Dibakar Banerjee, Abhishek Bachchan at India Today Conclave

Dibakar Banerjee at roughly the 7:21:00 mark, Abhishek follows later..

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38 Responses to “Dibakar Banerjee, Abhishek Bachchan at India Today Conclave”

  1. I’ve put this up mostly for Dibakar Banerjee’s very candid views on politics, society et al. A lot of bold, heart-felt stuff here. He’s also very conscious about his own relatively privileged status. Wish there were more like him in Indian public life.

    PS: Those who are fans of the current govt shouldn’t even bother watching this video. They probably dislike Banerjee anyway and will dislike him more after this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • what’s wrong with current government???

      everything is at all time high.

      you’ll get over 74 ruppes for a dollar, under congress you got only around 60.

      if you’re selling onions or whatever, consumer will give you more money πŸ™‚

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    • and again what I particularly like about his views here is that he doesn’t just stop at politics and corporate houses and so on. He brings it back to a certain middle class ethics and its blind celebrity worship and its consequences and so on. And now to reintroduce an old point ad nauseam a classic ‘symptom’ of this is precisely commercial cinema over the last 20 years (with few exceptions here and there). There is no major commercial film I can think of that also did very well (at one level or the other) that truly makes it multiplex audiences uncomfortable. The ‘different’ film that might otherwise be ‘good’ at various levels is still not necessarily an ‘unsettling’ film. This is why even a perfectly made film like Khakee underperforms (it had a good enough gross but relative to the quality of the film and the starcast it ought to have been a blockbuster). This is the ‘problem’ with MP or Talaash. It isn’t the ‘script’ as many people naively assume. or to put it another way it’s not as if all the other hits have great scripts! Even at the smaller multiplex level the most celebrated films are generally not the ones that challenge the audience. This was also the ‘issue’ with Secret Superstar, a film which didn’t work like TZP or something. Admittedly it didn’t have as even a narrative but that’s not the real problem here. It’s the domestic abuse sequences (the best ones in the film actually) that disturb its otherwise Disney-like framework. Here I could also offer a number of Abhishek films as examples. On the one hand Guru (ambiguous in some ways which is why an easier film could have done even more at the box office; still it can be read as a somewhat celebratory capitalist tale, which is why it did well in the first place!), on the other hand D6 or Raavan or DMD. Again this doesn’t mean that interesting films don’t have problems. Just that these very same things don’t stop the audience from patronizing all sorts of other films. Cinematic preferences index a society rather well. All the ideological concerns of an age are coded in this art form. And especially the commercial medium is an exemplary ‘symptomatic’ site in this sense. Because no other art form has such mass potential. A big commercial film has to satisfy ‘everyone’ which is why it cannot upset too many people about the ‘values’ they’re invested in. Sometimes there are exceptions. The great scripts of the 70s, here you had an extraordinary star at their center with performances of such seminal stature and ultimately ‘truth’ that it was possible even for unsettled audiences to go along for the ride. In the same proportionate sense the writing was equally extraordinary in some of these cases. Despite all this there were often conciliatory sops offered by the end of each film (Deewar, Trishul, Kaala Pathar for example), a half-hearted (still unfortunate) attempt to placate folks. all the questions those films open up cannot be put back in the box with such moves but that these were even attempted means something. And Banerjee didn’t mention this (though he might have intended it) but the conversion of cinema from ‘experience’ to ‘consumption’ (not only in India) of course comes at a cost. But it’s especially an acute problem in India where multiplexes often serve all sorts of purposes from family weekend outings to corporate client opportunities to making out possibilities and the film itself is often then just the ‘background’ to enable all of this. No one is going there to have one’s soul stirred! It’s simply about having a good time in the most passive sense. The results are obvious. Even Aamir (though he gets more of a gross here than is possible for any other star) cannot make the audience love Talaash!

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      • Talaash doesn’t even require a subtext to be liked. It’s a very seductive movie on its own. With a terrific soundtrack to boot.

        I can’t see why people would not care so much about it. But then I have long passed KRK’s level of interest in cinema. I don’t mean that as an insult to KRK; it just implies that I have moved on beyond what’s really obvious.

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        • I think Talaash faced a genre bias in India. The acting and music was terrific though. It may be new to bollywood, but i felt the climax reveal had a wannabe hollywoodish touch.

          KRK is perhaps quite a few levels below you to even understand what you are saying.

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          • Actually ending was Bollywoodish..digging dead body..last rites..
            There was spoon feeding..It could have been avoided in moody film..
            I remember cringing in Josh when they rewind climax in court…

            Liked by 1 person

          • The exhumation at the end is an homage to a similar scene in Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam.

            And the last rites represent a symbolic closure — both for Aamir and Kareena’s ghost. I don’t think it’s spoon feeding…

            Liked by 1 person

          • They went for a hollywoodish climactic reveal and then followed it up with traditional last rites anti-climax … quite a masala!

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        • Talaash is a film about real, unmitigated loss. It also offers a very dark take on contemporary India. I do agree with you that it’s a very seductive film at certain levels but equally a very unsettling one .

          Liked by 2 people

          • It is, of course. And it is a dark film. Period. There isn’t a happy ending even if there is a closure achieved towards the end.

            The direction is neo-Hollywood — more indie-film than mainstream Hollywood… with long silences. The cinematography is spartan and bleached. There is no emphasis on beauty or at least the conventional definition for it. Every soul is tortured or unsettled. It is a bleak world even if we don’t take into account Bombay’s underbelly.

            But the direction is such that it draws you in. The jump edits, the careful emphasis on slo-mo shots, the economy of expression make it a film to be felt rather than heard. That’s why it’s so seductive. It works largely at a subliminal level.

            Liked by 3 people

          • this is a beautiful note Saket, specially the first longer paragraph..

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          • Thanks, Satyam. I try, at best, to come out of your shadow!

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          • you are surely pulling my leg! My strategy is simply to say more than everyone else. I buy words by the pound every morning..

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          • You may be buying words by the pound but you keep them locked up in a vault somewhere. They only come out on very rare occasions.

            Liked by 1 person

          • and again my point is that films critical of ‘New India’ in any sense never really work at the box office.

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          • Thanks for this mini review. The sense of tragedy in Talaash is quite moving. It feels so real, going through those death rehearsals whilst the marriage falls apart and being all connected. The music scores. Vishal Dadlani’s voice in Jee Le Zaara is so rugged and rough. Laakh Duniya Kahe, what a song!

            The film has no glamour at all hence it didn’t do as well as my pre release predictions!

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          • At its core it is a story about loss and coping with it. That is the reason Aamir did this. In many of his interviews he mentions that his only fear is about losing his dear and near ones.

            However, rather than a supernatural twist I think a ‘mental’ condition would have been a more natural and appropriate interpretation to his hallucinations. Schizophrenia is a HW stereotype, but if you research that condition its often associated with losses of various kinds – its more often a coping mechanism than an abnormality.

            Otherwise its a fine film and IMO Aamir’s best acting effort in a long time.

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          • I like the ghost story, in fact I think it’s essential to the film. Because this film is entirely about ghosts of one kind or the other.

            Liked by 1 person

          • India is a ghost country, no doubt!

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          • I would go so far as to say that the problem with every country, including all nation-states, is that they are constantly trying to escape from their ghosts. At least one definition of ethics would be an openness towards ghosts. In Talaash the ghosts are personal (Aamir’s own story) but also greater ones that can be indexed to society and nation in all sorts of ways. Gender issues, class ones, even more than this the utter indifference to violence and deprivation of all kinds. The way Kareena’s death comes about in the film, the way it is papered over by relatively influential people is a bit like Salman running over people sleeping on the sidewalk. and to bring it back to Dibakar Banerjee’s comment there is not only an indifference about all of this but even worse. The obscenity of people greeting Salman like a hero when he got back from court or was more or less able to beat the rap. Similarly influential people from the industry and elsewhere visiting him the night before and what not. As if he was the real victim here.

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          • Glad that you brought it up. When it released I was wondering if Aamir did this film as a knock on his ‘friend’! But I personally liked Dhobi Ghat a lot more than Talaash. And it was nice to have films like DG and Talaash after 3I/Ghajini bo wins.

            He may be going that route again, given that his next projects after ToH seems like Mogul, Osho web series and perhaps a film directed by Kiran.

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          • Just mind blowing exchange!! This is vintage Sataymshot which I yearn for & would love to see it make a come back of sort.

            Thanks Saket and Satyam for such an enriching discussion. Hope to see more such exquisite exchanges!!

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  2. 3.14.00?

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  3. In the Abhishek segment check out where he talks about his first visit to Calcutta as a child and visiting Ray. Didn’t know Bachchan was dropping in. Of course he did have the voiceover for Shatranj ke khiladi.

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  4. When Pakistan tried to quell the rebellion in East Pakistan (present day Bangladesh) the first people they targeted were artists and intellectuals. They wiped out an entire generation. There’s a lesson in there for all, provided we care to some extent.

    In a perverted way, it makes sense. They are the ones who raise their voices first. And they actually can influence the populace.

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    • From Wikipedia:

      During the nine-month duration of the war, the Pakistani Army, with the assistance of local collaborators systematically executed an estimated 991 teachers, 13 journalists, 49 physicians, 42 lawyers, and 16 writers, artists and engineers.[106] Even after the official ending of the war on 16 December there were reports of killings being committed by either the armed Pakistani soldiers or by their collaborators. In one such incident, notable filmmaker Jahir Raihan was killed on 30 January 1972 in Mirpur allegedly by the armed Beharis. In memory of the persons who were killed, 14 December is observed in Bangladesh as Shaheed Buddhijibi Dibosh (“Day of the Martyred Intellectuals”).

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      • This and the ‘naxal’ killings by Congress in bengal had ensured the end of ‘east india’ as our elders knew it. That belt is not only the most fucked up now, but also the most under-developed.

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    • SF may be well equipped for soft hacks, but dependency on china will make hardware hacks much more terrifying.

      China despite its population has come a long way given their manufacturing edge and now the investments in emerging soft tech. And india cant even accept its ‘ghosts’ yet …

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  5. they’ve updated the video and now it’s the entire day’s proceedings in one massive one. I’ve updated where one needs to start watching in the body of the post..

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  6. Abhishek confirms Anurag Basu’s film is the next film he’s starting

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    • hadn’t seen the whole Abhishek thing here so missed that. But I caught that segment somewhere else and indeed he does say he’s starting Basu’s film later this month in Calcutta. the metro sequel has been in the news quite a bit but all kinds of actors have come up in this context. Not sure who’s finally in the film. The names thrown around were Saif, rajkummar rao, aditya roy kapoor, Ileana, Taapsee Pannu, Fatima Sana Sheikh.

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