Jagran Film Festival Special Week.
Okay. For moviegoers film festivals are like the month of Shravan, you wait one entire year to dive into the ocean of divinity and receive some enlightenment. I've tendencies to find spirituality in cinema for cinema is my religion. And, if cinema is my religion, film festival organizers are those religious leaders who promote their religions to the best. The only difference you see here is my religion that's cinema unite the whole world against the frontier of nation, cast, creed, language and whatever comparatively what your so-called religions do is spread hatred and make you bigots. Now, you know why I have written so much is just to show the importance of Jagran Film Festival in my life. JFF is MAMI for moviegoers living in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, you don't go to Mumbai, they come to your home. You can't ask anything more. And, you don't even know how to thank Jagran for their spectacular work. I'll definitely say that Jagran family is promoting art and spreading love among millions of people. Keep doing good work. We love you. <3
Now, let's decode the film they showed in 8th Jagran Film Festival - Allahabad Chapter between 21st July to 23rd July. Film reviewed here in chronological order.
1. Mr. Kabaadi (2017): 1/10
Seriously? Such film can badly damage credibility and well-established image of JFF. The film is plain stupid and distasteful and shouldn't be shown in the film festival. I can understand the target audience of the film is B and C centre, but even target audiences will reject it outright. Not that it has got a bad concept, in fact, it has a very noble vision, but I would have been happy if a film is all about your pure vision. A film needs to be cinematic aesthetic and that's the first thing Mr. Kabaadi misses badly. Director of the film, Seema Kapoor, addressed the audiences before premiere of the film and I remember some of her remark on film when she pledges to audiences saying that don't mind crude language of characters of my film because they are knackers and they speak foul language, and they ain't supposed to be sophisticated. Well, in that instant of time, I understood that this film is gonna be doomed, she wasn't really explaining the quality of the film, but hiding her incapability and insecurity that she failed to give a decent character sketch for the film. In the same festival, we watched Anarkali of Arrah where characters use crude and foul language more frequently than the Mr. Kabaadi, but that film never misses decency and sophistication of content and give you the deep feeling of natural selection of language.
Moving ahead, poor language isn't most problematic thing about the film, editing is another worse aspect I've ever watched for a feature film. The film has got some talented artists naming Om Puri, Annu Kapoor but they're no good for the film as they all act like a buffoon trying too hard to make you laugh. There are some good and clap worthy punchlines but they're so misplaced it didn't make any impact on the story. Seems like director randomly picked those punch-line and because they sound good, she dropped them into the film without having a relevant cause. What to say, direction is equally bad. I wish if it wasn't shown as last movie starring Om Puri. And, it's definitely a poor tribute to legendary Om Puri. May his soul rest in peace.
Nuff said for this movie. :P
2. The Letterbox (2017) (Turkish): 7/10
First ever Turkish film I've watched and I'm quite impressed with their work. The film revolves around two friends Adam and Nihit, Adam who is all prepared to join military service gets wheelchair bound after a car accident take place but, his burning desire to become a soldier and serve the nation never dies. His stubborn nature forces his friend Nihit to create a fake mobilization training and asked Adam to be part of training. But, not everything happens as you plan. Destiny has their own surprises. The film gets some interesting twists and turns that keeps you engaged. Direction is very elementary that makes the film very much perceivable to the cross-border audiences like us, the easy-going nature of the film never let language became a barrier and you feel the emotions of character has been placed rightly. Actors have done a commendable job in the film and I loved the cinematography as well. Most of the sequences have been shot in low-light, still, creates a required mood for the story. This film completely out-shine the first premier of the day and finally, I got into the real pace of festival.
[22nd July] [Short film segments.]
3. Chutney (2016): 10/10
"Can you see what you look at?" Hell! No. And, this 17 odd minutes short-film proves their own tagline very aptly. Directed by Jyoti Kapur Das, this film leaves you in a shocking state in the end. But, it's not the only highly unexpected climax that makes it India's one of the best and most watched short film ever in the history of YouTube videos. In fact, it's the tricksy written story, wittily penned dialogues, and quirky storytelling and so subtly acted by my favorite Adil Hussain, Tisca Chopra and Rasika Dugal which make the film perfect and a wholesome entertainer. I had already watched the movie at the time it released on YouTube, but it was an amazing experience to watch it on the big screen. Thanks to Jagran for choosing this film for short film segment.
4. You didn't forget (2016) (Slovenian): 6/10
A decent film. Nothing much to say about it. A very simple story that shows a particular event of a day of a helpless elderly woman who struggles to find her husband in a highly rushed city. The way film ends open doors for ambiguity as in if her husband has been really lost in the city or her husband died long before that left the lady mentally unstable. Well, ambiguity is something which worked for me somewhat.
5. Her World (2017) (Italian): 7/10
A drastic take on terrorism and how an act of terror can change our lives in a minute. Without showing any violence on screen, Christian Scardigno, director of the film, make you feel the horridness of an event where a girl has been trapped in a terrorist attack at an airport restroom and how her innocent life takes huge upturn after that. Overall, it's an impactful film.
6. Out of Breath (2017) (Hebrew): 2/10
Didn't get the point of the film. First, this film has technical glitches like the video was jamming and cause of that subtitle synchronization got disrupted badly. Also, the film title shows it was actually "Making of" the film and not the actual film. So, I didn't understand a thing about the film and I bet no one in the Audi did either. Pointless.
7. Sonnet 88 (2017) (Australian): 7/10
Directed by Kristian Lupunski, the film is loosely based on William Shakespeare's Sonnet 88. There could be much explanation of the film as you know it's just typical Shakespeare thing to say. But, what I read further on the internet makes much more sense the and it explains, "When you criticise me, I will agree with your criticisms, and support your virtue, even though you have betrayed me. I care about you so much that to help you I will harm myself." So, the young man in this film dump his inner demon to get emancipation from all the regrets in which he hurts his life-partner, and in the end, he seems to set himself free walking into the sunset.
8. Your Father's Eyes (2017) (Arabic): 10/10
The most disturbing and shocking film of the festival. The film deals with most contemporary issues that have been happening around the world and it includes **** revenge, social desertion, domestic violence and honor crime. The story is brutal and so is storytelling. You feel for the victim girl who is silently bearing all the unprecedented violence done by her own family for sake of maintaining family honor. Well, the way film ends shake your inner conscious even more hardly. The film is a winner. A must watch short-film.
9. The Narrow Frame of Midnight (2014) (French-Arabic): 3/10
For the record, I slept in the theatre for the first time in the lifetime watching this movie. First, the non-linear pattern of the film depicting lives of three different people is way too confusing to keep your attention intact and then the film moves slower than snail's pace. Second, thanks to audiences poor and uncouth response to the film that made the experience of watching the film even worse. Period.
10. The Film Pink (2016): [Repeated. Reposting my review.] 8/10
Yes, PINK raises questions. Questions ain't new, we face it, we ask to each-other. But, what PINK has done is on viewed volume of depths and sensitiveness of those questions. It has made realistic and rational take on feudalistic ideologies of people living bastardized life in our so-called well-cultured society, who doesn't the only question upon women's characters on basis of her clothing, behavior, temperament etc but also break into their personal space and label them a whore, slut and what not. In name of traditional values, our man-dominated society impose their orthodoxy ideology onto women as what should they wear, how should they speak, how should they walk and everything, but even reaching at highest level of retarded depression we never back off calling ourselves MODERN THINKERS and that's the double standard rate of our society.
Why PINK is an important film is because in true sense it reflects images of our society, because it has such powerful elements that make you stunned and silence, blows up your mind and shivers your inner consciousness. Because we need a reality check.
Amid all these things, It's not preachy. As a movie, it possesses great entertainment values. Soojit Sircar, Annirudh Roy and team has made a strong film where although film ends in two and half hours, its impression not, it's gonna haunt you and provoke you for a long time and that's kind of cinema I love to watch which makes me think. We can say that last year we got Talvar, and this year we've PINK. Its genre is referred as the courtroom drama and with start of 2nd half, you feel why is so. It grabs your attention so strongly, you don't feel any movement around you. Your eyes are bound straight to screen and you have been watching every single courtroom scene tongue-tied, coherently. Whenever Amitabh Bachchan appears on the screen, he takes you into his own world. I can say, even today, Amitabh Bachchan is getting better and better day-by-day, such powerful presence he has made in the movie. Taapsee and Kriti Kulhari as victims are impressive, you feel characters' pain through their power-packed performance. Other technical supports in this movie is commendable.
Lastly, I'd recommend you to watch it because it's need of time. Anyway, I'm again saying it raises questions and questions will remain same till questions itself stop being raised. There are no answers to these questions, it's only some unfortunate questions.
Titliyon Ke Pankhon Par Rakh Diye Gaye Patthar,
Aye Khuda Tu Ghum Hai Kahan?
Reshami Libashon Ko Cheerte Hai Kuchh Khanjar,
Aye Khuda Tu Ghum Hai Kahan?
[Point to be noted for #JFF: Your all hoarding, banner, passes, newspapers and even online schedules showed that director of the film is Soojit Sarkar. Well, First, it's not 'Sarkar, but 'Sircarthe 80's Second, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury is the director of the film and not Sircar. I'll say that it's a blunder from JFF. You carry huge responsibilities and spitting wrong information over and over again is bad. You should cross-check such basic information before printing it in newspapers.]
11. Messi (2017) (Bengali): 8/10
An emotional extravaganza. The sports drama based on street-footballers came from a regional industry surprised the audiences with its desi flavor but the classical direction and beautiful artwork. The film has everything, an Indian can familiarize with. Admitting, the film is a melodrama just like our Bollywood sports drama but the good thing here is melodrama doesn't go over in this film and director, Riingo Banerjee, doesn't lose its grip on the story either. Heart winning film. Recommend.
12. Sachin The Film (2017): 8/10
A lifetime experience with a jam packed theatre and people watching the film standing in the Audi for the whole duration of the film. Clapping, shouting, whistling and feeling nostalgic about the Hero of the nation who united our countrymen. I'm not a fan of cricket but, I saw the rare celebration going on in the theatre and I couldn't keep myself away from the celebrating it. I may not be knowing much about cricket but, I witnessed the unprecedented and heroic journey of Sachin Tendulkar, and that matters the most. How he became an inspiration to millions of people and God of cricket is certainly asked a lot of him, the kind of dedication and sacrifices he has given to the cricket in the shortest span of time is way-out. I think, the movie is the perfect tribute to Sachin and James Erskine deserves round of applause. Loved it.
13. Last Christmas (2017) (Italian): 6/10
A decent black comedy drama and light entertainer. Fails to engage you sometimes but, it has more to do with local flavor and comedy genre always struggle to impress cross-border audiences unless your content is really universal.
14. Bobby (1973) : [Repeated. Re-posting review.] 7/10
Profound retro feeling. I can understand why it was the biggest hit of the 80's. Certainly, a prominent film for Indian film history for many reasons. It gifted our industry two superstars. I'm ignoring Rishi Kapoor here, the person who stole my heart is gorgeous Dimple Kapadia. God! Her beauty is timeless and eternal. She was so hot, bold, frank, energetic in her first movie itself. I loved her. Mwah.
Talking about the story, I really like the backdrop of the story, it starts on superb note and holds the pace for first half. Then it becomes comparatively slow and I found climax totally clichéd, needless to say, it couldn't be cliché at its prime time, in fact, it became an inspiration for thousands of movies which have been made on similar backdrop later. Still, I'm quite satisfied for what Raj Kapoor has served. One can understand why Raj Kapoor is known as show-man of Indian cinema as he knew nerve of audiences very well. He is a forever legend. R.D. Barman music is full of melodies, loved every single track of the movie. Overall, loved this retro classic.
15. Anaarkali of Aarah (2017): 7/10
Here comes the craziest film of the festival and for God sake, I have most insane theatre experience of my life watching this film. The crowd was so much that people had to sit on stairs and watch the film and for the first time in my life I watched the film seating on the stair of theatre and it was amazing. Well, the film isn't a masterpiece but, crazy responses from the audiences could have made you delusional about your own views. Never witnessed such madness of audiences before.
Talking about the movie, Anaarkali of Aarah tells a story of a small town erotic folk-dancer Anarkali and her confrontation with vice chancellor of the university in the same city. The film shows Anaarkali struggle and fights for her pride and honor against the corrupt system. Film's nature is very substantial to the culture of Bihar and since I am from Bihar, I see the theme of the film much relevant. Director of the film, Avinash Das, has mold such characterization who doesn't depress you in name of serious subject, rather they make you laugh and keeps your mood lighten everytime without losing its impact. Surely, it's thought provoking and raises questions on the decency of men-leading society.
Swara Bhaskar as Anarkali shines bright and very dominant throughout the film. She always leaves traces of her work, be it supporting role or lead role. Sanjay Mishra and Pankaj Tripathi gives their best as usual. Overall, the film offers some fresh content and if you are bored with routine Bollywood drama, you can go with it. :)
Concluding this year's JFF: It was much better than last year. But, I wish to see the more powerful selection of the movie in coming years. Let's wait for one more year. Thank you, JFF!