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Kaminey August 18, 2009

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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As the end-credits rolled, I was thinking hard if Kaminey was the best Bollywood flick I saw in the last ?? years. I can’t figure out that number yet but if I had make my own top 10 list for the decade, I shouldn’t have much trouble sneaking this one in. Kaminey is just awesome – and this pure awesomeness can unarguably be attributed to the genius of Vishal Bhardwaj – who has concocted a hands down masterpiece.

If you notice, this is the first time that Bhardwaj moves his turf to a city. I’ve always thought that his previous films – no matter how good they were – lost a bit of appeal because of the milieu in which they were set. In interviews about this film, he has mentioned about the Tarantino and Guy Ritchie influences one is likely to find – I think he was being too humble. The beauty of Kaminey is the way it seamlessly subverts and pays tribute to so many genres both Indian and Foreign. It has been misleadingly promoted as a smart crime caper – one of the possible reasons a considerable portion of the audience haven’t really taken to it. Actually, it is a dark crime drama with multiple threads filled with black humor and when you least expect – is emotionally powerful. This is the reason it is hard to label the film.

The first thing which struck me about this movie was the inventiveness of every scene; it gives you an idea about the effort which went into conceiving this. The added technical brilliance – be it the cinematography (Tassaduq Hussain), the score and even the sound recording is something which takes this film to new heights. On top of everything, you have a superb ensemble cast who create memorable characters. Shahid Kapoor is lovable in both the roles – irrespective of how well the film does his “f”-words already seem to be a rage. Priyanka (who is the only female character in the movie to my recollection) gets a great part once again and she does full justice to it. Among the supporting cast, Amol Gupte is superb. Though early on he doesn’t have much to do but at the end of it turns out be the best performance of this enterprise. Tenzing Nima and Chandan Roy are a few of the other characters who make a strong impression.

Bhardwaj’s score has always been the best thing about his earlier films and Kaminey is no exception. This time he and Gulzar come up with the current rage “Dhan Te Nan” among others, which is used to maximum effect. My favorites are “Fatak” and the title track which incidentally come at the beginning and towards the end respectively. After watching the film when I thought writing about it here I wanted to begin by saying – How can one not love Kaminey!!! But looking around a bit made me realize I was too optimistic. For me this was one of those films which reminds why we all love cinema so much.

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Taare Zameen Par – Every Child Is Special December 28, 2007

Posted by Shujath in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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76 comments

There is a scene in Taare Zameen Par when the protagonist Ishaan (Darsheel Safary) runs away from school and loiters on the road for the whole day – for the fear of being punished for not having done his homework. I never did anything like that in school but keep doing it regularly once I started work. The comparison might not be warranted but this is just one of those scenes which made me relate to Ishaan’s plight in the movie.

On paper, this is the story of a kid suffering from dyslexia and how with the help of an understanding teacher he overcomes it against all odds. But honestly (and more importantly) this is an open indictment of our education system and parents…and their frenzy to produce “winners”. There have been films in the past like Bommarillu and Good Will Hunting which have tackled the issue of an individual’s own inclinations coming in conflict the rest-of-the-world’s perception of what is best for them. Taare is probably more timely and significant because it deals with a phase of life where one is hardly aware of a thing called “choice”/”interest”/”inclination” and so is very likely to shrivel and retreat into a shell (too young to understand that he/she is just different but not wrong)….when figures of authority simply pronounce judgements rather than trying to understand the problem an individual is facing.

The incidents involving the teacher-student interactions depicted in this movie are so relevant in today’s times when you get to see and hear on television at regular intervals innovative punishments like electric shocks being doled out to students. There are particularly heart rending moments like the whole initial boarding school sequence – set to the song “Tujhe Sab To Pata Hai Na Maa” which covey the unspoken emotions of a child separated from his mother when he most needs her. It’s been a long time since I had tears in my eyes (for the right reasons) when watching a film – No emotional manipulation here thankfully!

Aamir Khan and Amol Gupte (Writer and Creative Director) have crafted a wonderful film which hits you hard – whether you are a child or a parent/teacher. This film would not be complete without a special mention for Shankar Ehsaan Loy (Music), Prasoon Joshi (whose lyrics convey more than the actual dialogue in the movie) and the technical crew (for some great visual effects). Of course, above all this film could not exist without Darsheel Safary – who hardly speaks in the movie but his portrayal of the moods and emotions of an 8 year old kid are stunning to say the least. Aamir Khan in a supporting role delivers a heartfelt and wonderful performance – easily his best in recent times. Another supporting role which deserves special mention is of Tisca Chopra (who plays Ishaan’s mother).

Certain cinematic cliches can be forgiven here for this film is trying to say something more bigger. Thank You Aamir for Taare Zameen Par. I felt so much better after watching this. This is a movie which a child may or may not understand but one which every parent/teacher should watch to understand their child.