Dev

Dev is the protagonist in Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D. Devdas is a cult movie which has been adapted in many languages, originally a novel by SaratChandra Chattopadhyay.

Dev is a man deep rooted in patriarchy but is unaware of it. Dev and Paro have a long time long distance relationship.  Both of them are in love with each other. Their age warrants raging hormones and none of them is in denial. At Dev’s request,  Paro sends him her “pictures” which she gets developed at a photo studio first. Dev is Ok with it till he believes that Paro is only his. Their rendezvous continues even when Dev comes back to India.

 

But the problem arises when Dev hears loose talk about Paro. It comes from rumors spread by a spurned lover. But much like village folk, totally leaving behind his foreign education and thinking, he believes everything he hears. When Paro confronts him, he breaks up with her. He has no idea what he is doing. Giving up on his childhood love on hearsay rumors. Paro is heartbroken and decides to marry the guy her father chooses for her. It’s only when Dev sees Paro on her wedding day that it finally hits him. And there after, he goes down that long road of alchohol, drugs and self destruction.

Dev is a character I find hard to empathize with. He comes across as a very selfish person who only cares about what he wants. Even Chanda, who he meets later and who takes care of him, is left alone because he finds out about her background and the reason why she forays into prostitution. 
I feel like Dev is caught between his patriarchal thoughts and western sensibilities. He cannot handle a Paro who is independent,  owns her sexuality and is not afraid to ask for respect. Dev’s deep rooted patriarchy doesn’t allow him to accept what his heart wants. He is a narcissistic person who chooses the path of self destruction over anything worthwhile that he could have done with his life. This character is iconic for the way it has been portrayed by both the Abhay Deol (the actor who plays Dev) and Anurag Kashyap (the director of the movie).

Movie Review – Bombay Velvet

This is a detailed review of the movie. If you plan on watching the movie, this might be a spoiler 🙂
 

I am just back from watching the universally declared flop “Bombay Velvet”, but let me tell you it Is hardly that! The movie stars Ranbir Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Karan Johar, Kay Kay menon and a slew of other famed actors. Mind it, actors. Not stars. And that’s where the difference lies, like in all Anurag Kashyap movies. I am a huge fan of AK’s style of movie making and you might say I am biased. And you might as well be true. But there is just something about his movies that makes me go WOW. Every.Single.Time. 

 

 

His canvas is huge. His art, abstract. Not everyone can understand or love a Picaaso. Now, can we? He is, just that. Brilliant at what he does. I just LOVE his narrative. The way he uses his actors. What he gets out of them. The plot is invincible. The star cast enviable. The music, hummable, likeable and something that adds a lot of drama to the movies. In places, it takes the story forward. Sometimes becomes the narrative.

Ranbir Kapoor plays a street fighter who has grown up as a small time goon. He hopes to make it big. He has played his part to perfection. Every scene just makes Johnny Balraj (Ranbir’s character) grow more on you. His madness is his perfection. The ironies in his character make him loveable. He is a merciless goon on one side, and a hopeless romeo on the other. He falls in love with panache, you cry when his heart breaks and you smile when he gets his act together.

I don’t like Anushka Sharma a lot, but trust AK to bring out the best from his actors. She doesn’t have too many dialogues in the movie. She emotes. And pretty well, at that. I wouldn’t say this was the best performance, but probably her best till date!

And what can I say about Karan Johar? He is a show stealer. My god! Can he act? Or can he? He is bloody brilliant, pretty much like AK’s vision. You can totally paint Kaizaad Khambata’s character through him – sophisticated, mean, and merciless and a manipulator to the T. I still can’t get over the images of the ever-affable, always breaking into a giggle Karan Johar to portray this mean and complex character perfectly. I think I enjoyed his character the most, partly because I couldn’t believe what a brilliant actor he is! I totally loved the scene where Johnny goes to Khambata and asks for his hissa. And during the course of conversation, he wants to break into a giggle but doesn’t want to show his vulnerable side to Johnny. The way he switches from being mean, red eyed to giggly and that red eyed merciless expression again, is a stealer.

And like always, trust AK to treat you to a lot if style with his imagination as a director. There is violence in the movie, but he makes it indispensable. He makes it stylish. There is this scene during the climax where Johnny breaks into the Bombay Velvet club holding two machine guns, one in each hand. And the way that scene unfolds in slow motion, the machine guns sounding “dhoom, dhoom, dhoom”, I just wanted to stand up and applaud this genius of a man. What brilliance and creativity. I think I can always go on and on about how Anurag Kashyap is the one of the most intelligent film makers who have such an inherent style of story telling. His brilliance shows in each scene. I also like the fact that he likes to do away with dialogues in many places and just let the acting and emotions take the story forward. He doesn’t tell you the story. He paints a picture and let your imagination and perspective to take over. One day, this man will walk the echelons of the film industry and gain the cult status of the likes of Guru Dutt or an Amitabh Bacchan.

The only point I thought where the film could have better is if it were a little crisp. But then again, AK’s style of narration is expansive, and the back story that he builds so huge that it might have been a bad idea to cut it short. We might have just lost the plot altogether. 

Also, Kay Kay Menon’s role was miniscule and I felt he was thoroughly wasted. He is one actor who totally demands more screen time.

Altogether, a thumbs up for the movie from me.

My rating 4/5

 
*picture sourced from Google

Gangs of Wasseypur -2 — Keh k le li !!

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched the movie and are planning to, please give this one a miss!

And so I went to watch Gangs of Wasseypur-2 with a spring in my step and a flutter in my heart as I just couldn’t contain myself anymore. At the risk of sounding kinky, let me say that GOW-1 had left me high and dry, and GOW-2 was a fitting satisfaction personified climax 😉 It started from the same place where GOW- 1 had ended, when Sardar Singh was shot dead. And thus unfolds the saga of revenge battered with blood and violence laced with satire and comedy that is subtle and underplayed. It keeps you entertained even as you keep reaching for cover to shield yourself from the bloodbath on screen.

The movie starts as Sardar Khan’s (played by Manoj Bajpai) sons’ want to avenge his death by wiping off his killers and in return Sultan kills off Sardar Khan’s elder son Danish. Even as the Khan family tries to cope with the loss of the father and the elder son, Anurag Kashyap and Zeishan Quadri make sure they keep you entertained with the band baaja belting out “sorrow”ful songs as passionately as the shaadi waale gaane. Richa Chadda holds her character well in the second part too. The transition of her character is shown so beautifully with a fuller face, under eye circles and orange hair, a trademark of using henna on hair in small towns. And she shows that she is no simpleton widow who will take the death of her son and husband lying down. And here in enters the hero of the film. And only an Anurag Kashyap can think of making a Hero out of a dark, stick-thin man, shirt and lungi clad, paired with rubber chappals. Boy! He has certainly put Bihar on the world map!

Nagma Khatun aka Richa instigates her younger son Nawazuddin Siddiqui to come out of his stupor (as he is a ganja addict) and avenge the father-brother deaths. Like Manoj Bajpai, Faijal (Faisal as pronounced in Bihari) has his own style and he compels you to belt out at least one seeti for his underplayed yet daring demeanor. One by one he starts killing unsuspecting people and quickly rises to be the undisputed king of Wasseypur. Tigmanshu Dhulia aka Ramadhir Singh gives yet another steely performance, adding years to his age very gracefully. He still plays the antagonistic politician with his one-of-a-kind sense of humor, as he cynically says, “Jab tak India mein cinema rahega, tab tak log chu**** bante rahenge“!

And then enter three new characters – Definite, Tangent and Perpendicular. Perpendicular is Sardar Khan’s youngest son and is a treat to watch with his blade-in-the-mouth stunts and the best comes when he says, “talo, tauth krte hain” (chalo, toss krte hain) !! Tangent is Perpendicular’s friend and together they do small looting here and there in Wasseypur, but their friendship is cut short when Sultan and his accomplices kill Perpendicular. Definite (played by Zeishan Quadri) is Durga’s (second wife of Manoj Bajpai, played by Reemma Sen) son, who now works in Ramadhir Singh’s house as a help. He is the surprise package of the film as he keeps double, triple crossing people and groups and goes on a killing spree in Wasseypur. And it is with his help, that Faisal is finally able to get his hands dirty with Ramadhir Singh’s blood.

The scene where Faisal and Ramadhir Singh finally find each other face to face is iconic. Ramadhir Singh with a pistol facing the daredevil Faisal with his automatic machine gun. The scene is superbly sketched out as Ramadhir Singh is in a dilemma to either fight and go down or to just give in. In the end he just sits down to face his destiny as Faisal empties out his entire gun into Ramadhir Singh’s lifeless body and just then, you hear a triumphant, “Teri keh k lunga” in the background!!! And then as Faisal walks off, he leaves behind his foot prints in Ramadhir Singh’s blood. I was totally sold out on this one scene in the movie.

Nawazuddin Siddiqui in the killing sequence

Huma Quereshi plays Faisal’s wife and she is by far the prettiest new comer this year. She holds on her own very well and shares quite a crackling chemistry with her on-screen husband ;-). There were several wow moments in the movie. One where Richa Chadda is singing, “Taar bijli se patle hamare piya” and towards the end breaks down remembering her own husband is a classic. Then there are a couple of those where Mohsina Khan (Huma Quereshi) sings some Bihari English remixes to entertain Faisal while he is in jail. The lyrics of the song go like, “Frustiyaao nahi, Nervousaao nahi….” and stay with you even after the movie is over. And then the one where Faisal is escaping from an attack on his house and jumps from a building and breaks his leg. It’s another classic scene as he gives out just the correct nuances of a man, in unbearable pain, belting out expletives that you can’t hear and still can understand, crying out in pain and still be silent 🙂

The beautiful Huma Quershi

Nawazzudin Siddiqui shows that he can act and if it were in my capacity, I’d give the National Award to him along with Anurag Kashyap for directing a movie that can be placed at a pedestal that can match the likes of Godfather! The movie is a masterpiece and perfection personified be it the screenplay, story, characterization, background score and songs.

Sneha Khanwalkar deserves a standing applause for the music and background score as she does full justice to the mood of the movie and sets the perfect tone to carry it forward. While “Hunter” and “Teri keh k lunga” took the cake in GOW-1, GOW-2 shines with “Electric Piya”, “Dil chi cha lather” and “Kaala rey”.

I can go on and on praising the movie and its makers, but I guess you guys get the drift. So let me just leave you here to enjoy these songs.
My rating : 5 on 5

“Dil Chi Cha Lader”

“Kaala Rey”

“Electric piya”

*All the images courtesy Google

The ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ packs a punch !!

You might have seen lots of gangster movies, action movies, movies with an impressive story line, but you haven’t seen it all till you have seen this one. Welcome to the Gangs of Wasseypur!



The film is set in the small village of Wasseypur, a part of Dhanbad. The movie begins from the pre Independence era when the Dhanbad coal mines were owned by the English and how post independence, there is a lot of blood bath and gore when the Muslims of the area began to take illegal ownership of coal mines, and thereby begins a feud between the Qureshis and Khans that is still raging on. These are men with a purpose, who make their own laws and then break them. For them, it’s a matter of survival in the lawless land of Wasseypur. If you have the balls to stand up for your rights, you might have a shot of carving out something for yourself, otherwise the merciless feudal lords of Wasseypur will continue to walk over the dead bodies of men and animals alike. The moral conscience in these men is quite constipated!

Flinging bombs from a motorbike!

Talking about the actors in the movie, each one of them is so much in the skin of their character, that for 3.5 hours, you will just be in Wasseypur, seeing their life through their eyes, instead of feeling like sitting in an air conditioned multiplex. Each one of the 370 member crew seems to have left behind themselves and walked forward in their character’s shoes. Manoj Bajpai takes the cake as Sardar Khan, who is ambitious, greedy for power and sex and grown up with the aim of avenging his father’s death at the hands of his master, and the now MLA of Wasseypur, Ramadhir Singh, played very efficiently by Tigmanshu Dhulia. Sardar Khan’s wife, played by Richa Chadda is intelligent, clever and plays the role of a wife and village woman to the T. There are some hilarious scenes when she catches her husband whoring around while she’s carrying his child around and douses him with the choicest abuses. But as she keeps getting pregnant, and realizes that it’s almost impossible to stop her husband from his philandering ways, she tells him very tongue-in-cheek, “acche se khaana khaao, bahar jaake beizzati mat karvana”. (Eat properly, don’t disgrace us outside home). The maverick writer, director, producer Anurag Kashyap has managed to capture every nuance of an emotion that you could hope to find in a lawless land, amid local mafia, that goes on in a couple’s life, as if everything in their world was perfect!

Manoj Bajpai and Reemma Sen in a still from the movie.

Sardar Khan’s second wife played by Reemma Sen is quite a bombshell too. The scenes where Manoj is trying to seduce her are hilarious. Piyush Mishra plays Sardar Khan’s uncle, and belts out a very restrained performance as his mentor. He also does a voice over and helps the story move forward in decades. The scenes between Sardar Khan’s son, played by Nawazuddin Siddiqi and Huma Qureshi are a classic lot again! You will laugh your guts out!

The Dabbang Huma Quereshi!

There is no faaltu Bollywood-typical naach gaana in the movie. And yet the songs are a hit. There is the popular “Jiya Ho Bihar Ke Laala” , “Hunter” and “O Womaniya” with their awesome lyrics, but the best of them all is “Teri Keh Ke Lunga” which I am sure is going to be as cult as “Kitne aadmi they?”



There is such an inherent style in the movie, even though everything in the movie is as Bihari as it can get! For me, this is one movie that is going to be a very prominent landmark in the history of Indian cinema for a perfect film – brilliant storytelling, superb acting by the entire cast, songs that suit the movie and take the movie forward and for the perfect capture of a gamut of emotions. For me, the movie definitely has a style akin to James Bond of Hollywood, that makes people go ooh and aah, and something that is legendary and will be remembered for years to come.


This movie is an artistic kick for people who love the kind of cinema that focuses on performance, rather than the frills. If that’s not your genre, you’d rather give this one a miss. Otherwise, miss this movie at your own risk!


*All pictures courtesy Google