After doing a double whammy at Cannes 2015, Masaan comes to Indian theatres on July 24th 2015! Produced by  Drishyam Films, Phantom, Sikhya Entertainment, MACASSAR films), and directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, we’ve written enough about Masaan by now for you to know about it, so here’s making it easy for both of us in case you don’t –

For Masaan trailer and photos go here

For the Cannes buzz and two awards go here

For the standing ovation video go here

Masaan

Blow our minds Neeraj Ghaywan!

(click on any pic to start the slide show)

Aha. It feels so good to write this post. And since Indian media is still busy covering gowns at Cannes, we feel like shouting out from rooftop that our Neeraj Ghaywan has bagged not one, but two-fucking-awards at Cannes! The first one is the FIPRESCI Award, which is given by the International Federation Of Film Critics. For other winners, click here.

The next win is in the Un Certain Regard section in which Masaan premiered and was in competition. The film won the Special Jury prize for Debut films/Promising Future (Prix de l’avenir). It shared the award with Ida Panahandeh’s Nahid. Click here for the video. For complete list of winners, click here.

Earlier, the film had received a standing ovation after its first screening. Click here for the video and all the pics. To check out film’s trailer and premiere pics, click here. And to know more about the film, its synopsis, cast & crew, click here.

(PS – whatever you think of Bombay Velvet, Anurag Kashyap still remains the best film school in India. Here is one more proof)

Finally! You have read about it, and now here is the video of that moment of glory – the long standing ovation for Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan, at its premiere on 19th May, 2015 at Cannes Film Festival. The claps continued long after the film got over. Cheers to the entire team of Masaan!

 

And click here to read an early and glowing review of the film by Screen Daily.

UPDATE : And we have got a small video of the presentation ceremony too. Do watch it.

Neeraj Ghaywan’s debut feature Masaan (Fly Away Solo) is premiering at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival. Written by Varun Grover and starring Richa Chaddha, Sanjay Mishra, Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi, the film is competing in Un Certain regard section of the fest. Click here for the official synopsis, cast and crew list.

Here’s the trailer of the film

Click here to check out a new clip from the film.

And here are some happy faces of the film at the fest. Click on any pic to start the slide show.

Bombay Velvet: A Dissection Of Its Allusions

Posted: May 17, 2015 by moifightclub in cinema
Tags: ,

It’s all deja vu here. Because Anurag Kashyap is not new to backlash. That Girl In Yellow Boots is not very old. And before that there was No Smoking. And these are part and parcel of the game – when you don’t want to be calculative about “what would audience like”, but try something new, package it with shiny things, and hope that they will come to your side. Sometimes they will, maybe they wont. The hullabaloo seems to be more this time because of a mainstream big actor and the budget. But when do they matter when you are watching a film as genuine film buff.

Keeping all those things aside, here is Arnab Sarkar trying to dissect Bombay Velvet.

Cinema is like a battleground: love, hate, action, violence, death. In one word, emotion.”

That is the reply Samuel Fuller, portrayed as an American director himself, gives in one famous scene of Godard’s Pierrot le Fou, when asked about the meaning of cinema.

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Being a critic of Cahiers du Cinema, Godard believed the very purpose of cinema, was to make the audience think, to introspect. So when he couldn’t tolerate it further, he went on to make movies, which were in a way thought-provoking, which catered to his instincts. These films, through which he hinted towards cinema, politics, America and wars, were heavily booed by the masses; each time one released, and they were tagged as nonsense.

Few years later, that same auteur would be hailed as one of the most influential movie-makers of all time, and his styles would be adopted and praised world over.

A Kashyap film has hidden layers in its stories. His earlier films No Smoking, Paanch, Gulaal had subtexts too, which were very beautifully disguised inside the outer skin of the script. Recently, a song ‘Taar bijli se patle humaare piya’ from his film Gangs Of Wasseypur was finally dissected on a social platform, to hint at such a subtext about the politics of India.

So while, the whole nation was busy criticising his recent release Bombay Velvet and leaving no stones unturned to make it a huge box-office failure, I interrogated myself: Can Kashyap do this to himself? Or is he simply playing with us?

The film which externally looks as the simplified love-story of Johnny Balraj and Rosie Noronha against the enmity between the media moguls Khambata and Mistry over the politics of Bombay is actually a film-study that points us to myriad conclusions.

The Roaring Twenties

Yes, this James Cagney-starrer movie is referred to, quite at the beginning of Bombay Velvet, as an element of foreshadowing in the script through the line ‘He used to be a Big-Shot.’ But, very few know that The Roaring Twenties, per se, was actually a golden era in the United States and Europe, which had witnessed tremendous development from economic and cultural point of view.

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During that glorious decade, America witnessed a change in its lifestyle post-World War I. Real-estate boomed, skyscrapers built and huge businesses were invested in. That was also the time when labour unions disintegrated due to the rising power of the politicians and employers. Number of strikes dwindled, and the poor became poorer. The fact how Khambata tries to change the face of Bombay post-Independence is a direct reference to this history of America.

Also, it was the same time when American government imposed its Prohibition Act on alcohol, and which led to the rise of ‘speakeasies’(cover-up bars selling illegal liquor) all over America. It was a huge money spinner, and many tycoons invested in that. For here in our film, Bombay Velvet is that very ‘speakeasy’ that is being referred to in the face of prohibition put up by the state.

At a time when the American culture was going through such changes, jazz was introduced for the first time along with dance forms like waltz, foxtrot, which has again been highlighted in the film from Bombay’s perspective.

Homosexuality was getting accepted, and people had started coming out, baring their desires out in open. Now, we know that typical gait, those subtle hints which Khambata gives to Johnny, were essentially, pokes by Kashyap at our numb consciousness.

Khambata’s wife was the perfect description of how females had started realizing their sexual freedom during the 1920s in America. They were not anymore confined to inside their homes. Wide kohl-rimmed eyes, new hair styles, freedom to drink and smoke were the trademarks.

Lastly, the newly found organized crime and gangsters flooded the cities of America, as they were hired by powerful people to get their work done. That led to rise in murders during that period, and thus a drastic enforcement of law and order on the streets. The emergence of Balraj, as a gangster is again an allusion to that episode.

There is one scene in the movie, when Khambata walks out of his room and secretly sniggers at Balraj’s naiveté. It is epic, and I so wish to wonder it’s actually Kashyap sneering at those who didn’t get his references. The film itself is a mock on clichéd cinema.

Bombay Velvet might be a tribute to Scorsese, De Palma, Tarantino for its styles, but it is a bigger tribute to America. In one of the scenes, where Mistry calls Khambata an ‘American agent’, Kashyap just throws it directly at your face to grab it.

The movie may have been based on Gyan Prakash’s Mumbai Fables, but here the rise of contemporary Mumbai has been compared to America.

Godard here?

This method of bringing out important issues about politics, cultures is quite pro-Godard. But the important thing to note here is the limited indulgence of the characters, like in the films of the New Wave auteur. Just before they are making the connections with you, they snap out of it. You do not get deeply involved into their emotions. It remains superficial, like Ferdinand and Marianne, in Pierrot le Fou.

And yet, for the masses, for those who don’t wish to go deep, Bombay Velvet has: Love, Hate, Action, Violence and Death. A perfect cliché-filled cinema.

Parallels to Kashyap in Bollywood

I know this may sound silly, but here I see Balraj as Kashyap’s alter-ego. His entry into Bollywood with nothing to lose, working up his way through the street noir (indies), laughing at his own (street fight) failures, fighting against the system, just to be a Big-Shot one day in the industry, until the industry smothers him.

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But, he still sees a hope that the ones who knew him well, whom he gave a platform to grow and spread their talent, would look up to him and exclaim that he was indeed a Big-Shot!

With that, I rest my views here. Only Anurag Kashyap can tell if these were a bit valid.

Arnab Sarkar

(Doctor during day time, and aspiring filmmaker during night, Arnab loves films more than medicines. Settled in Vadodara, he is currently studying for post-graduation)

(PS – Click here to read Anurag’s latest FB post and closing remark on the film and its making)

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I am sure there is an innate desire in all mainstream filmmakers to see their audience dance on one of the songs of their films. With Banno, Anand Rai has achieved that aim quite easily. Banno tera Swagger (Not Sweater) is a  cracker of a song which isnt just ‘dinchik-dinchik-boom-boom-*random-punjabi*-boom-boom’, the song is word rich, clever and that harmonium towards the end. Orgassssssssssssssm! We wondered here last year if the ‘ooper ooper ren de’ duo of Tanishk-Vayu would be able to match up to their own ‘high’ standards. Fair to say, they did and with aplomb.

It is in vogue to dislike Ankit tewari, more so because of the sameness of all of his tunes. Thankfully, with Krsna at the helm and the burden(?) of composing off his shoulder, Ankit doesn’t try too hard to over express the pain in Mat ja re. Terrific lyrics are a calming factor which generally isn’t the case with songs these days…उम्मीदों से है  घायल,उम्मीद पे  जिंदा है…आस भरी अरदास…I can go on and on. If you excuse the slight ‘oye raju’ like sound  of the song, you will not have much to complain here. Also, I loved the ‘Oye raju’ song.

Jyoti Nooran has successfully filled in the folksy yet सुरीली  place in bollywood, and almost all her songs do garner a lot of excitement. Ghani Bawri is easily likeable and Jyoti is in her top form like most times, so that is hardly a surprise. What surprised me no end was how well the remix of this song has been treated. Not a fan of CD filler रुपी  remixes in film albums, I was in for a huge surprise with this remix. Thoroughly enjoyable attempt and my favorite part remains the stanzas of the song. Superbly done!

Old style Jazz setting, a meandering piano and Anmoll Malik get along very well in Old school girl which has enjoyable lyrics. The jazz setting isn’t managed by परदेसी बैंड वाली कम्पनी लिमिटेड, still it sounds rich. The lyrics are cute. Talking of cute, the Haryanvi version of this song sung by Kalpana Gandharv easily impresses although it will work more in the film (if used). हम में से कुछ लोग है, जिनकी  first language अंग्रेजी नहीं है. ये गाना किसी ऐसे व्यक्ति से ही परिचय कराता है…पहले हरयाणवी में सोचो, फिर Translate it to english and then sing! To be honest, Kalpana’s singing isn’t very convincing (Haryanvi-shly I mean). Still her ‘Babby’ and ‘Telepone’ makes up for everything. Did I like both versions? Yes. Will I play it on the loop? Unlikely.

Move on – Perhaps the weakest song of the album, the song has a catchy hook but dies quickly because of that hook itself! The song sounds like a ‘Mehboob mere’ gone wrong. Normally a big fan of Sunidhi, this song refused to do anything that can make me play it  on the loop.

Dev Negi has an interesting voice which doesn’t put you off. In ‘Ho gaya hai pyar tumse’, he is given a simple tune to which he does full justice. May be it is just me, but I felt I am listening to a fresher version of ‘Kitne dafey’ by the time I made it to the Stanza of the song.

I cannot write enough good things about O Saathi mere, so I will keep it short. The layered composition, married to beautiful lyrics and decorated by the faithful singing by Sonu Nigam has makings of a classic. The tune of the song is creatively handled and very rarely we come across such experiments these days in Bollywood. Easily a song that will outlive the film. One of Sonu Nigam’s finest, ever!

This is an album that is ‘small town’ at heart but very urban in execution. Through the songs, we get closer to the narrative without being too serious about ‘How-much-trouble-the-musicians-are-taking-to-put-it-all-together’. The art is to keep it simple, silly!

A mix of fun, बवाल, दुःख, दर्द and romance, this one for keeps, just like its predecessor, and slightly younger! Now How often does that happen?

@rohwit

Terribly Tiny Talkies by Chintan Ruparel and Anuj Gosalia is a creative initiative which brings together a diverse pool of writers to create one tweet-sized story, everyday. Like their previous shorts centered on the theme of “Love”, this time they have produced 5 more shorts on the ocassion of “Mother’s Day”.

5 shorts, under 5 minutes, by 5 filmmakers.  L by by Amit Masurkar, Cuddly by Karan Shetty, Cheers by Piyush Raghani, Arey Baba by Surya Balakrishnan, and Mamta Tonic by Srinivas Sunderrajan. Do watch them and VOTE for your favourite one.

L by Amit Masurkar, stars Tanistha Chatterjee, Pankaj Tripathi and Svar Kamble. A mother’s dream of riding a scooter is not as easy as it seems.

CUDDLY by Karan Shetty stars Neena Kulkarni and Shruti Vyas. Necessity is the mother of invention. But can it replace mother’s love?

CHEERS by Piyush Raghani stars Ali Fazal and Anju Mahendru. 10 years ago, a boy abandoned his alcoholic mother. Now a man, he returns to meet her.

ARRE BABA by Surya Balakrishnan stars Girish Kulkarni and Gauri Deshpande. Little Devika has a problem her father may not understand.

MAMTA TONIC by Srinivas Sunderrajan stars Suhita Thatte. A travelling saleswoman. 3 potential customers. She weighs the pros of her homemade tonic against the cons of making tough choices in life.

VOTE for your favourite short!