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Mdeii Life - Anand Krishnamoorthi's blog

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Range De Basanti

Hated it! Regressive piece of Hindi trash.
I sometimes try to avoid being judgmental: one, it shows that I know it all, which would hardly make me appear any humble; and two, the terribly mercenary I am, I can hardly afford to, in this stage of my career, estrange many who might eventually give me work. But I make an overall exemption in this case.


9:22 pm

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Comments to Range De Basanti

Word.

posted by Blogger neha vish 

6:28 pm, January 30, 2006
 

Yep, You have every right to be prejudiced. I don't know where Indian cinema is headed...

posted by Blogger sowmy 

9:51 pm, January 30, 2006
 

Glad you told me that - won't bother seeing it then!

posted by Blogger Jag 

10:43 pm, January 30, 2006
 

Anneh, Some of the stuff that you mentioned on RH, I can't even understand. Mebbe you will do a full fledged review, since you have been goaded into action.

posted by Blogger anantha 

2:09 am, January 31, 2006
 

i personally loved the movie! and i dont find it really a HINDI Trash!! ... its a really well made movie!

posted by Blogger Anoop Sundaram 

9:53 am, January 31, 2006
 

Anand,

Which film, according to you is good/ superior? Just to understand your 'level'

posted by Anonymous Cocoa 

2:26 pm, January 31, 2006
 

I never really felt compelled to elaborate on the film. But since I seem to have touched a raw nerve somewhere, to the extent that my competence and 'level' are being brought under scrutiny, I'd just like to clarify a few points. Most of them have to do with the kind of publicity and popular 'takes' on this film.

It has been touted as technically superior: Bollocks! The camerawork was, if not amateurish, extremely sloppy. Focus pulling was non-existent; framing was lazy (directly affecting the shot selection, and hence the visual narration). The sound was absolutely horrible--well, this is my field of technical expertise, and I tell you, I did beter work on my short film on a shoestring budget of just over £4,000. The editing was 'clever'! And no more into that.

People seem to wax eloquent about the screenplay. Well, I have worked on mainstream film in India as well as here, and I tell you, things that are taken for granted in terms of structure and narration elsewhere, are considered to be great achievements back home, which is rather unfortunate because as Nilu earlier pointed out, taking the example of the Mahabharatha, we have no dearth of complicated plot structures in our literature.
So, for a story to be coherent, is, my dear friends, not an achievement, but is fundamental to filmmaking!
I have to admit, that I do not wish to question the logical aspects of the film, though I do wish to say a few things about the overall politics of the film.
I found parts of it politically astute, like the laguage, very correctly not being very PC. I appreciate that, but I felt extremely insulted as the movie progressed, that I had been conned into thinking that this film was about being politically incorrect and politically challening, while all it does is rehash the same slightly left-wing (all that crap about revolution), jingoistically patriotic, politically naive, socially unreal, manipulatively sentimental that Indian cinema has always been.
This film is not a path-breaker. It dishes out the same mind-numbing trash that has been dealt out to us for years. I would not have taken exception to this otherwise (my reaction to Anniyan for example), but I would not tolerate it if this film is sold as a work of avant-garde political statement. Which it certanly is not.

Yet another review I read talked about the film having an appeal with only the 'intelligent' viewer and not with 'aam junta!'. Anybody with any amount of intelligence would not tolerate his/her intelligence being so gravely insulted. This film is popular as the only thing it caters to, and succesfully so, is the need for many of us 'urban' Indians to 'pretend' to participate in large political debates... "enga aathu mamavum cutcherykku poraar!" It does not offer up one.

We would also like to see ourselves 'internationally relevant', therefore, any story that includes Indians as part of popular stories of the rest of the world is also bound to appeal.

I as a filmmmaker would also shamelessly use these factors, but would never not deliver on my promises.

I have had my film analysis termed 'too techy and academic' which for a while, put me off film analysis. I somehow feel that many of us would rather not go into inner working of things, especially films, because we consider it irrelevent. (This the same mentality exploited by Rang.. BTW), While I am mostly averse to the double edged weapon of the analogy, here is one anyway:
Rejecting academics and analysis in the name of simplicity and accesibilty, is like a doctor not bothering to study medicine. You need to be fucking knowledgable to be able to understant the nature of your field. Academics is not just for the teacher, it is fundamental for a practitioner.
So any person in filmmaking considers screenwriting, plot structure, characterisation, audio-visual narration to be 'really cool' thingys is merely being pedantic. These things are fundametal, but we have been so used to their absence that we consider them achievements.

On that note I also would like to mention a few films I saw recently and what I thought of them... for all those who want to judge my 'level'

Brokeback Mountain: fucking excellent!
Black: Technically good. Bad acting... moderate pukefest! (many things that apply to Rang apply here as well)
Munnabhai MBBS: A sincere and very good Hindi film.
Parineeta: ... No I do not want to go into it!
Narnia: Patchy and patronising
King Kong: Unabashedly entertaining

posted by Blogger Anand 

5:54 pm, February 05, 2006
 

here is the thing - stop lowering your dignity by making serious efforts in arguing with idiots.

leave that to me and it happens to be my area of expertise, like sound editing happens to be yours and all.

posted by Blogger Nilu 

11:22 pm, February 05, 2006
 

Hey....wanted to know why u HATED the movie. Thanks for explaining....I was looking forward for it.

posted by Blogger Shobha 

12:07 am, February 06, 2006
 

Hmm.. Dude.. atleast personally speaking, it was not my movtive to question you. It was to better understand how you, as a student of cinema, saw it. Having seen it twice, I still cannot really comment on the editting etc., which is why i thought I could get some gyan! Sorry if I seemed antagonistic... Now I will go ahead ahead and read what you have to say.

posted by Blogger anantha 

12:11 am, February 06, 2006
 

shobha n me had talked about this post of yours before we entered the movie theatre. :)
... i liked the movie . id give it points for effort.. atleast.. and maybe a bit of wit, but thats it there were too many loopholes in the entire story... which you rightly criticized. i guess we poor souls are so sick of movies with serial kissers and boobie gurls that anything remotely AVERAGE seems great!! you've raised some very valid points.... even if they were technically oriented. but if a movie is going to be called "great"...
theres NO question it HAS to GREAT in every department..
rang de started out well enough but the directed just didnt have enough vision to pull it off perfectly!! oh well!! so the wait for the next GREAT HINDI film continues...

narnia of course was also average but if you read the book you'll see that for once they have managed to bring to life the characters and the environment perfectly!! although being a kiddy story, it would highly unfair to compare it to LOTR.

posted by Anonymous andy 

7:58 pm, February 06, 2006
 

Hey Mdeii Life...

loved your analysis, it was accurate and brutal as I guess you intented it to be... but what I could make out from far away is that... you are one of those guys who is blinded by his own knowledge and experience... modern techniques and experimenting in India is still far away from being amateurish... we hardly differ from convention... even when we do its only in the upper layers...but art, the movie making kind, as I understand it is a medium which has to practised within the known or rather understood pretincts of the people you wanna reach out... however the trick or rather its only purpose is to go beyond in saying what it wants to byb staying in touch with its audience...

shaky camera, rough sound editing, avoiding focus pulling... all these tools can also be used knowingly to imply what one wants to say in his film...

its good to be critical but then no fun in doing it for its own sake...

posted by Blogger Alok Shukla 

3:48 pm, February 07, 2006
 

Oh my god! I am turning into Nilu.... shit! :p
Cheers Shobh!
Anit: No machan, I never intended to be offended.. and least of all by you. I just wanted to clarify a few points because I have not only recieved comments, but also some emails regarding this, plus I just felt I was in a Nilu sort of mood anyway! (and all)
Andy: Cheers mate
Well Alok, If I've understood you correctly, and I seriously doubt it, with me being blind by my own knowledge, I have to disagree with you on many counts.
I for one, am not a movie critic for the sake of it! Plus, I base most of my gyan on the understanding that filmmakers are only half as clever as their audiences. You could disagree and are welcome to it.

Ah! and this should teach me to proofread before I hit submit:
The second last line in the 9th paragraph should read: So any person in filmmaking considers screenwriting, plot structure, characterisation, audio-visual narration to be 'really cool' thingys is not merely avoiding being pedantic themselves.

posted by Blogger Anand 

12:29 pm, February 09, 2006
 

Hugs from Italy

posted by Anonymous yadoge 

1:12 pm, February 09, 2006
 

rang de basanti was possibly done with good intentions - the heroes mentioned in the movie were patriotic (azad,singh, etc.)

with that said, india has a long way to go - and corrpution will be there for a long long time in india - the economic and social divisions will continue to exist - heck how can one expect a country to stay together when its frequentuly refereed to as north and south indian -

the northeners have always had this FALSE superiority complex associated with them and is reflected in numerous hindi cinema - although not that much in RDB

india is very diverse and in some ways this is good - but truth be the level of religious, social, and even political diversity is TOO MUCH to handle for any country -

with that said indians have shown that they can thrive anywhere (for example by immmigrating to other countries) - but the point is it is difficult for india herself to thrive - one can only hope for best - better yet as RDB tries to convey, ONE MUST WORK TOWARDS THE BEST

posted by Anonymous Anonymous 

5:24 am, April 18, 2006
 

loser's comments! Doesnt know what it takes a movie that has to capture the imagination of the desi market.

For start, making movies is not just art, there is marketing too.

The director and all were smart with the script. They understood what ppl wanna see.

posted by Anonymous Anonymous 

11:14 pm, June 01, 2006
 

There are a number of stories about this at Jhanki.com.

posted by Anonymous zac 

11:56 pm, September 19, 2006
 

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