Monday, February 25, 2008

Mithya - The Illusion Of A Great Film

When, by the time of end-credits, you have already begun to appreciate a film for the kind of cinema it has been, rather than for the feeling and the emotions it generated in you, you know something is wrong.

Mithya is a good movie. But couldn’t possibly achieve its potential. It could have been great, but has ended up being just a "good attempt". The biggest concern with Mithya is its lack of focus. And this doesn’t let the film touch any emotional chord with the viewer significantly. Isn't that essentially why films are made?

The last conversation of the film, between the boat guys who throw Sonam’s body into the river, seem to be an attempt to capture the essence of the movie.
"love story thi kya?"
"sad... very sad"
They sound like an afterthought by the director. It seems the director wanted to explain, after all, what exactly was he trying to make!

This brilliant piece of acting by Ranvir, remains way short of greatness as a film, because none of the subplots are built strongly enough. One's gut doesn't end up relating to any of the aspects of VK’s life. You neither feel strongly for his struggle as an actor, nor for his love for Sonam, or his small little good son act, or his relationship with Raje’s wife and family, or him being a better father to Raje’s children, or his success as an actor in acting out Raje in real life!!
All these were great touch-points and none of them could dig deep. The movie could have made you drop dead in grief when VK was killed, but you just sigh an admittedly honest "nice film", rather than an emphatic "Oh! damn!!!".
The cliched hindi film twists (double role, memory loss etc) don’t help the film’s cause either. Neither do they successfully "dark spoof" (if such a phrase exists!:)) the originals, nor do they add a punch.

As far as the genre is concerned, its clearly black comedy! Mithya tries to mock at all aspects of this illusory life.
The Bheja Fry Model of low production value doesn’t hurt the film much.

If you like watching the new brave genre of Bollywood, Mithya is one of the braver ones. (Not as brave as 'No Smoking' though. That was downright brash and almost conceited!)

Mithya is a must watch for Ranvir fans. Vinay fans will be disappointed. Black comedy suckers will go home with that wierd feeling an undertaker gets when he watches a dead body get up and run away to the next graveyard, leaving him high and dry.

I was kidding about the the undertaker thing!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Deconstructing Harry: A Master Artist's Mind

"Deconstructing Harry" is a deceptively autobiographical movie written and directed by Woody Allen. Its HILLLARIOUS to the core. Yes its profane and vulgar, but tell me one person who didn't laugh at least once, while watching a porn flick. No, this isn't a porn flick.

Woody Allen is known as much for his humor as for his quirks. DH is one of the most brashly honest piece of work by Woody, and I am sure it's one of the under rated ones too. For me, next on the card are 'Play it Again Sam', 'Radio Days', and 'Annie Hall'.
The backdrop of the story is that of a self proclaimed spiritually and morally bankrupt writer facing a writer's block. And if you relate to the character even an ounce, you'd most probably be embarrassed of yourself while you laugh at yourself.
I must confess I could see quiet a handful of myself in Harry/Woody! Now, although thats not very important, but it sure is embarrassing.

Heres what this character is like -
- 60+ and still a boy
- loves his son but can't understand marriage
- doesn't believe in God but is sure of Satan
- believes in physics, black holes and sexual encounters of all kinds
- obnoxious freely hopelessly honest chain lover
- doesn't like being lonely, can't keep wives
- irritatingly argumentative while defending himself
- genuinely innocent while defending himself
- can't understand women
- can't live without women
- flirt, liar, cheat... for people in general
- truthful, honest, fair in his own weird unreal way

A few good thing that I could pick were -
- doesn't like tradition, thinks of all human kind as ONE
- honest to himself
- funny
- actually innocent (Nah.. I am just being good to him)

A major part of the movie is shot like a documentary, with sharp visible cuts. While this may make it look real'istic', but can also be irritating for some. But I like the fact that Woody explores such cinematic nuances.

Woody's treatment of love, marriage, children, sexuality and religion is not necessarily incisive but is surely humorous. I suggest you pick it up if you want to watch a weird satirical comedy that gives you a peek into a strange master artist's psychology.