16 Jul 2011

Movie Review: Delhi Belly: Ribaldry Works!

Do words come out more spontaneously, when one were to write about a movie one enjoys? Probably - YES, for all ‘good movies’ appeals to our certain senses, likes and perceptions that we have developed over the years.

If you draw an outline, Delhi Belly’s theme of mistaken identities and misplaced items has been told in many unimaginative, repetitive ways before in Hindi and regional cinema.But never with this sort of daring ribaldry. A portly man from Russia alights at Delhi Airport and hands over a package meant to be smuggled through an air-hostess Sonia (Shenaz Tresurywala), who is unaware of its contents. She passes on the delivery responsibilities to her fiancee Tashi (Imran Khan), a bored newspaper reporter, who passes it on to his obese photographer room mate (Kunaal Roy Kapur). The photographer, devastated with painful bowel movement, passes the package to his caricature making room mate (Vir Das), who gets the destinations mixed up. Then come the goons, missing diamonds, retrieval and chase, the police, a ‘lesbian’ sequence, and finally an old scooter crashing down.  It is the stench-funny contents within this framework that the film is endearingly disgusting.

This brilliantly held-together trashy tale (Writer Credit - Akshay Verma) of swear words, bawdiness and mistaken identities, fires all cylinders in its 96-minute running time. There are orgasmic moments - fake and real, cracked ceilings, bosom-honks, human excrement (with exclusive booming sound design) and a lovelorn, gun-wielding lover. The swear words are just not there as props, nor are the toilet jokes, all wound deep in the story-characters cobweb, giving it reason to be shouted out loud and clear. With hardly a plot thread out of place in this deftly built comic caper, it is the open yet controlled black, black humour that gets us through. Aamir Khan Productions took a risk and it paid off. Director Abhinay Deo’s second release, post the Game debacle, proves he has it in him, given inspiring content to work with. 

Ram Sampath’s impressive evolutionary music (Hindi Soundtrack of the Year, so far) - the very skin of the movie, is effectively used as part of the background score snatches, rather than the common-place whole end-to-end spool, as we see in mainstream Hindi films. Amitabh Bhattacharya’s lyrics deserve more than a mention. The wicked genius of DK Bose, which no censor board could touch, and how a lady’s footwear (Sandal, sandal, sandal…) makes comic verse. 

Hinglish or Hindi
The original Hinglish version is where the cosmopolitan Delhi city characters fit in to place. Having said that, yet to watch the 100% Hindi version. Yes, the film is tagged ADULTS ONLY, a very wise tag. It also means you need parents with a sense of humour from outer space to tag them along to this one. Do so at your own peril. The same goes for sensitive females too, it is a very male-world movie, no kidding, no chauvinism here.
Classic Touch
A burqa clad man picks up a glass of water from a tray and pours the contents to the drawn veil, and places the emptied glass on the table, even as a policeman seated beside him looks on, bewildered.

7 Jul 2011

Sandeep Chowta returns...

Apart from creating some great songs for Mast, Pyar Tune Kya Kiya and most notably Company, Sandeep Chowta has also done, additionally and singularly, the background score for several of Ram Gopal Varma's movies - notably Kaun and Satya.
While the hiatus took us all Chowta fans by surprise, he is now back with the background score for RGV's next Not A Love Story. This is certainly a relief for 70mm movie fans, as the director's two-part Rakht Charitra has some deafening stuff, that killed much of the film's impact.
Chowta had been, meanwhile, collaborating with jazz artists like Jeff Richman, Jimmy Haslip, Russel Ferrante and William Kennedy, and consequently brought out an album, 'Matters Of The Heart’ in December 2009, a work seven years in the making.    
Not A Love Story, set on the gruesome 2008 Neeraj Grover murder case, is ready for release. With one of the accused, Kannada actress Maria Susairaj released from jail last week, the blur between fact and fiction is certainly helping the film's trailer grab eyeballs.

6 Jul 2011

Music Review: SINGHAM (2011): Ajay-Atul stick to the template

Prominent film and music journalist Raju Bharatan has written of the unfair criticism that Hindi film music has got over the years. Film music, as he says, is an audio-visual medium and so there are certain limitations to the song composition, how it would gel with the story, and when it would appear in the film. With song situations becoming decorative props of costume, than hooks to a story, music directors are increasingly becoming limited to a template. Another thing about songs is how something grows upon you, over repeated listens, over a period of time, and of us relating to a song.

A remake of the 2010's very commercial, violent cop-mode, Tamil moneymaker Singam, Ajay - Atul get their first major Hindi release of the year, with the delay in the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali produced My Friend Pinto. The Singham music album has three songs and their respective remixes. Swanand Kirkire (Parineeta, Haazaron Khawishen Aisi) has written the lyrics.

The title song Singham is a clever execution of slokas (incantations, shall we say), Marathi tradition-rooted percussion and arrangements, lion-roar snatches, extended children choruses in the mid-paragraphs, and a rousing end (Lezim dance arrangements). The Udd Udd Dabangg deja vu is evident in the Sukhwinder Singh vocals, and the hard earth-canvas of the visuals. The lyrics are all hero-worship, 'bashing up the bad guys', 'Watch out the Lion is coming!' stuff. A sample:  thagda jhatka hai...dum hai toh chaklo...Over all, a song worth a listen for some innovative singing and timely percussion, certainly not a melodious sing-along.

The primarily Shreya Ghoshal voiced Saathiyaa is salvaged by some clever vocal add-on's in the mukhda, in the form of one of the music directors - Ajay Gogavale. Not that Ghoshal doesn't sing well. The lyrics are all 'girl loyal to man' thing. The stand out refrain lines....badmash dil toh thag hai bada, badmash dil yeh tujhse juda, badmash dil meri sune na zid pe ada...

The sufi tone is now a much-repeated Hindi film trend, Maula Maula Re is OK. Kunal Ganjawala sounding redundant in romantic ones lately) finally gets a non-romantic song  that he gives an effective understated tone, Richa Sharma's voice (think Chaiyya Chaiyya Sapna Awasti mould) is good company here. Decent turn, the best song of the soundtrack.

Overall the album, (we think nothing of the remixes) is an above-average listen, just about. The limited number of songs does help our collective verdict...