As we take our lockdown series forward, here is Part 8 and 3 more films that are instant blues chasers and a must-watch during the lockdown.
Pyaar Ke Side Effects (2006): Once in a while, a film makes you smile. Not because of what it strives to be. But for its sheer sassiness and temerity. Going into the new-age movie mantra of urban relationships, Pyaar Ke Side Effects (PKSE) comes up with a winsome twosome who love some, lose some….and emerge out of the battle of the sexes healed and….quite wholesome! Sid, that’s Rahul Bose meets Trisha, a.k.a Mallika The Sherawat, in extremely trying circumstances. She’s trying to escape an undesirable marriage (too stuffed –shirt Jas Arora). He’s trying….just trying. Being a deejay at 30 is like being a teenager at 40. A bit bewildering but constantly engaging in its blizzard of Bacchanalia (hats off to dialogue writer Victor Acharya for words that ring true and still sound like catch lines on the bumper sticker of a sports car) PKSE is possibly that one romantic comedy in Hindi which could equal Hollywood’s Harry-meets-Sally formula portraying the man-sharp-woman-sharper gender skirmish. Debutant director Saket Chaudhary sees the battles of the sexes entirely from the male viewpoint.
Whether it’s Sid with Trisha, or Sid’s brother-in-law (Aamir Bashir) struggling to keep his moody wife from swooping down on him at the smallest pretext…this slick flick knows the grope -trick of keeping relationships afloat in today’s times of stress and competitiveness. Some of the sequences, designed to elicit laughter, get there bang-on. It’s been a while since a romantic liaison got you giggling, and not just because the repartees are so sassy but because the love pair is so endearing in their state of despair. The narrative is manoeuvred by a vivacious impulse, navigating the destiny of the central couple’s affair through a series of funny and intelligent encounters. Finally, the effectuality of the romantic comedy depends on the chemistry between the lead pair. The tried-and-tested Rahul Bose re-invents his considerable comic talents to play a man more cornered than conned by love. Mallika is a delightful surprise. Fully clothed (thank GOD!) she’s a temptress and a virgin, a tease and an ingénue all at once. Where was this side of the voluptuous actress hidden so far? Manoj Soni’s camera lets the lovers be on Omang Kumar’s ritzy but credible sets. Editor Hemal Kothari cuts into the guffaws with a tongue-in-cheek flourish. Specially diverting and effective is Rahul’s constant talking into the camera, a Brechtian device. Has Bollywood discovered Brecht as its butter? Or are we reading too much into the psycho-babble of a man who needs to share his fears about fair sex with us?
Khosla Ka Ghosla (2008): Sometimes you need to lose the plot to gain it. When Kamal Kishore Khurana (Anupam Kher) loses his precious plot of land in Delhi’s rapidly-degenerating concrete jungle, he gains a son who was about to leave for greener pastures(US). Lucky Khosla! But we the viewers are even luckier. In Kamal Kishore Khurana’s loss and gain, there lurks a hugely rewarding morality tale for us. If Lage Raho Munnabhai goes Gandhian with a vengeance (no pun intended) Khosla Ka Ghosla tells us through delicious tongue-in-cheek satire that it’s okay to use unfair means to get what’s rightfully yours Khosla Ka Ghosla is a very rare precious tender and life-giving plant that needs careful nurturing for it to yield its optimum fruits. A film so simple and straightforward in its depiction of the working-class stress (done earlier to immense advantage in works as varied as Mahesh Bhatt’s Saaransh and Raj Kumar Santoshi's Ghatak) you tend to miss the immeasurable amounts of unassuming talent that underline almost every scene of this remarkable film. Jaideep Sahni’s writing talent is put to exceptional use.
The narrative captures the muddle and poignancy, irony and humour of Delhi’s middle-class through a storytelling device where less is always more. A delectable understatement underlines almost every character’s propulsion in this film about how to lose the plot to gain a much larger plot. The real-estate isn’t the real asset of this robustly populated mellow-drama. It’s the human values that one discovers in Khosla’s journey from loss to redemption, that make this film several notches above your run-of-the-mill morality tale. Director Dibakar Banerjee fills the narrative with sharply -cut incidents and episodes of an ordinary family caught in an extraordinary crisis. Apart from a few deliberately thrust thematic songs on the soundtrack, Banerjee economizes on the drama to focus on the characters and their quirks. Every performer from Anupam and Boman to Parveen and Tara Sharma (watch her give spunk substance and sensitivity to the potentially –trite girlfriend’s role) blends into the film’s mottled fabric. But for Anupam, this film is a special triumph. He puts an extra amount of heart into Khosla’s character making him more real than almost anything the actor has done.
Dor(2006): How far would you go for love? That’s the question which the narrative softly raises. How far would YOU go to see this film? That’s the question every movie enthusiast should ask loudly. Very frankly, Dor takes you by complete surprise. Of course, you expect a certain aesthetic and technical finesse in a Nagesh Kukunoor creation. But nothing he has done so far—not the under-rated 3 Deewaarein and certainly not the hugely-feted Iqbal—prepares us for the luminous spiritual depths and the exhilarating emotional heights of Dor. The stunningly original screenplay sweeps in a caressing arc, over the separate yet bonded lives of two women, Zeenat (Gul Panag) in the snowscapes of Himachal Pradesh and Meera(Ayesha Takia) in the parched sand-storms of Rajasthan. The picaresque pilgrimage of one woman into the life of another is charted in the resplendent rhythms of a rather zingy symphony played at an octave that’s at once subdued and persuasive. Dor could any time-lapse into being one of those tedious works on women’s emancipation. Kukunoor controls the emotional tide with hands that know when to exercise restrain and when to let go. Dor flies high and effortlessly in an azure sky, creating elating dips and curves in the skyline without ever letting go of the thematic thrusts that take the director as far into the realm of realism as cinematically possible, without losing out on that wonderful quality of cinematic splendour that separates poetry from sermons. Join Zeenat, then, on her bizarre impossible quest to find an achingly young newly widowed woman whom Zeenat has never seen, met or even heard of until her husband’s sudden tryst with the crisis.
The way Kukunoor weaves the two unconnected lives in contrasting hinterlands is not short of magical. The eye for detail (take a bow Sudeep Chatterjee, Munish Sappal, Sanjeev Dutta and Salim-Suleiman for conferring a subtle but skilled splendour through your cinematography, art direction, editing and music) is so keen, you tend to stare not at the screen, but at feelings and emotions that aren’t visible. From the initial scenes of tender bonding between the two women and their respective spouses to the indelible sisterhood between the two bereaved women that constitute the end-notes of this sublime celluloid symphony….Kukunoor’s world of wistful peregrinations is as fragile as it’s powerful. It’s the Takia-Panag sisterhood that sustains the narrative. Both the actresses are huge revelations, Takia winning more sympathy votes for the sheer poignancy of her character’s predicament. Scenes such as the one where she falls unconscious while hearing the news of her husband’s death over the only cellphone in the village, or the one where she furtively dances to You’re my Sonia stay etched beyond the frames.
Image Source: IMDb, youtube/pritishnandycom/pradipsoman/trailerhubreel
Image Source: IMDb, youtube/pritishnandycom/pradipsoman/trailerhubreel