Monday, August 2, 2010

Monicaaaaaa.... O my darling!!

Monicaaaaaa….O my darling…..

The most interesting thing about the nostalgic gangsta film(OUATIM) running to packed houses this week, is its admirable restraint. Most films that fall into this genre go overboard with bodies flying around in an orgy of violence. The relative economy of blood-and-gore shots, or guts spilling all over the screen action, marks ‘Once Upon a time…’ as a more mature version of an old formula. The director shrewdly focuses on - surprise, surprise – relationships!Not just romantic ones ( those are secondary), but the strange, complex and compelling attraction between the two men – Don Sr. and his protégé Don Jr. It skillfully shows how monsters are created when a powerful man invests trust in a brash, younger version of himself, only to regret that fatal decision in the end. Betrayal rather than an expose of syndicated crime in Mumbai, is at the core of this film, Betrayal that costs one man his life. It hardly matters whether the characters are based on real Dons, even if the parallels do make it pretty obvious. For this generation of movie goers suffering from a serious case of an attention deficit syndrome (ADS), either a movie works and is deemed ‘paisa vasool’ or they walk out giving gaalis.Going by the spectacular success of ‘Udaan’ ( word of mouth and nothing else has done it for this film), chances of ‘Once….’ making it commercially as an off beat ‘Guy Film’ are pretty good. Male bonding is a subject that is rarely explored in our films – especially if that bonding goes beyond the standard buddy film (‘Sholay’) format. The contradictory impulses between Sultan ( coiled serpent) Mirza and Shoaib (hungry cheetah) are cleverly balanced by the director. And after a long time, audiences are treated to two passionate love stories, with all the old fashioned flourishes that have all but disappeared from our latest slick and fast paced hits, that shout ‘all style’ but have no soul.In fact, the defiantly anti- romance, anti-emotion approach to modern day love stories is making audiences wonder where pyar has gone. In this movie, it stages a triumphant return. But for me, the highpoint was the item song picturised on Gauhar Khan, where she almost outdoes Helen as she wriggles, sizzles and slithers her way through the unforgettable original, ‘ Monicaaaaaa…. O my darling…”
**************
It has taken me months to catch up with a film I have been dying to watch. Well… it finally happened. And I am breathless! ‘Natrang’ is Atul Kulkarni’s tour de force. It is one of the most electrifying performances by any actor in recent memory. And the film itself is brilliant. Like ‘Inception’, it forces you to think. And demands respect. Multi- layered, it draws you as much into your own psyche as into the intimate, closed world of ‘Tamasha’, rural Maharashtra’s dominant folk form. Here, tradition dictates that the role of the ‘Nachya’ ( an exaggeratedly effeminate side kick to the tantalising star dancer ), is played by a campy, painted up male actor referred to as ‘Moushi’. Well, the fascinating twist in ‘Natrang’ is that an alpha male, married father of a teenage son, and a sturdy body builder to boot ,is the chosen one. What follows is a lyrical essay on sexual stereotyping. Mocked as a ‘eunuch’ and chased out by the village ( father, wife and son included), it is a cruel, brutal coming to terms with our own deep rooted prejudices, as the protagonist (Atul Kulkarni) battles several demons to find redemption and love finally. Kulkarni reigns supreme as he deconstructs true ‘manliness’ and tells us the meaning of life itself, when sometimes, following your art and heart can cost you everything you hold most precious. Atul’s transformation is a cinematic miracle. Bravo Atul!!!

22 comments:

anamika said...

Ha Ha,,,Me too liked the movie but I think apna thakela vivek would have been much better a choice them Imraan hasmi but then it would have turned out as another company..

Gauhr was nice but she didnt even manage to make her self appear in half of the song too..

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krunal said...

man! i haven't seen 'inception' yet. damn it.

Appu said...

The movie never allowed an audience to question or to think out of the dark room except when Agnel Wilson was bribed by Rehana - That was too dramatic And fast.
Maybe making an audience focused towards silver-screen
- The mantra of success
And Balaji achieved the same.
claps

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Atul Kulkarni is truly a renaissance man. Much more than just a fearless actor. I loved Natrang too. So glad Marathi cinema is stirring again after the Smita Patil/Jabbar Patel/Mohan Agashe heyday. It seems that the marathi film tradition goes into hibernation every 25 years.

Hmmm I guess I am not going to wait for Once upon... to show up on Netflix. I am going to brave a one hour drive to eat samosas and jostle elbows with hordes of punjabi aunties at a suburban desi cinema. I shall let you know if I thought if it was more interesting than your Haji Mastan/Ruksana Sultan story that remains unfinished! Okay the movie is out, so do finish up your teaser or was it just that?

Shantanu said...

Gauhar totally rocked, you are correct, but didnt the whole movie. But Ajay Devgan's walk as a don I cannot forget. What a style.

I like the word you conied "ADS"

Me suddhha Natrang pahila, 7 wela. Mala khup abhiman watato Atul cha that toh maza senior ahe. Amhi ekach shalet hoto, from Solapur.
Ani Shobha, dont forget the music by Ajay-Atul. Kiti sundar sangeet dila ahe tyanni.
tu khup chhan lihile ahe.

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Gyanban © said...

Yet to watch it - but if you are comparing it with inception..then i ll have to probably think twice.

IMHO -Inception is grossly over-rated flick.

sidhu said...

it seems u r paid a "decent" amount
to promote OUATIM.wonder if you keep blogging about the film till its silver jubilee.way to go especially when u have dumb followers like me!

Neelum said...

I loved 'Natrang' too. Funny part was that we watched it and then told family back home to go and watch it!!

Atul Kulkarni is one of the finest actor we have right now and his talent traverses across boundaries of language and genre.

The movie really makes us think of what we're willing to give up to go after our dreams...and one finds out that the heart is just not brave enough !!

PS: My maid is from Srilanka, and I showed her all the photos that you put up...

*Aham* said...

really de, these gangster films look like a wannabe english films. i havent seen the OUATIM but plan to watch it soon. The polka dotted dimplized prachi is a visual treat. and kangana is a powerhouse fataaka.

i just dont like the male cast as much. i mean smoochy hasmi... and Ajay Devgun.. Aiyyooo! he should contact a constipationalogist for treatment soon. Only that will rectify his super plastic face. I am just fond of randeep hooda, with looks like a cobra's hood, he is one real maal.

im more of the chicks flicks lover. i dont like the truckload of violence and chamiyaa dances in guy flicks. but i am going to check this film...

having said all of this... i also understand that humaara tastes are similar.. so if you liked it.. mereko bhi ekdam mast lagega... so am going to watch this...

***********************************


natrang! wow! der aaye durust aaye.. finally you watched this classic.

you know de, many think of themselves as women in their dreams. and they feel guilty for a lifetime. much that they associate it with their sexuality. they think they are homosexual, or trans-genders just basis their dreams. many of the people whom i know so, are straight. :-)

somepeople just like to dress as women, they would not be gay... or the "conventional" crossdressers.... they could just be impersonators... who wish to be what they can never be in real life... - A WOMAN. :) its is blessed to be a woman. and Natrang gave Atul the chance, and so, beautiful he became one. While the rest of commercial cinema, hides in the closets... mum about their orientation and scared to play any role beyond the usual run-of-the-mill.

when will nagging tongues learn.. and stop reading too much between the lines... every time a male cross dresses... it is not a deviant behavior...

It is no Male-Jhol

Latha said...

Atul Kulkarni is well known in the south since he has acted in all the south Indian languages. In Tamil alone he has acted in 6 films. He is not only a good actor, but also good looking.

durgs said...

Hi Shobha, through your blog post, you have managed to express all the emotions I went through when I watched Natarang. Thank you!

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