Minimalistic devolution

We haven’t had many filmmakers that have embraced or in most cases even considered minimalism as a tool. And right from the very beginning it’s been RGV’s forte where his gut seems to be doing all the talking and for a very long time it’s been a treat. Stardom triggers this devolution not just in our actors but also the filmmakers and hardly anyone is as popular or as quickly devolving as RGV. He seems to have developed a loose attitude towards the scripting, casting and most of what happens in pre-production in a mad rush to constantly just stay in production. And ever since he started making digital films, these cameras and their flexibility have really taken a hold of him, he doesn’t seem very bothered about the rest of it.

The plot of Satya 2 is an improvised rip off of Puri Jagannath’s Businessman where a newcomer to Mumbai creates a new kind of underworld since the old mafia and its members are either killed or in jail. Puri’s is his usual super smart, super powerful protagonist taking over Mumbai and eventually the country with a few simple tricks and fights. Satya 2 stays away from physical confrontation, he’s more of silent schemer. So Satya gets employed at a local real estate firm and they are always in need of killing and planning, so it was the right place for him and within no time and with plans that are as basic as they can get he starts an organisation which is nameless and faceless. I am not too sure of the nameless part. Satya says “the organisation doesn’t have a name, we’ll just call it company” and everyone from then on is referring to it as “company”, even the cops, so it does have a name – company.

And also there is Chitra who is Satya’s innocent (bordering on retarded) and liberal cleavage girl from his village. Which village? Satya would never tell you that, there was a passing reference towards the end as to who and where he’s come from. About that, with debutant Puneet Singh Ratn’s dazed and confused stiffness it is easier to believe that Satya 2 doesn’t actually remember where he’s come from more than him not willing to tell us. In one scene when explaining one of his basic ideas and astounding the real estate boss he walked straight into a wall, and he didn’t know what to do next, so just stayed there.

If it was better cast, slightly less obvious with its ubiquitous voice over and if Varma put in a little more thought into his sequences (the killing montages especially, what happened man) it would have been bearable and I could have appreciated the documentary like chopper camera interludes (I still kind of liked them). But the product playing in the theatres now, strictly for his bearing fans who will also be put off in all probability.


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Directed by Dibakar Banerjee

Written by Dibakar Banerjee and Urmi Juvekar

Bharat Nagar is the prototype for a country facing a wave of hurried urbanization. And when a socialist professor (Prosenjit Chatterjee playing Dr. Ahmedi) tries to point out the flaws of the Promised Land (Shanghai through the IBP scheme), he is run over by an auto amidst his supporters and a mob of government funded haters.

Shalini Sahay (an ex-student of Ahmedi played by Kalki Koechlin) offers refuge to the unwelcome Dr. Ahmedi and also bears witness to his public assassination planned by the ruling government (The IBPwalas). Also at the scene to tape anything sensational is the local pornographer Jaggu (Emraan Hashmi). An enquiry into the incident is ordered and is headed by the Madrasi IPS, Krishnan (Abhay Deol).

The purposes that drive the film are the Ahmedi-Shalini affair, Jaggu’s wish to film the Caucasian Shalini and Krishnan’s battle for a fair enquiry as the mystery of the kill unwinds.

Adding quality to the writing is the film’s fabulous cast. Though reinvention of Emraan Hashmi steals the spotlight, Abhay, Prosenjit and Kalki fill in what we miss the most in Indian cinema, quality supporting actors, the silent heroes.

The film’s setting is not just a plot line it is trying to use, but, a worrying current issue. The writers haven’t chosen the safe neutrality, but, have stood against the IBP metaphor (India Bana Pardes).

Visual experimentation of Dibakar continues with extensive use of the hand held and cut by Namrata Rao, the film has an original and vivid visual sense. The celebratory score of Vishal Sekhar supported by a meticulous sound design made sure the film sounded as real as it looked.

Within the haste of its Thriller narrative Shanghai explores a new form of realism that successfully creates the Bharat Nagar it needs (Bhagu played by Pitobash Tripathy hangs on to an auto and savors the ride as it drives through the burnt out streets with the occasional mobs fighting the police).

The film’s mastery lies in the total absence of any signatures of Dibakar.

Rating – √√√– It’s a brand new Dibakar Banerjee film.

P.S. loosely based on the novel Z, this film pays tribute to Costa Gavras’ ‘Missing’ with the court scene. The same incident shown several times as from several perspectives (Dr.Ahmedi’s hit and run).

Costa Gavras is well known for adapting Vassilikos’ Z in 1969.

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– Racha..2012

Rating – √ – by morons for morons

My review for this film can be found at:


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– Naa Ishtam..2012

Rating – √ – amazing how identically talentless the younger stars are

My review for this film can be found at:

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– Dookudu..2011

Rating – √√ – Parasite film making

My review for this film can be found at:

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– Not a love story..2011

Directed by Ram Gopal Varma

Written by Rohit Banawlikar

Think of the best RGV film, personally. Satya, Company, Sarkar, Siva… Now, take any one of those films and get a smaller camera in place. One on side you have frames worth pausing and staring at and here we have frames worthy of an attentive stare in the passing sequence of hand held images.  Performances you want to imitate on one side and glimpses of such moments in this new film.

You know of the man’s loud soundtracks, crazy frames and sequences where his intentions about the leading lady are very clear. He stays true to those parts of him except for the hurried and hence irritating camera work at times.

Unlike his last script less adventure with the digital camera, this one had an idea of where it’s going to start and where to go from there. Though patchy in parts (few of those sequences where you might just ask “Was the director on location when this was shot and was he sober?”), the screenplay was good enough to hold you till the end.

Mahie Gill (playing Anusha Chawla) did have certain talents she could’ve showcased only if the camera had gotten off her vital statistics (extreme close ups which hadn’t even tried to be morphed as one of those artsy frames). But in the midst of this jittery and experimental digital film making, the actors were the ones who kept it alive. Zakir Hussain (playing the cop) in particular holds you better than he did in Sarkar.

And with a director who understands the camera better than most our cinematographers, some of the sequences were a joy to watch. A conversation Anusha has with her friend with the new body mounts was one such.And the one thing that might just make you leave the theater smiling is the digital’s final frame. The smooch and the freeze frame that follows almost recreates the Bonnie and Clyde glory.

Also, Deepak Dobriyal is one name you would want to mention if you are telling someone about this.

Rating – √√√ – a worthy bargain

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– Kandireega..2011

Rating – √ – You know it all, seen it all, heard it all, bored of it all.

My review for this film can be found at:

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– Dhada..2011

Rating – none – The kid’s a treasure.

My review for this film can be found at:


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