Feb 14, 2006

A generation awakens... somewhat

The wife finally managed to drag me back into cinema theatre to watch a Hindi film. Of course, it all couldn't go smoothly so I had to blow right past my leave office deadline, and mis-read the watch as well... as it turns out, I did make it just about on time, panting into the house at the smoking hot end of a white hot, blazing quick ride back from work. Didn't take any risks, no mistakes I can recall now... superb job, even.

We made it to the CineWhatever in Andheri (W), Mumbai a bit delayed and missed the opening scenes of the movie. We watched from the point where Sue (the phoren youngster) comes to the Delhi University, hooks up with Is-That-Sharmila Ali Khan.

I was into the film almost instantly. I don't think I've personally identified with a film quite as much as this. The director (bloody hell, I'm reviewing a film, and I don't even know who the chaps behind it are) has done a superb job of capturing the flavour of hours spent in the college canteen, the loose and yet strong friendships and the meandering, smart-alecky banter that goes with it. I guarantee that anyone who went to a college in the last ten-fifteen years will immediately begin enjoying this film. And stay well entertained at least until the intermission.

CineWhatever, by the way, serves excellent popcorn and the handcart on the right of the entrance has very acceptable black coffee. No venti, super foamy, extra late, extra hot capuccino with baileys on top and room to go though...

Past break, however, the film leads you in two directions. I am from the school where cinematic thrills that require a minor suspension of logic and scale are fine. In this mode, the film never backs off. The way the freedom fighter bits and the current reality bits work together is eminently watchable. They do restrict the end plot to a single, dramatic, bloody option, but so be it. In this mode, this is a hugely watchable film, and easily the best I've seen in a long while. Yes, I think this time round, I won't be betting on Black. Especially given that RDB was not a copy of anything that's already been made (they still do that?)

On the other hand, once logic asserts itself, the post-intermission reels quickly soar into hyperbole, unbelievable leaps of logic are made and it quickly goes way, way south. It almost feels like the characters that opened the film leave the building at the halfway point, go home and catch forty winks, while their altogether more demented twins come in and take over for the rest of the way.

In today's day and age, which is well-represented in the first half, would a rational, obviously intelligent bunch of youngsters, no matter how emotionally outraged, choose the most stupid, destructive -– granted, dramatic - way to retaliate? A way that almost guarantees the loss of personal freedoms. I didn't think so either.

That said, I'll tell you something more. I'm definitely buying the DVD.