An injured man wakes up in middle of a desert, wriggles to the nearest stretch of road. He finds some water to rejuvenate himself. When he gains enough consciousness he figures out he can’t remember who he is and where he belongs. And neither can he recollect how he ended up in this desert. This sets the premises for an interesting thriller. And that’s how Soch Lo starts.
Soch Lo has a completely new cast and crew and has been made at shoe-string budget by Sartaj Singh Pannu. Most of the crew are new inexperienced film school alumni who have come together to make this film helmed by Sartaj, who put in his own money to make the film after he could not find any producer to do so. Promising start to both the venture and the story of the film!
Getting into the details, Soch Lo is an interestingly made project. The film has a story to it. It is story of a man (Sartaj) who can’t recollect his past. He finds someone who promises to help him once he helps the person’s family. Some action and scenes later this unknown man, now named Baba by his new found friends sets out to find out what happened to him. And he goes on unveiling things bit by bit. He realizes he was on his honeymoon with Reva (Iris) and he was attacked. On his journey he is accompanied by Pali (Barkha Madan) and they find a special bond between them.
Sartaj does a one man show
The film’s screenplay is written in a way that it requires the audience to apply their brains. Things are left unanswered but well placed clues for the audience to figure out the development chart. This should come as a pleasant surprise to the audience who has always cribbed about directors trying to spoon-feed the story. However despite this the film is quite slow, which is the single biggest drawback in the film. Also the dialogues are weak and should have been worked on.
Soch Lo has layers to it. The characters are well made and there are statements made on the middles class and the male mentality. The ending is quite tricky. Though the characters work out, the message does not exactly come out straight leaving too many questions. What’s remarkable is the way the writer brings out that there are no negative characters but only circumstances.
The film is shot extremely well. The outdoors and desert scenes especially are remarkably good looking. And the music is just right for the tone of the film.
Performances are stable though not extra-ordinary. Sartaj does well and so does Barkha Madan. Iris Maity plays the feeble wife.
Overall, Soch Lo could have been faster and shorter. But it deserves acknowledgement for the effort that has gone behind making it.
Here’s something that I received in an email yesterday. It’s a statement made ages back. And while a right to accept and agree to it is complete reserved with each person who reads it, you cannot but admit it is indeed a beautiful and idealistic thought.
Love indeed is an interesting emotion; everyone has an opinion on it. I did ten years back and I still do. It’s a different matter altogether though that the opinion changes with varying age and mental state. And that only makes the emotion far worthier of mention and attention. You simply can’t ignore it!
Having said that, let me not delay and lead you directly to the above mentioned statement. Presenting… Bob Marley! (That last bit is kind of a dream; everyone would have loved to present that wizard of music).
Marley bhi filmy!
"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colors seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life."
Well, his thoughts to some extent does reflect so many of our Bollywood movies. “Pyaar ek hi baar hota hai…” but not Indian television where we find people can live multiple lives too. Do put in your views on love… what you think about it. And how you know you have found it.
Once upon a time there was a director who served as an inspiration. He quit his well paying engineering job in USA and headed back to India to do something he wanted – tell stories through film. His first film Hyderabad Blues become a part of Bollywood folklore, made at a mere budget of 17 lakh and going on to become super popular. I am talking about Nagesh Kukunoor. Since then Nagesh went to become a name who made superb films like Rockford, Iqbal, Dor and Teen Deewarein. And he became an example of storytelling sans stars…
His life was inspiring a tale enough to tell people that they should get into what they want to do, without losing time. However he chose to make another film called Aasheyein to send across the same message. Sadly, nothing came through except disappointment.
To start with Nagesh did have an idea. An idea that was probably rooted in his liking for Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Anand and this he even displays in the film as his characters watch the film. Nagesh tries to weave in the message of ‘living your live to the fullest’ into ‘fulfill your dreams and help others do the same’. Unfortunately while Mukherjee kept things simple and drove home his message, Nagesh got caught in his own web of thoughts and resulting in no clarity in the end results.
The film is a story of 35-year old Rahul (John Abraham) who finds out that he has lungs cancer right after he proposes marriage to his girlfriend. He is shattered and decides to leave her. He reaches a charity-care home in Pondicherry where many other terminally ill patients live. While he seeks to live his remaining life in peace, he sees gloom of death around.
And Aashayein goes for a toss
Everything goes fine till here. And Then Nagesh loses it. He meddles into symbolism that does not work out and leaves the audiences wondering what happened. The screenplay goes haywire. When all he needed to do was create a source of inspiration the director gets into fantasy and incomplete childhood desires, coupled with a hallucinating protagonist. And the story drags.
The film does have its pluses. For one the characters are lively but their backgrounds are not written well. Girish Karnad and Farida Jalal have interesting characters and play their roles well but hardly make a difference to the story. Little boy Ashwin does a good job but his characters is misunderstood. Anaitha Nair who plays Padma gets a great role and she plays it to the optimum proving momentary relief to the audience whenever she is on screen. The film has been shot well and the music works very well. The title track in the only that will stay with you post the movie.
John Abraham does a decent job but his character is as confusing as the message that Nagesh tried to convey.
Aashayein is a tremendous let down on hope for a good movie. All through the promotions the director and lead actor kept saying that this movie will leave the audience with a smile. And that’s precisely what it failed to do. I for one was bewildered and bored at the same time! It’s probably time Nagesh takes a break. Aashayein… that he will come back refreshed!
Early this morning I got a great mail forward from my boss. It is a very effective story on gossip and why we may not gossip. However reading this also brings me face to face with the stark realities of today. At least my reality! I am paid to spread gossip! Yes that is true. And when you fail to churn out any, I am only supposed to work harder or quit! Yes I write about Bollywood.
Try out any Bollywood/Hollywood related site – apart from the trade sites - and you will probably find a ‘gossip’ tab in it. There you find what has been happening in your favourite star’s life – more often than not without confirmations. Gossip sells and many sites sustain their business on these apparently ‘useless’ tidbits.
I wanted to be a journalist once upon a time. Today some may refer to me as one, depending on what they mean by the term. But I prefer not calling myself a journalist. Journalism after all was supposed to inform, enlighten and bring in a positive change.
Why did I call it a great mail then? Because the mail preaches the values that I was brought up with... and probably you were too. But alas… life seems to be too full today to fill in any values. Most of them are required to unpack by the time we are deemed ready to walk on our own in this world. The space is created to fill in earthly needs which are fuelled and facilitated by money.
I am too much of a novice to comment on other professions. But I am sure none of them leave room for all the learning from childhood fables and rhymes. Values, ethics and morals probably remain today only in primary school books and fables. Nevertheless I paste the story here… have a read.
The story of GOSSIP
In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.
One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly & said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?”
“Wait a moment,” Socrates replied. “Before you tell me I'd like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.”
“That's right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my student, let's take a moment to filter what you're going to say. 1st filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?”
“No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and...”
“All right,” said Socrates. “So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try 2nd filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?”
“No, on the contrary...”
“So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, even though you're not certain it's true?”
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.
Socrates continued. “You may still pass the test though, because there is a 3rd filter - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?”
“No, not really...”
“Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither True nor Good and not even Useful, why tell it to me at all?”
The man was defeated and ashamed. This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.
Only earlier this year we had a classic satire in Shyam Benegal’s Well Done Abba. And now we have Peepli Live. And both have references to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) certificate. That’s however all that are common about these two movies. While Well Done Abba takes hold of one issue and forces open the Pandora ’s Box on corruption in government offices, Peepli Live delves into much complex matters.
Omkar Das Manikpuri
Peepli Live has a remarkable story but it ends with one line which endorses the director’s vision and brings out one of the most unnoticed and overlooked phenomenon in the country – the immigration of rural population to cities in search of greener pastures. As the film points 80 lakh farmers quit farming between 1991 and 2001. A rather alarming number considering the mainstay of the country’s economy is said to be agriculture based. The director Anusha Rizvi finds a plot for her movie in the cause of this emigration – the fact that these people can’t seem to maintain their family through farming.
Natha and Budhia
Peepli Live is a story about a farmer called Natha. He is on verge of losing his land because he has not been able to repay the loan taken from a bank. The loan was taken for treatment of his mother. As Natha (Omkar Das) and his brother Budhia (Raghubir Yadav) ponder how to save their ancestral land a local politician suggests that they could try suicide as government usually grants compensation to the deceased family. Natha decides to die and this is carried by a local newspaper. The story is picked up by the national TV media and hurled into prime time news. What ensues is a battle between news channels to get the first piece of news. Live coverage of the issue rocks the political stage.
Peepli Live cleverly and beautifully unearths the loopholes in government policies and also the media’s run for money. The screenplay is beautifully done to fit authentic details. What’s is remarkable that despite being a first time director Anusha Rizvi stays clear of any temptations towards adding regular masala flavours like an item number in the film. The director also deserves kudos for absolute detailing – right up to names on a carton of a TV set and bottles of packaged drinking water. Apart from that there is a great deal of work on dialogues and shot taking. Camera work is carefully thought out to give the right feel.
What makes Peepli Live an absolute delight are the performances. A completely fresh cast, which looks every bit the character play the movie out almost like it is a window to the rural India and not a piece of cinema.
Talking about drawbacks, the pace of the first half could have been increased to some extent. Also the ending – which is a akin to real life – leaves you wanting for justice to the grand built up.
The film however has no drawbacks which are gaping loud and damaging to the script. This one stands clean. Peepli Live is a class act and director Anusha Rizvi and producer Aamir Khan could take a bow for working this into reality.
PS: For once the functioning of media has been shown in the correct way, unlike other films. Anusha Rizvi being an ex-journo could be attributed as a reason to this.
Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Abhay Deol, Amrita Puri, Lisa Haydon, Ira Dubey, Cyrus Sahukar, Arunoday Singh
Director: Rajashree Ojha
Producer: Rhea Kapoor, Anil Kapoor
Music: Amit Trivedi
Aisha is based on the 1815 classic by Jane Austen, 'Emma'. You begin watching 'Aisha' with the nagging feeling that a remake of an 1815 classic, after several adaptations worldwide, is hardly likely to offer anything fresh.
Since director Rajashree Ojha and writer Devika Bhagat do make an attempt to retell the story, one would expect some creativity from them. They bring in a new character which is not a part of the original book. Unfortunately that one character - which is Aisha's best friend - has been borrowed from 'Clueless', one of many adaptations of the movie made on screen.
'Clueless' released in 1995, starring Alicia Silverstone, with direction by Amy Heckerling. And that's not it. Both 'Clueless' and 'Aisha' start in similar styles - the protagonist briefing the audience on her world. Worse, both films start with shots of the protagonist driving her car! Having said that, 'Clueless' is a different movie since the writer did bother to alter the storyline.
Aisha is a girl who likes making matches and she believes she does it best. When she finds a new friend Shefali (Amrita Puri), who gets into her city just to find the right guy to get married to, Aisha decides to get the perfect match for her. She goes about converting Shefali from a shy small town girl to someone befitting the high society and also tries setting her up with a childhood friend Randhir (Cyrus Sahukar) who is in love with Aisha instead. She does not learn her lesson yet, despite being warned by childhood friend Arjun (Abhay Deol). Things only get worse till Aisha realizes she has been a fool.
The problem with Aisha is the screenplay. It never gets deep enough to evoke any emotions in the audience. Two major points in the film are when Aisha's two friends decided on moving on with their own lives. But there was no build up for any of them to be justified. And by the time Aisha realizes her love the film hardly managed to create any attention.
Having said that, credit should be given where due! The character of Shefali, though stereotypical, is well written and enacted. Amrita Puri does a great job getting brilliant expressions every time she is on screen. She is a highlight of the movie. The other characters come out well too and there are no faults as long as performances are concerned. Sonam is good and so is Ira Dubey who plays the best friends. Abhay Deol does not have much to do - something very unfortunate for the talented actor. But he brings the screen alive whenever he is on it. Cyrus Sahukar does a great job too playing the lovable loser.
Technically the film has been shot well. Though quite a bit of the film is shot indoors it has been done well. The gloss of the high life Delhi society comes through. Background and playback music works too. Editing could have been better though.
Overall, Aisha is best in the promos! The film clearly misses the spark and ends up as an average product. At no point in the story do you feel anything for the protagonist or the people around her. It stays superficial. You would not miss much if you give Aisha a miss!