a dead dog. I know what it tells about me…
SHE – What?

ME – That I was a Stupid kid… and that..hmm… being stupid helps.. See I know that your cat had..
SHE – Stop calling it a cat.! It had a name..
ME – And what was it? Cat Winslet?
SHE – No. it was a male. Winnie..
ME – Winnie is a nice name. But anyway.. See.. when Winnie was alive, it made you smile right.? Now that it’s gone, you think that being sad is a way to pay respects. But I feel that Winslet..
SHE – Winnie..

ME – Yeah sorry.. I feel that Winnie would be so offended to see you forcing yourself to be sad. Winnie would be like – “come on girl. I died, you cried and I smiled. But now don’t stretch it too far. Get over it. Stop overacting”

Silence..

SHE – Was that a joke?
ME – No.. It was a beautiful philosophy. But I can come up with a joke – What would you call a cat which serves ice cream?
SHE – Sorry.. I am in no mood to listen to jokes…
ME – It’s a puzzle for god’s sake.. I will leave you alone if you answer it..

She continues to walk, briskly towards her car.

ME – Moreover the puzzle has a cat in it.. Please.. You got to respect cats.

SHE stops, looks at me.

SHE – All rite.. You are going to leave me alone if I get the answer right.

I nod and she begins to think…

SHE – cat-all-ice-is? as in catalysis..

ME – Well.. This sounds like a better answer than the one that I had in mind..
SHE – And what did you have in mind?

I smiled at her and walked towards her car. She followed me.

ME – Well.. A cat which serves ice cream is called… ( I opened the car door)…A gift that would make you smile..

I kept looking at her, with a hope that my SURPRISE GIFT would make her smile.
Her expression changed for sure. But wait.! She isn’t smiling. What’s wrong..!

I looked inside the car – The ice cream splattered all over the seat and her beautiful cushioned seat torn apart. It wasn’t a pleasant sight.
The only thing that was intact was the bow on the kitten’s head with a tiny label which read- “CAT WINSLET”.

ME – (nervous smile) I think you are right. I should leave you alone… That always helps.

And I sped away….!

 

96 – Nostalgic Romance

There’s something beautiful about unfulfilled love stories! It’s poignant but strings together those “could and would have-s”, filling your heart with beautiful imagination.

The romance in 96 is not unrequited, yet it’s filled with things unspoken.

A boy – Ramachandran ‘RAAM’ and a girl – Jaanaki ‘JAANU’ in their early teens, fall in love – through silent glances and words unsaid. Circumstances bring an abrupt end to their short-lived romance that had blossomed in silence.

Now they meet again, after 22 long years, in a school reunion. The female is married, but the guy isn’t.

Will the silence continue to prevail but with a lot of awkwardness or will they burst into tears at the sight of each other or will the romance from the past be rekindled?

96 brings forth a beautiful love story that we may have experienced in parts, witnessed in our neighborhood or watched umpteen times in movies like “autograph” or “before sunset”.

Yet, as they say ‘a thing of beauty is a joy forever”. We couldn’t be bored because we have seen it all before. Except for a stretched later part of second half, 96 is filled with moments that make you smile, turn teary eyed, grow nostalgic and root for the protagonists.

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WHAT WORKS FOR THE MOVIE 96?

– The riveting narrative that cuts between the present, past, perspectives, “could haves” and supplies us with the doses of 90’s nostalgia.

– “Those-eyes-say-it-all” performances from Vijay Sethupathi and Trisha. While Trisha battles her inner pain with a tranquil smile, Sethupathi handles it with his anxiety, nervousness and sometimes as JAANU terms it – “being an innocent school kid”.

However hard they try, their eyes can’t help but show a tinge of melancholy. And this makes us long for their togetherness.

A special mention should go to the actors who have played the young “JAANU” and “RAAM”. It’s because of the way they have established the chemistry between the characters, that we begin to root for the present them.

– MUSIC – When the team had first released the teaser, the score Kaathalae Kaathalae had given us the testimony of the magic that would be in store.

I am not a person who buys the thought of “goosebumps moment”. But in the movie when Trisha first walks in, the score “Kaathalae” takes off and it was enough to break my ego and put my hair strands into exercise.

Govind Menon’s score furnishes varied emotions that resonates with the mood and amplifies it, in mesmerizing fashion.

– The debutant Prem Kumar ‘s direction that is devoid of the traditional technique of melodrama. This maturity is perhaps the greatest strength of the movie.

If you Scout through, you would get enough moments that would demand one. But the director has found resort in keeping it real, keeping it silent and sometimes even bypassing the background score. All these, without lowering the emotional quotient.

I can even remember those few moments, when the sound design transitions into deep silence, but only to enhance the mood.

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My tiny little complaint about the movie would be about its editing – Well this is a subjective thought. There were many moments where I was yearning to look at RAAM and see what he is going through. Because RAAM he is a bundle of emotions. But the editor had opted to play it completely on JAANU, whose emotions we know already.

Even the second half of the second half appears a little stretched, might leave a few audience in restless state.

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BOTTOM-LINE

Prem Kumar has given us a beautiful romantic drama that is devoid of melodrama and proves us the fact that “old school” love stories are still relevant and if done right, can cast magic.

Vijay Sethupathi continues to choose his roles right and Trisha returns to the screen with the charm that makes us fall in love with her – all over again.

96 should be your go-to movie this weekend, if you have a thing for romantic stories.

PS: My Awe for the movie could also be because of my nostalgia.

 

SANJU – An ode to Sunil Dutt

It was 2013. The release of Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani had marked the 3rd straight successful year for Ranbir Kapoor – commercially and critically.

The previous 2 years had seen him sweeping major awards, including consecutive Filmfares for Rockstar and Barfi. Both the movies had earned great returns, with the latter breaching the coveted 100Cr mark.

YJHD was his 10th movie and it went onto become one of the highest grossing Indian movies. Ranbir catapulted himself into the league of bankable stars. He was touted as the next big superstar of India. He was living his dream.

……..and then came the slump.

2013, the year that had witnessed his most successful film also marked the beginning of his losing streak –Besharam, Roy, Bombay Velvet (lost around 60 -80crores) and Tamasha. Films continued to fail, year after year. Producers lost whopping amount.

 Ae Dil Hai Mushkil came as a relief, but then came Jagga Jasoos, for which Ranbir had turned a producer. Jagga lost around 40 -60Crores at BO.

When you see Ranbir Kapoor in his recent interviews, you can’t help but notice the melancholy in his eyes. Is it melancholy or is it the metamorphosis that he has underwent while reprising the role of Sanjay Dutt in Sanju?

Dutt’s life is filled with unbelievable tales of ups and downs, where he has hit more troughs than peaks. Did Ranbir take a leaf from Dutt’s life?

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What is SANJU – the movie all about?

It’s the tale of Sanjay Dutt – son of famed Sunil Dutt and Nargis. It’s a tale of his tryst with drug addiction and his fight against it. It’s the tale of a man who was charged under TADA act for his role in Mumbai Serial Blasts case and his acquittal. It’s about a man who was jailed under the ‘Arms Act’ and served 1400 odd days in prison.

Above all, it’s a tale of a father, who stood by his son in all his hardships. When the movie ends, whom do you fall in love with? Ranbir as Sanju or Paresh Rawal as Sunil Dutt?

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RANBIR as SANJU

In a career spanning over 11 years, Ranbir has largely played similar roles – a man in his soul searching journey. That makes Sanju a tailor made role for Ranbir. It’s his comfort zone.

However, the role has brought in its own baggage of hurdles and challenges.

When you are acting in a biopic, irrespective of the magnitude of your role – lead or just a supporting cast, you are bound to invite comparisons. The challenge intensifies, when you are reprising the role of someone living.

Sanjay Dutt is a star who has acted in over 150 movies. We have seen him through years – young, old, in his teen cheeks and in his silver beard. Hence, our subconscious continues to draw comparisons. There was always a danger of loss of ‘empathy’ for the protagonist, because the mind is too busy playing the game of comparison.

However, Ranbir hasn’t blindly tried to ape Sanjay, rather he has transformed himself into Sanju. He has picked few mannerisms that look more implicit than explicit imitation.

As a result, barring few segments, we live the experience of Sanju – the character and not Sanjay Dutt on whom the character is based on. That’s where Ranbir’s success lies. He becomes increasingly convincing. He makes us cry, he makes us laugh. He makes us cringe and gets us upset. He earns the empathy of the audience that lasts until the credit list rolls.

Sanju is not only the redemption of Sanjay Dutt, but also of Ranbir. He has regained his lost sublime form. The film is not only going to set the cash registers ringing, but will also fill his drawing room with few more awards. He is back into business.

(With the much hyped ‘Brahmastra’ on cards, he could be the next superstar that everyone wanted him to be)

Paresh Rawal has played the second fiddle, rather beautifully, making us fall in love with the endearing and much revered Sunil Dutt. (After watching the movie, I ended up spending few hours reading about him)

Vicky Kaushal’s would be another noteworthy performance.

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RAJKUMAR HIRANI – The man with the Midas touch

5 movies in 14 years looks a strained effort. It’s the fact that all of them have been blockbusters, which transforms the stats into an enviable track record. Sanju is looking in all good shape to extend his blockbuster streak.

He along with his writing companion – Abhijat Joshi, has retained their entertainment formula. Every scene should either make audience laugh their lungs out or make them empty their tears (joyous tears most of the times).

Hirani movies don’t exist in real plane. It exists in a dramatic space – filled with larger than life characters that look more real than fiction.

Despite being a biopic, he does no different in Sanju. The real characters look larger than life, yet so real. There are places where you feel things going little over board and growing dramatic, but then that’s the space in which the movie is set. You might call it flaws, but they are the flaws that you could live with.

He appears to be certain about the kind of movie that he wanted this one to be – a Bollywood film. He didn’t want to make an “Aviator” for sure. He has used all the right ingredients and to its perfection.

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BOTTOM LINE(s)

Apart from his drug addiction and his jail episodes, Hirani hasn’t delved deep into other aspects of his life. He has not touched upon all his love episodes, his childhood, his film career, failed marriages etc.

Well, there’s too much drama in Sanju Baba’s life to accommodate in 160 minutes, isn’t it?

Few episodes look exaggerated. Few look fabricated or should I call them ‘exercise of creative liberty’? But who cares, as long as we have 160 minutes of pure entertainment on plate.

At the end of the movie, we can’t help but sympathize with him.

Sanju is perfect monsoon gift from Hirani. Watch it for the remarkable performance of Ranbir and the unbelievable life that Sanjay has lived.

Watch it for the beautiful tale between the father and the son.

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BOTTOM LINE

Sanju is Hirani’s ode to Sunil Dutt. It’s redemption of Sanjay Dutt and that of Ranbir.

-CHAN

The Wedding Gift – A conversation

SHE – But what’s wrong with gifting an AC?

ME – Look, all that an AC does is sucking the interior temperature and pushing it outside! Implication? The outside temperature continues to grow! That’s global warming!

SHE – Yeah.! I know the science!

ME – But knowing science is not enough. You would continue to use AC because the globe is warming and the warming continues.. Look.. Any Invention should, if possible, eliminate its need and not strengthen its necessity!

SHE – But I didn’t invent an AC! Willis Carrier did!

ME – Yeah.! But you are strengthening its necessity!

Silence…

SHE – So what should we gift them? A ceiling fan?

ME – That won’t help the humidity!

SHE – But this is hill station! It’s never humid here!

ME – But what if after a year, they move to a coastal place? That would be humid!

SHE – That’s a maybe case! And maybe they have better things to pack and move than a ceiling fan!

Silence..

ME – Let’s not gift them a ceiling fan!

SHE – Okay.! But you wanted to gift them something that would help them in the summer! You don’t want to gift an air cooler because it takes in water and in summer there might be water crisis! No to an AC because it would strengthen its necessity! Ceiling fan would not help in humidity! What’s left? Ice packs?

Silence followed by an exchange of mild laughter….

SHE – Let’s stick to my first plan! Let’s go for a bouquet and a gift voucher!

ME – That would be a fall back option, if we can’t decide on anything!

SHE- We better decide now! Once we cross the city, there are no shops near the resort to buy any gifts!

Silence… As I begin to think..

ME – Let us go-to a nursery!

SHE – Nursery? To gift an admission to their future kid, kids?

ME – No.! The plant nursery!

SHE – You planning to gift them..

ME – (interrupts) Yes.! You guessed it right! Planning to gift them seeds.! (Pause) and a pot! They can sow the seeds in the pot!

SHE – But I thought you would say plants, at least!

Awkward silence..!

ME – That’s not a bad idea! We could gift them the plants!

SHE – Seriously! You want to walk into a wedding hall holding a flower plant!

ME – I had mango plant in mind! You know, with mangoes in them!

SHE – Seriously? Mango plant with mangoes in it? That’s called a mango tree! And I am not carrying a mango tree into the wedding hall

ME – Why not?

SHE – Two reasons! One, I don’t want to carry a mango tree into a wedding hall. Two, I can’t carry a mango tree! Not into a wedding hall, not into a restaurant! I can’t carry it anywhere, because I am not a superwoman!

She was right. How can I gift them a mango tree, if I can’t carry it.?

Silence…

SHE – Unless…

ME – Unless..?

SHE – Unless it’s a Bonsai..

Bonsai is not a bad idea, I felt!

ME – That’s exactly, what I had in mind! Bonsai, that’s the word and the gift that I was looking for!

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After buying the bonsai tree..

SHE – But you were so adamant about gifting them something that would help them beat heat!

ME – And who does it better than plants? The bonsai mango tree will live in their room, suck all the CO2, and give out oxygen! That would be cool!  You know what; I should name this – The Mangold Star AC.!

SHE – ha ha… Like the Goldstar AC? That’s lame!

ME – May be its lame, but it’s still cool..! (Pause) And oh! Wait! Whenever the girl feels like having a mango, she need not climb the tree or pelt stones! Because it’s a bonsai tree and the fruit will be at hand’s reach!

SHE – And when the tree has no mangoes left?

ME – She can buy them from the market!

Laughs..

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After arriving at the resort..

ME – What happened?

SHE – The receptionist is telling that they have only two rooms left and only one of them has AC.!

ME – And what did you say?

SHE – I told her that she is wrong!

ME – What?

SHE – Yes! They have two air conditioned rooms!

ME – Okay! Then we don’t have a problem right! Everything is sorted!

SHE – Yes! I shall be taking the one with the Bluestar AC and you will be taking the one with the Mangold Star AC..!

A moment of silence..

ME – That would be cool! (Laughs)

-CHAN

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To Dance or not to Dance – A Conversation

SHE- But, I have never danced before!

ME – Liar! Everyone would have! At least in their kindergarten days, you know during the annual day functions! Or At least in the bathroom!

SHE – But that’s different!

ME – So, I am right!

SHE – Right about what?

ME – About you dancing in the bathroom! That’s weird you know! Because, I only sing!

Laughs exchanged…

ME – Anyway! Imagine that this is going to be your last night before you die!

SHE – Who is going to kill me? You?

ME – I can! (Pause) I mean, I have the ability to!

SHE – Ah! Do you?

ME – Yes! I can choke you to death! Or may be stab you with the butter knife!

SHE – Butter knife is blunt! It can’t kill me!

ME – Ah! I don’t believe your word! Let me give a try!

I looked at the butter knife, picked it up and tried stabbing her!

A moment of Laughter….

SHE – See… I told you! Butter knives can’t kill me! (Laughs)

ME – Okay! Forget butter knife! But there could be earthquake, the pub roof might collapse! Some female might try using her deodorant! Since the deodorant is inflammable, the candle in the corner table might explode! The pub might catch fire! We might get roasted like chicken!

She cringes….

ME – Okay! That’s horrible death! Let’s imagine something that is less horrible!  Oh! What if you swallow the chicken bone and choke to death!

SHE – Both of us know that it’s never going to happen! I don’t eat chicken!

Silence!

ME – Or a potato! If you swallow it whole, even a potato can choke you to death! (Pause) Or maybe you step out of the pub; some drunk female runs you over on her scooter!

SHE – This is disappointing, I thought you would save me!

She puts up a sad face! Laughs exchanged..

ME – Anyways! My point is! Think that you are going to die this night! And that you will never be able to dance after this! So it’s now or never!

SHE – If it’s going to be my last night before I die, I have better things to do! I have a long bucket list!

ME – How long!

SHE – 53 items!

ME – 53? What weird wishes do you have in there? Things like Jumping into the volcano!

Silence..

SHE – Now I have 54th entry in the list!

ME – What? You want to jump into the volcano! Seriously?

SHE – No! I would want to stand on the top of the volcanic mountain, stare down at the lava and photograph it!

ME – Or you might as well swallow the potato and choke to death!

Laughs exchanged…

ME – But seriously… why don’t you dance! Look around! So many people on the floor, dancing!

SHE – Yeah! But I can’t dance! I don’t know to dance!

ME – Come on! You just need to move your feet or may be sway a little! No one’s expecting you to do dance like Hrithik!

SHE – Yeah! But moving the feet or swaying the body, for that I need to feel the rhythm!  I am bad at rhythms!

ME – Okay! Look at it this way! We have been sitting here, sipping onto our drinks for so long! Among that dancing lot, there are bad dancers as well as good ones! Do you remember any of their faces?

She thinks for a while and nods a no.

ME – There you go! You had better things to do than nit-picking! Same case with others! Those who are dancing are too busy with their dance! Those who are not dancing are either waiting to hit the floor or might be way too nervous! Just like you!

A moment of silence…

ME – Look! The bottom line is, this is not some stage program and the spotlight is not on you! Everyone has better things to do than watch you dance! So hold my hands and join me in the dance

She appears hesitant…

ME – Okay! Let’s try this! I shall go there, dancing alone for a minute or two! Like real bad dance! Ugly and weird! That way you might get inspired!

SHE – Inspired to do what? Dance badly?

ME – Dance decently! Or may be badly! Look I have already told you, no one’s going to remember your face! Give me a moment!

I got up and slowly joined the dancing crowd. I began to move my feet, then the torso and after a few seconds, the head!

The DJ moved onto the next track! I closed my eyes and began to shake my hands and legs wildly! The track continued for a minute or two and when the DJ changed the track, I opened my eyes to walk up to her and drag her into the dance.

And when I opened my eyes, I found myself in the middle of the crowd who had stopped dancing and were staring at me! Ugly stares!

I quickly walked up to her.

ME – I think we need to leave! People are laughing at me!

SHE – Come on! It’s okay!

ME – I danced real bad, didn’t I?

SHE – Yep!

ME – How bad?

SHE – Bad enough to inspire me!

And she dragged me into the dance floor. She started moving her feet, the torso and then the head!

-CHAN

To read other episodes of Conversations, click here. You could leave your feedback in the comment section below or write to me at passionophoria@gmail.com