Quick Gun Murugan: Bulletspoof Machismo ! Sunday, 30 August, 2009Posted by ~uh~™ in Bollywood, Movies, Tamil Movies.
Tags: cowboy, Desi, Dosa, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Gum Powder, Humour, Idli, machismo, Mango Dolly, movie, Murugan, Music, Quick Gun Murugan, Raghu Dixit, Rambha, Review, Rice Plate, Rowdy MBA, Sagar Desai, Sambhar, Shashanka Ghosh, spaghetti, spoof, Tamil, Western
This review was originally published on PFC [link]
I saw the Tamil English version of QGM, though intention was to see the Hindi-English version. I was hooked to QGM music for last few weeks and was really keen to identify the hilariously innovative Hindi dialogues in the movie, which were highly enjoyable, interspaced within the songs. For the record, I don’t understand Tamil, not even little little, so to speak (or understand). However, language had never been an impediment for me to watch and write about movies. I did that with my Sivaji review. (Read it, I say)
Being born on early seventies and have been fed with 60’s and 70’s cinema aired on Doordarshan afternoon slots and have seen few of the Tamil ones featuring Jayashankar, NTR, MGR, Sivaji Ganesan and other legends of the time, I understood the importance of powder, lipstick and curly hairs for men on screen. In due course of time I became the fan of Kamal Hassan and the spooferhero of all screen gods, Rajinikant. On the other hand, like any Bengali teenager in Kolkata I too grew up with Franco Nero, Clint Eastwood and the awe inspiring visual Eastman-colour bravura. We revered Django’s courage. We practiced trotting and spinning guns on our hands. We bought posters of Clint Eastwood, flashing guns in both hands, holding the cigar at one end of his lips in his unique style and that furrowed expression around his half closed eyes. We all wanted to become ‘the man with no name’. I even made a cowboy hat out of cardboard but could not complete my attire for the want of a holster and belt !
Sambhar Western- Eastwood and Murugan
So, in 1990s when the Tamil Cowboy appeared with Channel [V], we first had the taste of the bizarre blend – a spoof on spaghetti westerns and tribute to Tamil masculinity. ‘Mind it !’ became a cult phrase. Shiva, the original Murugan appeared just for two minutes but gave us the awesome Murugan experience to remember for a life. Action, drama, dialogues, romance and lost love- all packed in 60 seconds. We loved his attire, attitude, his locket and most importantly a ‘houseful heart’ behind his vicious valor against the villains. ‘ You blink before I shoot, I say’- grammar didn’t matter, attitude and delivery did.
That being the back ground, with QGM expectation was high. It was like a revisit to me teenage days, knowing the creative duo Director Shashank Ghosh and writer Rajesh Devraj, the mastermind behind original Murugan.
Plot (Spoilers protected)
Murugan, our multicolored Tamil cowboy is a stern veggie (so stern, doesn’t even like non veg jokes), hangs his lost love in a locket around his neck with an ambition to protect cows from becoming beef. He encounters the evil gang lord Rice Plate Reddy( Nassaer) and his heavy hand Gun Powder (Shanmugha Rajan) who want to take over and convert all Udipi restaurants to McDosa joints, strictly non-vegetarian, as a part of his business plan. Like a typical western, Murugan’s chronicle is a 2 hour revenge trip, to be concluded in Mumbai, which started 15 years ago somewhere in South India.
QGM is primarily a burlesque entertainment. It’s a movie lover’s movie. It’s a take off on certain genres of Indian and western cinema to provide an element of entertainment. For the audience, the degree of enjoyment of a spoof is directly proportional to his/her degree of exposure to the originals, which it’s based on. Also, any spoof would definitely qualify one of the greatest criteria of mock humour. It runs the risk of offending some while amusing others. That’s what happened when SRK did the spoof on Manoj Kumar and later Rajinikant. in Om Shanti OM. I won’t even try to fathom how QGM would appeal to those, who are not exposed the Tamil westerns, make-ups, acting style and not seen the Dollar series, Good Bad Ugly, Crocodile Dundee or Django. Because, I simply can’t. For the same reason the music, created by Sagar Desai and Raghu Dixit which is a lovely tribute to 60’s and 70’s Tamil songs as well as Western blues, would contain it’s own charm to those who would identify with it. Ofcourse there are the remix versions – Dialouge Mix, Aunties on the dance floor, Space Goddess to be in sync with the music of today. However I didn’t find my favourite number ‘Ek tha Murugan’ in the movie, may I need to see the Hindi version to see where did I miss it.
“Main terepe google kiya hai Rice Plate”
QGM is epic legendary at places, outrightly riotous at other, while being deliberately slapstick, quirkily intelligent and entertaining on most part. Bur most importantly it’s completely Desi featuring Jugaad ( my all time favourite vehicle), Well Known Lodge and Masala Dosa. I am actually suppressing my bursting desire to describe the numerous scenes, details, dialouges and how I found a childish to joy to relate to the originals or unfold the wit, layered in almost every sequence of the movie. For example, the walk on the crowded Mumbai street in his attire was a sweet simple spoof of Crocodile Dundee. The characters are very desi and ubiquitous, dialogues are notoriously funny [it deserves to develop a wikiquote page soon], the costumes, and settings are loud, authentic and flawless. The sarcasm towards Govt bureaucracy is Douglas Adams Indianized. The movie is expectedly high in humour quotient which traverses from being slapstick actions, intelligent verbal and visual innuendos, sarcastic signboards, witty body language, dark and shady death scenes and sometimes plain silly.
The unassuming superhero in his red leather tights, fluorescent green shirt, leopard skin waist coat, pink scarf portrayed by Dr. Rajendra Prasad is outstanding. The ‘Terminator’ disemberkment in front of Gateway of India is one of the treats to spoof lovers. The locket lover Anu (Lola Kutty) is the subconscious guide to Murugan, his pathfinder towards a secured and safe life. Thus, when confronted with lusty seductress Mango Dolly (Rambha) with her buxom assembly and Helen-ish oozing oomph, Murugan’s dilemma to taste the forbidden payasam is understandable.
What is not understandable is why there was the need to show graphic violence and blood, which could have easily be avoided making it a more universally acceptable creation, to the censor board and to the children may be? The now clichéd Matrix slo-mo has become an obvious and only way to dodge bullets in films these days. Here’s no exception, infact there’s an overdose of it. I wish we could get some more innovative ideas there, alongwith biting bullets (literally) and flying sideways. The shooting scenes for me was kind of letdown, except for the final duel with Rowdy MBA on the traffic jam. The last scene was somehow disconnected and can probably only be related by them who has seen Django.
Exclamation Marksheet !
Overall, I had a great time revisiting the hero, the fascinating catch phrases and relating to the original cults. The movie does have its momentary lapse of reasons, but why seek reason in everything and always? QGM was like an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence. The sentence to laugh ! Mind it !
Bring ‘em on and hang ‘em high. I am eager for the sequel ‘The Good The Bad and The Idli’.
Kaminey: A Ballad Darkly Tuesday, 25 August, 2009Posted by ~uh~™ in Bollywood.
Tags: Amole Gupte, Bhau, Bhope, censor, Certificate, ch*tiye, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Climax, dark, Desi, drama, Film, gangster, genre, hindi, Kaminey, Masala, Mikhail, Mumbai, political, Priyanka Chopra, Review, Shahid Kapoor, Train
This review was first published on PFC [link]
For me there will always be a difference in experience between watching a film on big screen, on the immediate weekend after its release compared to watching it after reading many reviews, seeing it on DVD. Because of my lack of knowledge, experience and panache to observe the nuances and minutiae of this medium of art and expression. Unfailingly, I tend to form an opinion from others viewpoint, build-up expectations or more detrimentally, become biased.
Thus, I normally try to avoid reading many reviews before watching a movie just to keep my mind free from any bias or expectations. However, for Kaminey it was entirely a different trip. I have never had the privilege to witness any Director’s perspective on his movie before watching it, leave alone attend a discussion between two Directors, who have imprinted their style in contemporary Indian cinema, in person, in real time. So, when the two directors started discussing the film in animated excitement, I gulped it down like a greedy pig. Because, having missed the discussion, I would have now been writing the script of Flashbacks of a Fool- Part Deux.
Evolution of ‘Hindi movie’ has always been based on certain modus operandi, saving a handful of exception, which rather proved the norm. Movies which were not formula based were a copy/ lift/ inspiration or termed as ‘Art film’. So Commercial Hindi cinema, also known as ‘Mainstream Bollywood’ or ‘Escapist Entertainment’, always typified the certain formula, albeit modernized with time.
The formula broadly delved on love story, family drama, twin siblings/ reincarnations, political drama, cop/ gangster/ terrorist, horror/ comedy (of late it’s difficult to distinguish between them). With the winning formula combined with muscular hunks, foreign locations, underdressed zeroines, numerous song and dance sequences, they were sure to entertain a section of the audience. The other kind of audience drooled over Tarantino, Ritiche and Rodriguezor, to satisfy their appetite for dark wit and flamboyant violence. Then happened Kaminey and things did not look the same anymore.
[This para is not in PFC review] The basic plot revolved around separated twin brothers Guddu and Charlie (Shahid Kapoor), Guddu’s girlfriend and mother of his child Sweety (Priyanka Chopra), her headstrong regionalist politico brother Bhope Bhau (Amole Gupte). A huge consignment of coke deal goes bad and Guddu and Charlie gets entangled in a nexus of corrupt cops, international drug peddlers, Bengali race fixer Mafioso and henchmen of Bhope. A bloody chase for power and money ensues while love and blood bonding floats above all.
Kaminey to me is an absolutely desi and dark director’s cut of our times, which does justice to the medium of art/expression as well as makes commercial sense. Vishal Bharadwaj uses elements of the time tested formula and imbues them in the film in his unique way. The story is a not so subtle statement on Indian politics and corruption at the metropolis underbelly, under the subtext of classical vulnerable romance. What is subtle is how he interweaves dream like sequences within harsh reality and creates a ballad, wrinkle free and acid washed.
The aspects of Kaminey which made me see the movie once again-
Political undertone- The statements on politics, corruption and exploitation may not be new in intent but surely in presentation. In a necropolis, neither the criminals are glorified nor are the cops. At the end of the day the people are constituent of a symbiotic scum, corroding the moral values to the core and celebrating it with vada pao and modak. When values are traded and negotiated like vegetables, it’s the kaminey who walks up the victory stand.
Childhood memoirs- The guns in the hands of Bhope Bhau and Mikhail seemed like toys, when they play the game of death with innocent ‘dhishkaon’ to each other. The mention of Bela-Bahadur and champak immediately took me to my days of Indrajaal Comics. Violence was a child, once upon a time. That’s why the eccentric Bengali dadas not only refuse to grow up, but chose their lethal weapons with childish ecstasy.
Black Humour- Now this is not everyone’s glass of blood. How violence becomes comic and death brings a smile, are illustrated in this movie. Picking up the humorous killing scenes and describing them would be a criminal offence and killing of the humour itself, so I refrain. Those who love comic books may get the drift.
Dialouges- Each and every sentence uttered by the characters reflected the idiosyncrasy, humour and the strata of the society the characters represent. Usage of original mother tounge by the characters further makes it a treat for the audience, who understands it. I can vouch that the Bengali dialogues were one of the best in the movie, not just because it’s in Bengali but the contextual sarcasm in which they work. For your information, ‘Sonamoni’, mukhta ektu kholo dekhini’ [ o my sweetpie, open your mouth please] and ‘O amar Sontumunu pushuta’ are the sweet nothings a Bengali mother affectionately uses to nurse and cuddle her baby.
Influences- Some of us, who are little overdosed with international films, tend to seek the ‘inspiration’ or ‘tribute’ to a context, or a scene, and then analyze it so deeply, which probably even the Director never had any clue of. Just because a film is structured as non-linear narrative and talks about a wristwatch doesn’t mean a simile with Pulp Fiction, similarly to El mariachi because of a Guitar and Guy Ritchie because of multiple gangsters chasing a large booty moving. However, I must confess, some of the elements used, did remind me some films of foreign origin. For example the masked figures in the song Fatak reminded me the death procession on Once Upon A Time in Mexico., the climax shootout reminded me of Desparado, Mikhail’s long hair and sniffing style reminded me of Banderas of El Mariachi and Pacino from Scarface.
Symbolism and Surrealism- The delirium of Charlie and the jump cuts to his childhood and Mikhails deadbody in his father’s place was subconscious acceptance of guilt, which , in most probability was intentional. But Guddu’s walk along the railway track over the corpses while half-dead people are trying to grab his feet was surreal to me- I was simultaneously surprised, shocked and disturbed, but ‘felt’ the scene in my psyche. Quite an anarchist poetry in celluloid.
Characters performances- Priyanka Chopra , Amole Gupte, Chandan Roy’s performances are etched in stone. Rajatava Datta and Deb Mukherjee as the Bengali dadas are brilliant too. I liked Tenzing Lama as Tashi too, he had the right attitude to like bitches over dogs. Shahid Kapoor’s dual role as Guddu and Charlie gives us some hope, that stars may not need to build up a image of romantic or action hero but can do character roles. Our cinema needs characters, we have seen enough heroism.
Overall, a superior and entertaining cinema with masala plot, great music, fabulous casting, cult characters, brilliant cinematography and a new flavour which sets the Hindi film standards up there, that would change the meaning of ‘average’.
However, I did have my feeling of discontent with Kaminey, even being aware of the director’s thought behind certain elements.
Dilution/ comic reliefs- The high standard of twisted humour, though fairly consistent does degrade a bit at places, especially with that Lele character at the climax.
Make up- looking at it from pure practical point of view there should have been some marked difference between the twin brothers, representing their upbringing. Atleast, Guddu would have been given a shorter hair cut.
Climax- The climax was a big letdown and it was clear that it’s been brutally edited to fit the film into a time limit. Such climax, panned with wide angle camera, rendered with the number Rasta Hai Jo Sasta Hai Wo would have been a masterpiece, a metaphoric epic like end. The silhouette against the setting sun and the gunfire sparks looked like a painter’s canvas and I wanted more. But, it ended like a rushed up 80’s potboiler, with a clichéd message – Alls well that ends well. The ending clearly disappointed me. It was like the fragile David of art was defeated by the commercial Goliath. The ballad gets asphyxiated.
Certification- Was that A certification some kind of joke? Some contemporary movies get released with an U certification which feature cleavages as deep as ATM slots, display human flesh like PETA adverts, item numbers that would enable premature ejaculation to coma patients, leave alone the Sulabh Sauchalay grade innuendos, while I cringe into my seat, as my 9 year old son doesn’t even find them funny. But Kaminey gets a big A, because our respected censor board does not want to talk about condom and thinks Kaminey is a bad word, so is Pilibhit.
I sincerely request the film fraternity to give censor board another chance, by making Ch*tiye.
22 Reasons To Watch Tashan Now Thursday, 9 July, 2009Posted by ~uh~™ in Bollywood, Movies.
Tags: Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor, Desi, English, Humour, Kareena Kapoor, Review, spoof, Tashan, zeroine
This was one of my old unfinished reviews, lying on the drafts folder. The ongoing reviews of Kambaqt Ishq reminded me of this movie and I thought of publishing this after some modification.
For a change I will also be in brief (meaning, within 5000 characters with spaces).
This is not exactly a review. There are many more reviews to understand the storyline, performances, direction and other technical stuff, pluses and minuses of this neo-noir roadie motion picture. Unfortunately, I could not leave my brain back home in the fridge as recommended by some reviewers. I actually went to see Ironman . Unfortunately, the print did not reach on time to the hall, and they changed the show to Tashan. It was morning show and ticket was only 60 bucks and we were very disappointed to turn back, empty headed, so we agreed.
Well equipped with the knowledge gathered from multiple reviews I kept my expectation as small as Kareena’s hotpants. But amazingly enough Tashan exceeded my expectation. So let me list out the facets which I found to be quite educative, subject to suspension of little bit of disbelief, common sense, logic, logistics and keeping difficult subjects like physics, chemistry, biology on standby mode.
You can learn -
- How to deliver underwater monologues without letting air bubbles out.
- How to go to Mumbai to Hardwar, driving a 2 seater convertible Mercedes via Tibet. And mind you, that’s a shortcut. Similarly, Rajasthan to Kerala backwaters takes no time to travel.
- How car’s number plate changes when you drive it off the road in high speed
- How to manhandle a car stereo and jump into a pool of water deep enough for a submarine, but shallow enough for the actors to stand knee deep on it.
- A 40+ year old guy with a weird handlebar moustache (50% natural 50% made up) can be a ‘call centre executive’.
- Call centres are actually online telephone directory of mobile numbers.
- How to pick and dry ‘ladies banyan’.
- How to drive a bike from Malad Mindspace ( where most of the call centers exist) to VT ( 40 Kms) in less than 10 minutues.
- How to asphyxiate English language. Tashan supercedes Borat on this parametre.
10. How to wear colorful tent house material as skirt and dance too.
11. Its cool to wear a antifit green cargo with huge red belt for a call centre executive.
12. The original Jimmy Cliff, a 60 year old Jamaican reggae singer doesn’t even know how he is so well known in UP.
13. Pronouncing ‘ich’ in place of ‘is’, my dear phellow, can be a Tashan too !
14. How to steal electricity and survive high voltage shock directly sent from Transformers.
15. Why ‘ditch’ rhymes with ‘bitch’ and it rhymes with ‘itch’.
16. Manly way to scratch the part of the body, in between 2 legs of Akshay Kumar, named Tom and Harry.
17. Why “Spoof” and “Goof” is related to ‘oof” !
18. Identify and count the ribs of Kareena with your kindergarten kid.
19. White white face dekhe dilwa beating fast sasura chance mare re- it’s a song picturized with white female dancers for a foreign film.
20. Even a bikini can quialify to be be nominated for the best ‘supporting’ role.
21. A heroine with size zero is called Zeroine.
22. Tashan is anyday more entertaining movie than RGV Ki AAG.