Guy Ritchie meets Charlie Kaufman meets Vishal Bharadwaj!
You’ve got twins, you’ve got a concoction of gangsters, you’ve got
corrupt cops, you’ve got Mumbai’s underbelly by the railway tracks of Cotton Green. You’ve also got Dhan-te-naan - the archetypical hero-chases-villain BG score of the 70s. What’s different you ask. I’d say everything.
Vishal Bharadwaj takes clichés out of characters, formula out of
plots, melodrama out of twists and creates an original Bollywood
caper. It may remind you of Ritchie’s quirky characters or
Tarantinos’s non-linear co-incidences, and like me, if you’re a fan of Kaufman/Gondry you might even pick up flashes of that seamless, mind-melting visual experience that challenges you to think if you want to make the most of the story. But, in all fairness, it’s an original VB masterpiece. Where he reinvents himself. He reinvents gangsters-films. Just as he had reinvented Shakespeare…when he had effortlessly etched Macbeth in Mumbai and turned UP into Othello’s original fiefdom!
Like a good caper, the story here is a character. I’m not going to
reveal it. But you can’t afford to miss much. It goads you to connect the dots, tempts you to pre-empt if you can… but manages to stay a step ahead. It may linger at a twist… wait for u to catch up, and then suddenly race ahead. Unpredictable when it wants to be… but thoroughly entertaining!
I’m not sure if I would have liked more of the Shahid-priyanka
romance, but I was just as happy watching it roll by on the
end-credits with the lovely Mohit Chauhan track. It may have taken
away from the story.
VB can make even a door knob act. Or rather not act. This is not to take away from any of the actors. Just that most of the characters seem so real, you think you may actually find them on Mumbai’s streets. Shahid Kapoor has successfully dropped the SRK hangover. Though I must admit, I wouldn’t have thought of him as an obvious choice for this role, but he does flesh it well ( I didn’t care much for the macho-look). Priyanka’s character is bold and refreshing – a sort of modern-day urban Maharashtrian ‘Basanti’.
But the real Kamineys are the ones who walk away with their quirky cameos – led from the front by Amol Gupte’s ‘Bhope’. You wonder if this is really the man behind Taare Zameen Par! This is Marathi underworld like we’ve never seen before… Bhope is fanatical & shrewd. His eccentricity thrills you, his ideology scares you, you’re almost relieved when he’s willing to selling it… you even feel sorry for him… and then soon enough, he’s a Kaminey again! The Bengali gangsters are another unique addition – would never have thought of giving an INSAS to three mad Bongs. But that’s what VB does – breaks clichés!
Some of the scenes are a killer. The playfully choreographed
bang-bang-boom-boom between Bhope & Mikhail is simple, but dark. Fiderman is funny. Charlie’s money dreams remind you of a similar scene in Ray’s Nayak. But my pick would be Dhan-te-naan! Chaotic & riot-like – it’s an intoxicating new take on the formulaic item-song-in-a-disc.
Ofcourse, there are cribs. To me, Charlie’s motivations didn’t seem convincing enough, inspite of his techno-colour money dreams. Maybe, VB could have done with a better emotional back-story. But honestly, these don’t dampen the film.
A friend of mine asked me if it’s going to be a commercial success. I don’t know. I loved it. I’m going to watch it again.
My rating 4.75 / 5