Mortal Smoking with Khalid, Nikhat and Hegde


First Posted on PFC

The Fly was out again, eavesdropping all over the place. This time it was in midst of a meeting of a few highly esteemed critics and an Ordinary Mortal (OM) just after a preview show of No Smoking. As this author does not wish to bandy anyone’s name, all the critics’ names have been changed to protect their identities. So let’s give them fictitious names like Khalid Mohammad, Nikhat Kazmi and Prithviraj Hegde. Any resemblance to any real life movie critic is not co-incidental. In a happy co-incidence, which seems to have come straight out of a Manmohan Desai film, the Fly comes to this author just after he (the author not the Fly) has watched the No Smoking DVD.

KM: Finally got to watch this movie man. I was desperately waiting for it to come out.

OM: Really.. Looks like even you liked it the way I did.

KM: Off course not. I was waiting for it to come out so that I can trash the movie big time.

NK: Well said Bhai. Imagine the gall of that Kashyap dude.. He thinks he can make a movie which is way out of the realm of what we decide is a movie.

PH: Seriously what was he thinking about when he made this movie. The least he could do was to make this with a linear story line so that low IQ people like me can understand.

KM: And on top of it it’s not original at all. It’s a direct rip off of Quitter’s Inc. I read it you know.

OM: Yeah the Quitter’s Inc. was definitely the base for the movie but don’t u think that NS gone way beyond the short story and has in fact added much more depth and meaning-full layers to the entire story.

KM: Kya pata (who Knows) I’ve not read the story or the short story as you put it.. I just read somewhere that it’s based on that.

NK(excitedly): Hey even I’ve got one.. I read somewhere that it’s based on some Marine Drive or some Holland Drive movie. It’s supposed to be a Lynch movie.. Whatever that’s supposed to mean.

KM(looking Aghast): No no Nikhat.. whatever we are.. we don’t lynch people.. sure we figuratively torch and burn a movie down so that the poor director will never get a producer again forever inspite of making a world class movie, but we never ever lynch people.. uhh uhh never ever.

OM(Rolling his eyes over): He’s talking about the David Lynch film Mullholland Drive. That movie is more like a take on Freduen theories of dreams and how some dreams choose to mirror our aspirations which can never be full filled in real life. Granted even that movie is surreal and dreamy in nature but NS is definitely not based on it.

PH: But I liked some parts you know.. Like the Kyunki episode.. Finally I saw something that was not too hard on the mind.. more diluted and contemporary u know.. u have to admit.. that was pretty original and funny.

OM: Sorry to be a spoilsport again.. That was definitely a fun sequence but it was actually a take on Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers when he shows the genesis of the protagonists’ violent nature in a sitcom-ish manner.

KM: sitcom vitcom ditcom fictom (its rhyme time folks) what ever. I don’t even understand what you’re trying to say. Just like I didn’t understand that video cassettes scene, when they take cassettes and watch portions of K’s life. I mean what was that all about..

OM: It’s like your mind being a big storage gala and various events are being recorded in video tapes you know, so that whenever you want to recollect a memory u just play the cassette in the mind’s screen. Pretty cool na.. It was mentioned in Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher.

PH(indignantly): What utter rubbish are you babbling about. Iam sure there’s no movie or book by that name.

OM (stuttering): But.. But..

NK: bahut der se sun raha hoon tera.. abhi chup baith.. don’t forget your just a lowly ticket paying movie watcher. U are not like us.. We decide the fate of a movie even though we may not have the slightest idea of movie making techniques nor do we have the intelligence to grasp the meta physical aspects of an in depth storyline.

KM: Meta Theta Beta Seeta Reeta

OM(meekly): iam sorry.. ill be quiet.

KM: That’s more like it. For a second there I thought u were going to attempt to explain the last half hour of the movie. Now folks don’t forget our main agenda. We have to ensure that no matter what the average ticket paying public doesn’t go to watch this movie. You know trash it so much that even the BMC will be repulsed by it.

PH: Hey I know.. ill write something like STAY AWAY FROM THIS.. that always ensures that they’ll stay away. Pretty original na.

KM(eyes brimming with tears): Hegde, I am Soooo proud of you.

NK: And we can always mention that the movie doesn’t have any Feel Good Factor at all.. That will ensure that they won’t even touch the movie with a barge pole.

KM: Off course we’ll say that. Only SRK/YRF/KJo movies have the Feel Good Factor.. I mean I really feel good when I get the goods from them as a thank you for glowing reviews that I invariably give them.

NK: Yeah they are nothing like this Kashyap guy who doesn’t grovel down before us. SRK/YRF/KJo are the best.

KM: Best Nest Chest West Pest Flest. Anyways I got to leave now to submit my review to the Edit (brandishes a copy).

OM(amazed): You wrote the review so fast!! We barely watched the movie half an hour back.

KM: I had already written most of the stuff before watching the movie. Just had to put the characters names only. In between that I ve just written loads of gibberish heheheh.

OM faints!!

Epilogue:

Can anyone believe this stupidity? Anyone who would have read the reviews of our top critics would feel that NS is a stupid trashy movie which has no sensibilities at all.

I think all these guys were reviewing to showcase their lack of brains rather than showcasing the pros/cons of the movie. Any other journalist doing such a shoddy piece of work would have been sacked that very instant. The fact that these reviews got printed and that these guys continue to write even now shows the quality of the editorial teams of TOI/Rediff and HT. Yeah I know somebody is going to tell me – Dude u think the Edit team cares about movie articles. Well if they don’t care enough to see if trash goes in or not then they should discontinue wasting precious space in media.

All the while the critics bemoan about the lack of quality/ different cinema (except while reviewing a SRK/YRF/KJo movie) and when a quality movie does come they rip it apart just for the sake of it. And I am not even talking about understanding the story. I mean that’s too subjective and I am sure everybody will have a different take on what the movie means. But what really cheeses me off is that hardly anybody mentioned about the eclectic background score which was a heady mix of sounds, new songs and existing film songs. No one talked about the brilliant cinematography and the fact that some of the sequences seemed to be choreographed and not just shot. The just perfect colour tones that was as defining as any of the characters’ mannerisms. And when u go to the pits of Prayogshala u really feel that you have reached the depths of hell even as u watch K reach the depths of insanity. And off course Anurag’s dark sense of humour seems to have gone over all their empty heads.

The movie does have it’s share of flaws. The cigar segment – though an important part, was stretched a wee bit too much. The movie becomes a bit too abstract for its own good. The biggest flaw is that it becomes a very intelligent and over estimates its audience, to say nothing about your friendly neighborhood critic.

A round of applause for John Abraham to say yes to this project thanks to which I am sure most of the funds started materializing. A round of applause to Kumar Mangat, Eros and Vishal Bharadwaj for bravely putting their funds. (Though I doubt if they are gonna fund a similar theme/project in a hurry now). And a big thanks to Anurag Kashyap to ensure that at least one Indian movie stays my list of ten dvds to bequeath to your soul for its next life

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