Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Sarkar: Movie Review

Though I am no more than one of the normal movie goers, I seem to have somehow developed a liking for Ram Gopal Verma (RGV) movies. Even now I eyeball the “movies today” section of the newspaper to check if the movie “Kshana Kshanam” is being aired on one of those Telugu channels. This was my first RGV movie. I have watched this movie thrice in theater and have lost count of how many times I have watched it on TV. I can understand little bit of Telugu, but this movie is so well made that you can thoroughly enjoy it without any knowledge of the language and I still feel myself ready for yet another stint with the movie!!

It was just a few days after “Naina” that I came to know that a new movie of RGV was coming and this time he himself was directing it. Of late he has stopped directing movies and was focusing only on producing them. But one has to agree that every movie produced by him will have a RGV stamp on it. You make out a RGV stamp from the typical camera movements, twisty script and fresh ideas he infuses in them. The influence of RGV will be so very evident that you can immediately recognize a RGV trained director’s movie though under a different banner. “Kaal” directed by Soham is an excellent example of that. Soham worked with RGV for the film “Bhoot”. And this time with RGV himself in the director’s seat it had to be a honed product!!!

So I was there in the theater with friends on the very first day of its release! It was hardly a crowd as we had reached early though we had our tickets booked in advance. I was a bit surprised at the turnout for a movie with such hype. My concerns were fairly addressed on reaching the ticket counter to collect the tickets. Every seat had been booked and there were no tickets available till the next Monday! We thanked ourselves for the advance booking as we collected the tickets. The show finally started after a delay of full ½ hour.

The movie is made of a pinch of “Siva”, a pinch of “Satya”, a pinch of “kaun”, a pinch of “Company”, a pinch of “D” and truck loads of scripting talents and camera mastery!! Every dialogue, every scene, every bit of the story is superbly connected to the central character “Sarkar” enacted by Amitabh Bachan. His decades of acting experience shows in his expressions throughout the movie. His facial expressions particularly the scene when he is on the hospital bed is worth watching a thousand times!! Kay Kay and Abhishek Bachan play the role of his elder and younger sons in the movie. They are called “Vishnu” and “Shankar”, names which are totally opposite to the characters they portray! The first half of the movie has more of Amitabh Bachan and Kay Kay with Abhishek coming here and there. The second half is dominated by Abhishek and Amitabh Bachan. Abhishek Bachan is at his best with his inquisitive looks and designer wear clad “good” son of the “Sarkar”.
I think our directors find it impressive when Hritik Roshan and Abhishek Bachan run around. You can find at least one scene of them running in every movie they play!!! Maybe it’s just a coincidence that they land up in movies in which they have to run, but I couldn’t stop myself from putting this here!! This movie has one more person whose neither the name nor the character he plays, I am able to recollect. He is the bald trusted aide of the “Sarkar”. The scene which speaks of his faith in the “Sarkar” and the immense trust the “Sarkar” has in him are noteworthy!

This movie has no songs and so you have a “de-glamorized” and fully clothed version of Katrina Kaif and Rukhsar. Katrina plays the love interest of Abhishek and Rukhsar plays the better half of Kay Kay. Katrina plays her usual just okay role; but it is Rukhsar who definitely has a meatier role just among the two. If her acting skills were good in “D”, then it is better here, even though considering the minuscule role she has to play. I feel she is definitely that girl to watch out for in the coming days!!!!

The film seems to suddenly drop down the pace immediately after the interval but picks it up quickly to race to the end. The acting skills of Rukhsar still remains untapped, but I am sure we can definitely expect a “Naach” or “Rangeela” from the RGV stable exclusively made for her!! The use of Marathi words here and there is something which may not go down well with everybody and could have been done away with I guess.

But what has still left me confused is the naming convention followed here; “Vishnu” and “Shankar” as I said earlier. I feel Abhishek should have been named as “Vishnu” and Kay Kay as “Shankar”.

Overall, my opinion is that this is the best RGV package till date. Don’t compare this with “God father” or “Nayagan” (of Mani Ratnam). Both are in the league of their own. Just go ahead, watch the movie and feel satisfied!!!

~Narendra V Joshi

Saturday, July 02, 2005

The “weakening Kannada” problem.

The deterioration of Kannada language or maybe the gradual weakening of Kannada speaking population in Bangalore is probably the most discussed topic in all Kannadiga groups! Kannada movies are always at the receiving end in all the discussions, which I have come across. The vulgar lyrics and dialogues coupled with senseless stories have always been blamed for the apathy towards the Kannada movies which is said to be the root cause for this “weakening Kannada” problem.

I agree that movies influence a great deal in nurturing and growth of languages. I am using the word nurture here as I have not come across any new languages being “invented” of course except computer languages!! But I feel this definitely does not mean that without good movies a language cannot survive. Over the top of my head I can give a vague example to uphold this. Urdu has been considered a major untapped “media” language in India. Almost every major entertainment company is coming with an Urdu channel. Almost every channel has a slot for Urdu news. But I have not seen or heard any Urdu movies being made in recent times. This leads me to a new school of thought. Movies do not necessarily uphold a language. But yes, they definitely help in growth of a language. Take for example, two movies made in recent past. We had a Kannada blockbuster Aptamitra which created huge waves in Karnataka. I don’t know how it fared outside Karnataka. A similar movie was made in Tamil titled Chandramukhi. It goes without saying that this definitely has been one of the major blockbusters for this year. And as per papers, this has been a major hit outside India too. This leads me to think that it is the protagonists with their charm who strengthen or deteriorate a language assuming movies play a major part in sustaining a language. But we very well are aware of the movies of the same protagonists which have flopped and have vanished without a trace. So, this view too, might be incorrect.

Then what could be that “load bearing pillar” which holds and sustains a language? There are different views on this and I too have one of my own. I feel that Kannadigas are too open to anything new thrown at them or maybe we try to enact and appreciate any new found skills and sometimes forget our roots in the process. This is not the same case with people of our neighboring states in my opinion. A straight example is that whenever I have been to other states, rarely I have come across a person who guides to the address asked, in English or Hindi. They more often tend to reply in their own language. This is something wanting in Kannadigas. The Tamil film which I said earlier is running to full houses even in Bangalore. I don’t know if it is the same case with that Kannada film in other states which have kannadiga population.

I therefore feel that the bottom line however is to accept and appreciate all languages keeping in mind that we are Kannadigas and Kannada should be treated with high regard and it is our responsibility to uphold it. And yes, Kannada movies too have a great role to play!!

These are my own views. Comments are welcome!