Tag Archives: Ketan Mehta

Parched (2015)

Parched review

written by Souranath Banerjee

Self-empowerment of rural women  – Parched instantly reminded me of Ketan Mehta’s Mirch Masala!  

My Ratings: 4/5.

Seldom issue based films (especially in Bollywood) suffer from striking a balance between telling a story that is both entertaining as well as didactic.

And that is exactly where Leena Yadav‘s remarkable film Parched comes out as a winner!

parched-posterDealing with four rural female characters in the lead – Rani (Tannishtha Chatterjee), Lajjo (Radhika Apte), Bijli (Surveen Chawla) and Janaki (Lehar Khan) and then of course their struggle in a male-dominating society being the core of the film, Parched has done an incredible job in charming the audience, mostly through it’s unapologetic dialogues (thanks to Supratik Sen) that ranges from being real, straightforward to vulgar!   

The film through each of its feminine-character’s remarkable journeys efficiently tackles so many women-oriented social issues like domestic violence, sexual harassment, education, child marriage, dowry, status of the widows, choice of asserting her sexual preferences, fertility prejudices, prostitution, even the importance of rural small-scale businesses and then of course the independence of women on the whole!

parched-poster2

Such powerful acting by everyone in the film but electrifying Radhika Apte surely leads the pack.

Tannishtha Chatterjee also plays a very mature part, probably the most difficult one in the film. Even Surveen Chawla as the prostitute/dancer makes her mark. Riddhi Sen as the young egoistic male, and then Adil Hussain and Sumeet Vyas – all did justice to their roles.

Through the lenses of ace cinematographer Russell Carpenter and the appropriate melodious music by Hitesh Sonik, Parched has definitely managed to tell a fascinating story, most importantly parched-poster1something very different and genuine.

The backdrop being Rajasthan, and essentially dealing with strong women characters, Parched instantly reminded me of Ketan Mehta‘s epic film Mirch Masala (1987).

But i guess the real success of a film like Parched will be when the women of rural India can get to watch it and enjoy as much as the urban multiplex audience did!

Totally worth your time and money.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.imdb.com.

Best of Bollywood 2015 (10+1list)

Best of Bollywood 2015.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Bollywood cinema essentially means films made in Hindi language, generally produced and distributed in and around the Bombay Film Industry.

Last year 2015, according to me, was a good year for Bollywood.

Films, some of them of finest quality have been made or released, which successfully maintained the thin line between aesthetics and entertainment, and kept both the critics and the audience content.

And so, here is the list of Best of Bollywood 2015. Hope you agree with me on this. (If not, then let’s at least disagree on it)

10. Drishyam

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuuX2j14NBg

Drishyam-posterA thrilling tale of a common man who by his intellect and imagination tricked everyone in order to save his family.

Directed by Nishikant Kamat, a south remake starring Ajay DevgnShriya Saran and Tabu.

A thriller that keeps you on the edges of your seat and doesn’t reveal the suspense till the very last shot of the film.

9. Bajrangi Bhaijaan

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyX4toD395U

Bajrangi-Bhaijaan-posterA Salman Khan film, that has a realistic story line, enough scope for acting and most importantly high on emotions and less on dramabazi!

Directed by Kabir Khan, this one is about a big hearted man who went all the way to Pakistan to unite a cute little girl (who is also mute) with her parents.   

A perfect family entertainment clubbed with fun-filled sentiments.

8. Tanu Weds Manu Returns

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGGmyaurjAI

tanu-weds-manu-returns-poster1With a double role (playing the sexy Tanu and the tomboyish Datto) Kangana Ranaut yet again shows that she is currently THE best actress in Bollywood.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Aanand Rai and written by Himanshu Sharma Tanu Weds Manu Returns guarantees a smile on the audiences face as they leave the theaters. And believe me that’s a huge achievement. 

7. Nh10

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9icNqWlylw

nh10-poster1A perfect romantic trip turns into a nightmare.

(Click for the review)

Directed by Navdeep Singh, this is one hard hitting thriller where a urban woman experiences the brutal face of rural India, as she unintentionally becomes involved in a case of honor killing.

Raw, edgy, gritty and very much realistic, and undoubtedly Anushka Sharma‘s best performance till date.

6. Bajirao Mastani

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHOc-4D7MjY

Bajirao-Mastani-poster2A take on the life of Baji Rao Ballal Balaji Bhat, a Maratha general of the early 1700!

(Click for the review)

Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, there are rarely any Bollywood films (if any) that are so pleasing to your eyes that the story, content and characters almost get sidetracked by the sheer beauty of each and every frame.

5. Margarita, with a Straw

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YORjJiWBxAg

Margarita-with-a-Straw-posterDirected by Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar this is an exceptional film about a young girl with cerebral palsy who is not afraid to fall in love!

(Click for the review)

Kalki Koechlin – her innocence, her vulnerability, her dialogue delivery, her body language, expressions, her smile – she is the reason to watch this film.

4. Talvar

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQNMsw8Ljjc

Talvar-Poster2Directed by Meghna Gulzar, this one is a well researched version of the Noida Double Murder Case of 2008, also known as the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case.

(Click for the review)

A gripping tale that often makes it difficult for the audience to remember that after all, it’s a fictional representation of the dismal crime and its aftermath.

3. Piku

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeiKUlUUNQ8

piku-poster1Directed by Shoojit Sircar, one of the best entertaining films of the year, emotional, real and so much fun.

(Click for the review)

Amitabh Bachchan as the selfish constipated dad,  Deepika Padukone as the devotedly caring yet tired of taking-care-of daughter and Irrfan Khan as the suitable suitor (perhaps).

2. Titli

Film Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOqiQiMkXDA

titliA family whose family-business is car-jacking, often violently abusing the passengers and looting their valuables. The youngest member of this family is named Titli, and this is his story of freedom.

(Click for the review)

Superbly directed by Kanu Behl, the film even got a nomination at the Cannes Film Festival!

  1. Masaan

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVZzYa0MxM8

masaan-posterBrilliantly directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, there is a certain honesty about Masaan that eventually grows on you and within it’s 100 min screen time, the film compels you to relate to it’s characters.

(Click for the review)

Shot in Varanasi, stories and incidents are threaded together like precious little pearls and the thread being the holy Ganges!

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most crazy one. A must watch).

+1. Manjhi: The Mountain Man

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9KAoTQlEWs

mountain-man-poster-1Directed by Ketan Mehta,  a brilliant biopic of Dashrath Manjhi, a man who single-handedly (with only a hammer and a chisel) sliced open the mountain to make a passage through it, reducing the distance from his village to the nearest hospital to minimal.

(Click for the review)

It took him 22 years but he made the impossible possible.

Poster courtesy:  www.bollywoodmdb.com

Smita Patil – a powerhouse of talent

Smita Patil – a powerhouse of talent.

written by Souranath Banerjee

Numerous popular stage performances, more than 80 films in Hindi, Marathi and other regional languages, a torchbearer of the Indian parallel cinema, two National Awards as ‘best actress’, many Filmfare Awards and also the recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri – all-that in a career which spanned only over a decade as Smita Patil passed away at the young age of 31!

Smita-pic1In the early 70s Smita Patil used to be a television newscaster for Doordarshan when acclaimed filmmaker Shyam Benegal took notice of her and gave her the first role in his film Charandas Chor (1975).

Mr.Benegal who later worked with Smita in numerous other films recalled the first time he met her ‘She had a presence which I felt could be well utilised in cinema’. And indeed so.

Smita patil’s performance in Bhumika (for which she received her first National Award at the age of 21) impressed Jaya Bhaduri so much that she commented ‘makes you sit up and take notice. Her reflexes are uninhibited and she has a face with tremendous mobility’. 

A few starting scenes from Shyam Benegal’s Bhumika.

The most expressive eyes ever to have graced the celluloid; her dusky and sensuous looks and the capability to play any character (no matter how challenging) with extreme ease and perfection soon established Smita Patil as one of the most talented actress of Indian Cinema.

A scene from Mahesh Bhatt‘s precious film Arth (1982).

In the early years of her career she concentrated only on art cinema.

Along with Shabana Azmi, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri, Smita Patil formed the four essential pillars of the then popular parallel cinema.

A beautiful song sequence from the film Jait Re Jait (1977) along with Mohan Agashe

Smita Patil being an activist for women’s rights became particularly famous for her roles that portrayed women as capable and empowered.

Smita-pic2She was probably the first actress who gave the directors enough
courage to make films with female lead characters in mind, something refreshingly different from the conventional male-dominated cinema that existed in Bollywood.

In films like BhumikaUmbarthaBazaar and Mirch Masala Smita Patil’s performances were intensely appreciated both by the critics and the audience. 

A scene from Ketan Mehta‘s brilliant film Mirch Masala (1987) with Naseeruddin Shah as the notorious Subedar and Smita Patil as the daredevil Sonbai.

On the occasion of 100 years of the Indian cinema, in honor of Smita Patil a postage stamp bearing her face was released by the Indian government.

Probably the only actress who could do justice to critically acclaimed films like ChakraSadgati, Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai, Ardh SatyaMandiAakroshChidambaram and on the other hand be equally comfortable with hardcore commercial films like Namak HalaalKasam Paida Karne Wale KiShakti and so on. 

In Smita Patil’s own words:

‘I remained committed to small cinema for about five years … I refused all commercial offers. Around 1977-78, the small cinema movement started picking up and they needed names. I was unceremoniously dropped from a couple of projects. This was a very subtle thing but it affected me a lot. I told myself that here I am and I have not bothered to make money. I have turned down big, commercial offers because of my commitment to small cinema and what have I got in return? If they want names I’ll make a name for myself. So I started and took whatever came my way.’

Picture curtsey: www.filmimpressions.com. 

Manjhi: The Mountain Man (2015)

Manjhi: The Mountain Man review.

written by Souranath Banerjee

My Ratings: 4/5

A man who is blinded by rage, a man who believes in true love, a man who has nothing else to loose, a man with tremendous willpower, a man with a mission.

manjhi_poster2The latest biographical drama by Ketan Mehta is inspired on the real life story of a poor labourer Dashrath Manjhi from a village called Gehlaur (near Gaya, in Bihar).

Gehlaur was surrounded by hills and the nearest town with school and hospital facilities was almost 70 km away, and that too one had to take a path around the difficult mountain road.

After the death of Manjhi’s wife Falguni Devi (she accidentally slipped and fell from the mountains and couldn’t survive due to delayed medical treatment), Manjhi in a feat of madness vowed to take revenge on the treacherous Gehlaur mountains and cut it down to make a short-cut road for the benefit of his fellow villagers.

And incredibly enough Manjhi kept his word.

dashrat-manjhiIt took him 22 years but Dashrath Manjhi, single-handedly, with only a hammer and a chisel did slice the mountain and made a passage through it, reducing the distance from his village to the nearest town to a mere 15 Km.

An achievement of which even Thor (the mythological God of thunder always seen with a hammer) would probably be jealous or even proud of.

The film Manjhi: The Mountain Man tries to depict the passion and determination of Dashrat Manjhi. And it succeeds too to an extent but in a very ‘bollywoodish’ and filmy way!

Ketan Mehta, undoubtedly a talented director with a vision but in this case his job becomes easier because of the choice of casting.

manjhi_poster3Nawazuddin Siddiqui as we all know is the one of the finest actor in India and he himself admitted in a recent interview that playing the role of Manjhi is his best performance till date. Probably it’s not just promotional talk but he is telling the truth!

Nawazuddin easily transforms himself from the easy-going comic lover to a delirious victim of love. The madness in his eyes, his hysterical laughter, the frantic resolution and the demented strength of character – i can’t imagine anybody else performing such a challenging character.

Radhika Apte, playing Manjhi’s wife (Phaguniya), has also done a great job. In her no-blouse-saree-draped costume, she is the perfect combination of innocence and seduction. 

manjhi-poster3And then Tigmanshu Dhulia as the corrupt Mukhiya and Pankaj Tripathi as his scandalous son did make their presence felt.

The mountain man’s journey wasn’t an easy one – not only for the sheer physical strength that was demanded for the job but also because the ignorant man was repeatedly mocked, harassed, cheated and once even arrested. 

But the important lesson to learn is that he never stopped doing what he believed is right.

Darshat Manjhi is a legendary figure in his own right; though this 120 min film may not be that legendary but it surely made Manjhi a much more popular legend than before.

Upcoming Bollywood must watch Films

Upcoming Bollywood must watch films. Some of them are artistic and others very much commercial.

But i am sure each one will entice you with their unique trailer. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

So let the fun begin.

1. Margarita, with a Straw

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoStgCKMllI

Margarita-with-a-straw

Almost after a decade the director of Amu, Shonali Bose (my personal favorite) is back with her second film.

The trailer looks superb and Kalki Koechlin yet again amazes us with her exceptional acting.

Sonali Bose along with Nilesh Maniyar share the director’s credit. I didn’t get a proper poster for this film (probably not released yet) so using a picture from twitter instead.

2. Bang Bang

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRARHtMzZQE

Bang-bang

Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif are back with a bang (a double bang actually), good news for those who loved their chemistry in Zindagi na milegi dobara.

The trailer promises an action packed film with dangerous car chases, gun fights and of course the dance numbers to entertain us.

Thrilling and fast paced, directed by Siddharth Anand and the screenplay by Sujoy Ghosh.

3. Monsoon Shootout

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJAMZQHA97U

Monsoon-shootout

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Tannishtha Chatterjee and Vijay Varma in the latest crime drama based on Mumbai underworld.

Directed by Amit Kumar the film has already earned a name in the festival circuits.

The trailer looks good, very realistic and well shot. Anurag Kashyap being one of the co-producers i hope this film lives up to it’s expectations.

4. Haider

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xakmvJ0WPa4

haider

After adopting Maqbool from Macbeth and Omkara from Othelo, Vishal Bhardwaj is back with another Shakespearean play adaptation -Haider based on Hamlet.

Shahid Kapoor with a skull in his hand, Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor Irrfan Khan, K K Menon all geared up to present the tragic tale of Haider.

Hope the film is as good as it’s trailer.

 

5. Qissa: The tale of a lonely ghost

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORO6Zp0oHDU

qissa

Something unique and completely different from the trend, Qissa is a film that shows huge potential.

Directed by Anup Singh, the film has already been screened and applauded in many international festivals. Finally awaiting it’s release in India.

Irrfan Khan, Tillotama Shome, Tisca Chopra at their best; the trailer looks great, very well shot but doesn’t really reveal much.

6. Daawat-e-Ishq

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtsHlYO6TUc

daawat-e-ishq

Hyderabad in the background this one is Habib Faisal‘s upcoming film after his last two hits – Do dooni chaar and Ishaqzaade.

Parineeti Chopra and Aditya Roy Kapur make a fresh pair and are also good actors. Their chemistry will be the USP of this film.

YashRaj coming up with yet another romantic film and the trailer looks pretty cool.

7. Titli

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GseAIMlyvI

titli

The film that competed for the prestigious Camera d’Or in the Cannes Film festival. 

Overall very natural acting, directed by Kanu Behl the film already has some rave reviews and a trailer that promises a lot.

A fresh cast who acted superbly and an unusual story line. Hope it can win over the Indian audiences pretty soon.

8. Happy New Year

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0mrzMQJMQ8

Happy-New-Year

The king Khan’s latest film yet to release.

After Main hoon na and Om Shanti Om the director Farah Khan and Shah Rukh Khan teams up again.

This time also joining the team are Abhishek Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Boman Irani.

Hope this film brings a happy new year for us.

9. Ugly

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ougQY2-zpk

ugly

Anurag Kashyap direction and a very interesting trailer to watch.

A thriller, the story revolves around the kidnap of a 10 year old girl of an aspiring actor.

It’s raw and dark and it promises everything that we expect from an Anurag Kashyap film.

Personally a big fan of his cinema and eagerly waiting for this one.

10. Finding Fanny

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O86FUOrlkY

Finding-Fanny

After Being Cyrus and Cocktail, director Homi Adajania comes up with his latest film, a romcom it seems.

A very talented cast and so good acting guaranteed, shot in the scenic Goa in the background; the film looks like a lot of fun indeed.

Naseruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia, Panjak Kapur, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Kapoor – all driving around Goa to find Fanny i guess!

11. Sulemani Keeda

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdbxunrkZd4

sulemani-keeda

Very interesting concept and a fresh cast.

Sulemani Keeda is about two writers who want to make it big in Bollywood and what happens in their lives when they are given a choice between love, friendship and their career.

A comedy by debutant director Amit Masurkar which promises to win over the audience. There isn’t a proper trailer out yet i guess.

12. pk

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KDFDawjXsXg

PK

After his blockbuster hit Dhoom 3 Amir Khan is back.

And after his blockbuster hit 3 Idiots Rajkumar Hirani is back too.

Trailer not released yet but this is probably the most awaited film of this year. I am sure entertainment is guaranteed.

In this poster thankfully Amir Khan is wearing clothes instead of a radio.

13. Mary Kom

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxsKcx1IwI8

Mary-kom

A film based on the life of Mary Kom, five time world boxing champion; it’s about how she has challenged herself and achieved such glory.

Priyanka Chopra  playing the leading role  looks very athletic and perfect for the role.

Directed by Omung Kumar and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali the trailer promises a very real and entertaining film for the audience.

14. Rang Rasiya

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO576oIWuwE

Rang-Rasiya

Made in 2008, finally Rang Rasiya is getting a release.

Directed by Ketan Mehta, the film  seems to be on a controversial topic, it’s about an artist Raja Ravi Verma of 19th century who painted deities.

Randeep Hooda, Nandana Sen, Paresh Rawal have done a great job, the film looks like a riot of colors. I am very curious about this film.

 

15. Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DWghUPBQg8

Kamaal-dhamaal-malamaal

Priyadarshan coming up with his latest laugh riot, the trailer looks hilarious.

Om Puri, Shreyas Talpade, Nana Patekar, Asrani, Shakti Kapoor, Paresh Rawal, Madhurima Banerjee – as usual an array of actors and nonstop comedy.

If you are a fan of Priyadarshan films like me please add this film in your watch list.

 

See you in the theaters. Have fun.

The genius of Ritwik Ghatak

The genius of Ritwik Ghatak

written by Souranath Banerjee.

Renowned Indian Film Director Ritwik Ghatak made his first film Nagarik in 1952 (even before Satyajit Ray filmed Pather Panchali) but unfortunately the film was released twenty four years later, after the death of the director himself.

Probably Nagarik was the first art film of such caliber in the history of Indian Cinema but certainly never got the recognition it deserved.

Did Ritwik Ghatak himself got the recognition he deserved?

Well, I guess so.

Ritwik Ghatak was awarded Padma Sri for Arts in 1970 by the government of India.

His name is always taken in the same breath along with Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen considering them as the Best Indian/Bengali directors of all times.

Bagged the National Award for the story of his film Jukti Tokko Aar Goppo (Reason, Debate and a Story).

The popular film Madhumati (staring Dilip Kumar and Vyjayanthimala, directed by Bimal Roy) got nominated in the Film Fare Award for the Best Story category and guess who wrote the story – Ritwik Ghatak.

Some of his films especially Meghe Dhaka Tara, Komal Gandhar, Subarnarekha, Ajantrik, Jukti Tokko Aar Goppo and Bari Theke Paliye are immensely appreciated and analysed by all the students in all the major film schools (especially in India).

Isn’t that enough recognition?

May be. May be not.

But one thing i can say with certainty – in this world some people doesn’t give a damn about other’s recognition and Ritwik Ghatak was one such genius.

His unique faming and composition techniques, his innovative sound designing, his realistic take on the society challenged the regular norms of film-making in that era.

In both conceptual and practical levels Ritwik Ghatak dared to be artistically different and he redefined Cinema in his own way.

Probably Ritwit Ghatak’s biggest recognition would be the influence he had (i am sure he still has) on the future generations of film makers including the likes of Kumar Shahani, Mani Kual, Mira Nair, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ketan Mehta, John Abraham among many others.

The genius of Ritwik Ghatak, his dedication towards cinema and his vision can be best expressed in his own words –

Film-making is not an esoteric thing to me. I consider film-making – to start with – a personal thing. If a person does not have a vision of his own, he cannot create.

I believe in committed cinema.
I mean, commitment in the broadest sense of the term.