Yes. We have this society in us which possesses dark shades. Lives a simple life, appears to be noble, exploits women and their helplessness with élan. And yet, survive like worms and disappear to come back with evil. For a change, this protagonist doesn’t live enough. But it every story is fortunate enough, not every human being is planted with sanity.

‘Haraamkhor’ is a devilish tale of human beings who swear and die in a society very far from our urban excellence and glory. And, we have no clue till something like the the episodes in ‘Haraamkhor’ hit us. I don’t think it’s the question of culture or honor here, it’s about being a human and not being one. Sadly, we live with such creatures around who take advantage of innocence, insecurity and feminism to get there tails wagging. And, they do it shamelessly.

I think I will shower some unanimous praise on Nawazuddin Siddiqui, again. I don’t think anyone else will have the audacity and darkness to play such characters on screen. If you think ‘Raman Raghav’ was fetish enough, watch ‘Haraamkhor’. Nothing loud about it but equally menacing and scary. A thumping pat on the back for the director who chose to make a film on disdainful taste. I take a bow for the Kashyap stable who try to stand out with such films that shed light on such invisible yet mainstream holes in our revered clan.

Truly, wretched it is.

At a time of floundering commercial cinema making the means out of creativity, films like ‘Udta Punjab’ come as a neat surprise. Overwhelming, I would say. Scary and blemish-less.

‘Udta Punjab’ comes from the stable of Phantom films, and no prizes for guessing the creative minds behind the making of this dark, raunchy, spine chilling saga of the drug menace that has consumed an entire state.

‘Udta Punjab’ is the Punjab you and I will never dare to visit. It is the Punjab of our nightmares, the insanity behind the tradition of a beautiful state that it upholds in the eyes of public media.
If you grossly remember history, Punjab has been the eye of the storm in the past. Be it during the emergency in 70s or the infamous ‘Operation Blue Star’, Punjab has been a tepid travesty. Substance abuse is just another blip in a sea of huge political quick sand.

Coming back to the film, the narrative and cast is exemplary. In fact, I don’t think anyone else could have filled the shoes of Tommy Singh and Mary Jane other than Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. Shahid is a brilliant artist and UP is another cap is his illustrious feather. Alia Bhatt has shown glimpses worthy enough of being spoken in the same breath as her father. The scene wherein she helplessly emotes and divulges her agony to an equally ravaged Tommy Singh is a paranoid stealer. One heck of a scene it is, I would say one of it’s kind in Indian cinema.

Kareena Kapoor has very little to do in this crime drama but holds her space in a well deserved cameo. The way she is killed by Balli while trying to stop him from fleeing her rehab is well shot. In fact, am equally fond of the scene where 2 youngsters claim to be Tommy’ fan and signify their inspiration by falling prey to drugs. It’s a pitiably powerful seen that even jolted the conscience of a stray celebrity like Tommy Singh.

Though it’s a Phantom production and inevitable names will have their classic intervention. But Abhishek Chaubey has been impressive. I did not see anything debonair from him since Ishqiya (not the sequel please) but Udta Punjab certainly brings him back in style.

‘Udta Punjab’ has an uncanny resemblance to one of my all time adorable favorites, ‘Goodfellas’. Don’t jump the gun yet, no pun intended but it isn’t a straight shot unless you know what I am talking about.

Sometimes, our love stories don’t need bad guys to create a rift and separate 2 made-for-each other souls. Our nubile minds are just enough and too good to create miseries for self inundated human beings.’KV’ is a bi-product of such individuals who live and smurf themselves with their ego to destroy superlatives.

Love, lust, sex or marriage – we all live in a volcano of emotions that’s ruled by ego – tiny, small, big. It’s available in all sizes and is devoid of caste and religion. It just resides, sometimes for good and sometimes for bad. It depends on how we use our ego – to create or to destroy. Ourselves, sometimes everyone else who is around us. It is celebrated with a cacophony and mourned with anguish. Mani Ratnam’s film deals with such familiar yet anonymous components of human life. Not commercially, but in his own way. What better way to make 2 people fall in love amidst war? Classy patriotism.

‘KV’ begins with the carnage of Kargill and ends with a household whimper. No surprises here, and all ends well. But the journey of love, togetherness, ego, separation, pain and ecstasy are bundled up in a dramatic deluge of thrills and bore. It is inspired by true events – I don’t remember seeing this tag line in a Mani Ratnam film since’Bombay’ in 1995 but we were not that explicit way back then with such catch phrases. Times have changed, so has cinema. Mani Ratnam has forged in to a fascinating collaboration – romance amidst tumultuous waters. It works, sometimes it doesn’t.

The thrill moments – Mani and his cameramen are made for life. Ravi Verman’s exploits in ‘KV’ takes us to another planet. Right from the start – the credits that overlap the blood of Kargill war, the snow laden mountains that look like sleeping in your lap every now and then, the dust laden camps – all look like pieces of divine particles put together to etch an epic love story. Aditi Rao Hydari gives a refreshing performance as the leading lady, I hope the pretty face moves ahead after this memorable stint with Madras Talkies. Karthi as the flamboyant Air Force officer and an eccentric individual does justice, often handsome and often unpredictable. The last 20 minutes of the film is a stunner – the high voltage chase scene in a jigsaw puzzle-like roadway and a riveting background score by AR Rahman will just take your breath away. Absolute brilliance. Plus, ARR’s songs are already a chart buster. I am on a rewind for the past couple of days with ‘Nallai Allai’ and ‘Tango Kelaayo’. Just hooked!

The dull moments – ‘KV’ isn’t your commercial wannabe, and it had to be quite pacy to get attached with the audience. It does but not consistent enough. Mani Ratnam’s definition of romance in itself is a bit unconventional, but it isn’t as ravishing as we expect it to be in his kind of urban love. The could-have -been better editing is compounded by ordinary dialogues which makes few sections of the movie stoppable. The story isn’t iconic, and all his usual suspects appear inadvertently – Srinagar, snow, closed door dialogues, Red Cross to name a few.

Comparison trivia – I don’t want to but irresistible me! It has few similarities with his own films – ‘Roja’ and ‘Alaipayuthey’. Some uncanny resemblances with ‘Top Gun’ and ‘Pearl Harbor’ too.

Mani Ratnam isn’t the kind of filmmaker anymore whose films will set the cash registers ringing. But his films possess class, and technically way above the rest. There is something about his films that I rave about, I like his kind of cinema. Few notches high, the ground below still looks clean. That’s ‘Kaatru Veliyidai’ in a nutshell.

There are human beings with talent and proficiency, there are ordinary individuals who come out of their inhibitions and limitations to carve a niche for themselves in the tough gritty world of glorious pursuits. And then, we have actors like Om Puri.

Rugged face, turmoil expressions and a non fancy appeal. Yet, what stood behind was one of the finest that we could ever withdraw from. At a time when we shied away from what was called as ‘Parallel Cinema’, Om Puri made his mark with some iconic acts in films like Aakrosh and Ardh Satya. The latter, was a film ahead of its time. Attacking our system embroiled in corruption, bureaucracy and nepotism, Ardh Satya had some powerful performances from its lead actors – Om Puri, Smita Patil and Sadashiv Amrapukur. in fact, Om Puri had some memorable outings with landmark directors like Govind Nihalani and Satyajit Ray. Kundan Shah’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron was a film acknowledged as one of its kind that enjoys cult status today. In fact, associated actors with JBDY look at awe when this film features in the classic bandwagon. Om Puri played a typical modern opportunist and excelled in a small but crucial role. Another Nihalani favourite is Drohkaal, which saw Om Puri playing a cop who infiltrates with his team in to the web of a dangerous terrorist organisation. Nothing glamorous but Om Puri was a class apart.

Our generation has seen very little of Om Puri, which is quite unfortunate. His characters depicted on screen swayed magic and while our character actors always tend to get overshadowed in an industry that’s ruled by Superstars, actors like Om Puri held their own despite very little going for them in terms of roles, weightage and attention. Post 90s, he was one of the very few to cross boundaries juggle between Mumbai and the west in versatile and unconventional avatars. Interestingly, films like Ghayal, Chachi 420, Hera Pheri and Gupt made us realise how we bracketed and dumped a top notch mainstream actor in to a shell of meagre opportunities and ventures.

The world of cinema will not come to a standstill albeit outpourings of condolences but the industry just became poorer with the loss of a titan like Om Puri.

Crime beholds crime. @msksmiles

There is this animal in all of us that gains momentum in sensitive and reluctant moments. Sporadic and violent. Voracious and fierce. We all have break even points, some  much earlier than we conspire and few that follows an aftermath. But we always seek a nemesis for redemption. A partner in crime. An orchid in a rose palette. A reason for our coral existence. The reason to survive through means unknown.

Our deficiencies often out power and defeat us in the battle of goodness and sanity. We kill ourselves to bring the insides out, and the soul becomes the most dreaded object of ulterior motives. Vulnerable and exuding massive energy of culpable destruction.

Raman Raghav 2.0.

Picture Source: Google Images