Archive for Piyush Mishra

Qalandar Reviews GANGS OF WASSEYPUR (Hindi; 2012)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 14, 2012 by Qalandar

Updating this post as Qalandar’s piece has now been published on the Outlook site

Gangs of Wasseypur opens with two of my pet peeves: a voiceover, and an explanation of where we are and how we got there (it’s cinema, people, show me, don’t tell me!). But – and I’m not sure how he does this – director Anurag Kashyap uses these clunky props to pull off some of his best filmmaking yet, in a fantastic hour that situates us in Dhanbad, in Bihar’s (now Jharkhand’s) coal belt, the casual and systematic brutality of its mining industry, and the complicity of the state (both pre- and post-colonial) in all manner of oppression. Marking incident, place and time is Piyush Mishra’s gravelly voice, informing us that our special Purgatory is Wasseypur in the 1940s, south of Dhanbad, a Muslim-village locked in permanent struggle between the Qureshis (butchers by trade) and every other kind of Muslim. Continue reading

Qalandar Reviews ROCKSTAR (Hindi; 2011)

Posted in the good with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2011 by Qalandar

[Minor spoiler warning].


Early on in Rockstar, Khatana (Kumud Mishra), the resident sage of Delhi University’s Hindu College’s canteen, pooh poohs the musical ambitions of Janardhan Jakhar (Ranbir Kapoor): for Khatana, art is borne of suffering, and sorrow in turn of love and a broken heart. The callow Janardhan (who will in time be re-christened “Jordan”) promptly decides to fall in love with the next pretty girl he sees, with an artificiality the film knows better than to take seriously. I found myself chuckling at these scenes, reading in them director Imtiaz Ali’s send-up of a bourgeois misreading of Romanticism in the arts.

I was wrong: Imtiaz Ali was dead serious. His Jordan really can become, not only a musical success but even a genuine musical talent, only once he has loved and lost Heer (Nargis Fakhri). Not a trace of irony may be discerned here, and the result — a “rockstar” who might see “Free Tibet” signs at his concerts, but whose military fatigues and lyrics about “Sadda Haq” cannot hide the fact that there is no cause, no politics, nor even any social awareness here but a highly personal loss. Continue reading