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Avant Garde Bollywood Remakes

This article was first published on PFC [link]

This post has been selected as as one of the ‘Top 25 Tangy Tuesday Picks‘ of the year 2010.

 

 

The Ballpen and other Poster artworks are my original work ( except for Samuel_Gabbar), so will appreciate if you add the source link if  you wish to use the images.

What if ?

The mainstream Hindi Film Industry is often criticized due to its lack of originality and the tendency to piggyback ride on existing good cinema of the world. Call it rip-off, plagiarism, influence, copy, creative coincidence or whatever, but the fact still remains that it’s always a rare and pleasant surprise to find a good new release, which is based on an original script. Whenever we see a good story on screen, the first thought comes to our mind is that it must be ‘taken’ from some already successful movie script, because that’s what the trend for commercial cinema has been. In short;  if it’s not a masala, it’s must be a copy.

But, what if the trend is reversed?  What happens if the world renowned Directors start getting ‘influenced’ by the superhit masala Hindi films?  What if they remake the famous, cult and highest grossing Hindi films in their own style? Won’t it be a treat to us movie lovers, a double whammy of sorts? Foreign director cooks the desi masala, and in their own style.

So I sit down with a khamba of Old Monk, create a thick cloud of Eyjafjallajökullic smoke out of Classic milds and  let my imagination run wild, wearing the shoes of some of my favorite directors…..

Warning: Article contains text and artworks depicting violence, sex and disdain to convention. Reader’s discretion solicited.

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Quentin Tarantino remakes Sholay

(Tarantino says it’s the most exhilarating experience, making his remake after RGVs)

We all know Sholay is inspired from Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. But once Sholay was made, it became Sholay and had it’s own identity. So remaking Sholay is not the same as remaking Seven Samurai, in case one tend to become confused.

The four hour long film will be divided into eight major scenes, each around half an hour long. The movie would start with the final confrontation of Thakur (Lawrence Tierney) and Gabbar (Samuel L Jackson), where the opening credits would roll. Thakur will have robotic arms and legs equipped with rocket launchers and machine guns. Thakur will brutally kill Gabbar inside his loo, while Gabbar peeing.

 

Poster, Quentin Tarantino, remake, Sholay, Thakur, Gabbar, Hand cutting, Ballpen art
A Poster of Tanatino's SHOLAY

The next scene would be a long conversation between Thakur, Jay (Eli Roth) and Veeru (Michael Madsen) about the Gabbar assignment. This will be followed by the Holi shootout followed by the train and dacoits scene. The dacoits would be on dirt bikes firing shotguns. Basanti (Vanessa Ferlito) would flirt with Jay, instead of Veeru. Veeru, while faking the ‘soocide‘, will suddenly fall from the overhead water tank and die. Gabbar will kill Basanti in frustration as she would try to seduce him, during the torture session. Jay and Veeru would kill Asrani’s character (cameo by Tarantino himself) before the jailbreak. They would suddenly behead Jagdeep (Steve Buscemi) after a 2 minutes laugh session together.  The excised head would still shown to be laughing. Gabbar’s ‘Russian roulette’ (to aab goli kha !) scene would feature as bonus under deleted scene in the DVD release. So will be Hungal’s ‘itna sannata kyun hai bhai’ monologue and Basanti’s striptease to Gabbar.

Sholay, remake, Gabbar, Samuel L Jackson
Samuel L Jackson as Gabbar

Gabbar would use a heavy duty industrial sawing machine to cut Thakur’s hands, legs and also castrating him. Gabbar will scathingly mention that he doesn’t want Thakur to reproduce again so that his offspring could never take revenge on him. Gabber would snort coke and would be impotent.  The fountain of blood oozing out of the limbless Thakur would drench the entire cast present in the scene including Sambha (Tarantio wanted it to be played by Mac Mohan only) and the gang. The bloodstream then further flow down to the village. The village dog will be shown to lick the blood while Ramukaka playing GNR’s ‘November rain’ on saxophone.

The longest scene would be the massacre of Thakur’s family shown at the last. Samurai swordsmen on dir bikes would do the killing with Nirvana’s ‘All apologies’ playing as the BGM.

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Bernerdo Bertolucci remakes Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge

(This movie is also gets red signal from censor board  for explicit sexual content)

Bernerdo Bertolucci remakes DDLJ, Poster, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le jayenge
Poster of Bertolucci's DDLJ

Raj meets Simran on a train, has sex in the luggage compartment and part ways without even asking each other’s name. Then they meet again in Switzerland and have sex again, this time in a hotel room. Simran leaves Raj while he is asleep, who is then desperate to find her. He traces her back in India, in the remote village of Punjab. He finds that Simran is about to get married. Raj pretends to be a family friend of Kuljeet, Simran’s fiancé. They have a secret meeting following by sex in the ‘sarson ke khet’ where Simran’s father sees them. Next day they find a heap of dead pigeons being eaten by vultures. Raj eventually discovers that Kuldeep is a misogynist and kills him. Meantime Simran’s sister Preeti seduces Raj and they have a wild romp in the barn. But soon Raj gets disillusioned with both Preeti and Simran. He tries committing suicide by drinking many glasses of lassi but fails. As he tries to regain his lust towards Simran, she comes to know about his relationship with Preeti, she drowns Raj in a tub full of lassi.

In the last scene, Preeti is shown to drive a tractor with Simran towards the sarso ka khet while some pegions flies up, disturbed by the loud noise of the engine. In silhouette, only one of them is shown to return while the sun sets in the backdrop.

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David Lynch remakes Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

(As usual Lynch refuses to provide any explanation of the film and leaves it to the audience interpretation)

Surrinder Suri (Chris Isaak) is a loner alcoholic simpleton, who works in the Electricity department of a small town but lives in a dark palatial mansion lit only by candles. Various insects crawl around him and a red lizard like creature makes modem like sound intermittently. His house is so big that some of the corridors looks like a tunnel to limitless darkness. However, when Surinder walks into any of the dark corridors it always leads to the living room.

David Lynch remakes RNBDJ, Poster, Lynchian, spiral
Poster for Rab NE Bana Di Jodi by David Lynch

He spends sleepless nights watching a headless transgendered belly-dancer on his laptop screen who after every dance session dissolves into pixels which he saves in his pen drive as media file. Taniya (Naomi Watts) is the girl with a dark past and disturbed childhood. She gets flashes of her riding pillion with a muscular hunk on a motorcycle riding on an one way road opposite the traffic flow. Taniya’s would be husband suddenly disappears along with the vehicle on the same day of their wedding. The incident leaves Taniya shocked and depressed. An unknown man calls Taniya asking if she would like to know a secret about his father. She gets perplexed to discover that the phone line is lying dead.  There’s a hint of incestuous relationship with his professor father, who before dying because of a wrong medication overdose, asks Surinder to take care of Taniya. Suri marries Tanya and takes her to his dark mansion. While Suri leaves for work, Taniya discovers that the red lizard actually eats the fuse wire which disconnects the electric supply. In a feat of rage she kills the lizard with a kitchen knife. In the night Suri is surprised to see his house lit, but gets a shock to see footage of his wife killing the lizard on TV. He tries to look for Taniya, but could not find her. He walks into a dark corridor which leads to a street with a bike parked on it. He rides it and reaches to the dance class where Taniya is practicing. During his ride he transforms into a sculpted dude whom Tani could not recognize but agrees to partner with. They have sex on the bike in the first night after the dance class. The same routine repeats everyday. One day Suri takes Tani out of the city, atop a hillock she could see the letters ‘I Love you’ displayed by the building lights. Suddenly some kind of short-circuit happens and the entire city catches fire. While Tani screams, the headless dancer appears and beheads Tani. The decapitated Tani runs towards the fire where Suri is pulled into a spiraling black tunnel and he loses consciousness.

In the next scene he is shown waking up in Tani’s house dressed in bridal attire, where he sees Tani’s dad sitting on the couch while Tani is watching the dance competition on TV. The arrangements around hints that it is Tani’s wedding day.

Suri hears a modem like sound, comes out of the house and finds the bike. The movie ends with he leaving the place riding the bike.

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Roman Polanski remakes 3 Idiots

(The movie is disapproved by censor and banned in India citing that would hurt Indian sensibilities)

There would be slight changes in the characterizations and the storyline. Rancho would be a gay scientologist, Farhan would be an alcoholic photography lover and Raju would be a drug addict loser, suffering from chronic depression and anxiety. Virus would be a Satanist, practicing occult sciences in his office during lunch break. Pia would be a mysterious lady who is an androphobic witch doctor. While treating the ailment of Raju’s dad she accidentally would suffocate him to death. Rancho would carry the corpse in his scooter and sell it to underground corpse dealers for money. He will use the money to fund his underground scientology club.

 

Roman Polanski, 3 Idiots, remake, Poster, graphic art
Poster for Roman Polanski's 3 IDIOTS

The focus of the film would be more on the psychotically challenging characters disturbed by their respective educational background and the conflict of their societal existence. Chatur would be an imaginary character, often appearing in the delirium of Raju. Farhan would commit suicide by asphyxiating himself with negative rolls, after repeatedly being rejected for internship by his idol.

On the stormy night Pia’s sister would give birth to a baby demon and Virus would be struck by lightening at the same time. Rancho would steal the proverbial pen from his charred remains and vanish into thin air. Raju will have a hallucinatory trip to Ladakh with Farhan and Chatur, where they would discover Rancho living with milimetre, his partner now and the demon baby.

In the last scene Raju would be shown confronting an interview panel with his dad’s corpse on the table, while Pia sits naked on a chair and laughs.

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Given an opportunity I would love to outline the following remakes as well,

James CameronJodha Akbar (3D)

Wong Kar WaiDostana

Troy DuffyKaran Arjun

Pedro AlmodovarTaare Zameen Par

Kim Ki DukMaine Pyar Kiya

The Ballpen and other Poster artworks are my original, so will appreciate if you add the source link if  you wish to use the images.

My First Attempt On Scam Baiting

My first attempt on reverse scam baiting.

Heavily inspired from http://www.419eater.com/, I tried my hand for the first time on reverse scam baiting. Unfortunately no response received as of yet !

(Please note the spelling and/ or grammatical errors are kept intact, including mine)

On Thursday, 27 March 2014 7:13 PM, “mariamark545@yahoo.com” <mariamark545@yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Mrs. Maria Mark

Email Address: mariamark545@yahoo.com

PHILIPPIANS – 4 v13 I Can Do All Things.

Good day

My name is Mrs. Maria Mark; I am a dying woman who had decided to donate what I have to the Charities. I am 51 years old and was diagnosed for cancer about four years ago, immediately after the death of my husband, I have been touched to donate from what I have inherited from my late husband for the good work rather than allow his relatives to use my husband’s hard earned fund.

As I lay on my sick bed, I want you to help me in carrying out my last wish on earth which will be very profitable to you. I want to WILL a total sum of $25million USD to you which I want you to distribute part of it to any charity home for me and the rest for yourself and your family which I will inform you on how to share all, please for further information contact me ASAP.

Regards,

Mrs. Maria Mark

My reply:-

From:”Anmol Anda”< anmolanda@in.com >
Date: 28 Mar 14 16:06:47
Subject: Re: 4 v13 I Can Do All Things [ANDA compensation policy intimation]
To: mariamark545@yahoo.com

= Om Shiri Ram Bhagwan=

Dear Mrs Maria Mark

I take this opportunity to thank you for writing an email to us.

It is very sad to note that you are dying from cancer. However we are only human and can not resist what has been decided by the almighty in our destiny. I sincerely hope with some Godly miracle you get well soon and live the rest of your life in a very healthy way.

Regarding you offer for the money which is left by your late husband i am afraid i can not accept such sum directly. I am myself involved in charity works here in my country India for the poor and needy. As per the Government regulation we can not incur any profit from the charity work that we do in poor villages of India. We run from the donation received in Indian money from the churches and NGOs operating in nearby areas. In case we get offer from money which is not in Indian Rupees we have to disclose such amount to our “Inland Tax Deduction Authority” who downright forfeit such amount and also legal recourse is initiated against the defaulters. In our country these inland tax rules are very strong and as a charity organization we cannot violate them.

On this context let me introduce myself. My name is Anmol and i work for a charity organization called “Almighty Neuron Distributor’s Association” (ANDA). We are supported by all the big hospitals and medical research teams of our country. What we do is we collect vital body parts from a dying person who are suffering from fatal diseases like cancer, leukemia, jaundice and green water tumor.People who have very less chance of survival, with their consent, we collect certain parts of their body and extract the neurons. These neurons are then stored medically and supplied to the needy and poor people. Though this is complete charity work, we do compensate the dying person or their next of kin as per the policy of our organization and Government regulation. Depending of the body parts that we collect, the compensation is determined by a governing body in our organization. Typically, for hair, nails and skin the compensation is around INR 600,000- 1200000 ( US$ 10,000-20,000), for other vital body parts like spleen, uvula, brain and intestines the compensation sum can vary between US$ 40,000- 65,000 or more. The amount can only be decided after a very detailed inspection of the medical history of the donor. In our policy the money is sent in advance after exchange of few formal documentation, consent agreement form to arrange for the body part donation which will be supervised by our empaneled doctor. from the date of money transfer the actual donation has to be withing 6 months. if the donor is still alive after 6 months, another extension is given for the body part donation. being a charity organization we cannot take back the money given as a compensation, so we have to wait. After 9 months we take the body part under strict medical supervision from the alive donor. The entire process is very painless. We have donors alive still after one year of donating their uvula and partial Hypothalamus. The only thing we ensure is that the money we donate is kept withing the family and spent for the welfare of the donor of his/her immediate family.

As you are dying and if you feel you do not have any chance of survival in 6 to 9 months, you can donate any suitable organ to our organization. It will be a very good deed for the humanity and we would be thankful to you Mrs Maria. I would request you to think over it and reply to me. If you are interested in our proposition, we can send you the consent agreement form and other documentation and arrange for our governing body to decide the compensation amount. Please also send an identity document to open an ANDA case file in your name. There are some other minor procedural formality which i will guide you in due course.

With the name of lord Rama, i wish you very best of health.

Jai jai Ram

Anmol

 [Unfortunately I did not receive any reply on my generous offer till date. Alas.]

 

The Story of LD

This is the story of Latpat Desi.# (You may not like the name, but they exist)

Those who have met Latpat Desi could never remember him as he doesn’t have anything special to remember. Latpat is one of the million common men in the crowd with no unique quality, no special talent. He was one of those daily commuters who owned a car but could not afford to use it. He took local train to work everyday. He was working on the same company for the last 16 years where he joined before his marriage. But because he was neither smart not good in office politics, he was left behind as a manager while his colleagues climbed the ladder of growth much faster. Latpat was afraid of change. After leading a mundane life for years he was afraid to break his routine. The only adventure he has is when he takes his daughters to the suburban shopping mall’s gaming arcade and collide each other’s cars. He was afraid of spiders, beautiful women, smart colleagues and new technologies. He used a primitive mobile phone. He has not changed his Maruti Zen since last thirteen years though he could easily afford a bigger car. He did not drink or smoke regularly, but kept a bottle of Johny Walker Black label received as gift, waiting to open it for want of a suitable opportunity like a promotion at job or India’s qualification in the football world cup.

Being the only earning member of family, he always wanted to limit his expenditure on unnecessary luxuries and save for his daughters’ education, marriage etc. While planning for the future he forgot to live in the present and always waited for something good to happen to feel happier. His wife on the contrary was a very outgoing and jovial personality. She used to dance before marriage and was fond of movies and music. Now her only entertainment is plateful of assorted food in the food court of the suburban shopping mall and a movie or two. They had two daughters, aged 8 and 14 who studied in the neighborhood school. When they completed 10 years of marriage Latpat wanted to gift her something of her choice. She asked for a DVD player. Latpat did gift her one with two DVDs, namely Titanic and Hum Apke Hai Kaun. Her wife gifted him a set of aroma therapy candles with aphrodisiac oil.

On the eve of their tenth marriage anniversary, Latpat’s wife wanted to have a good time eating out and spending time together. She found out from her friends about a lounge bar in downtown and convinced Latpat to take her there. In exchange she offered to keep the lights on, wear the translucent negligee at night, which Latpat gifted her on their 5th anniversary. So, after they make arrangements to keep their daughters with a relative for the night, Latpat took his vintage Zen out. He felt little distracted and he could not decide if it was because of the squeaking noise from the car or the thought of night with his wife in that negligee.

Being a weekday, they reached the seaside lounge bar quite fast and chose to settle on an open air table for two by the beach overlooking the sea. The food on the menu card was mostly unknown to Latpat, so his wife took the responsibility to order. She ordered two exotic cocktails and some finger foods to start with. It was only nine in the evening. The lounge played nice contemporary music which Latpat never heard, but with the fusion of fine alcoholic taste and relaxed senses, he enjoyed it. Her wife was looking beautiful with the dark tinted lips and a hint of dusky eye shadow. They made small conversations, mainly about what they did in their earlier anniversaries and how they have forgotten to spend time with each other, over the years with responsibilities of children taking the top priorities. Latpat kept looking at his wife for ten years, and pondered how their love gradually transformed into a series commitments and responsibilities. Tonight he will rekindle the long lost passion, he thought.

By the time the sizzlers arrived, Latpat downed two more drinks. After long time he was feeling relaxed and happy. For once, he was relieved of all his anxieties of life, savings for his daughters and office politics. The music changed to a soothing saxophone, the stars above the open deck was shining bright. Latpat was never so happy.

At that point someone called her wife’s name, a female voice. It was an old friend of Latpat’s wife from school, they saw each other after ages. As it happens, the two women started talking relentlessly, trying to catch up with all that have happened in their lives. With nothing much to do Latpat sipped his last drink for the road, while gazing at the stars, enjoying his high. After all, this was a special night.

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He could not remember how long it was, but his wife woke him up from his state of trance. It was little past midnight and only few patrons were left in the lounge. Latpat settled the bill and waited for the valet to bring his car. Looking at his wife’s sparkling eyes, he just couldn’t wait for the excitement awaited for the rest of the night. As soon as he hit the road, he pressed the accelerator hard, took a screeching turn. His wife cautioned him’, what’s the hurry dear, drive carefully”. With his blurred vision and the dimly lit road he saw some silhouette figures on the road, a hundred meters ahead. When he realized it was a group of cops with a ‘naka-bandi’, it didn’t take him long to realize what he is driving into. There’s a group of cops on their routine drink and drive check-post and there he is behind the wheel, alcohol filled up to his neck. The next thing would be a breath analyzer on his mouth which will ensure suspension of his license, a quick trial and atleast three days inside a jail, the least being the fine of couple of thousand rupees. He read in the newspapers how stringent cops have become these days, especially after few fatal accidents by drunken drivers. He trembled inside, by the thought of him being inside jail with all those rapists and criminals, while his wife facing humiliation from the neighbours, colleagues and relatives. How will he face his daughters? He will be degraded in front of everyone known to him. Forever.

He looked at his wife, who had turned pale, probably from the same thought. Latpat slowed down. There was no way to get out of this. The cops have already noticed him and one constable on the bike started approaching him. There was not a single moment to lose. He looked at his wife again, who tried to say something, but then he had already decided what to do. He took a deep breath, pressed the accelerator as hard as possible and released the clutch pedal. With a shrieking noise the Zen sprang towards the iron barricade set up by the cops. A glaring light from the standing police vehicles blinded his vision as he drove in breakneck speed. The cop on the bike shouted and waved before Latpat hit his bike, which flung on to his bonnet, shattering his windshield. His car ran over the constable, felt from the bump below the tires. Latpat tried to brake and turn towards the gap between the barricade just wide enough to let him pass through it. He could see a mosaic of blinking lights through the thousand pieces of glass of his windshield. To his horror, he found the brake is not functioning. His unused vehicle has given up at this moment of emergency. As a last try as he pulled up the hand brakes, the car turned clockwise with a screeching sound. Smell of burnt rubber engulfed his olfactory before the car hit the first barricade sideways, hit a police van and rammed the second line of barricade before coming to a halt.

Within police siren blaring, smoke and acrid smell of burnt rubber and metal, Latpat sensed a stream of hot fluid oozing out of his nose. Another stream tricked down his forehead over his eyes, making it difficult to open. He could gather a blurred image of his wife on the front passenger seat, her head bowed down while her motionless body is hold by the seat belt. He could see her lips, dark and red, gently dissolving and dripping on her arms, flowing over her fingers reaching toward her nails. As his senses plunged into putrid darkness, he tried to stretch his numb arms towards his wife. But he could taste the salty thick decomposed fluid on his mouth and a worm like creature running over his head, shaking it gently.

*******************************************************

“It’s not even ten minutes I was away and you dozed off?” Her wife looked at him while running her fingers through his hairs, “ How are you going to last the night?” Her eyes sparkled. Her lips shimmering with a naughty smile.

Latpat looked at her, smiled and said ‘Don’t worry darling, night is still young. Let’s make love. Let’s start in the taxi that we are taking home’.

# (Law Abiding Tax Paying And Typically   Disillusioned  Endangered Subliminal Indian).

PS: The picture was shot by me, on Mumbai road and digitally altered.

Daayen Ya Baayen Movie Review: Hills and Wheels

This was the first review of this movie to be published on PFC [link], being cross posted here.

Wheels on Hills- welcoming the luxury

Written, edited and directed by: Bela Negi

Release date: 29 Oct 2010

I saw this movie during a private screening organized by the director, thanks to Kamal Swaroop. I had only read her interview [link] and did not have any clue about the story. All I knew was-

1.     This movie is on and about Uttarakhand (temporarily named as Uttaranchal).

2.     Bela Negi hails from Uttarakhand, is an FTII pass out and have worked with the legendary Renu Saluja.

3.     This is the first movie where Deepak Dobriyal plays a lead role.

Before watching, I was intrigued by the title of the movie. The first thought that came to my mind that it must be a pahadi movie with a political subtext. But it wasn’t. The movie turned out to be much broader than that.

Plot Synopsys [Spoilers protected]

Daayen Ya Bayeen is a minimalistic contemporary tale of the people of Uttarakhand. The protagonist of our film, Ramesh Malija (Deepak Dabriyal) returns from a big city to his native village, Kanda, somewhere in Kumaon, for good. He is a day-dreamer, poet, visionary, husband, father and above all a messy loser. He returns to his roots, takes up a job as an English teacher in the local school and dreams of building a ‘Kalakendra’ right in the village, to nurture the indigenous talents.  He is a ‘cool’ fashion conscious dude with his corduroy jacket, jeans, shades, cap et al, educated enough to carry books written in ‘simple English’ by Russian writers. He is welcomed quickly and ritualistically by the loving people- the motley bunch of villagers and his family. However, within no time he degenerates into a subject of ridicule, for his impractical ambition, poetic thoughts and radical ways of teaching his students. His wife has her own share of dissatisfaction on their general state of being, especially in light of her superlative brother’s urban success story. Things suddenly change when Ramesh’s entry in a jingle contest on TV, wins a brand new luxury car! Overnight, Ramesh becomes the village hero, the icon of triumph and epitome of bravura.  Ramesh too flaunts his possession. But with the newfound luxury life becomes complicated for him. He quickly makes enough enemies to disrupt his otherwise mundane unexciting life and his dream of Kalakendra. Like the car, his life also rolls down in a bumpy road of twists and turns.  He gets involved into a platter of problems involving a local political stalwart, his sister-in-law, huge financial loan burden and not the least, an absconding calf. The car, as a metaphor of life takes him to a juncture where he must take a turn towards the right direction, to salvage his dream and his identity.

Village yokels- Manav kaul, Badrul Islam & Deepak Dobriyal
Deepak Dobriyal and Badrul Islam (Basant)

Direction, Characters, Cast, Cinematography

It’s difficult to talk about this movie without revealing the plot spoilers, and there are plenty of elements to talk about. The prime subject remains as the people of Uttarakhand, their identity, aspirations and ambitions with the obvious backdrop being the picturesque Kumaon Himalayas. A simple tale involving an object of desire, a luxury sedan in this case, is then interwoven with earthy characters sprinkled with abundant ‘pahadi humour’ (if I can take liberty to use such term), a rocky version of dry humor tending towards malice. Some contemporary topics are part of this tale; education, television soaps and most importantly- identity of the people and their direction in life.  The movie delves into few fundamental questions. What is achieved by creating a new state? Is such transformation, where girls aspire to be named as the much married bitchy TV serial women, kids walk and talk in English without knowing what they are learning, justified ? Where migrating to a big city is still the biggest aspiration ?  Men gamble with cards and get drunk by sundown. How does this new state affect the people and boost their confidence ?

Bela, hailing from Uttarakhand, knows her roots, feels the dilemma and expresses it in cinematic medium. I have observed, when a writer directs a movie, there’s always a lot of attention to detail. Daayen Ya Baayen would be a treat to the observant audience, to gather the subtle nuances of the characters, the slick coordination of certain sound and visuals to create a humorous note, the framing, dialogues and at times, silent expressions. Quite laudable debut.

 

Girish Tiwari ( School Principal) and Deepak Dobriyal
Deepak Dobriyal & Badrul Islam

There are quite a handful of characters, each with their own idiosyncrasies and colourful traits. There’s a character called ‘Haruldi’. She is an octogenarian lady in sneakers who’s wealthy enough to disburse loan in thousands. There’s the bidi smoking mother of Ramesh. Then there are village bumpkins and yokels played by Manav Kaul (1971, Jajantaram, Mamantaram), Badrul Islam, local political stalwart Jwar Singh (Jeetendra Bisth) and his sidekicks. A veteran ‘Frosted’ school principal (Girish Tiwari) who invariably ends his speech with “miles to go before I sleep”. One of the most important aspects on this film is that it is also made with the local people. Other than three major roles (Deepak Dobriyal, Manav Kaul and Badrul Islam), all other characters are played by local actors and artistes. Reportedly, some of them have faced a camera for the first time. Large number of school students are featured in certain scenes and as I understand, shooting were conducted without any workshop or training. Ramesh’s family members, especially his little kid (Pratyush Sharma) and his wife (Aditi Beri)  sourced from the region seamlessly merges with the household and domestic brouhaha. The wife, particularly in the scenes of her ‘outrageous housekeeping’ antics is hilariously natural.

 

Deepak Dobriyal as Ramesh Majila

Deepak Dobriyal is simply brilliant as the protagonist. His acting prowess probably comes from his theatrical background. I have always admired his work, irrespective of the character he plays. One of his best performances probably was in Gulaal, which was shot much before he was noticed on Omkara. Deepak is a powerful actor. For the attentive audience, he is a treat to watch on screen. Remember the paan shop scene of Gulaal ? Or the bridge scene in Omkara ? He has handled difficult roles with panache in films like 13 B, Delhi 6 and Shaurya. In this film, his character is a sublime combination of a poetic dreamer and an ambitious visionary, but unintentionally ending up being a loser or playing the jester. He teaches his son to hand stand, as that will facilitate blood flow to the brain. He makes poetry. He learns driving. He drinks country liquor. Still, he tries to impart basic values to his students and his son. He does it with intensity. This is undoubtedly, his one of the meatiest and finest performance on screen. His character is beautifully supported by Badrul Islam, a fanboy hopelessly sweet in his own way. Pratyush as Ramesh’s son radiates lot of potential who reminds of the kids in Majid Majidi’s films.

Like recent Udaan and Do Dooni Char, this film too makes way for filmmakers who, while trying to entertain, are also willing to create meaningful content on realistic themes. While the movie is predominantly based on the people and societal culture of Uttarakhand, it talks about certain values, identities and aspirations which is identifiable beyond geographical boundaries. However, one must not expect a somber Blue Umbrella here. Apart from some obvious similarities (people, mountain), DyB deals with is much down to earth issues and materialistic aspirations, but with lighter mood. The tone of the film is bright and upbeat, and it never loses its humour even at its darkest point.

 

Colourful natural settings

Though DyB is a low budget film, the production value is high. The cinematography( Dop Amlan Datta), costumes (by Nikunj Vyas), music are elaborate, well detailed and very entertaining. The magnificent locales, panoramic views, bright sunny days, winding hilly roads, vivid hues are all part of the captivating storyline, all captured candid which prevents it to become a documentary. There’s a scene where, Ramesh with his son walks along the narrow stone steps and a rainbow shimmers on the horizon- absolutely stunning! The film is full of many such colourful occasions of happiness, sorrow and surprises. Arguably, films shot on picturesque mountainous locations are somewhat vulnerable to the landscape overpowering the characters. But it’s the good director’s panache to make them blend with the terrain, but to retain their own importance in the plot. Fine examples are Eric Vali’s Himalaya (aka Caravan), Ray’s Kunchenjungha and Shohei Imamura’s Ballad of Narayama. Bela, is quite successful in achieving a fine balance between the characters and the backdrop, interdependent but collectively complete.  The BGM by Vivek Philip (Sorry Bhai, My Brother…Nikhil) is upbeat and pertinent with the visual setting. There’s only one song, a spontaneous upbeat one, sung by Zubin Garg on which the entire village makes merry !

The narrative is simple, believable, straightforward and chronological. Though in the otherwise logical narrative, absence of mobile phones or a gas filling station does feel a bit conspicuous. Remember,  the car plays the pivotal role (also to some extent literally, by the end of the film). While almost all aspects of the car and driving was captured in detail and expressed with much humour, one or two instances of gas filling could have been added, keeping practicality in mind. In another scene against sunset where Deepak leans against his sedan, quite looks like an advertisement, probably of a car. Otherwise the screenplay is taut and at places emotionally involving. The films takes it own time to develop the plot, which some may term as a slow start, but once Deepak takes the steering, there’s no brake.

Overall, a high quality satire intelligently packaged within an entertaining cinema. Watch it, you may feel right after you’ve left the theater.

 

Scenic Uttarakhand, well framed
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