Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mithya - Review

When I watched Bheja Fry, I really felt that one actor who was not given his due was Ranvir Shorey. He has been a brilliant actor and he finally shows here how good he can be. Every scene in Mithya revolves around him and you do get your doses of laughter and fun moments. The sad thing was that the theatre had around 40 people in all despite it being a weekend and the second day of the film. I was surprised to see that lukewarm response despite people knowing the fact that the trio of Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak and Ranvir Shorey were coming together again. Was it bad promotion? Shouldn't Arindam Chaudhari have spent more on promoting the film and cashing on the legacy of Bheja Fry? After all, this was a commercial effort and there was no harm in letting it be known. Another thing that can go against the film is that it will be compared to Bheja Fry and that doesn’t augur too well for this film commercially at least.

Rajat Kapoor is an able theatre director. His shows with Ranvir and Vinay have been huge hits and the intellect of this sensible director shows in the film. The comic scenes are really good but if you compare it with Bheja Fry (the comparisons!!), the dialogues lack the humor that Bheja Fry had.

The film is not offbeat. It very much treads the lines of a formula film and is supported by an efficient army of actors who carry the film forward. It builds quite well in a riveting manner. The scenes leading upto the intermission are gripping. Things begin to get complicated and stretched in the later part of the second half when the identity crisis of the Don/VK comes to the fore. Again, I am not saying that Rajat Kapoor could not handle it well. All I am saying is that the idea looks more theatrical than filmy. I am sure I would have liked it more if I had seen a theatre adaptation of this film because for a general film buff the end left a lot to be desired.

Ranvir Shorey is top class. I just hope that the industry rises to brace upto this fine actor and offer him roles of substance. He brings out the finer nuances of a struggler in the industry with panache. Vinay Pathak plays a goon and does not get any meaty scene. He plays the side-kick throughout the film. Naseeruddin Shah and Saurabh Shukla are the scheming Dons living under the shadow of Bhaisahab while Neha Dhupia plays Ranvir’s love interest. All in all no one really disappoints but neither do they look as if only they suited the part.

I did get bored in the closing 15-20 minutes of the film and my verdict for the film is – A courageous attempt that might not hit the bull’s eye, not even with the multiplex audience. Personally, I would any day spend my bucks to watch the team perform. You feel like an elitist just by watching them ;) I won’t call Mitthya classy or trendsetting but yes you can give it a shot.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Slap them..they're Bhaiyajis!

The “Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Visa” proposal for the self proclaimed Independent Monarchy of Maharashtra is hogging the limelight for the past couple of days. The crusader behind the whole move is the legendary Raj Thakeray. Raj Thakeray who? – The Bal Thakeray wannabe who is suffering from mental imbalance post a political rout in the last Municipal elections. The folks under attack are North Indians, more specifically the UPites and the Biharis, and I squirm on my couch because I am not sure if my visa application would be entertained by His Highness and his council of sickle wielding ministers (yes he said that they would welcome us with sickles) when I land in Mumbai some day in future.

Mr. Thackeray promises a lot in the times to come. At 40, the opportunities seem endless and he sure is exploring them with vigor hitherto associated with the likes of Hitler whom he personally admires. I wonder if the incidents of his men vandalizing taxis and beating the north Indian drivers black and blue were conceptualized to relive the glory of the Holocaust. You will in all probability find the comparison with Holocaust as skewed but let’s give the poor soul his moments of fame before he gets the treatment due for him in the aftermath of the “I suffer from verbal diarrhoea” act of his.

Now that the whole world is chiding him, let me offer him some support and consolations at the cost of betraying my fellow Bhaiyajis of UP and Bihar. I am mean and I do this so that just in case Mr. Thackeray realizes his dream of setting up the Independent Monarchy of Maharashtra, my application to gain entry into Mumbai is viewed favorably. But I don't think that it is going to help. Once the monarchy is established, he might even debar us from even applying for a visit. Who knows, we might just settle there!

Raj Thackeray has been an anti-nationalist and pro-regionalism, a fact endorsed by him on more than one occasions, though not as violently as he is doing it now. The verdict in the last Municipal elections stated it loud and clear that his notions did not find popular support. Instead of realizing that, Raj Thackeray has gone on the offensive to preach his silly ramblings just to get a foot-hold in Maharashtra’s politics. I feel he has reasons to act that way. Quite contrary to the perception that Raj Thackeray is a mass appeal leader, he does not have a base in the heartland of Maharashtra. He has never represented any constituency and the only reason why he rose was because he was Bal Thackeray’s nephew. For such a leader getting carried away from core issues that concern people is quite easy. Sensationalizing a non-issue has given him some quality air-time on all news channels and he can pat himself for getting that space because at the end of it all, this is the most that he could have got out of it. I wonder why he is not being arrested for disrupting the harmony and denting the pride of such a vibrant city like Mumbai. Haven't the scenes of Taxi drivers being beaten and Bachchan's house being pelted with stones done enough to tarnish the image?

The mess that he has created also ignites another fire that needs to be doused soon enough before it assumes "massive out-break" proportions. Biharis have been under attack in Assam and then the Delhi Chief Minister viewed us suspiciously only to retract later. We can’t overlook these problems and sweep it under the carpet saying that these were one-off incidents. Unemployment and problem of space is not a state problem. It is a problem central to the whole country. It is not as if people from Bihar and UP own acres of land back home and then move out to eat up the shares of people elsewhere. There is no law in the constitution that restricts their movement in India under normal circumstances. If you pride yourself in calling yourself an Indian, then you also have to respect what it stands for.

Cities like Mumbai and Delhi are the economic hubs of India. They got the attention that they needed and please don’t give the shit by saying that it was just the Mumbaikars or the Delhiites who made it happen for them. Bihar and UP produces more administrators (IAS officers) than any other part of India. These two states represent a huge chunk of the law making body – The Parliament and contribute to about 25% of India’s population. If you start to rub them the wrong way, there would come a time when they too would react and maybe more vociferoausly. Thackeray and people with similar thought process should remember that 1 out of every 4 Indian is a Bhaiyaji and there is no escape from them. So run while you can because the chances are that sooner or later it will be one of them who would come and hump you big-time ;)

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