Ugly (2013) – A mini review

Ugly

Directed by – Anurag Kashyap

When I saw all the reviews for Ugly, I was really curious to see what Anurag Kashyap had in store for us this time. I have been a fan for quite sometime and even if his new films aren’t as amazing as his previous ones, the fact that he always seems to smartly justify whatever he shows- drags me into the theatre all the time.

So it’s a dark film, isn’t it? The shots are dark, even day looks dark and squalor is at another level altogether. It’s about a 10-year old girl who was kidnapped by somebody when her father left her in the car waiting. The film then follows a series of events that reveal the lives of its fucked up characters stuck in their fucked up lives and trying to deal with this fucked up mess.

The mother of the child is a once-beautiful, now-a-wreck suicidal crazy woman whose ex husband and the father of the 10 year old is an aspiring wannabe actor who has been struggling for years to get a role. And then there is the step father, a police officer who was once-a-crazy lover of the mother but was beaten by the wannabe-actor father and probably married her because he wanted to take revenge. I call him crazy because he locks his wife in the house and his pastime is to listen to her talk to people on the phone that he tapped. And then there was this ridiculous police officer ofcourse, who was indifferent to complaints, like all Indian police officers are supposed to be like.

They say it looked real but I am not convinced. So are you telling me there is not a single character in the film or rather ‘real life’, who actually has some character? I found it forced and very, very manipulating. And there is obviously no way of not feeling bad because there’s a child involved!

The issue is big – it’s about child trafficking and also about our obsession with petty things in our lives. I come out of the theatre – horrified and forced to think of all the bad things I hardly even think about. If that was the aim, well done. But it was definitely not a great film. Actors gave a stunning performance and it was a ‘sitting on the edge of the seat’ experience, I am just not quite sure if we can call it a masterpiece. It sure showed us the dark side of our country. I would rather call it really stupid than dark. All the characters except a woman police officer were dumb heads and what can be the sad part of this otherwise beautifully made film is that I don’t quite connect to any of its characters.

I quote my friend Mohit here, after he watched both PK and Ugly – ‘Rajkumar Hirani makes forcible feel good films and Anurag kashyap makes forcible feel bad films.’

Period.

 

 

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Haider (2014)

“Intakam se sirf Intakam paida hota hai”

Haider poster

Directed by – Vishal Bhardwaj

Adapted on Hamlet by Shakespeare, the film is one of the handful cinemas from Bollywood that will go down to history someday. It is about Haider, looking for his father, a doctor – who has been captured by the army for treating terrorists in his house. In his quest, he learns of his mother’s affair with his father’s younger brother and becomes skeptical of his own blood relatives leading them responsible for his father’s arrest.

Its stunning how the film manages to weave in and out of the characters, their roles becoming rock solid to make justice and yet, never trying too hard to justify themselves. Its quite a rare experience. Makes us all a little bit proud to be Indians and a hope that more and more films with such chutzpah will find a way to hit our screens.

Loved it to the core.

Kickass torrent link to download – Click here 

You can also read my review on Haider here.

Ankhon dekhi (2013)

ankhon-dekhi

“Everything is right in front of you. You just have to see it.”

Written and Directed by – Rajat Kapoor

Something different finally. The film is a perfect example of Mise-en-scène. A refreshing blend of idealism and realism. With its strong characters and rock solid approach, Rajat Kapoor made a gem of a film for us.

An elderly man who has lived his part of life from childhood, marriage, children and responsibilities, one fine day comes across a reason to live by his own experiences – only his where he believes what he sees and nothing else. In the journey, he choses to leave his job, become a gambler and yet live by his own Aankhon dekhi.

A must watch.

Kickass torrent link to download – click here

PS – Ankhon Dekhi in english means – “Through my own eyes”

Shahid (2012)

“By subjecting me to injustice, the Lord taught me the importance of fairness. By throwing pain, humiliation, and torture my way, he taught me to be strong.”

Shahid

Directed by – Hansal Mehta

One of the most effective Indian films of the year. Shahid is a biopic made on a controversial figure of Indian judiciary, Shahid Azmi. During the Mumbai blasts in 2008, many muslims were thrown in jail, many innocents among them. Shahid, who himself has been a victim of this doubt, learnt not only to get over it but became a staunch human rights activist and lawyer who went on to represent innocent muslims in front of the law.

The film starts with the information of his death in 2010 making exploration of the reason and the perspective create the suspense in the rest of the film – absolutely works. Shahid has in it perhaps one of best ever court room Indian sequences and was a very nice blend of content, dialogues, acting and timing! Good research I must say. It proves that ‘content is the king’. If that has strength, then no matter how small budgeted your film might be, it works. Must watch.

Kickass torrent link to download – click here

Katiyabaaz (2013)

Powerless

Directed by –  Deepti KakkarFahad Mustafa

Now, this came as a surprise. One, I did not expect I would love it so much. Two, it was not even a feature film! I know that sounds a little stupid. But you have to watch it to believe me. Powerless is not really a docudrama but gives you a feel of it and strikes the right chords with its effective story telling.

Powerless / Katiyabaaz is an objective take on the issue of habitual power cuts in Kanpur that goes up to 15 hours a day. While Loha, one of the many (but one the best too) katiyabaaz (an electrician who steals electricity), plays Robin-hood figure by charging the rich to provide free power connections in poor neighbourhoods. On the other hand is the first female chief of KESCO (Kanpur electricity supply company), Ritu who has vowed to clean up all illegal electricity connections, a first step forward to eliminate powerlessness.

The story of both sides comes as a sensible, informative, hilarious and gripping tale of the city’s predicament, from the people deprived of it to the officials responsible for it and of course, the politics that makes it all the more interesting.

The lunchbox (2013)

The lunchbox

Director – Ritesh Batra

There has been a lot of buzz on lunchbox not being selected from India into Oscars and let me inform you that I am not one of the bees. But I must definitely ask you to watch the film. One of the best and most well made and ambitious films in Indian cinema – this year and for many more years to come.

A simple love story about an elderly man working as a clerk, about to retire after 35 years of government service and a middle aged housewife. The man is a widow and the woman is one of the many lonely wives living a claustrophobic life with a husband who is least bothered about her and cheating on her. The lunchbox she sends her husband gets exchanged to our protagonist and as she confronts with him through a letter, that is where the story starts. The entire set up might be cliched, but the treatment is absolutely unique and just beautiful weaved together under the theme of famous dabba system in Mumbai.

The simplicity of the typical young Indian housewife, the typical neighbours of an Indian household and all the characters – very well written. What it fails to do to me is the fact that I felt it could have touched me more if Irfan Khan’s character wasn’t so closed as it was. Nevertheless, must watch.

PS – The film won Grand rail d’Or at Cannes this year and was also screened at TIFF and has done good job in the box office too collecting around 11 crores for the first week. The hype helped. Way to go indie!

B.A. Pass (2013)

B A Pass

Director – Ajay Bahl

When you expect so much out of a film and they crush all yours expectations? Yes, it sucks. It seems the entire indie scene in India is getting too excited and will probably get worse if not kept on check. The story is based on a short story ‘The Railway aunty’ by Mohan Sikka under one of the Delhi based noir short story collection.

Its the story of an orphan boy doing his graduation with 2 sisters to take care of. He is living at his aunt’s house until he finishes it and gets a job. His adopted family can’t wait to get rid of him and he to get out as soon as possible. And this is when he meets Shilpa Shukla who seduces him into bed and eventually he learns that she is a pimp and gets trapped in the mesh of adultery and aunties.

Even though there were parts in the film that were very well executed. For example, the entire sequence of Mukesh’s aunt’s house, the kitty party – locations were very well handled. What killed the film was confused and clumsy characterisation. I felt as if motivations were forced all throughout the film.