Archive for the the good Category

GF on Haider

Posted in the good on October 12, 2014 by Satyam

this was a response to Qalandar’s piece but it deserves a separate post..

All sorts of spooky spoilers follow…

Your review was a welcome read, Q, as always. I found in Haider a rawness of emotion that I often think is pretty much absent in contemporary Hindi cinema. It was deeply affecting on a purely emotional level, and that on its own is a win. As far as Hindi films of the last several years go, this movie, in its tone, in its nuanced, clear (and novel!) criticism of the establishment and in its daring filmmaking strokes (the visuals, the location shooting, sure, but also the unabashed embrace of all things that are Hindi Film 101) I was actually most reminded of Ratnam’s Raavan. For this reason specifically where I differ with you most is with respect to which “half” of the film I preferred. I found the first hour (and change) of the film, the section dealing with Haider’s search, while watchable, a bit dry, and certainly a bit overlong. I can see the usefulness of this first act, it is novel in its representations, specifically in offering a set of characters unburdened by tired template(s), and, most mercifully, a Kashmir that doesn’t seem like a post-apocalpytic ski resort, but a place where people live and have lived. But this entire section nevertheless felt, to me, like an artless version of Shaji Karun’s (succinct!) masterpiece Piravi, which dealt with a similar kind of hopelessness encountered by a father who also goes in fruitless search of his missing son in the big city, and who, again like Bhardwaj’s Hamlet here, descends into a kind of madness when this search draws him into the interminably circuitous pathways of an aggressively uncaring bureaucracy. Continue reading

Saurabh on Ghulam, Deewar and Memory

Posted in the good on October 12, 2014 by Satyam

is response to this post

In a crucial scene in Vikram Bhatt’s Ghulam quite a few characters participate in a local meeting to discuss the violence in the neighbourhood. There is Fatima (Mita Vashisht), the Muslim lawyer who plays an important role in the protagonist Sidhu’s (Aamir Khan) life. Then we have a Tamilian vegetable seller, and a crippled Muslim man from Uttar Pradesh. And of course Sidhu himself is presented at the meeting as a Maharashtrian identified by his last name Marathe. Taking the context of Bombay’s linguistic and cultural hybridity amidst a compressed landscape of architectural chaos, Ghulam presents the urban crowd not as an abstract force but as a multicultural presence. The presence of the crowd and urban chaos are relationally structured around the Marxist idea of ‘empty space’. By contrasting ‘real’ space (the space of the crowd, the street, and the home) with fetishized ‘empty space’, Ghulam creates a conflictual movement between the ‘everyday’ present and the ‘traumatized’ past. This is most vividly imagined in the scenes on the river-bank (‘ghaat’).
Continue reading

Chetan Bhagat on Amitabh Bachchan

Posted in the good on October 11, 2014 by Satyam

thanks to yakuza..

” Through the ‘70s and the ‘80s, Amitabh Bachchan became the antithesis to the romantic tragic hero. He underlined that there’s more to life than just that. As ‘the angry young man’, he reached out to the lowest denominator. There was a socio-economic subtext in his films right from Deewaar, Mard to Agneepath, something
he may not have been given due credit for, being such a commercial superstar. But down the years he became the Indian icon, the adarsh pursh. Yet
he was someone who could test the limits of morality as in Deewaar, Sharabi, Silsila right up to Nishabd.”

for more follow the link…

Qalandar Reviews Haider (2)

Posted in the good on October 8, 2014 by Satyam

earlier post

Henry on Gone Girl

Posted in the good on October 6, 2014 by Satyam

Having dedicated enough time to read Gone Girl the novel (Gillian Flynn) as well as watch its film adaptation (David Fincher) that released this weekend, I thought it apt to spend a little more time writing my thoughts on this whopper of a thriller about a seemingly perfect woman’s disappearance and its aftermath. Right from the beginning, Gone Girl explodes with a cool sense of style and attitude, laced with pop culture reference and meta humor, and in-the-know characters who appreciate such humor (Nick Dunne’s bar is named ‘The Bar’, and the police officer, investigating his wife’s disappearance, loves the name for being very ‘meta’). Nick Dunne even happens to be a journalist who writes about pop culture, on subjects like male grooming, how to act/dress like a gentleman (ironic, since Nick himself is a laid back, T-shirt and Jeans kind of guy which tells you how much he believes in his profession), and Amy is a Psychology Major, and a Personality Quiz writer whose quizzes, we learn, dig deeper than your usual internet personality quizzes. The point is quickly established that they are not your typical accountant and engineer types.
Continue reading

Qalandar Reviews HAIDER (Hindi; 2014)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2014 by Qalandar


Haider is at once the strongest and weakest of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespeare adaptations: most of the film has little to do with Hamlet, except in the loosest sense, and focuses on the efforts of one Kashmiri Muslim youth (Shahid Kapoor, the Haider of the film’s title) to find his father Dr. Hilal (Narendra Jha), who has joined the ranks of the disappeared after he secretly treats a militant leader in his home, even as Haider’s mother Ghazala (Tabu) draws closer to her brother-in-law Khurram (Kay Kay Menon) in the wake of the tragedy. Paradoxically, these are in fact the strongest portions of the film, which is perhaps the only popular Indian film “on Kashmir” to be made for adults. Freed of the need to draw cartoon characters (the Good Kashmiri Muslim oppressed by the state; or the Good Indian Army Officers protecting the state from evil jihadis), writers Basharat Peer and Bhardwaj give us human ambiguity. It would have been easy to have Dr. Hilal treat the militant because of his devotion to the Hippocratic oath – but the doctor is coy about his political sympathies (even to his wife), and it is entirely possible that he is a sympathizer; his son Haider is more openly hostile (and nor is this a function simply of his father’s disappearance, as a flashback shows); and his wife Ghazala isn’t ideologically committed so much as fearful. Even the Claudius of this tale is not hateful: Khurram’s name is well-chosen, the writers preferring to evoke the specter of the Mughal Empire’s most glamorous fratricidal monarch, Shah Jahan, rather than its most infamous, Shah Jahan’s son Aurangzeb. This concern with his characters’ irreducible humanity, be they Kashmiri militants or ruthless local politicians (but not, it must be said, Indian soldiers), is perhaps the most Shakespearean thing about Bhardwaj’s adaptation. As homages to the Bard go, one could do worse. Continue reading

What Drives Al Pacino? (New Yorker, Sept. 15, 2014)

Posted in the good with tags , , , on October 3, 2014 by Qalandar

Excerpt: “…Most actors of Pacino’s stature—Brando, Jack Lemmon, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro—began in theatre and rarely returned. Pacino, however, craves the derring-do of working in front of a live audience, an activity he compares to tightrope walking. Stage acting, he likes to say, quoting the aerialist Karl Wallenda, is life “on the wire—the rest is just waiting.” Onstage, in the zone, he told me, “you’re up in the sky with the theatre gods—love it, love it, love it.” As a list of some of Pacino’s more esoteric stage work demonstrates—Eugene O’Neill’s “Hughie,” Bertolt Brecht’s “The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui,” Shakespeare’s “Richard III” and “The Merchant of Venice”—the theatre is where he goes to challenge himself and to think. “There are more demands put on you when it is on the stage,” he said.

To Pacino, there is no such thing as a fourth wall. “The audience is another character in the play,” he said. “They become part of the event. If they sneeze or talk back to the stage, you make it part of what you’re doing.” …”

Read the complete piece HERE.