Sunday, March 15, 2009

what am I doing here?

Alone at noon in a theatre, I feel disoriented. It is curiosity about Anurag Kashyap's work after seeing 'Dev D' that has brought me here, as I am sure it has the others in the auditorium.

Continue reading my review of 'Gulaal' at Upperstall

here



Image courtesy Upperstall

7 comments:

a ppcc representative said...

Yeehaw! I have been feeling the Anurag Kashyap and Kay Kay Menon vibes these past few weeks... was anxious to see how Gulaal is, too. Thanks for the review!

fiercepothead said...

apart from the fact that yours is the best review i have read because it tells me exactly how i knew gulal would be(i have a new vow to stick to my prejudices after a cuople of bad experiences with SDS'S new book and Dev D which i saw later and hated),i actually find it amusing that you complain Gulal was violent or that dialogues were abusive or that women characters seem exploited. and you think Dev D had feisty female characters,feisty like who? Nivedita Menon? Feisty just because she dances at her own wedding and sends 'ashleel' clips?(paro) or chanda because she choses to be a whore (forced to be one by kashyapji,in my opinion)?

you have read laura mulvey narrative cinema and visual pleasure,right? i mean, narrative is a violent thing,per se. and more so towards women (its explained very well in the article and i assume you have read it so won't go into it) and i think it says something that both women have diegetic video representation in the film in Dev D,apart from appearing in it,a double object of the 'gaze'

Amrita said...

I thought the movie chose to remain true to its material and its characters and it was pretty clear a few minutes into the movie that this was not going to end well... the moment you saw where Dileep was going, you knew he was going to end up flushed down the toilet because he really is the guppy who thinks he can grow into a shark. which will never happen, of course.

Re: the women, you're right that they don't really get their due, but that too I thought was true to the setting and the characters. It's not a world where women get their due. It would have been fascinating if it had been a movie about Dukey Bana's wife (did she even get a name?) and Prithvi Bana and the crazy life they lead in that house (like that moment in the morning after Dukey comes home from Kiran's - what was she up to? Coz you knew something had happened! And man, I really wanted to get a peek inside that bedroom!) but that wasn't the story so I was fine with getting a glimpse of it and be left craving more.

As for the ending - I really don't think Karan or Kiran have won anything. They've gotten to a point which resembles victory but I don't see it leading anywhere.

Argh, why not just say it - I loves it all!

karrvakarela said...

I think, just generally, there's a lot more gratuitous violence being passed off as cinema verite nowadars. Anurag Kashyap has a style that embodies that but I don't think he's alone in the trend. RGV and his "factory" films, the Mahesh Bhatt productions and Ghajini are just some of the ones that come to mind. It's become a product in and of itself.

I miss the old time film-makers, people like Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Sai Paranjpye. They made intelligent cinema without resorting to mindless mayhem. Even people like Govind Nihalani, whose films were a lot darker than the average fare had a context in which the violence was explained. And it was subtle and understated. The newer film-makers lack that sensibility. They are either cloyingly banal (Aditya Chopra, Kunal Kohli) or decerebrate in their fascination with violence.

Incidentally, where is Sai Paranjpye now? Why is no one goading her to come out and make another gem? And Gulzar?

Hades said...

I agree with Amrita. I loooved the film. There are so many things, that girl strumming goodbyr blur sky, the refrences to Najibullah when Ransa was killed. Quite, quite brilliant.

Here again, her pregnancy and abortion do nothing for the narrative, just adding another moment of pointless violence

That is fair enough. But could it also not be that there was no pregnancy? The while thing seemed to me a ploy—the last twist of the knife. Uske baad hee tho woh GS bani.

Banno said...

a ppcc representative, I hope you saw the film by now, and liked it? disliked it?

Fierce pothead, no, I haven't read Laura Mulvey :-(
But I agree that there is a male gaze involved in both films. I wonder how unavoidable that is. But I do find the women characters bold, (maybe fiesty is a wrong word) in their sexuality, which you must admit is a refreshing change from the coy and men-worshipping heroines. The fact that they are still subsumed within a male culture is what I lament.

Amrita, I was trying to remember what Dukey Banna's wife was called, and yes, I think she was nameless. Yes, the mileu was well captured, and the characters fitted in well. But it's not necessarily a world I'd like to live in. And the narrative did get scattered after a point.

Karrvakarela, I know Sai Paranjpye made a children's film a couple of years ago, which also won some awards, but haven't heard more from her. My guess is that films like this don't get finance. I know a filmmaker friend of mine, Cubbu doing the rounds with his scripts being told that his films were not 'edgy' enough. Ah, I should know. I'd so like to make an old-fashioned drama. But who will watch?

Hades, Yes, I got a bit suspiscious too about the pregnancy. It seemed too convenient. Anyway, I did find those few moments brilliant too. But still hold my reservations about the film. :-)

Amrita said...

Banno: make it and I'll watch. God promise! :)
Related tangent: Have you heard about this thing called Groupidity? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOnmc_o2wd0
I'm telling you, webseries is the way to go. If you can come up with the money to rent a really good camera and have a way to hook up with some decent cast and crew, then you;re all set. It won't be the huge budget extravaganza, but Cubbu would at least get his foot in the door.

Hades - you know. that didn't even occur to me until you said that. fucking A! I love this movie more with each passing day.