remains of a half-torn ticket

Thursday, April 2, 2009


After watching Dev.d I was certain that Gulaal would be something worth a watch, and I was in there with a lot of expectation. 'Door des ke tawar mein ghus jaaye re aeroplane' had set the stage and I didn't know that it would be least intersting aspect of this movie when compared to everything else.

'ये महलो, ये तख्तो, ये ताजो की दुनिया, ये इंसा के दुश्मन समाजो की दुनिया,
ये दौलत के भूखे रिवाजो की दुनिया, ये दुनिया अगर मिल भी जाए तो क्या हैं?'

Based on this timeless prose by Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Gulaal is a hard hitter talking about students' politics in Indian state of Rajasthan. After watching this movie, I was tempted to know how people would react to it, and the world seems to divided in anurag kashyap bhakts(AKB) and the united alliance of apprehensive criticsm(UAAC), there are AKBs who had sleepless night pondering over it and there are UAACs who have felt it so difficult to appreciate the elusive elements used by AK. There are AKBs who fell in love with the serving of intented (or uninteted) pun and absolute humor on the face of dark realities and then there are UAACs who have side-glanced the metaphors to be too deceptive. But, i haven't found many who were not 'engrossed' in this process of falling into either bucket, nobody could be indifferent, nobody could be ignorant. I, being part of the AKB bucket without much confusion, was pampered. It was pretty close to a Sachin classic for me (Sachin fans would know the intensity of this comment). There were no loose moments in this movie once it started. But I have a feeling, AK is one director who is making movies more for himself than for someone else, while doing this he is trying to approach a group of people who are looking for something more than just a good time, a little more than value-for-money. He does pretty much the same with this movie.

Coming to the core stuff, the movie. Few quickies about gulaal:

1. Every character in Gulaal has his/her place. Every place in Gulaal has its character.
2. The whole movie is like a metaphor competition. Only two guys compete, one, Piyush Mishra(PM) and second, Piyush Mishra.
3. AK continues to hold strong with the female characters.
4. AK and PM duo sews up music perfectly in and around the plot throughout the movie.
5. KK Menon continues to be the love-to-hate and hate-to-love guy.
6. Amazing retro look at the Hello There place, and moustached jim morrison and John Lennon.

As I said, the characters have their places, every single one. I don't think there is a certain protagonist, KK is one main figure, which is more because of his image of being the important guy in all his films and also because of the power his character has in the movie. KK has been a great actor always, but almost all his roles are getting stereotyped in their own manner. The angriest middle-aged man of Indian Cinema. The second one is the poster boy for Gulaal, Raja Chaudhary. The actor who was not meant to be! He must be remembered more as the writer from Gulaal perspective. His role is pretty much linear throughout the movie, and has a contrasting edge to it at the end of movie. The most appealing of the male characters is Abhimanya Singh, thank the dialog writer or thank the director or just thank him. Phe(w)nomenal. The second most impressive character is the 'Goodbye Blue Sky' player, Floyd fan Ayesha Mohan. This has to be one of the best debutant performance ever. She holds on to her difficult role of a deceptive girl, and I love the last scene when Raja Chaudhary.....ahh spoiler. Jessy Randhawa impresses as much, 'Nihilism' makes her invisible and drugs gets her back to the scene.

The strongest elements of the movie (apart from the red neon lights I love) is the larger than life presence of Piyush Mishra. His acting, compositions, lyrics and poetry lay the base for a classic. It will be a shame if the great adaptation of sarfaroshi is not shared:

आजकल का लौंडा यह कहता हम तो बिस्मिल थक गए
अपनी आज़ादी तो भैया लौंडिया के तिल में है
सरफरोशी की तमन्ना अब हमारी दिल में है
आजके जलसा में बिस्मिल एक गूंगा गा रहा
और बहरो का वो रेला नाचता महफिल में है
हाथ की खादी बनाने का ज़माना लद गया
आजकल तो चड्डी भी सिलती इन्ग्लिशों की मिल में है

The basis of the movie, 'Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hain', comes up beautifully linked up with the climax of the movie and the song that plays at that moment doesn't sink easily, at least not in next 46 hours as per my current statistics. Discussing about this song and rest of the music deserves a new post and shall be deferred for this time.

Then there are metaphors and quotes which are the major aesthetical addons for this movie, would like to mentions some of the ones I liked:

1. Red-Faced sena, silently listenining to the senapati.
2. Brainwash and Najeebullah.
3. Ardhnari, the comedian. It was never made clear why we had that, but it had a presence all the time.
4. A: Paani saaf hai na B: Bisleri ka kuan khudwaya hai tumhare liye
5. Is mulk ne har shakhs ko jo kaam tha saupa, (samajh ke suno,samajh ke suno), us shakhs ne us kaam ki maa-chh-is jala ke chhod dee.
6. Withdraw dialog
7. PM's call to Bush talking about oil reserves.
8. haq se liya pakistan aur lad ke lenge hindustan, aur beech mein na aana warna le jaaunga rajputana.
9. Fauji Helmet.
10. Mere paas maa hai

There are many more, this is one of those movies one may need to see more than once to gradually digest and sink in.

My Verdict: A must see, for the rawness and ingenuity of Anurag Kashyap and Piyush Mishra, for the well drafted and well replicated performaces of the character artists and for the sake of motivating movie makers to make more and more of such films. A 9 on 10 from me.