Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ramu ki Aag... oh what could have been...

I have watched a lot of movies over the year just out of curiosity.To know how the story ends and what the director intended.i have burned my fingers several times, with romcoms,B-grade horror and a little film called Cannibal Holocaust and this too falls in the category.Every director has hits and misses but theres is no one whose misses are so off the mark and whose good films are so on the spot as Ramu.RGV ki AAg misses and does a good job of missing.Ramu is a very good director , i don't have to tell you that but sometimes he stubbornly clutches onto his whims,he just doesn't know whats good for him.Case in point remake of James and this little film.The novelty here could have been the urban setting,the twist and changes he could have given to the famous scenes and Jai taking on the role of Gabbar(known as Babban , due to copyright issues)but all save the last have been poorly handled.The first half is so lame, so immaturely treated that it makes you wince at the camp and cheese.Here is one director who has come to define reality cinema in Bollywood with his gritty takes on the underworld.Someone who has come off strongly against the improbablities of bollywood scenarios and the lack of deviation from the norms but here he tries so hard to be mainstream that he falls flat.I tried comparing the scenes between the original and this one and they i couldn't spot any single one that was better or different in a good way..well the Kitne Aadmi scene was good and the hand-cutting scene..thats all.The new Jai-Veeru are Ok and thats all,basanti is good and that may be just because i am blinded by Ms.Kothari's curves.Sushmita tries all she can.Mohanlal excels in the scenes that he is in but his Mallu pronunciation is distracting.But since he is Mohanlal, one of the greatest actors in the country, all is forgiven.The stand out character as in the original is Babban/Gabbar.Amitabh excels without parallel in this role.Babban is one badass,MFer and he knows that.He is cruel,unrepenting and psychotic ,and the only good thing that comes out of this fiasco.
Ok, lets see how campy some scenes are.Mohanlal asks Jai-Veeru to help capture a goon for whom they work(They didn't knw he was a criminal)they come to the decision by squinting there eyes and looking at each other, and then sipping some pepsi.And how exactly do they help him??The 3 of them dress up as caricatures and arrange a drug deal.And when they are asked there names.One says Anthony Gonsalves and Amar Akbar..!!!A 90s style shootout follows in an abondoned fort complete with barrels and empty boxes.And how do Jai-veeru selflessly save the Thakur's life?One distracts the goons by talking nonsense while the other call the police.This act is enough to convince the thakur that these 2 guys alone can rid of Babban.Gabbar Hybrid.
He had previously announced that he would never put lip sync songs in his films unless it was a romance, and i whole heartedly agreed with his decision.The songs in Aag are picturised with background dancers ,something which even mainstream boolywood has shunned.The songs in all the Factory's films have always had a raw,amateur feel to them and that was good.But here the lyrics andthe music itself is very shabby except for the holi song the others were all un-melodious.When i first heard of the remake my mind went wild at all the possibilities, all the guys who could play the different roles, how slick and gritty the modern day reincarnation would be.But Ramu fails and how.
On a related note:
I personally dont have great love for Sholay,and i only saw it completely after coming to college.Its a good film and for a bollywood film its very good.I like the basanti intro scene"tumahara naam kya hai ,basanti?" and the melancholy tune that plays when jaya bhaduri comes onscreen, and the intensity with which they stare into each others eyes.But my favorite scene is where thakur's Family is shot down.Its unexpected and well shot.towards the end when theres just the grandson left,all the sound you can hear is the creaking of the jhoola.As gabbar trots towards the kid,takes out his gun and aims, you lean forwards to see whether gabbar could be so cruel and all of a sudden you hear the engine of the train releasing pressure as the thakur steps of the train.Classic.

1)There are over 4 films titled AAg.I guess the most famous is the one starring Raj Kapoor.
2)Do you know why there are no scenes with basanti and the Thakur together in them??... Coz Hema Malini did not want to be anywhere near Sanjeev kumar since he had recently proposed to her.
3)Everyone knows that Danny Dengzopa and Shatrughan Sinha were the first choices for Gabbar and Jai.
4)Danny Dengzopa in real life is best friends with Jacki Shroff.I thought Anil Kapoor and Jackie Shroff would be best friends seeing the millions of films they did together.but no.
5)Jackie Shroff's son is names Tiger.Wow both father and son have typical Dog-names.
6)the opening scene of James is downright shocking, but the film spirals downwards from there.