Saturday, February 21, 2009

Delhi -6 ... Hmmm

Well I am not from Delhi 6. I am from Delhi 1. New Delhi. But I love all of Delhi just as much. So as we returned from the movie and as the guys in the front of the car were discussing if a certain character should have been brought back from the dead or not, my thoughts were on something else. This film is not the Ode to Delhi I was expecting it would be. Its not about the magic of Delhi, that city of seven cities. Its about people. How superstitious and narrow minded people can become. Dilli dilwalon ki? I don't see that here. Its also not about Rakesh Om Prakash's early years as the early rumors going around had you believe. Its about the Monkey Man. Its about people and how they react when prodded with external stimuli, in this case the homo nigerous or as they call it "Kala Bandar". I had an idea for a movie in which the residents of an apartment go crazy with suspicion and doubt and turn on each,when they chance upon a mysterious writing(in blood) on a wall. That is the second half , almost.It could have been set anywhere. Its a character study. I guess I was put off by a lot of these elements. Still, its a good movie.But people going in expecting to be bowled over RDB style, beware. Rakesh just pulled a Jackie Brown.
I loved the songs, and the picturisation of Dil gira Dafatan is amaaazing. Its a dream sequence of Delhi taking over Times Square and its just shot so well. It looks so real with CNG autos and cycle rickshas plying through 42nd street.Except for one song, none are lip synced and I don't know if it was just my theater, not all songs from the soundtrack were even in the movie.Rishi Kapoor was wonderful in Luck by Chance and here too he is lovely.Loved the Ram Lila sequence. Meanwhile,like Kushwant Singh's fantastic novel -"Delhi- a Novel",I am still waiting for that definitive movie about Delhi.All of it, not zip code prejudiced.

Ahl-e-jauhar ko watan mein rahne deta gar falak,
Laal kyon is rung se aataa Badakhshaan chhor kar,
In dinon garche Dakan mein hai bari qadar-e-sakhun,
Kaun jaane Zauq par Dilli ki galiyan chhor kar

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Problem with American Theatres

Yeah, they are all fancy and dandy.with their multiple screens, digital dolby , game parlours and over priced pop corn with extra butter. While they will not blow you away , it certainly is a pleasant experience for someone whose serious theatre experience began with the Kairali theatre in Thambanoor, Trivandrum.
Anyway, The first time I went for a movie here was all alone. Coming from a hostel where everyone would start jumping up and down and singing badly, off tune everytime a new film released, it was most disappointing for me to come across a lot who were more interested in watching the camera print on some crack website. So I decided to hire a taxi and go all by myself ( who goes to a movie alone?? I guess it was something I had to do). I landed at AMC and bought myself a ticket for Eastern promises (This was in 2007) , then I asked the guy at the counter ( who by some quirky twist of fate was also named Arjun) if there was an intermission. The guy didn't understand what I said. So I did what every other desi MS student fresh from the airport would do. I repeated the question this time with as good an accent I could put on. He said sorry he didnt know what that was. After a lot of explanation on how theatres worked in India, I was told that unfortunately this was not India. So that meant there would be no breaks for the loo or to drink water, and if you had to go, it would be at the peril of missing out important plot points. The Americans really do overestimate the average Indian males capacity to hold it. Towards the end of my movie, with my bladder knock knock knocking on heavens door, I decided the experience would be more comfortable if I relieved myself and came back. I ran out and did my business and hurried back only to be stopped by the usher. After frantic searching through my pockets I realized I did not have my ticket stub. But for some reason, the usher realized that I was not the conniving kind. I was let in, I scrambled to my screen, took my place and prepared myself for the end of the movie.Within 5 seconds the credits rolled. What the.... My mad dash for glory had made me miss the ending. I decided to watch another movie - The Kingdom- for closure's sake. This time, I held it in.