Monday, 6 October 2014

this is not a film review.

We were all waiting for it.
The last and the latest one from the Vishal Bhardwaj's production.
One of the very few creatives in India who can adapt Shakespeare without rendering the man helpless in his grave.
I wouldn't say that he could do so with much ease, as I am sure it takes a lot to bring words and philosophy  on screen of a 16th century playwright who is anyway too good to be alive.
I had seen Maqbool in sixth grade. I had seen Macbeth on stage in 12th grade. A production done by a Bangladeshi director with the then third year students of acting at National School of Drama. It left me sleepless for nights.
I had seen Omkara in eighth grade. I had watched Othello adapted in hindi, directed by my favorite director Ms. Tripurari Sharma in my first year of college again at NSD. And I wondered why the fuck someone like Saif got an award for the role of Iago. Our so called bollywood actors could never match up to what these guys from the theater world do. But that comparison has always been there. And it is so painful that unless you are a Naseer or Irrfan or Nawajuddin, you will end up getting ignored. Luckily like an academic brand placement, VB made Shahid mention the term National School of Drama in the film too. As if getting into NSD isn't a tough luck/task anyway.

Of course I am talking about Haider here.
I have never read Shakespeare in my life.  Maybe that part from Julius Caesar in our 11th standard text books where we have Marc Antony's speech.  That's all.

I have seen all VB productions. I have seen a lot of Shakespeare's stage adaptations in Delhi. I KNOW what these guys are really upto.

So that thursday morning when my excited friend Shivanee called me for a Haider first day show, I wasn't excited for the film. Mainly because of the cash crunch I was going through. And partly because that film was meant to be watched alone. Because Shakespeare is personal. Like a dirty little secret we keep under our winter wraps. And that is where it belongs. But common to all of us. That's why it can be still watched with a number of unknown people in a cinema hall. And noticing how Indian Cinema is traveling space, time and distance to stand on it's own feet, I had to watch it nevertheless.

I don't think I need to watch a stage adaptation of this one. Because it might blow me away and burst my 'cute love for everything Vishal Bharadwaj from makdee to matroo bubble' in a millisecond.
Just like that. I can never underestimate the power of Theater you know.
Alok you would know. I watched my last play with you at Prithvi.

So on saturday October 4th morning, my friend Alok posts this artwork called Chutzpah .
And Im like wut? who are these two people in the picture?
Then the very same day my another Internet/real life buddy Nitesh shares an MBP poster of Haider saying CHUTZPAH again.
AND im like hello there all the intellectuals out there, I don't know this word, this dictionary fails to explain the word, so what should I do next in this season of cash crunch now? I spent saturday buying old books with my mahila mandili in camp. Having a great time with Tanya, Swaroopa and Rucha. I failed to watch Haider again. So next day I go to Victory theater, Pune's almost oldest, and sit down to watch this film from the balcony side, surrounded by the ever so Disrespectful Pune crowd as an audience.
The best they could do was to buy tickets to a Gang Bang, I mean Im sorry, wait, Bang Bang in the other theater hall and have a good time there. But no. They had to take back some Shakespeare feels back home too.
Anyway.
So Im done watching the film.
And I have so much to say.
A friend was so disturbed after watching this film that he had nightmares.
My mother refrained from watching this film because she thought the lead actor would die. And she could not see Shahid Kapur out of all the people die. Not even in a film. Well she hasn't read the book herself so I couldn't blame her.

And I was just disappointed by seeing him not die in the film.
And that made VB and WS the winner of the game.

I wondered why the fuck VB took Kashmir as a backdrop. Shakespeare's tales are beyond time and space. They are not about people. They are not about places. They are about 'this mortal coil'.
They are about the psychology of this organ called the brain and this entity which is a cluster of nothing but thoughts, the human mind. Something which physically does not even exists.
He could have taken any region, any era, any dialect to show Hamlet in the Indian context. So why Kashmir. Is he mad? What the hell did he try to prove as a film maker.
Yes I had to read a lot about the Kashmir vivaad before writing this blog post.
Films are as much a political statement as they are a personal statement.
I read how VB visualized Kashmir as his Hamlet.

In the state of to be, or not to be. And this is the mortal coil. Dilemma.

Macbeth was Ambition. Othello was Doubt. And Hamlet happened to be Dilemma.
We all go through these three states. Not a single soul spared. Whether Im a kashmiri pandit or muslim, whether I am a woman or man. Whether I am rich or poor. Whether I am Nehru Or Jinnah. Whether I am you or me.
WE all go through this. And hence, Shakespeare is so beautiful.
By this time I had my questions resolved. But the writer fails if the dilemma which he presents in front of his audience gets resolved. And so Haider continues to live or die in his madness.
Madness is another dilemma too.
Never cured. Never resolved.
A lot of people say Macbeth is his greatest tragedy, but Hamlet in the disguise of Haider got me thinking thrice. Or maybe by now I have lost count. Will this mortal coil ever end?

I would rather be than not be.

I would rather work with Vishal Bharadwaj in this life or die soon so that I can be born as an animal in next life and spare myself all the dilemma the human mind faces.

Yes Nitesh, maybe animals do live in less fear because they live without words.

Now why I want to work with VB is because I will get best of both worlds. The perfect mix of theater and cinema. I hope there will be a time soon when Cinema will have it's own identity completely detached from theater. It's close to difficult but it will happen soon.
Now I have stopped analyzing films in term of photography and lighting and editing and all that jazz. We have come a long way that we can't afford to fuck with this medium on such levels. Those words are used mostly by people who seldom understand it. The only thing lured me into watching this film was that I am going through 'this mortal coil' just like a lot of those out there. You, you and you over there. All of you and all of us.
How as humans we are so complicated. And we all go through the same madness and pain. But we have the audacity to compare our miseries. No. Your misery is not greater than mine. And my misery is not greater than yours. So the dilemma and the madness goes on. And there you are feeling emotionally and mentally naked and robbed off of all your clothes and desires and belongings.
We hurt others but demand mercy for our own miseries.
And we are on repeat mode.

I also thought about a couple of stupid things. If you love someone, you let them go. If they are really yours they will come back to you.
Now this is me talking logic, practicality and sense.
Now me saying this for the Indian and Pakistan Government, with regards to our beloved Kashmir, will be me being extremely stupid, politically ignorant and worthy of a beheading or even more worse, worthy of a lifelong trial at the moment.
See. I agree. That's how cracked up we are.
But Im happy that a man made a film about this. Having an extremely questionable take on this.
Irrfan's four minute screen presence was great. But the editor and the sound designer has to be credited for making his entry so grand in the film, that the stupid crowd stopped for a while and hooted for him as if it really was some Khan or Kapoor or Bachchan. But that is National School of Drama right there for you bitches.
And those wonderful technicians.
I wouldn't say Tabu and Shahid outdid themselves as I believe both these actors have reached a level where no one else can outdo them. Not even themselves. Bharadwaj takes the credit here.

It will be nice If in India people will accept films as the director's medium. And theater as the actor's medium first and then the director's.

K.K. Menon. the ever so charming dude, had one great scene to himself and he was disappointing in that. He could have own the film with it. Now Im not mentioning which one.

The songs have become like a healing balm for me. VB himself being a phenomenal music director could not disappoint us. He has given romantics like me a reason to live again with his tracks and the revival of Faiz that along with his version I listened to the original Mehndi Hassan ghazal too.

The one scene I COULD relate to was Haider smashing one of the Salman's with all his might. I have always felt like doing that. And with the present situation of all the assholes in my life, I could empathize with that one shot of Haider killing the chap completely Krzysztof Kieslowski style.

Now again. Im stopping here. Watch the film If you are going through 'this mortal coil' too.
Yes I do have the habit of abruptly ending things cause it is time for breakfast now.

Here is the snapshot from Haider inspired by A short story on killing. A film by Kieslowski.


And I am sorry Alok If I have spoiled anything for you as you have not seen the film yet, I just read your comment regarding not seeing it on your blog :-P
too late.