Super filmi week: Kudos to Kangana!

Kangana Ranaut’s guts, Khuddar-triggered nostalgia and dark TV serials occupied Sukanya Verma’s Super-Filmi Week.

Monday
It’s a wrap for the penultimate season of HBO’s medieval fantasy drama Game of Thrones, but the wait for the eighth and last one has only just begun. And there’s a good chance it won’t hit our television screens before 2019.

Beloved for its escalated drama, gruesome deaths and thrilling cliffhangers, the show’s raging popularity is only intensified by our ridiculous desire for wild surprises all the time.

Season 7 threw up its share of ugly jolts and underwhelming deception in the form of more incestuous romance, family reunions, glorious battles, startling discoveries, long-due paybacks and shifting loyalties.

The first two episodes mull over political strategies, but once it picks up pace, Game of Thrones bolts towards its ‘no ifs ands or buts’ finale.

It’s a tricky stage in the series to pass a conclusive judgment — everything is up in the air. Where there is a sense of finality though, those arcs turn out nicely.

Like as lovely the pair looks, Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen’s track is embarrassingly rushed. Tyrion Lannister’s legendary wit and wisdom is criminally undermined. Cersei is badass as usual, but Jaime has gone completely soft. Theon Greyjoy continues to overstay his welcome as do a whole lot of other characters I am hoping to bid adieu in the final chapter. Olenna Tyrell, Littlefinger, Ellaria Sand meet a befitting fate. Bran Stark’s clairvoyance alternates between curious and comical while his sisters Sansa and Arya’s inconstant, intriguing equation adds heft.

But it’s the hellish White Walkers lending Game of Thrones its greatest wallop and villain.

Tuesday
Not everything you enjoyed once holds your fancy as time goes by.

An unexpected glimpse of Angrezi Mein Kehte Hain Ke I Love You from Amitabh Bachchan’s Khuddar only reiterates this sentiment.

For the longest time my family didn’t own a television set (Sorry ma, but eight years is a lifetime when you’re that young) and I did most of my VHS-watching during summer holidays at my grandmom’s in Delhi.

I could watch all the movies I wanted in the amount provided to me, but not more. Ditto for my big brother except he’d often trick me into watching something he liked by making me believe that’s what I’d like as well and make the best of mom’s deal.

Anyway, this one year, my VHS quota got over sooner than I expected and I was distraught since Khuddar was still on the wish list. Being a Big B fan, I pleaded with mom, but she just wouldn’t budge from her ‘rules are rules’ stance. My brother too refused to help. Truth is everyone had already seen the movie and didn’t want to suffer it again.

Fortune favours the brave and bull-headed. Thanks to the Gods of Good Timing, I caught the flu.

Nothing melts a mother’s heart like a child with just-enough-to-blackmail high temperature. And if all those movies had taught me anything, it’s the power of guilt tripping.

Having recently discovered the concept of ‘marne se pehle koi aakhri ichha.’ Desperate times call for desperate measures and I immediately used my fever to test its power on mom. Like that corny Bollywood saying goes, Bhagwan ke ghar mein der hai andher nahi, it worked like a charm.

Needless to say, Khuddar was no classic. Rather like so many other serviceable potboilers piggybacking on Big B’s invincible stardom back then, it too made hay while the sun shone.

When I revisit that song today, I don’t find anything remotely funny about AB threatening to consume poison if Parveen Babi doesn’t yield to his romantic demands.

Wednesday
When one thinks of trendsetting costumes in Hindi movies, one imagines Mumtaz’s orange sari drape in Brahmachari, Amitabh Bachchan’s knotted shirt in Deewar, Madhuri Dixit’s crystal work seedha pallu in Hum Aapke Hain Koun..!, Shah Rukh Khan’s hip casuals in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai.

Not me.

Two of my most favourite outfits of all time are surprisingly unsung in pop culture. Funnily, both feature a common backdrop and co-star — haystack and Aamir Khan.

Pooja Bhatt’s white off-shouldered dress in Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin highlighting a vine of pink flowers around the boat-shaped neckline exults in its princess vibe and pristine romance.

Juhi Chawla’s pairing of a red bandhni dupatta with a white chikan churidar in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak is easily one of the most wearable and effortless styles ever.

Thursday
Anyone who remembers Bees Saal Baad or Woh Kaun Thi won’t have any trouble predicting the suspense in Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi.

Still, there’s plenty to admire about this Biswajeet-Sharmila Tagore black and white mystery, most significantly cinematographer Keki Mistry’s marvellous chiaroscuro.

It’s what David Lynch, director of black and white classics like Eraserhead and The Elephant Man once said, ‘Black and White is so pure. And because it’s pure, everything is heightened in a way, it just has more power.’

Seconded.

Friday
‘With its fine zingers and feisty acknowledgement, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan does more for sex, both noun and verb, than any Hindi film can claim to in a long, long time.’

‘The concluding 20 minutes of Baadshaho are so hazy and dusty, I found myself mentally vacuum cleaning the screen. I wish to do the same to the memory of this movie.’

My feelings for this Friday’s two big releases are best summed up in the concluding lines of my reviews.

If Shubh Mangal Saavdhan sparkled with its wit and clarity on how it wants to treat a tender complication relating to sex, Baadshaho doled out out-dated ideas of bravado and machismo as entertainment.

Saturday
After consuming one entire season of Charlie Brooker’s dark satire Black Mirror in one go, I feel tormented to the core.

This is NOT binge material.

Its violence is subtle, shrewd and psychological and ten times more brutal than Game of Thrones.

Anybody who actively engages with technology and social media, has embraced its disturbingly deep reach within our daily lives is bound to feel uneasy (or even responsible) about its dangerous suggestions and ruthless outcome.

To make things worse, everyone I talk to, is freaking me out with words that sound like warnings, ‘Wait till you reach the episode where…’ Brr.

Sunday
Spent the entire evening watching Kangana Ranaut’s spate of tell-all interviews — the actress spoke to journalists like Rajeev Masand, Rajat Sharma and Barkha Dutt.

Watching her speak is akin to an episode of Black Mirror — sensational yet coming from a place of stark realities.

A lot of people feel she’s making spurious claims about Hrithik and Rakesh Roshan, Karan Johar, Aditya Pancholi, Adhyayan Suman, Ketan Mehta, phony award functions, slave journalists, women’s commission to increase the buzz for her upcoming release, Simran.

After Rangoon‘s debacle, Simran‘s success is crucial for her career.

I am not sure if Kangana is playing the media or getting played by the media. On Sharma’s prodding, she jokes, ‘aur aap ghee daalne ka kaam kar rahe hain.’ To Dutt’s assertion, she protests, ‘you’re putting words in my mouth.’

I don’t agree with everything she says, I don’t believe everything she says yet I can’t help admiring the woman’s guts. To stand up for your beliefs at the risk of losing face, fame, fortune, knowing well that every single person harbours an opinion about you, gossips about you is not comfortable knowledge to live with.

Rajat Sharma used the word ‘mistress’ in her context. Barkha Dutt added ‘whore’ to the list of labels attributed to her. They did it to her face. She took it on the chin.

The film industry is a cold, unwelcoming, place for anyone who won’t bow down to entitlement or those wielding power. It may condone movie stars who cheat, abuse or guilty of other misdemeanours. It may hail snarky think pieces on small fish, but not someone at the heart of the fraternity.

Kangana may be doing it all for publicity, but then whose conscience is squeaky clean anyway?

This column was first published on rediff.com.

Previously:
Gulzar’s gussa, Tendukar’s tears
When Akshay met his scientist fan
John Wick’s Amar Akbar Anthony moment
When the bride cried Sallu
Imagining Ranbir Kapoor as Balraj Sahni
Long live Aamir’s Model School Pajamachaaps
King’s Speech by SRK
Getting ready for the Baahubali juggernaut 
Super filmi week with Hit Girl Asha Parekh
Feasting on Achari Alia, Mastani Papdi!
Grace under fire
More power to Anushka Sharma
Rishi Kapoor’s page-turning debut!
Picking Jedi skills from Amitabh Bachchan
Mera wala Shah Rukh
Ranbir-Ranveer, sigh sigh!
When Tabu struggled with a 500 rupee note
Of post-festival blues and toilet titles!
Finding links of life in Dhoni’s Ranchi and Madhuri’s Mujrim!
Inside Dharmendra-Hema’s intensely private world
Power of Pink
The irrepressible cuteness of Pooja Bhatt
Indradhanush was our Stranger Things
When Saif Ali Khan wore Rishi Kapoor’s sweater
Getting nostalgic about the 1980s, Winona Ryder & Kishore Kumar
Rediscovering Gulzar’s Ghalib & finding Free Love
Applauding NTR’s Superman on screen!
Tripping on A R Rahman
A millipede and Kimi Katkar’s monsoon romance
Udta Punjab, worst casting decisions, and naheeee…!
Of warring Khan bhakts and meeting Mogambo!
Ranbir’s forgotten romance in Bachna Ae Haseeno
Funnier than Aishwarya’s lips
Clashing superheroes and crying Khans
OCDing on Neetu Singh’s LPs!
Garam Dharam, Mantrik Origins, Rockstar Cruise
 

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One Response to Super filmi week: Kudos to Kangana!

  1. Pingback: Super Filmi Week: The many avatars of Padmavati! » Sukanya Verma

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