Masaan

Masaan has been received very well by the critics as well as by its target audience. It won an award for itself at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, and the hype meant one more movie getting added to my watchlist. I read reviews and had idea about the plot of the movie but Masaan still surprised me.

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There were two parallel running stories, one about Richa Chadda’s Devi and other about Vicky Kaushal’s Deepak. But as the movie progressed, I realised this is just one story. There are not two protagonists but just one. The protagonist is not a person but a place. And the place is Kashi. This movie is about Kashi and the holy river Ganga that flows through it. What is the history of Kashi? How much has it grown up? How it lives its life everyday? We get answers to these questions through two simple and heart touching stories. These two stories are connected to each other through river Ganga (in this movie Ganga has been used as metaphor for life).

In one scene some students visit Devi’s father, who was a retired Sanskrit teacher, to know about the history of Kashi ghat. He begins with ‘ Long time ago, Kashi was just a forest with river Ganga nurturing it. Soon men started to locate themselves near the banks of Ganga and…….’, he receives a phone call and the conversation is cut short. What could have been his next words you question. Later you will find, though the conversation ended abruptly, it stands completed . Kashi is still a forest. We see Tiwari(a police officer) taking advantage of Devi’s predicament, children are diving into river to retrieve coins just to satisfy the gambling urges of elderly people and also people’s future is in dark (like you are lost in a dense forest and you cannot find your way back). Just like animals who protect their own children while others children are food to them, we see Tiwari (police officer) care for his daughter whereas he thinks nothing of Devi’s plight. Though Kashi has become civilized but natives have their outdated culture intact.

All these things make living difficult in Kashi. Devi wants to settle in Allahbad and live her life independently. Deepak and his girlfriend Shaalu are ready to run away from their home so that they can marry and live with each other. But this is not easy to do, Devi has to pay three lakh as extortion money to the corrupt officer whereas Deepak doesn’t have a job to support his relationship. These things have been signified in a conversation where Devi’s colleague asks her ‘ do you know how many trains stop here (Kashi station)……28 and how many don’t stop here ….64…..so that means it is easy to come here but difficult to leave’.

I have mentioned earlier that Ganga is a metaphor for life, now let me explain it. On one bank of the Ganga we see ‘dom’ people cremating dead bodies(signifying death) and on the other bank, poojas and rituals are performed for auspicious occasion(signifying birth). And the two banks, birth and death are connected to each other by Ganga, meaning life. Deepak and Devi live on opposite banks but are connected and this is signified in two scenes – first, where Deepak threw the ring in the river which reached Devi’s father helping him settle his debt and second, the end scene in which Devi and Deepak meet each other.

What do you make of the ending scene where Devi and Deepak take the boat? I think it signifies the start of new life. They have started their new journey in life (Ganga). Remember Deepak telling Devi  ‘Sangam ki sair do baar karni chahiye, ek baar akele aur ek baar kisi ke saath’. It means life with and without your partner. And they both start their second journey without their respective partners.

NOTE : Image has been procured through Google images.

 

 

3 Idiots

 

The fact, 3 Idiots was the first Hindi movie to do 200+ crores, at a time when other movies struggle to did even 100 crores at the boxoffice, never fascinated me. What fascinates me, is the kind of cult 3 Idiots enjoy among the Indian audience today. Whenever the name of this movie pops up, I have these words filling up my ears – best college movie; every parent and teacher should watch this; I don’t know why it was not sent for the Oscars etc. Looking at these kind of reactions one would think of 3 Idiots as some kind of intellectual or thought provoking movie whereas in real, its just a well made masala movie where every ingredient was in perfect proportion.

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The movie was fun while it lasted. It didn’t made me sit up and think about our society and education system. We go through these things on a daily basis. We all know the quality of our  education system, infrastructure of schools and colleges, mentality of our society and how the dynamics of friendship changes as the time passes. We have discussed these things in our school during debates, educational seminars and even among friends. So nothing on the screen surprised me or moved me. What I loved were the situations that Raju Hirani was able to create. He definitely succeeded in tickling my funny bone. Why other people rate it so highly ?? Either our films are mediocre or people are ignorant. No, I think both. But our films have shown marked improvement in last 2-3 years. Films like Queen, Ankhon Dekhi, Piku, Masaan have increased in numbers. Content driven movies are working, so our audience is also evolving. So the perception of 3 Idiots being an intellectual film will fade away ??

I remember the impact of  Taare Zameen Par. I didn’t knew what dyslexia was. How a scissor can appear as two people talking. It changed my perception towards slow learners. That scene in which Ishaan calculated 3*9 gave an interesting insight into a child’s imagination. Film making stands for such moments. To be able to see what is not visible to our eyes. Films are like light, which make things visible. And this is how Taare Zameen Par opened our eyes – CBSE provided extra time to special children (including the visually impaired, physically challenged and dyslexic) during exams, Mumbai’s civic body also opened 12 classrooms for autistic students, in Chandigarh the education administration started a course to educate teachers on how to deal with children with learning disabilities.

3 Idiots merely scraped the surface by talking about issues like peer pressure, family pressure, students committing suicides, rote learning etc but never went into the depths of these sensitive issues. We saw  Aamir Khan giving us some statistics about colleges in India, how there is no instrument to measure the pressure of human brain and all, but what went through Joy’s mind before taking such a drastic step never made it to the film. 3 Idiots makes you laugh but never asks you to think. Beyond those laugh out loud moments, 3 Idiots is just average.

NOTE : The image has been procured through Google images.

 

 

Ankhon Dekhi

February 14th 2016

What do you make of a character driven story ?? Plot driven stories are easyPhotoFunia-1455539802 to follow and in the end you get some kind of conclusion(general in nature). I used the word ‘general’, because more or less everyone arrives at the same conclusion. But in a character driven story, it depends on the viewer how he/she perceives the character. We all have different outlook towards life, which is based on our experiences. We all look at things differently. What could appear to be something said in a jest to some people, can look disrespectful to others. Catching a train which is already in motion appears foolishness to some while others may think of it as just a matter of getting late. To some Ravindra Jadeja is a bowler, to others he is just a fielder. To each his own.

Ankhon Dekhi is one such film where you have to immerse yourself in the character of Bauji and look at things through his eyes. Why ?? Because here is a man who has decided to believe what he sees. He is not going to accept even universal truths like tiger roars, Earth is round, Katrina Kaif cannot act etc. Not only this is hard to practice but also futile to large extent. We have to build on what has already been achieved. If everyone starts to begin their life from scratch, then progress will be very slow. But as I said earlier, in this movie you are going look through eyes of Bauji. Bauji is a man in his late fifties having a daughter which is marriage ready, a son who is good for nothing and indulges in gambling, a wife who is constantly nagging but also takes good care of the family, a younger brother who is drifting away from the family and friends who are ready to follow his footsteps. Do you think it really matters to him whether earth is round or not. No. Even if he decides to ignore these bigger truths, he stands nothing to lose. People may call him mad but we all know he is going to believe only what he sees. So this tells us, from now on he does not care what others say or think about him. He is going to understand and live his life in his own way. Good choice, right ??

What made Bauji to think like this suddenly ?? Bauji’s daughter Rita is in love with a boy named Ajju. Everyone in his family circle assumes Ajju is a jerk just because a certain Panditji’s son Baooa said so. But when Bauji meets Ajju, he realizes  Ajju is a cow. Now this is a small event which triggered a huge transformation in Bauji and the way he looked at things. When you live a routine or monotonous life even an incident as small as this can bring a huge change in you. After realization comes the pursuing part. How much are you ready to pursue the truth ?? To what extent you are ready to go ?? Will you take all the mockings coming your way ?? Will you stand in the middle of a busy market with a placard expressing your thoughts ?? Bauji is ready to do all this. He never played cards(not because its a bad habit) for he didn’t knew how to play it. And once he understood the rules, he became an avid card player. He does not care what society thinks about his new found habit. He played cards because he enjoyed it, money was just an add-on.

People like Bauji can come across sometimes as intellectual, sometimes as spiritual and sometimes stupid. Different people react differently to such character. Either you will ignore or listen intently or make fun of Bauji. But people like Bauji can win you over if something unexplainable happens. Like in this movie, when Bauji’s nephew who developed a mental problem of nonstop talking was cured by him, Bauji’s friend started following his footsteps. This shows us how even fraud babas can manipulate people so easily. How idle sitting people are always in search of someone who can guide them.

We are born in a family, we have friends but still we have to live life on our own. There are paths we have to walk alone. Bauji got his daughter married, settled the debt of his son and took his wife on a vacation. Now free from all his responsibilities, he is ready to live his own dream. His dream of flying. He is going to jump off from a cliff. He is going to die but before his death he will fly for few seconds. He is going to enjoy it even if it is for few seconds. For we all should enjoy and celebrate small things we have in our life. Because our life is sum of small and big moments. Even a miss of small event makes our life incomplete.

Jumping of Bauji from cliff is LIFE in short. Just like a newborn baby cries, Bauji screams initially. The resistance from air is nothing but the struggles we face in our life. When we are old and wise from our experiences ,we are calm just like the smile of Bauji in the end. Watch this movie to understand or spare a thought for such random Bauji kind people who we come across sometimes in train, markets or on road. What could be the backstory of such people.

NOTE : The image has been procured through Google images.