Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The koward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!"
                     oscar wilde , the ballad of reading gaol

When was the last that I thought of you...I know not...but am I the one who goes alone on this path...and should I but care only a little for the souls that follow or those as march ahead?

Mode C is a way of life, perhaps my way of life: C for Cool, C for Cold, C for Chaos, C for Calvin. Ultimately, all of it boils down to the way you look at things. Are they not how they are but just how they appear?? No...and yes...Almost all the seriously critical fundamental concepts of life...aren't they just the bogies under Calvin's bed that he is afraid of? Miss Wormwood, Susie, Mom and Dad, and of course above all, Hobbes...aren't they all merely the means that he uses to attack these bogies?

Reflecting on 'living the Calvin way', I have started to believe that life and our reaction to it can only be explained by a number of Calvin and Hobbes strips combined together. The philosophy, as I like to call it, is to know that you are not alone. It is not just my perspective alone that is going to help me fight my bogies. I will be able to inch towards the Calvin way only when I perceive the other perspectives on my way.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Kabhi hum kaminey nikle, kabhi doosre kaminey

Main 'fa' ko 'fa' bolta hoon
Abe 'fa' ko 'fa' nahi to kya 'la' bolega

and it goes...Dhan ta nan. One of the most anticipated talked-about and hyped movies of the year, Kaminey does not disappoint, not in the least. In spite of the overwhelming majority coming out in fully voiced approval of the film, there is always the lurking doubt in one's mind as one watches the scenes unfold. Will it live up to the expectations built by such strong feedback coming in from almost all quarters? Is it another case of might becoming right and people following the herd and talking in a certain manner just because everyone else is? Will all the talk about getting your brains along for the movie and respecting viewers' intelligence be just a carefully orchestrated PR strategy? Is there really path-breaking, cult-forming cinematic excellence at display?

It may not perhaps be said that Vishal Bhardwaj's effort is perfect but it is as close to it in today's times as it can be. Building up the story and all the while challenging the viewer to continually think, interpret situations and get the hang of the story a la Johny Gaddar or DevD, Kaminey seems to have vowed to not let the viewer slip into mental slumber. All events of import post the interval are linked to stuff that is not explained by dumbing it down but more so in passing reference, by just displaying events as they take place with the freedom given to the viewer to form whatever conclusions she wishes to form.

The thread of the story is not lost anywhere what with the careful plot construction that takes place, involving all characters in a blitzkrieg of slides in the lives of the twins, Charlie and Guddu. There are a lot of characters intertwined with these two and the beauty of the movie lies in the finesse with which each one of these supposedly ancillary characters are sketched out. You can not help but wonder at the ingenuity with which the screen comes alive upon each appearance of the Maharasthtrian-speak politician of Amole Gupte, the fiery Marathi mulgi of Priyanka Chopra, the cocaine-addicted whacko gangster of Chandan Roy Sanyal, even the bit characters of corrupt narcotics cops and other gangsters (some of them even imported from Africa).

Vishal Bhardwaj, it will suffice to say, has done it again. Not only has he done an extremely fine job in directing a motley crew of relative newbies to the formulaic Bollywood, he has also worked wonders with the more established cast of Shahid and Priyanka. Shahid delivers on the front foot in his twin role with the two brothers actually coming across as being as different as chalk and cheese. The beefy, catcall-inducing gangster is innocently devilish while the stammering simpleton comes across as the eyes-averted, mentally slow and introverted idealist.

Priyanka Chopra does a fine act as the fiery and gutsy modern-yet-traditional belle who can lie through her teeth, plan much before she gets to act, and even shoot at her brother (in clear deviation from the standard Bollywood lore...even though the gun was out of bullets when she shot it, she did shoot) as long as the end is clear and worthy. Not too much to look at sans her made up and glammed avatar, she still comes across as an actress who is taking leaps and bounds to the grease paint.

As mentioned earlier, each of the other actors in the movie deserve special mention for the way they have, under Vishal's able direction, of course, brought alive the various characters of the movie. Gupte, Sanyal and Co., take a bow!

To top it all, the music of the movie really fits the folds almost seamlessly. Whether it is playing in the background to add to the excitement of chase sequences, or in the foreground in all its psychedelic glory, "Dhan ta nan" rocks...and so does the rest of the musical score re-emphasizing the multi-talented genius of Vishal Bhardwaj. Even the placement of the timeless classic "Duniya me logo ko dhoka kabhi…" is spot on. Consider innocuous songs like phataak, or the one accompanying the celebratory bridal participation in what is supposed to be the groom's baraat, nothing seems to be even an inch adrift.

The story line of Kaminey may admittedly be slightly thin and oft repeated in the Mumbai (or is it Bambai) film industry (identical twins caught up in each other's lives) but it is the treatment that gets this movie up to the tops. It is the small nuances that tease the viewer to apply her mind, to decide for herself if the movie is up to her standard or vice versa. What makes this one special is the pun in showing an auto rickshaw with its clearly displayed meter reading "For Hire" as the corrupt cop is shot down. What works for this movie is the immensely humorous jab in the bad-guy Shahid replying to the plea of the good-guy Shahid of his wife being pregnant by asking him tongue-in-cheek, "to kya meri kokh ("coke") ujaadega?"

Posted at 12:10 pm by Nitai

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