Great work! I love it when Nawaz goes OTT. Loved him in KICK – the ONLY thing I loved in the movie.
And Radhika Apte is one of the MOST achingly real actors I have come cross from the Marathi belt. She is so so at ease whther acting in regressive Telgu films or semi-arty films or the Hindi commercial ones. She just ‘mingles’ and gets lost in the film!
One thing which adds to the richness of the plot is cinematography which is of very high quality, which is often lacking in movies such as this for the paucity of funds. But it looks to be made on huge canvas and grand scale. Hope such endeavours succeed as their success would empower and encourage authentic stories to be made and told and more talent would get avenues in such ventures. This mix is what is woefully lacking in Hindi film industry and it needs efforts like these to expand the reach of industry as well the relatedness of themes as there are enough stories wanting to be depicted which people can relate to and take pride in, but vision and intent is almost negligible.
Q: Masaan’s music is terrific especially the musical rendition of Dushyant’s poem “Tu Rail Si Guzarti Hai”. Varun Grower has written some fabulous lyrics (he makes great use of chaste Hindi; he did a fab job in the songs of Ankhon Dekhi as well). And Indian Oceans are pitch perfect for composing these earthy numbers; that being said, they haven’t surpassed their Black Friday album here.
It is releasing with All is Well, isn’t it? Not exactly good news for the latter. This is the kind of deal that may start slow but then show enormous growth over the week-end and then sustain if WOM is good.
Yeah, looking forward to this even if Mehta’s last film “Rang Rasiya” quite mediocre. But Ketan Mehta might be Bollywood’s single most overlooked and underrated auteur. And his first film, “Bhavni Bhavai”, is one of the best Indian films I have seen. Sadly it is not available in a proper transfer.
As an aside the casual misogyny in Badlapur (not any particular act Dhawan’s character commits, but the way the director’s eye seemed to regard it all as un-problematic) was highly offensive. We see a bunch of people complaining about XYZ scene in Baahubali, or Raanjhanaa, but, consistent with the class codes that given such critiques in India, no one had any problem with Badlapur.
Q: But that supposed misogyny which you are talking about is very much there in the novel (Carlotto’s “Death’s Dark Abyss”) on which the film is based.
Also I thought for a change we saw a rape scene (or an almost-rape..of Huma Qureshi’s character by Dhawan) where the scene is shown in a way so that it disturbs the audience and it becomes complicit in the act. Otherwise mostly in Indian cinema, the rape scenes are shown in such a templatised manner that the audience knows what’s coming and hence is able to actually to “enjoy” the scene from a safe distance.
But the Huma Qureshi scene, juxtaposed with the Radhika Apte sequence later, where the effect is meant to be comic (and indeed many in the audience were laughing) casts the movie in a disturbing light. That whole angle didn’t seem to be connected with the arc of Dhawan’s revenge, and kind of seemed shoehorned in…
Q: I don’t disagree. But that part too is directly taken fro the novel (the only plot-thread which isn’t there in the book is Ashwini Kalsekar’s female private eye)
And part of an older comment-
“I had read the novel almost a year back and as far as I can remember the plot (and pretty much all the plot details) is entirely taken (each and every character apart from Ashwini Kalsekar’s hilarious female private eye, drawn from the book right down to the character details. Nawaz’ s character in the book also keeps talking and dreaming about sex and drugs all the time) from Death’s Dark Abyss right down to the climatic twist (including the forced anal sex with the prostitute) with one important change in the film-
Mild SPOILERS ahead-
In the book, you have both the protagonist and antagonist (for the want of a better term) alternating as narrators. Also here is a major difference- in the film, you get to know in that fine opening sequence itself that Nawaz is the one who killed the kid and the wife. But in the book, we get to see the accident from the antagonist’s (the book’s equivalent of Nawaz) point of view so for a long time both the protagonist as well the readers are convinced that it was the antagonist’s accomplice who did the murders. It’s only very late in the book that antagonist owns up that he was the one who committed the killings and that he was lying (in the court- where he refuses to divulge the name of his accomplice- and infront of his mother and sister) all this time as he didn’t want to live with the burden of the guilt of having committed those murders.”
I haven’t read the book, but since Raghavan was taking liberties with certain aspects of it (the private eye) then the creative choice of remaining faithful to other aspects of it / represent them a certain way does raise uncomfortable questions. And my problem with the sequences I mention isn’t just that they are misogynistic — it’s that they are POINTLESSLY misogynistic (or rather, misogyny is itself the very point of them). They do not add to the narrative (in fact they distract the viewer from the otherwise single-minded narrative) and seem weirdly out of place (the sequence where Dhawan takes Radhika Apte into the room, especially so). The latter elicited more than a few nasty laughs from the audience, and seemed designed for that purpose.
Saurav?: “But Ketan Mehta might be Bollywood’s single most overlooked and underrated auteur.:” I would say he is on the side of overtaed. Because the number of mediocre and crass films he has made far exceed the number of good films he has made. Just take a look at his filmography:
2014 Rang Rasiya , 2005 The Rising: Ballad of Mangal Pandey , 1997 Aar Ya Paarn 1995 Oh Darling Yeh Hai India, 1993 Sardar, 1993 Maya , 1988 Hero Hiralal , 1987 Mirch Masala , 1985 Holi , 1980 Bhavni Bhavai
Oh darling yeh hai india and Maya are biggest flops and most rotten films of his career critically, no wonder srk destroyed his career , he was achieving new heights as filmmaker otherwise with very interesting mix of films.
Interestingly, Holi and Mangal pandey are his much appreciated effort and no a loser if not earner at boxoffice too.
Firstly I doubt he has made a crass film yet. There are atleast 5 excellent films here- Bhavni Bhavai, Holi, Mirch Masala, Sardar and Mangal Pandey. Maya was very edgy especially considering the time it was made. Rang Rasiya is alright though nothing interesting here. Hero Hiralal was experimental and hardly a bad film though not really a good one either. Oh Darling too was an experiment, but a complete misfire. Aar Ya Paar is trashy. But in any case Bhavni Bhavai and Mirch Masala are proof enough of his calibre.
Qalandar: I didn’t think the misogyny of Badlapur pointless. The misogyny is a part of the descent into hell that the character embarks upon after his wife’s death. Taht si meant to be contrasted with the relationship that his antagonist Nawazuddin has with his lover and hsi mother. It is meant to reveal the streak of meanness and nosogyny nad violence which was bottled within the Dhawan character, and how it all comes out, once he is unhinged after his wife’s death. That’s wha makes the film so tragic and distubing. It is not an easy film to watch.
And the onjection to scenes in Raanjhana or baahubali is as unwarranted as to anything here, and can be only seen as unthinking, routine overraction by a certain kind of feminist idealogues.
I think Mirch Masala and Bhavani Bhavai are his excellent films and they were at the start of his career. Havent seen Patel. Holi and Mangal Pandey are good enough films. I thnk he os rated aprropriately overall.
Deepa Sahi returns after 18 years to play Indira Gandhi in Manjhi – The Mountain Man!
Deepa Sahi, who was last seen in husband Ketan Mehta’s Aar Ya Paar in 1997, is returning to the screen after 18 years in Manjhi -The Mountain Man. She plays the former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Confirming this, Deepa told Mirror, “Yes, I am playing Indira Gandhi, it’s a cameo. I’ve always been fascinated by her and I am sure everyone would want to play her on screen.”
Remembering a man who humbled an arrogant mountainBy Faridoon Shahryar, Aug 18, 2015 – 10:44 IST
“Nawazuddin has delivered a heart winning performance in Manjhi-The Mountain Man. It’s a great performance. It’s one of the finest performances on Indian screen ever. Awards come and go but this performance will be remembered for a long time,” said Ketan Mehta in a Bollywood Hungama exclusive video interview with me at the actual location where Dashrath Manjhi broke a mountain in Gehlaur village, near Gaya in Bihar. Mehta along with wife Deepa Sahi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte visited Gehlaur to pay their homage to Dashrath Manjhi on his death anniversary yesterday August 17.
Gehlaur village is around 30 kms from Gaya district in Bihar. Gaya is a holy place for Hindus and Bodh Gaya is the most important pilgrimage for Buddhists since it has the historic Maha Bodhi Temple built by Ashoka over 2500 years back. Lord Buddha attained salvation under the Lumbini tree at the exact location where the temple stands today. And such an auspicious place as this, in its neighbourhood, witnessed a historic feat achieved by a frail man called Dashrath Manjhi. His wife met with an accident and because of the tall mountain, the long winding road to the nearest hospital was too long leading to the death of his wife. Manjhi toiled hard for 22 years from 1960-82 and created a path that will prove beneficial for generations to come. As I reached the actual location I ended up saluting the indomitable spirit of the mountain man as I saw motor cycles, cyclists and people leisurely walking across the path created by him. While speaking to various people I came to know that Dashrath Manjhi truly had a never-say-die spirit. He had actually walked from Gehlaur to Delhi (on the railway tracks) in an attempt to meet the then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi to seek help in his mammoth task. He didn’t have the money to buy a railway ticket and even after reaching Delhi he wasn’t allowed to meet the Prime Minister. Today Dashrath Manjhi is the pride of Bihar. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at a function in Patna yesterday met the entire team of Manjhi-The Mountain Man and wished them luck. Bihar government has announced the tax free status to the film.
“World should change its perception of what they think is Indian cinema or what Indian cinema should be. They are constantly searching for their dysfunctional family stories in India whereas the most inspiring film in Earth comes from Bihar which is unfortunately famous for its violence,” said Deepa Sahi, producer of the film when I asked her if Manjhi-The Mountain Man ought to get a proper international release as a film like this may find acceptance anywhere in the world.
Rudrarup Datta, Senior Vice President, Viacom 18 Motion Pictures informed me that they are aiming for the release of the film in around 500 screens in India and hoping to increase the number as the days go by. He also said that they are planning for a proper international release as well.
The romance between Nawazuddin and Radhika Apte in the film is very crucial to making the story entertaining and absorbing. Radhika on her part admitted that she has never been wooed like this both in real or reel life. There’s a love making scene in mud between the two. “We were completely covered in mud, it’s a beautiful scene, most sensual,” Radhika said. Nawaz, in a lighter vein said that he used to request Radhika to be present on the sets even when she didn’t have any scenes as it inspired him in breaking the stones. I’ve known Nawazuddin since a long time and have interacted with him for all his films in the last few years but I’ve never seen him so passionately involved in any of his previous films. He excitedly told me about the achievements of Dashrath Manjhi. He seemed more enamoured with the milestones of Manjhi instead of showing off his considerable acting chops. Nawaz along with Ketan Mehta went to Dashrath Manjhi’s house. He informed me that while preparing for his role he had stayed in this house for several days ate with the family and tried to imbibe the finer nuances.
A local from the area, Vardaraj along with Shahzad has written the dialogues of the film. A local journalist Ashok Kumar Anj (who also finds reference in the movie promos and the film in totality) made immense contribution in researching for the film, how Dashrath Manjhi walked, talked or conducted himself. Both admitted that they drew inspiration from Dashrath’s ‘junoon’ while working on the film. The movie producers have given a substantial financial assistance to Dashrath Manjhi’s family.
I asked Ketan Mehta that even though Oscars are over hyped, but still, does he think that ‘Manjhi-The Mountain Man’ ought to be India’s entry to the Oscars? “Oscars, Cannes are far from my head. At this point of time, all I am hoping for is that the film should go straight to audience’s heart,” Mehta said.
It was around 11 am when we wrapped up everything. It was extremely hot and humid even though the scenery around was very pleasant with mountains, trees, a quaint river and a cluster of green trees at a distance. Once again I ended up applauding Dashrath Manjhi’s magnificent spirit who must have shed gallons of sweat in achieving the most impossible task…humbling an arrogant mountain and proving massive possibilities that human beings possess. Mushkil nahin hai kuch bhi…agar thhaan lijiye!