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HAIDER :CINEMATIC CHUTZPAH

Chutzpah(noun):-  the quality of audacity , for either good or bad

The word chutzpah has a very special place in this movie. It gets mentioned atleast a couple of times . The word is explained with examples and it is pointed out that ,ironically , it rhymes with AFSPA. And no , it is not a good word in the movie. It represents all that was wrong with Kashmir and the milieu that the characters found themselves peopling.

But , of course , there is another kind of Chutzpah. The good kind. The kind that only a few can exhibit.  It is the word that you use ,when you find that words like brilliance  and élan just don’t cut it. When you see an undertaking that is as audacious in conception as it is brilliant in execution.  When you know the near impossibility of what is being attempted and you see that not only has the impossible become real but that it is alive. The kind of word you would use for this movie.

Undertaking  to retell Shakespeare’s most popular tragedy is audacious in itself. To retell it in the way that this movie has done  is exhibiting chutzpah.

Shakespeare’s most existential hero finds expression in what is perhaps independent India’s most existential milieu – Kashmir. “To be or not be” takes on a different meaning altogether in the slogan “Hum hai ki nahin hain”.   In many ways , Kashmir becomes the real Hamlet , with existential dilemmas worthy of the tragic hero.  Caught between India and Pakistan , between AFSPA and militancy from across the border – the voice of it’s people muted , their protests relegated to the background – Kashmir embodies the dilemma of the tragic hero very well and  “Hum hai ki nahin hain” is indeed apt.

In contrast , the supposed Hamlet , Haider exhibits very few dilemmas. “To be or not to be” is not a question for him. He decides to be. To search for his “disappeared” father. He does exhibit a glimmer of doubt every now and then about the guilt of his uncle , but by and large he is  a man of conviction.

Haider has been extremely ably and poignantly played by Shahid Kapoor.  Brooding most of the time  and  breaking into almost violent emotional outbursts when called for. The character’s love for his father  and  his despising for his uncle have both been brought to life very well. But what stands out is the character’s relationship with his mother. The hatred combined with a vaguely incestuous longing have been portrayed brilliantly by Shahid Kapoor. Truly , a gem of a performance.

Tabu , as Gertrude . excels. Neglected by her husband , falling for her brother in law , worrying sick  for her son’s welfare – the character has many facets and it is , indeed a very complicated character. And perhaps , in lesser hands , the portrayal would have floundered. It is only a fine actor like Tabu ,who could have done justice to the role. And she has. And without doubt , she is the best of the lot in the movie.

Kay Kay , as Caludius is adequate. He is shifty . He is selfish . But he also loves Tabu. While , not a standout performance , he makes the cut. All the other characters deliver too , giving what is expected out of them.

The director has mostly stayed true to the plot of the original play. And while doing so has managed to weave together a story of his own ,which has a meaning far beyond the original tragedy. A superb and brilliant retelling. Chutzpah indeed!!!!

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WE KNOW NOTHING… AND WE HAVE LEARNT GHANTA

Whatever , one may say about “ Go ..Goa..Gone” ,  after all is said and done , the two hours that you would  have spent watching this movie are non boring , pleasant and enjoyable.  Yes , you do get a certain feeling of missing something. I know I had it. But I could not quite lay my finger on what it was. Then my wife told me. It is called a ‘plot’ she said.  That is when it dawned on me too.  The movie has absolutely no plot or storyline to speak of. It’s premise is absurd and the story it tries to tell is pointless.  Yet , you have fun watching this movie. 

        There is a scene in this movie. It is one of the last scenes.  Hardik (,played by Kunal Khemu) , stops , Boris , (played by Saif Ali Khan) , from shooting the zombie turned Arianne.  Hardik then goes to her and lures her out of the boat. What follows next is in perhaps  every sense, what the movie is all about. Hardik is chased by the Zombie , along the beach , into the forest . Then they play some hide and seek among the trees.  All this is set to a romantic background score . it is as if , the two are lovers frolicking around , where in reality , the zombie wants to devour Hardik , and Hardik wants to escape the zombie.  Kunal Khemu’s expressions are priceless in this scene.

        It’s  funny – this scene. It is also fun to watch. You are laughing all the time. It is also absurd. And yes it is all pointless, with neither any bearing on or relevance to  the plot , whatever excuse for a plot there is .

        And that’s what with the movie too. It is a very fun movie to watch. You are laughing all the time, well most of the time. The conversations are clever , the repartee quick and the dialogues witty. The pace is decent . And the acting is good, particularly from the three protagonists. It is also absurd , has no plot to speak of and seems all pointless , despite , the forced messages about saying no to drugs.  And, the entire package manages to end up being entertaining and enjoyable.

        Witty , clever conversations peppered with hindi gaalies , seem to be the stuff , that a lot of movies are made of today. This movie is no exception. The first half is particularly good. Smartass comments fly back and forth  and there is a generous sprinkling of beep words. In fact , at one point in time , one wonders if the movie is incidental to the dialogues.  It almost does not make any sense at one point , but by that point , you are having fun and are looking forward to the next dialogue.  

       And again , as with many movies this one also celebrates fukragiri and loserdom.   It centers itself around two girl chasing , joint smoking , beer guzzling , work shirking young men .  They may not have many merits , but they definitely are very interesting.  And they have been played well by Kunal Khemu and Vir Das. Kunal Khemu , particulary stands out , with his comic timings and his near priceless expressions in a few scenes. Vir Das and  Anand Tiwary , play second fiddle well and manage to do a convincing job.  Saif Ali Khan is adequate while Pooja Gupta is not. But then , she looks good and we all know  that there has to be a good looking female lead (?) in a zombie movie. So , we are prepared to overlook that.

    The directors have managed to handle the zombie angle pretty decently.  They have paid homage to a host of zombie movies . They have managed a good balance between retaining several cinematic clichés while at the same time making light of some of them. While , at times , the overall zombie thing , does get a bit gross to watch , it has been a decent job overall.

     All , in all. Fun movie. Enjoyable.  If you are fine with not having a plot in the movie that you watch , you will love this one. 3.5/5 

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