Just Another Hindi Film October 19, 2007Posted by astralwicks in Acting, Arts, Culture, Entertainment, film, india, Konkona Sen, Laaga Chunari Main Daag, Movies, Multiplex, Mumbai, Parineeta, Theater, Theory, Writing.
Some films run and some films don’t. Just like any othe thing. A new film theory sprung up today in the morning. Multiplex crowd don’t like socials. Socials set in small town India that is. Not even if it has a liberal dose of Mumbai the metro, its pitfalls and sins, a foreign song, star cast etc.
Worth a thought. But is it true?
How come small films like Bheja Fry, Cheeni Kum and to an extent Metro hit the bull’s eye? Omkara a Shakespearean tragedy, replete with abuses and set in the Hindi heartland, a strict no no with the prurient Indian audiences, also finds favour.
But Laaga Chunari Main Daag doesn’t.
Saw ‘Laaga Chunari Main Daag’ the other day. The opening credits roll and in the next 12 seconds or so we have the 1st song. And you enter a theater…actors making faces so that the last man/woman in the last row can register the lines on their faces.
Well here is the story – in the ancient city of Benares lives a family that lives in a mini-palace that is crumbling and has no money to change their sorry state. There is an irresponsible elder brother fighting to grab the property. A younger sister (Konkana Sen Sharma) who is good at studies. The elder daughter, and heroine of the film Rani Mukherjee, gives up her studies, sacrificing for the younger sibling. A father (Anupam Kher) who wastes the little money they have on speculation, buying lottery tickets hoping for that all-important draw. The mother (Jaya Bachchan) spends almost all her time on the sewing machine, trying to make ends meet.
All in all a great setting for any kind of a story…horror, thriller, drama, art house, whatever. Some people have liked it and some have not, which reinforces our faith in a pluralistic humanity. The film also had Abhishek Bachchan and Kunal Kapoor. Very good indeed.
The elder daughter sticken by pangs of responsibility and constant badgering by her insiensitive father decides to arrive in Bambai or Mumbai. There she tries her hand at everything, is rejected everywhere, gets willingly exploited for a job, is betrayed, then her epiphany happens and she becomes a high-society escort.
She sends money home, the younger sibling passes her exams in flying colors, the house gets a fresh coat of paint. The mother however has an inkling, for she had rebuked her daughter when she wanted to come back to her holy city before the all important decision of becoming an escort.
The men enter the story and the girls like them and the story somehow has to end and end it does.
You spend a whole lot of money and you remember the plot. Pradeep Sarkar’s first film was
Parineeta…a story set in the 60’s of Calcutta. It had a horrific never-ending ending. Laaga is set in 2007. The look of both the films is the same especially the Benares section. Why? Don’t know and don’t ask.
Some of my friends who had seen the film before I did raved about Konkona Sen’s performance. So I waited…and waited. I got confused. Was I watching 15 Park Avenue in which she played a schizhophrenic or was this Laaga…? Why do you have to make, twist, contort your face, blow your nostrils, why is your performance so obvious? No answer. But people have liked her so I might be wrong.
Nowadays there is a dude everywhere. Kunal Kapoor is one of them. Flowing locks, easy charming smile and voila there is an actor. Don’t act, be natural, just be yourself, he must have been told. And he did just that. Don’t think he could have done better anyways.
No point raving. Critics are even more honest. When you rate a film according to your camp, affiliations and not according to the merits of the film, you very well know the warped art you are supporting and propogating.
You will see it on the small screen in some months and hear a remix of ‘laaga chunari’…the theme of pain that a woman suffers…what you feel is nothing. It’s time Mr. Sarkar felt that before the audience feels it.