Vantage point

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Oh, speaking of Anurag Kashyap in the last post, I watched Gulaal a while ago, but never got around to writing about it. So here's a quick post on that.

That Gulaal did not excite me enough to make a post about it right away and I am getting around to it only now, kinda shows how I feel about it. It's a decent movie worth watching once, but didn't really make an impact on me. And for such an intensely angry film with so much going on, it left me more or less untouched. By normal Bollywood standards, it is very good. By Anurag Kashyap standards, it seems very two-dimensional. Definitely not his best.... not even in his top 3.... and if you also count movies he has just written, not in his top 5! Considering that the "first author" of the story seemed to have been No Smoking's Raj Singh Chaudhary, the movie is a tad disappointing.

I've had a tough time figuring out what exactly failed to make the movie resonate with me. On paper, it has all the elements I'd be drawn to - conflict in varying levels and contexts, politics, anger, brutality, pathos and pace. Yet, in my eyes, compared to movies with similar contexts, it falls in between the under-done Haasil and the well-crafted Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi.... slightly closer to the former, sadly.

One problem of sorts is with the characters - Dileep (Chaudhary), Anu (Jesse Randhawa), Ransa (Abhimanyu Singh), Dukey Bana (Kay Kay) and Kiran (Ayesha Mohan) . They are conceived and outlined in a brilliantly imagined and yet real manner. But when it comes to fleshing them out, adding meat or color, or what you have, the movie falls woefully short. By the end of the movie, all characters end up seeming like meticulously done miniature portraits by an art student than the jaw-dropping full-scale masterpieces by a genius that they had shown the promise for. And I wonder if the problem might not have been focusing so much on so many characters, which might have stretched Kashyap's and Chaudhary's prowesses rather thin. So the characters ended up falling short of what they seemed to be headed towards.

With one exception - Prithvi Bana (Piyush Mishra), a character that stays with you. The star of the movie for me was Piyush Mishra. Wrote the dialogues beautifully (heh, and probably kept the best ones for himself - Prithvi Bana?), acted brilliantly, composed great music, penned superb lyrics and sang hauntingly. The song Duniya, his power-packed take on Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye from Pyaasa, is by far the best song of the year, with nothing from the Delhi 6, Kaminey and so on coming anywhere close.

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