While the tamasha of the Golden Globes was going on today, had a chance to watch Sidney Lumet’s ’12 Angry Men’. A tight, claustrophobic movie about twelve men in a jury room on the ‘hottest day of the year’ deliberating whether a eighteen-year old kid from a rough neighborhood, against whom evidence is stacked, is guilty of murdering his father, ’12 Angry Men’ is a fascinating look at justice, prejudice, the wisdom (or lack of it) of the crowd and perhaps the best explanation of ‘reasonable doubt’ that one is likely to find in popular media—a concept most of us (myself included) often seem to forget as we fulminate in anger when we find courts releasing criminals whom we know ‘did it’. If you have not seen ’12 Angry Men’ , then I recommend you do so. This is as close to cinematic perfection you are going to get, more so in the season of vacuous-special-FX-being-made-to- pass- off -as-great cinema. Or in short— ‘Avatar’.
Though I have not watched it, I do know that ’12 Angry Men’ was re-made in Hindi as Ek Ruka Hua Faisla. I think it can re-remade again as ‘Ek Aur Do Barah —the Anger’ , this time with more masala and more of the Bollywood aesthetic. Since it has to make money, we have to have song (Dilip Sen Sameer Sen), dance (Bosco-Caesar) and flesh. And we need big-name stars for every juror.
Here are my first thoughts on casting with every Juror being given the same character stereotype as the original. [Spoiler free]
Juror No 1: Jury foreman. Ineffectual leader. Hardly gets in a word edge-wise. I would get Alok Nath to play this role, as he would periodically be able to say “Mahashaye aap itne vichalit kyon hai?”
Juror No 2: A wimp. A follower who is eager to be led. I am thinking Tusshar Kapoor for this. For obvious reasons.
Juror No 3: Loud, voluble, eager for ‘revenge’. The principal antagonist. The man whom the hero calls the executioner. Sunny Deol. No one else. Of course one may argue that if it was Sunny Deol, he would not waste 97 minutes of screen time to convince the other jurors but simply ram his dhai-kilo ka haath into soft tissue and then choke the life out of the alleged criminal. But bear with me here.
Juror No 4: The cold calculating banker. The one who claims ‘never to sweat’. Suave. I would put black-goggled KRK here for the gravitas that he would bring to the table.
Juror No 5: The man who has worked upwards from the slums. A man who finds trouble fitting in and feels he is discriminated even now. Emran Hashmi would be a good fit here.
Juror No 6: Not too bright, blue-collar guy in the original with a healthy respect for elders. I would make him female, if only because this movie would otherwise resemble the common room of an engineering college. So in my movie, this would be a working woman who would, when it starts raining, wander out into the balcony and dance seductively. Played by Rakhi Sawant.
Juror No 7: The “I-could-not-care-less” juror who wants to get the whole thing over and go to a baseball game. Johnny Lever is needed here if only because the movie needs comedy, fart jokes and mimicry. Around the time when the jury goes to 9-3 in favor of conviction, I want Lever to do his ‘Ashok Kumar playing kabaddi’ routine to relieve the tedium.
Juror No 8: The hero. The sole dissenter. The voice of reason. The shining knight dressed in white. While this suggests Jeetendra, I have to go by emotion on this one and cast Mithun-da. Why? Cause it’s my movie and Prabhu-ji has to be the main man. Plus no one can whip out a knife or say the smart lines like ‘Dushmon ke laashon pe bhangra karne waale kabhi landha naheen hote’ as he does.
Juror No 9: The perceptive old man. Juror No 8’s first ally. A K Hangal is synonymous with ‘old man’. Plus his jodi with Mithun-da has never been revived after Saukheen.
Juror No 10: Racist, vile, not really interested in justice. This has the largest scope for overacting, frothing at mouth, shaking lips, rolling eyes. Yes Yes. You know where I am going with this. My Name is Ham.
Juror No 11: The watch-maker. The smart immigrant with intelligence written large on his face who starts off slow but grows in stature as movie progresses. I think I will ask Uday Chopra to do this since he is perfect for the part and more importantly that might get me some investment from Yashraj.
Juror No 12: The ad executive. Thinks himself to be smart and cool but whose dumb-ness is revealed the moment he speaks. Viveik Oberoi.
In addition, I would make sure that even the minor characters are played by experts. For instance, even though the murdered old man never appears in the original, for my movie I would get Moonmoon Sen to play him since her acting abilities are best displayed when she has no screen time. Aamir Khan would play the 18-year old criminal because he likes to think he is 18 and because he will be able put a lot of method-acting into his 3 seconds. Himesh will be the bored judge, since he spends most of his time nowadays judging reality shows. Sherlyn Chopra would play the defective fan who will remain off during the first part of the movie and then be turned on. Upen Patel would be cast as the wooden table at which the jurors sit. The court clerk, who occasionally comes into the room, to provide exhibits for the perusal of the jury would be essayed by Neha Dhupia who is the world-acknowledged expert of exhibiting.
Anyone willing to finance my venture?