Saturday, July 7, 2007

Cinema Talk - Chameli

Chameli (2003)
Director:Sudhir Mishra
Writers:Anant Balani (idea)
Swanand Kirkire (dialogue)
Music: Sandesh Shandilya
Cinematography: Aseem Bajaj
Sudhir Mishra is perhaps the only one of the few directors in the bollywood film industry who have managed to balance the high brow and the low brow of the cinema audience. From being viewed by the front bench, where kareena would get great number of whistles to the subdued and controlled acting by Rahul Bose and appreciated by people who have hardly ever spoken to a front bencher. Chameli is like a fresh breath of air among the crass horrible platter of hindi films made by self righteous new breed of film makers of India.
We will delve into the technicalily of the film later, but I must continue with the resentment on the various film reviewers found in umpteem websites to sunday film reviews in glossy papers of weekend edition in national dailies. If you praise, you praise for all the wrong reasons, and if you detest, you do so with no logic. This goes for almost all the reviews I read before picking up the watered down pricing of the movie's vcd from my video library in Qusais, Dubai.

The story line is not unique in indian movie history, been attempted a lot of time before, mostly in crime thriller genre to action packed films. I recall "ittefaq" made my Yash Chopra starring Rajesh Khanna, which was remade my Ramu in Kaun. I recall "is Raat ke subhah nahi" by Sudhir Mishra itself. You can also draw parallel from films depicting the prostitution business like Market to Umrao Jaan, although each film has a distinct cultural background and cinematic technique and made for different audiences in mind.

After watching "hazaro Khwahishe Aisi" by Sudhir Mishra, you are brought face-to-face with the idelogues and beliefs of the filmmaker. A reformist filmmaker who strives to deliver something unique to the Indian audience but still trys to toy around the commercial interests with invigorating elements that works with all kinds of viewers.

In a nutsell, Aman [Rahul Bose] has lost his wife [Rinke Khanna – in a sp. app.] on a rainy night in an accident. The rain brings back haunting memories of the past.While driving around aimlessly on a stormy night, Aman's car stalls at Mumbai's Flora Fountain. He has no option but to take shelter in the arches of Fountain.Aman pulls out a cigarette and attempts to light it, discovering, to his complete frustration, that he has no match. It is here that Aman meets Chameli [Kareena Kapoor], a prostitute out for her 'dhanda'Their worlds are different. But for one night, Aman is compelled to share the footpath with Chameli.It is this rain that brings together these two strangers. And sparks off a romance…

You already know when they both meet, they are going to find a slice of each others lives and their worlds on this very night. Different character comes and performs their role in the society and leaves. But the story is not about them, its about the two poles from both the society and how each leaves an impression on each other, that's what is interesting. The script is hardly with any loose ends, the pace is just right for the film. The take on the gay couple was surprising but handled pretty well. And i love how the real story of Kareena kapoor is revealed in the film, after the fake two stories, you are left wondering how different it can get from the real, and it proved to be no different from the earlier fake two. But still, sudhir wentahead with the pun on it, and carried it of really well. You can only imagine how stories seduce the audience proposing fake emotioned filled sob stories to create sympathy for the victim in the film.

kareena tried her best, but its hard to shed her refined hindi behind the slurs and swears, also the fake attempt to speak english, didn't really go well. But, it should be highlighted from her performance that she did leave an impression, and with more film like these, may be she will come out of that shell. Rahul Bose didn't really have to work hard, he plays the role pretty well, afterall, he looks, talks and acts like a investment banker. I still believe, that today there are hardly any actress left in the industry who can do that role, the only name that comes to my mind is tabu, but no one else.

Cinematography was wanting in the bar scenes and anupama verma's bar dance, sudhir is not comfortable in handling these kind of sleek sets and the film fails to take off on the first sequence. Infact, the camera work shines from the moment rain starts in the film. The archway of the fountain stays on you even after you eject the VCD. Editing was pathetic, particulary the fast cut sequences with special effects were distasteful and particular mention on the jump cuts on the last scene when Rahul Bose breaks down while talking about his wife's death is appalling.
But on the whole a great attempt and overall and enjoyable film. Special mention on Kareena on doing a honest and wonderful job

My rating: 7/10


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