(I had written this at some obscene hour of the night after watching Gulaal when it released and forgotten to post it.)
Bollywood ( I refuse to call it Indian film Industry or whatever cause that is long gone, rather struggling to survive), eats up cinematic revolutions on the brink of take off. Glitzy, glamorous bollywood is obsessed with creating non entities like Katrina Kaif, Sonam Kapoor, Imran Khan and Randheer Kappor and countless others into instant celebrities. Honestly speaking neither Abhishek Bachchan nor John Abraham, Aishwarya and even Kareena deserve half the status that has been accorded to them. They may be celebrities, but they are not fine actors. This aggressive marketing and branding of cast and film taints whatever it touches.
We had Nagesh Kucknoor who started of with Hyderabad Blues and continued with refreshing scripts like Rockford and 3 Deewarein. As long as the media admired him from a distance and there were more magazines than newspapers interviewing him, Iqbal and Dor made it out safely. Then he was lauded and labelled, it is when bollywood says you've arrived that you ought to be wary, no sooner had he firmly established himself than did Bombay to Bangkok release, which in spite of two fine actors like Naseeruddin Shah and Shreyas Talpade was a mind numbing horror and then Tasveer,which I don't know how many of you paid to watch, but I certainly did not.
Similarly no sooner did Rakeshy Omparakash Mehra finish with Aks and RDB, than Delhi 6 started showing signs of being sucked into the vortex.No sooner did Farhan Akhtar create the gentle DCH and quirky Lakshya, than he went and made Don. Ashutosh Gowarikar takes the cake, with first the Oscar nominated Lagaan, then clean and controlled Swades and then wasting 3 hours of people's lives with Jodhaa-Akbar The only good I see coming of this trend is that it may have an opposite impact on Karan Johar who will hopefully surprise us by making films instead of sets.
But the saddest loss, if indeed he looses himself will be Anurag Kashyap. After creating sheer cinematic fun like Black Friday and Dev -D, we see Gulaal colouring his judgement ,of when much is toooo much. He needs to change tack and fast. Enough of the repeated highlighting on smokes and liquor, the pointed (very wannabe) scenes of rolling joints and smoking ganja, you are cool and give a damn, we get it and we also liked it but can you do more than that?
Gulaal was the limit, Dev D stamps all over Gulaal with the neon bar-lighting fixation, sexual implications and portrayal of woman. It is hard to figure out where Dev D leaves and Gulaal begins at times. The movie had so many brilliant aspects if picked out individually but seemed forced into coercion in the film. If only he had focused on the rural student socio- political story line, which was the theme of the film. What was the need of a jilted maniacal lover going berserk in the end or of both the female characters, Mahi Gill and Jesse Randhwa, who just kept slipping in and out of scenes. The eunuch was an unusual touch and not uninteresting, but what was the point? Yeah I get that Kashyap loves placing hidden metaphors in his film, but this one seemed to be about the metaphors gaining precedence over the main plot.
The film is still extremely watchable with sizzling performances by (in order of what I enjoyed the most) Piyush Mishra, Kay Kay Menon, Abhimanyu Singh, Deepak Dobriyal and Ayesha Mohan. Ayesha Mohan may not be upto scratch but I did think it was remarkable that she held her own amongst a cast of show-stealers in a debut performance! Deepak Dobriyal is a quiet bundle of surprise, it took me several moments to realize that Bhatti(Gulaal), Kareena's fiance in Omakara and the Halwai in Delhi 6 were all played by him! Besides, the soundtrack is just mind blowing. Piyush Mishra is a genius, whether as an actor or as a lyricist. An entertaining film no doubt but it's just painful to watch the brilliance in it being clouded over by the exuberance of a pot-ridden brain. Let's hope bollywood doesn't suck this one in as well.