Sunday, September 28, 2008

Welcome To Sajjanpur.

Welcome To Sajjanpur comes from visionary director Shyam Benegal. It stars Shreyas Talpade, Amrita Rao, Ravi Kishan, Ila Arun and a whole host of others. Benegal, popularly known for his parallel films, with Welcome To Sajjanpur, shifts to a comedy/parallel film. The touch of realism/naturalism in terms of social and political conditions is unmistakeable in this film, and more often than not, it is the base of it's happenings.

The most flashy thing in Welcome To Sajjanpur comes even before it's opening credits. The UTV Spot Boy banner. From then on, everything about the film is primitive. It's setting. 'Some' village which was once called 'Durjan'pur, but was renamed by Nehru himself to Sajjanpur. It's people. Mostly uneducated. There is a man who portrays a doctor in the film, but he appears in a grand total of one scene. There are the numerous bai's and mausi's, and Ramsingh's and Ramkumar's (among the numerous Ram's whom the narrator speaks of in the introduction, while brushing his teeth with a twig). The comes in the superstitions. I shall only speak of the one that says a girl must get married to a 'kukur' (yes, a dog) because she is, well, unlucky (or whatever one calls it when translated into primitive, religious hindi. Then comes the political state of things. It's election time. There is a eunuch (acted brilliantly by Ravi Jhankal) running for it, along with your gang of gangster-type people who roam about on motorcycles with their 'mamaji's' sitting behind them, carrying a rifle. Etcetera etcetera..

Shreyas Talpade does well as the film's lead. The narrative, always having a comedic spark to it, does not dissapoint. The acting is top class. Ila Arun, Yashpal Sharma and Ravi Jhankal are priceless. Also the man who plays the Subedar (damn, i forgot his name). The songs are mediocre. Bheeni bheeni's picturisation is done very well, with what one can only call a dream sequence. Aadmi azad hain acts as the revolutionary (comedy) song, as does Munni ki baari (yes, it was sung after Jhankal's Munni bai won in the election). Kunal Kapoor makes a nice guest appearance.

You wouldn't miss anything if you do not see Welcome To Sajjanpur. It's a decent watch though, which introduces you to certain bits and pieces of primitive Indian thought and action. 6/10.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Kite Runner.

The Kite Runner is a film based on Khaled Hosseini's bestselling novel of the same name. It is directed by Marc Foster, and was adapted for the screen by David Benioff. Most of the film's dialogue is in Persian Dari, with subtitles for the regional language. English is also used in the film. It was nominated for an Oscar for Alberto Iglesias's background score.

The Kite Runner is, simply put, a very good book to screen adaptation. It is so predominantly because of the engaging background score which switches comfortably between Middle-Eastern music and Spanish music. Most of the songs are not in English, and the one that is, is sung by a native. The cinematography is decent, never letting one take ones eyes off the screen. The sequences of the kite-flying tournament are particularly well done. The film is never raw in it's depictions of certain political situations. It is frank. Precise.

Marc Foster, better known for directing Monster's Ball and Finding Neverland, captures moments very efficiently. The actors are all very good, which makes the film all the more fun to watch. Khalid Abdalia, who has previously starred in United 93, is of special mention here. He plays the role of Amir as an adult. The Kite Runner is worth a watch. By the time it ends, a soft smile is guaranteed.