[Warning: Long post]
Taran Adarsh, India’s greatest movie reviewer EVER fires a salvo at those whom he dubs “pseudo journos with zero knowledge of film-making and business”.
Which I think includes me.(blogger=pseudo-journo)
Now KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA faces the flak. So what’s new? Nothing. It’s the same old story. The moment a big film hits the screens, a section of the film industry [also include some pseudo journos with zero knowledge of film-making and business] has a constipated look on their faces. Text messages degrading the film fly left, right and centre. ‘It wouldn’t sustain beyond Friday’, ‘Bakwas hain’, ‘The director has lost it’, ‘Paisa kamaya, par reputation khatam’ Haven’t we heard all this and more [the nastiest of talk] before? Let’s not forget, a tree which bears fruits is always stoned. Jo hain naamwala, wohi to badnaam hain.
Indeed. He exhorts:
Why are we so skeptical when it comes to embracing bold themes? Why should Hindi cinema be confined to those three/four stories that are as old as the hills? Why shouldn’t we welcome changes?
So here’s a pseudo-journo’s challenge to Mr. Adarsh. I am going to review KABHI AAGE KAABHI PEECHE — a movie which only I have seen as of yet and which will be released to the general public during Deewali. I am going to try to review it using a style heavily internalized from the great Mr. Adarsh. (Kindly refer here for the gold standard).
The question is: ” Can there be a “bolder” movie than the one below? Are the Indian audiences mature enough for this?”
Read on. And try to find the answers.
It’s finally here.
KABHI AAGE KABHI PEECHE has generated tremendous heat within and outside the film industry and also among dogs, cats, rabbits and horses—all of whom are now consequently in heat. It’s not the star cast alone that has resulted in unparalleled, unmatched, unsuperceded, unattainable, unprecedented and un-whatever-you-can-think-of craze for the film. It’s also the person whose hot bum is on the director’s chair that makes KABHI AAGE KABHI PEECHE special.
With KYA KUCH NAHEEN HOTA HAI and KABHI BAKWAS NAHEEN KAHENA, his directorial accomplishments, Baran Julaab (BJ) has set such high standards that an all-important question crosses your mind as you walk into the screening: Is this supremely talented man actually an alien?
KABHI AAGE KABHI PEECHE is an AIDS test for BJ for yet another reason. It’s the first time that BJ has changed tracks. Though this supremely talented director has tackled romance and relationships between men and women in the past, but KABHI AAGE KABHI PEECHE goes a step further. It takes a bold look at relationships between married men and makes a bold, shocking, exciting statement that will shake, tremble and crumble the very basis of society.
There are bound to be comparisons with films of similar genre. But let’s put certain myths to rest at the very outset. The story revolves around two homosexual men, but it’s not BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN. The speculation should end there because I say so. BJ’s take on relationships is fresh, bold and very bold.
KABHI AAGE KABHI PEECHE tells us the story of two families — Samas and Kamis — both not connected to one another, both settled in the economic capital of the world: Calcutta. However dramatic circumstances bring them together, in a way only the genius of BJ could have been thought of.
Raj Sama [Mithun Chakraborty] has an uneasy and troubled relationship with his wife Mamata [Preity Jhangiani] and son Momo [some arbit precocious brat who deserves a tight slap for winking at girls]. His wife is a Trinamool Congress legislator and has no time for her husband as she follows her dream of kicking the CPM out from power.
Rohit Kami [Shahrukh Khan’s] relationship with his wife Prema [Payal Rohatgi] is layered with a lot of self-doubt and question. He is unable to whip up enough passion for Prema, with and without Viagra. This dilemma pulls him further apart from her, thereby causing a strain on their marital life.
And then their paths cross. About 3 minutes into the movie.
KABHI AAGE KABHI PEECHE starts like a nice romantic drama for the classes, with Shahrukh getting married to his childhood sweetheart and Mithun-da, a world-famous disco dancer, talking to his wife about the $50 million dollars he will get to expose his left nipple during half-time show during Super Bowl . But minutes later, Mithun-da and Shahrukh meet by chance, their lives turn 273 degree and Mithun-da feels something he has never felt before. Distracted while looking at Shahrukh from the back, he gets hit by a speeding auto, which damages his leg and nipples beyond repair. His career is finished.
The tension between the couples surfaces gradually, but reaches a height 22 minutes before intermission. The spat between Mithun and Preity on one hand [Preity to Mithun-da: “You are the one who wears the sari in this house. No I mean it. Take it off. I need to go to work.“], followed by the heated argument between Shahrukh and Payal [Shahrukh: Everything about you is fake…even your breasts ] is amongst the most remarkable portions in the film. These sequences hit you like a paddle on your upthrust buttock!
Mithun-da and Shahrukh Khan meet again three years after their first meeting when by chance both of them chase a pickpocket through Esplanade. They become friends. They share their marital tiffs with each other and try to solve each other’s problems. A beautiful scene which will be loved by the masses and classes is when Mithun-da and SRK sit in the back seats of a hall in Calcutta’s poshest multiplex: Pradeep and show each other how to hotly arouse their spouses by seducing each other through throaty whispers and caresses. And then in order to spice up his married life, SRK goes to his wife Payal wearing a leather submissive costume but is unable to take it off as he realizes how sexy the leather thong feels between his buttocks. So bold.
The first half is laced with tense-filled moments as well as light portions in abundance. Mithun-da’s mother’s (played by Rakhee) philandering lifestyle provides ample moments of laughter and of course, eye-candy, what with some gorgeous Kolkata callboys (Loreelllll and Haaaardy) jumping out of the closet.
In the post-interval portions, infidelities occur, betrayals are discovered and Mithun-da and SRK realize that the reason their minds were never on their wives was because they had been looking for each other all their lives. This is the brilliance of BJ….we all know “Kaheen na kaheen koi hain”. But what if you are a dude and that “koi” is another guy. What will you do then? This is the dilemna in KABHI AAGE KABHI PEECHE—a dilemna some men resolve in men’s hostel, some in prison and some during married life.
The sequence when Mithunda and SRK encounter each other in Sealdah station late at night is so emotional. Sealdah Station has never looked as beautiful. As the grown men look at each other from afar, in superslow motion, tears running down their cheeks, Mithun-da utters the totally original dialogue:
“All these moments will be lost in time like tears in the rain”
Note another sequence: when Mithunda and SRK ,throwing convention to the winds, check into a posh hotel on Free School Street on a rainy Calcutta evening and consummate their passion in front of a burning agarbatti while Himesh Reshammiya’s voice bleats out in anguished passion: ” Yaaaannnnhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” reflecting the two hero’s physical and emotional pain.
A classes and masses and asses moment.
The end is powerful, but disturbing. Disturbing for those who believe in the age-old traditions and the sanctity of marriage. But not me. I am modern. The film moves about in a serpentine fashion (needless to say it is not “straight”). Just when you thought that the couples have decided to go separate ways, the movie bites you on the bum and just when you think you can sit down, another twist in the end grabs your ass.
The last scene of Mithun-da disco tango-dancing (forgetting all his physical pain) with SRK to the remixed song “Aadmi hoon aadmi se pyar karta hoon” is totally guaranteed to break down the most hard boiled among you into masses of jelly.
The cinematography is awesome. The film has been filmed in Calcutta and the lensman captures the various seasons and sights with gusto—the fall colors and the gently falling snow. Whenever it has the chance, the camera caresses the contours of Mithun-da circling around him like an eagle scoping its prey. The outcome is easily comparable to the best in Hollywood.
The dialogues are beautiful—sample Rakhee on her deathbed telling Mithun-da: “Mohabbat aur Hagga bin-bulaaye-mehamon ke tarah aante hain.”
Himesh’s music is melodious. ‘Cock N Bull Soniye’ and ‘Where’s The Orgy Tonite’ and the title song which goes: ‘Kabhi aage kabhi peeche, kabhi andar kabhi neeche, kuch kuch hota hain, tara rum pum bum bum ” appeal also due to the vibrant choreography. The styling and the production values are topnotch.
In KABHI AAGE KABHI PEECHE, the actors get a chance to shine and no one shines brighter than Mithun-da. Let’s just state one thing here: This is Dada’s finest work after “Gunda”. His sequences with Preity Jhangiani specifically, when the couple has their spats, or in the many climaxes he has with SRK proves that he’s undoubtedly the best in the business. The ferocity with which he delivers his lines and the restless energy he imparts to his character electrifies every scene that he’s in. The rest are also brilliant: SRK again underplays his role with a typically restrained performance, Preity Janghiani plays a very hot Indian politician and Payal Rohatgi’s implants never, not even once, look like they were stuck on with crazy-glue. And Rakhee. What a naughty performance. Whether being flirtatious with two men in thongs or dying on a bed, her amazingly authentic Hindi accent never once deserts her.
On the whole, KABHI AAGE KABHI PEECHE is a mindblowing film from the writing, performance and execution point of view. Stylish, classy, original and may I say it for the tenth time bold, it will be a hit in the A, B and C centers and of course among the cellphone MMSing multiplex-going crowd. It will take the box office like a tornado, smash all records and make bumper superduper profits.
But be warned. It needs high brains to understand a movie of this genius. Girls be warned. Do not take your boyfriends on a date to see this one.
You never know with whom he will leave.
[Acknowledgement: The name of the movie is courtesy Rohit]
[Unrelated announcement: I received a mail asking me to publicize this link: http://savenirali.com/nirali. Nirali needs a bone-marrow transplant and is looking for South Asian donors. Any help would be greatly appreciated.]