KALYUG : Good Cinema

Monday memories…

Earlier this month, Shyam Benegal’s Kalyug completed 40 years of release.

A riveting drama that takes inspirations from Mahabharata and adapts it to modern day living rooms, Kalyug excels in diving deep into complex human psychologies of love and hate, rivalry and compassion, the urge to kill and the zest to survive. A stellar ensemble cast with everyone at the top of their game, Kalyug is possibly a benchmark in ensemble performance. In that ecosystem of overall goodness, the performances of Shashi Kapoor, Anant Nag and Rekha stand out, while Victor Banerjee, Vijaya Mehta and Supriya Pathak (in a strikingly different role) are very very good as well.

Kalyug is what good cinema is all about.

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Copyright ©2021 Jayashree Chakravarti. This article cannot be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL can be used instead.

Mukesh – Soul Personified

Soulful singing personified – That’s the brilliance of Mukesh Saab!

There are songs you can’t just imagine anyone else even attempting them. There are films with lot of great singers singing the more popular songs, but it is the Mukesh number that feels closest to the heart even after so many years.

Top of the mind then, 10 favourite songs of Mukesh Saab would be:

  • Woh subah kabhi to aayegi
  • Jis gali me tera ghar na ho
  • Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye
  • Kisi ki muskurahaton pe
  • Koi jab tumhara hridaye tod de
  • Kai baar yun bhi dekha hain
  • Kahin karti hogi woh mera intezaar
  • Jaane kahaan gaye woh din
  • Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon
  • Ek pyaar ka nagma hai
    … All this and counting !

Remembering the legend today on his 98th Birth Anniversary! And throwing back a picture with too much of greatness in one frame!

Anand Bakshi – Simple Words, Profound Impact

Man of simple words, but profound impact – that was Anand Bakshi and his prolific body of work!

What gems throughout the career, 10 top of the mind favourites recall are:

  • Yeh kya huya, kaise huya
  • Zindagi ke safar me guzar jaate hain
  • Mere naina saawan bhado
  • Dard e dil dard e jigar
  • Jis gali me tera ghar na ho balma
  • Yeh duniya waale poochhenge
  • Bade achhe lagte hain
  • Diye jalte hain phool khilte hain
  • Bahut door mujhe chale jaana hain
  • Yeh jeevan hain
    …. And there are so so many more of them!

Happy Birthday Bakshi Saab! Thank you for bringing simplicity in our lives!

TOOFAAN : Doesn’t have the firepower

TOOFAAN could have been a completely forgettable film because the sports drama and rise of the underdog template has nothing new to offer. But it still leaves a definitive footprint because it has a beautiful love story at its core whose beating heart and heartfelt moments is the strength of the film. It also has a certain dignified grace as a family drama that works through its ups and downs. The sincerity and hard work of Farhan Akhtar clearly shows, but it is Mrunal Thakur and her spunk that makes Toofaan a significantly better film than the disaster that the trailer indicated.

Oh Ananya!

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MALIK : Dazzles Through and Through

Mahesh Narayanan’s MALIK is as grand in its ambition and as dazzling in its execution, as the marvelously crafted single take 13 minute long opening shot of the film. By the time the film’s title card shows up at the end of that shot, Narayanan has sealed in your attention and admiration for what will follow for the next two and a half hours of his film.

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HASEEN DILLRUBA : Poorly Pulpy

Kanika Dhillon has a knack for creating delicious characters. But doesn’t she also need to master what to do with them eventually?

Vinil Mathew picks up the right cast to play those delicious characters, and extracts very engaging performances from them to make them rather exciting. But does he believe that a film can thrive merely on excellent performances?

Pulpy trashy novels within your script can be interesting inspirations to orchestrate the filmy twists in your story. But don’t the writer and the filmmaker have the responsibility to ensure their film eventually doesn’t become that inspiration?

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Copyright ©2021 Jayashree Chakravarti. This article cannot be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL can be used instead.

Top 12 Indian Films of 2021 – Mid Year Check Point

So just like that, six months of 2021 are already gone. And while we had hoped at the beginning of the year that 2021 would be the year of life opening up again including our regular visits back to the cinemas, sadly that was not to happen. The six months went by with us locked up in the corners of our homes, and watching a lot of cinema that saw their releases across digital platforms – big and small, across languages, genres and themes. There has been a lot to appreciate in what we consumed, quite a bit to feel disappointed, but the overall feeling has been of hope because cinema is becoming far more universal crossing the boundaries of languages and geographies and speaking to our sensibilities with their global human themes. As we are at the mid year checkpoint of 2021, here is then looking at a dozen films that stood out at the top, appealing the most to my sensibilities and making a very strong mark. As always, this is a very subjective list and may not match up with your favorites for the year, but it would be wonderful to know what were your favorite films of the year so far, so that I can also catch up on anything that I would have missed out.

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RAY : No Traces of Ray Here

Forget Me Not | Srijit Mukherji – This may be one of the better films Srijit Mukherji has made in recent times overall, but digs its own grave by using some of the highly objectionable ‘Srijit-ish’ tropes to add some gimmicky glitz and forced darkness to the story. It somehow survives due to some decent performances by Ali Fazal and Shweta Basu Prasad and an okayish overall screenplay. The final memory lane trip depiction is rather unclever and literary though, and takes away some more sheen from the film.

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GULDASTA : Is a Fragrant Bouquet of Emotions

Guldasta….

…. is a lovely bouquet of variety of emotions closely relatable to the heart

…. is a handpicked bunch of lived in moments of life that breathes warmth in every frame

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SHERNI : The Tigress on the Run

The Tigress out there is fighting alone to survive in a jungle that’s turned into a mess by anarchy, whims and fancies of a bunch of bad boys! The rot is deep, the traps are furious, the adversary exists in various forms! The metaphor is strong and leaves its pug mark trails throughout the length of the film.

Amit Masurkar had enough meat here to stew a sumptuous experience with a lingering after taste. Unfortunately at times his process remains inconsistent, and the uneven switch between slow burn docu style storytelling and the parallel layered complex human drama doesn’t deliver the necessary gripping bite to stay uniformly invested throughout.

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