For a moment sample this final (iconic) scene of a film where the hero has reached a railway platform and the train is scheduled to leave in a few minutes. He is eagerly waiting for the heroine to be there any moment, making her final decision to board the train accepting his loving proposal. And the girl needs to do the same revolting from her family, particularly the unsupportive, harsh father disapproving their warm relationship.
Thankfully the girl is right there on the platform after a few tense moments but so is her father creating a tense situation. But to everyone’s surprise, the father lets her board the train and doesn’t oppose the act with heartfelt tears in his eyes giving an emotional farewell. And the train slowly leaves the station taking the two lovers along.
The scene would right away bring the name of DILWALE DULHANIYA LE JAYENGE (DDLJ/1995) to your mind with Shah Rukh, Kajol and Amrish Puri playing the three characters.
But interestingly the description above is of the touching emotional climax of Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s ANUPAMA instead, with Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore and Tarun Bose playing the exactly identical roles, in a much more subtle, realistic and relatable way in comparison to the cult trendsetter.
In fact, the iconic finale of DDLJ can easily be described as an over dramatic, filmy version of the thoughtful, poignant climax of ANUPAMA wherein silence plays a much important role conveying it all without any forced dramatic dialogue such as ‘Ja Simran Ja…. Jee Le Apni Zindagi’.
A cathartic climax to be precise, it actually remains the key feature of ANUPAMA which very thoughtfully begins as well as ends focusing on the father alone, fighting with his own self and loneliness cursing his innocent girl. Plus as I noticed the director shows him standing behind a pillar in the nursing home (in the beginning) when the girl is born, and then again shows him hiding behind a pillar at the platform too (in the final scene of the film), saying good bye to his young, beautiful daughter with heartfelt tears in his eyes.
Certainly a perfect example of how an exactly similar scene gets visualized and represented by two renowned Hindi film directors in two entirely different eras reaching their target audience.
Recalling a few similar climax sequences in Hindi films, interestingly the most famous epic SHOLAY also had its final scene at the railway station with Sanjeev Kumar coming to give a thankful farewell to Dharmendra, who pleasantly finds Hema Malini already there in the compartment waiting for him to board.
In JAB JAB PHOOL KHILE (1965) too, Shashi Kapoor accepts the apology and pulls up Nanda madly running along the train admitting her unintentional mistake.
However in PARICHAY (1972), Jeetendra decides to jump off the train (for a change) finding Jaya searching for her at the platform along with her grandfather (Pran), who now approves their relationship after a soft denial.
In another more realistic as well as experimental climax, three (not exactly) similar characters are there at the railway platform in GHAROANDA (1977). But here, instead of the usual happy ending, both the mature man and the woman part their ways accepting the bitter reality and no one boards the train moving to their own individual lives saying the final goodbye.
So the railway platform sure has an amusing relationship with the climax of our Hindi movies and its characters since decades.
Concluding on a different note,
films like MADHUMATI (1958), POST BOX 999 (1958), RAILWAY PLATFORM (1955), KORA KAGAZ (1974), TEESRI KASAM (1966), CHITCHOR (1976) and SADMA (1983) too had their climax (or pre-climax) conceived around a railway platform. Plus films like IJAAZAT (1987) had a lot to do with railway station and its waiting room in its entire script or storyline.
But what’s interesting to note is that till the 80s we actually had train sequences and climax written around a railway platform since RAILWAYS was the most widely used means of transport in the entire nation and rarely a film had an airport finale in its storyline like in JANWAR (1965).
However as air travel became more frequent and easier towards the late 80s/early 90s and our film industry started exploring the western markets, the train climax got transformed into Airport sequences towards the end of many love stories and now the hero or heroine could be seen rushing towards the airport instead of the railway stations in many famous films like AASHIQI (1990) and more.
In fact that’s how the portrayal in cinema always changes with the changing times and lifestyles in every 2-3 decades.
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Waiting for its release since last few years, though RUNNING SHAADI (earlier titled as RUNNING SHAADI.COM) is yet another light hearted romantic comedy based on Punjab and Punjabi characters following a typical format, yet it isn’t any bad or an awful movie to be honest giving its deserving due.
Having said that, it still will not make any serious dent at the box office, since nowadays the insane ticket prices charged by the multiplexes are certainly not inviting enough for the viewers to try such small, fun filled attempts moving over the much publicized biggies featuring the known Stars.
Talking about the film, it opens really well and I loved watching the first 15 minutes of the narration handled maturely. The idea of a website arranging everything for the couples willing to run away for their marriage brings in the much needed freshness enacted by a likeable cast. And one does enjoy watching a simple, light hearted, feel-good, Punjab (or Punjabi) based film till the intermission.
Unfortunately it all goes back to the routine stuff in the second half focusing on the same ‘unsaid-confused love’ seen in many of the recent films. The story development strongly makes you recall BAND BAJA BAARAAT, which also revolved around a young couple starting an innovative business project before falling in love. Moreover, moving from Amritsar to Patna, the final hour yet again features a marriage and the unplanned chaos heading towards the predictable ending without raising the excitement levels as required. However director Amit Roy and his writer Navjot Gulati still manage to deliver some fairly entertaining sequences at intervals which do not allow me to rate the film as any below average venture to be honest, enhanced by the three natural and likeable acts of Tapsee, Amit and Brijender Kala in particular.
In the technical department, where cinematography and background score remain apt, it’s the repeatedly muting of the word ‘dot com’ which keeps spoiling the spirit throughout raising many unnecessary doubts. Plus as a romantic comedy the film desperately needed some good melodious tracks widening its reach, which sadly remain missing affecting its overall impact.
Gaining both fame and respect from her performances in BABY and PINK,Tapsee Pannu delivers an adorable act here too (in a film made much before the two as it seems). And the girl simply brightens up the screen demanding a loving attention in almost every scene of hers trying a wide range of eye-catching outfits and hairstyles. Amit Sadh delivers a controlled performance in an otherwise tough role and gets a fine entertaining support from Arsh Bajwa playing the funny technical guy initiating the risky business. Among the veterans, Pankaj Jha doesn’t get enough scenes to make his presence felt but Brijender Kala once again proves himself as one of the most underrated actors of Hindi cinema as the supportive Bihari Uncle.
In all, RUNNING SHAADI certainly had much more potential in its concept requiring a better exploitation, but it still remains a decent one time watch led by the talented Tapsee Pannu along with Brijender Kala. In fact this is one of those movies which you are sure going to enjoy watching it on TV channel soon, but might not be willing to go for it in a costly multiplex.
Putting it differently, at present it’s not the films but the cost of watching them in the multiplexes, which is deciding the fate of such reasonable one time watch entertainers without any slightest of doubt. In other words, it’s an acceptable fact that almost 90-95% of the viewers will not like to go for any such film with their friends, beloveds or family members spending 250-400 per ticket making a big whole in their pocket.
BUT if they are told that the multiplexes are showing such films at just Rs.100 per ticket then at least 20-30% out of them would surely find some time to catch it in the theatre finding it well within their reach satisfying their passion for cinema.
And that’s exactly the key to get the footfall back in the theatres before it’s too late.
Rating : 2.5 / 5 (with additional points earned by both Tapsee Pannu and Brijender Kala for their appreciable acts.)
(Note : The word ‘dot com’ gets muted in the film as a famous matrimonial website took legal action against the title just a few days before the release and the makers had to remove the mention as per the court’s verdict.)
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The name Vishal Bhardwaj ensures one thing in his films and that’s the technical excellence in his craft along with a worth noticing background score and some seriously intense performances (including the well-chosen supporting cast).
Now this is all there in RANGOON to be precise, as the film has a remarkable cinematography, a very fine background score (the sound), many appealing picturesque locations, some eye catching innovating lighting, an enjoyable choreography, apt costumes and many perfect looking frames resulting in a visually appealing film with some questionably ‘catchable’ graphics that can easily be ignored.
So if technical achievement is all you are looking for in a film then RANGOON is just for you, but as per a dialogue in the film itself, “Public SHOT nahin, FILM dekhti hai”…….. to which I agree wholeheartedly without any slightest of doubt.
In few words, RANGOON does have a spectacular stunning body……. but no soul at all, neither in its chemistry between the artists nor the soundtrack, which ideally is considered the most effective feature of a Vishal Bhardwaj film.
Dedicated to the World War II and India struggling for its independence in that particular period, RANGOON has the same old story of an affluent lady (here an actress) falling in love with a stranger (an Indian working in the British army) during their lonely travel/stay in an unknown region/country, who later faces a dilemma meeting her earlier lover/fiancé getting back to the normal life. The only difference being, that this time the love triangle has been presented in the backdrop of World War II and the lady has been modeled on the real life character of Fearless Nadia who used to be hugely famous in our country around the era of 1940s.
With its first 20 (theatrical) minutes strongly reminding you of QT’s INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (having a similar setting), thankfully I didn’t find any complexities in RANGOON as per the (mostly) fixed format of recent Vishal Bhardwaj movies. But I did find many forced kissing and skin-show sequences in the film not usually associated with the same VB projects. Probably the writer-director intentionally opted for such deliberate unnecessary insertions and a simplistic narration in order to reach the general public in the theaters other than his ‘fixed fan following’. But the fact remains that he once again fails to deliver the excellence we earlier used to cherish in his gems such as MAKDEE, MAQBOOL, THE BLUE UMBRELLA and OMKARA (In fact, I personally couldn’t loudly appreciate any of his films post OMKARA).
Supposedly a period film, I didn’t feel any old world charm in its presentation too except the film-shooting related sequences and the English officers (annoyingly) trying speaking the famous URDU sheyrs in a funny Hindi pronunciation. Here would also like to inform that though it begins with a well-shot attack (war) sequence of a few minutes, RANGOON is not any war movie at all contradicting to the widely spread assumption in the social networks.
The film is a simple, clichéd love story presented in the backdrop of a war which becomes over lengthy towards the end with the same old kind of conflicts and a ‘seen before’ climax having no entertaining twists ruining the expectations. Surprisingly it also has an utterly foolish or fake sequence in the second half wherein Kangna suddenly (and weirdly) gets into her ‘screen avatar’ of a fearless fighter and goes to rescue Shahid from a train full of British soldiers. Honestly I did find myself and many others in the theater literally laughing watching Kangna running on the top of a moving train in her filmy attire. Really didn’t expect this in a Vishal Bhardwaj film!
Having said that, another brilliant scene did remind me that I was indeed watching the same director’s film talking about the war era, featuring two comic performers hilariously targeting ‘Hitler’ in their stage act.
The Soundtrack There was a time when we desperately used to await new soundtracks of both A. R. Rahman and Vishal Bhardwaj as the new released CDs. But now the songs are heard for the first time while watching the films only and RANGOON once again has just a couple of catchy songs among the avoidable rest (unnecessarily added into the narration unlike a VB film). Where I did love the melody/presentation of ‘Bloody Hell’ (featuring a cameo of Sunidhi Chauhan) and ‘Tap Tap’ based on a train rhythm, the opening notes of ‘Yeh Ishq Hai’ sounded exactly similar to those of Rahman’s ‘Dil Se Re’ and the best one remained “Alvida” played in parts more than once in the film. Interestingly Vishal himself sings a different and unplugged version of ‘Jan Gan Man’ created by the Azad Hind Fauj in the film, leaving a decent impact.
Performers Despite having two known male lead actors in the film, RANGOON’s key hero remains Kangana Ranaut from the very first scene to the last and she can also be called the only saving grace of the film without any hesitation. The girl plays her role with a visibly confident authority giving a stand out performance and both Shahid and Saif remain unable to stop her from stealing the show throughout.
Shahid is impressive as a British soldier silently working for his country’s independence but Saif Ali Khan is just fine without any exceptional quality in his portrayal of a cunning moviemaker-cum-businessman. Plus there is no emotional pull or chemistry to be found in either Saif-Kangna or Shahid-Kangna love scenes which otherwise are shot aesthetically (but with a plastic feel).
The supporting cast has always been a major merit of a Vishal Bhardwaj film since the beginning and RANGOON continues to have the same with Richard McCabe (as Major General Harding), Saharsh Shukla (as Zulfi), Lin Laishram (as Mema), Manav Vij and more excelling in their given roles.
Summing up, RANGOON can only be seen for Kangan Ranaut alone and nothing else to be fair in a costly multiplex. And no it doesn't generate any patriotic feeling at all with a completely filmy finale. I didn’t mind watching the film at a surprising ticket price of just Rs.120 in a leading multiplex of Delhi in the very first show. But anything above than 100-120 for this RANGOON will be a sheer exploitive loot offering much less in return.
Ending on a different note, RANGOON once again had praises coming in before the release from the entire film fraternity on Twitter. And they were once again faking around scratching each other's back as usual fooling the innocent viewers.
Rating : 2 + 0.5 / 5 (including additional 0.5 for the few catchy tracks, particularly ALVIDA)
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There is much to know about Punjab beyond politics, crime and drugs and the makers of IRADA at least gather some courage to make a film on the same revolving around a key city of the state featuring an interesting cast.
However I seriously wish the project was written, executed and publicized in a much stronger and fearless manner, since the present one unfortunately presents a lesser known, eye opener issue with quite a lame and unimpressive vision which fails to make any kind of solid impact on the viewer as required.
Revolving around a terribly disturbing truth of a known region in Punjab becoming the victim of water contamination because of a politically shielded industry and its reverse boring process (mixing chemicals with the groundwater), IRADA reveals a scary untold truth spreading the deadly cancer in people. And then introduces the harsh reality of a ‘CANCER TRAIN’ taking the patients from Bathinda to Bikaner (for treatment), also becoming a potential source of clients for the new Insurance agents.
No doubt the debutant director Aparnaa Singh surely deserves praises for selecting such an off-beat, dark subject talking about eco-terrorism (as the film calls it) in her very first attempt. But sadly the choice of subject doesn’t get any great support from its writers and the execution too remains far less than anything impactful lessening the alarming, social importance of its crucial subject.
Probably it was both the inexperience of the team and fear of the censor or involved parties that the makers didn’t even try to present it as any bold, in-depth film showcasing the lesser known reality. The subject matter surely had a lot to shock the uninformed or unaware viewers, but the film seldom intends to do the same and therefore keeps walking on the surface without getting into any ugly deeper pits intentionally.
Beginning with the emotional story of a father and his young athlete daughter (in the first 20 minutes), the film suddenly changes path moving on to the other related subplots involving a journalist, a corrupt politician, a cunning industrialist and an honest investigating officer appointed for the case. Taking too much time in the build-up, the relationships only gets established after almost an hour when the key plot is revealed and its only post the intermission that the viewer feels like watching something better talking about a shocking social issue to be honest. However an amateurish climax further ruins the entire excitement felt in its concluding hour.
Proving as the biggest savior apart from its appreciable plot, IRADA has an interesting cast featuring Naseeruddin Shah as the distressed father, Arshad Warsi as the smart, honest officer, Divya Dutta as a corrupt abusive politician (mostly speaking in Punjabi) and Sharad Kelkar as the mean, exploitive industrialist or the villain. Where both Naseer and Arshad keep trying to do their best in their half-baked roles, Divya and Sharad remain loud and unreal throughout due to the weak characterizations and Sagarika Ghatge fails to deliver anything worth noticing playing the revenge seeking journalist. Surprisingly the youngest of them all, Ruman Molla scores the maximum as the innocent, victim girl in her few scenes.
Besides the real life sources, the director also draws her inspiration from Julia Robert’s classic ERIN BROCKOVICH (2000) based on a similar subject, but remains unable to make any taut, exciting thriller following the identical format.
Summing up, IRADA has its heart in the right place and the intensions also noble choosing an untouched and relevant subject showcasing the present state of Punjab. But sadly that is not sufficient for making any winning film. As my personal conclusion, it would have been an entirely different outcome if the film was made in Punjabi instead of Hindi with a leading young actor playing the role of a short tempered investigating officer going after the politician and the industrialist together like an angry young man.
Rating : 2 + 1 (with the additional 1 just for the choice of subject and bringing the truth forward in front of the entire nation)
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