Friday being the day of a new release it was necessary to give a visit to the nearest cinema hall. So after a guidance from the Monk, yours truly and fellow zombie Ajay Nair embarked on a journey to watch the latest cinematic endeavour Mausam at Malhar Talkies(Thane). Since it was Pankaj Kapur’s directorial debut, this film was highly anticipated.
On the outset this film looks like a simple and sweet love story between a couple who are time & again separated due to bomb blasts, communal riots, Mausam, locations, latitude & longitudinal differences .etc. Of course this is how the film will be interpreted by mere mortals.
But dig deep…very deep and you will see what has gone beyond the realms of a normal debut from a director who has touched on a lot of issues. He has given an ode to lot of films, actors and other things which acts as a world tour guide and activities that took place in India during last decade. Besides this it also delves deep into other areas such as infidelity, rewriting laws of physics & nature and of course giving a tribute to Indian Air Force in his impeccable style.
Truly this could only be the work of an accomplished great and not a routine debutant. Of course to decipher all this you have to be a cinephile, cineaste or at least a film buff (was glad to realise that I am a breed which was able to decode so many layers that were smartly wrapped by within the garb of a film). So coming to the story it begins within a picture perfect small town in Sadda Punjab filled with khote de puttars, beeji, taiji, parjaiji, sarson ke khet, mitti di khushbu, SOS(son of sardars) kids doing mischief running down lanes and peeing on whichever corner of the road it is possible to do so. You also have an old Sardar gent who speak in worldly wise tones as if they just finished reading a handful of J.R.R Tolkien’s books(there you go see another nod to a great person – Tolkien saab….blink it & you’ll miss it you see). In the midst of all this you have a young lad who looks so gora chitta that he can put all metro lads to shame(oh dear metrosexuality you got an ode too…thank you Karamchand sahab)
Harry(Shahid) is the typical small town lad who day dreams and spend his whole time doing matar gasti with his galli ke launde/yaar. Apart from this he likes to avoid the hot neighbourhood belle who has the hots for him and pursue the new neighbourhood demure belle Aayat (Sonam )who has just arrived from Kashmir.
With the names of its protagonist Pankaj Saab pays a tribute to few greats of film land. Of course the name Harry is an ode to Potter babu, but soon you realise he is not only referring to Potter babu but also another great fellow professional Harry Baweja; who needs no introduction. Realisation strikes only when in one of the scenes Shahid writes on piece of paper ‘’Main Harry” and suddenly yours truly loudly & instinctively responds Baweja . It is then you realise that this is the actual ‘Harry’ Pankaj Saab was referring to.
Sonam Kapoor’s Aayat simiilarly seems initially like a tribute to Gulzaar (who must be mighty pleased to watch a movie with a title that belonged to one of his films) & Chaiyya Chaiyya song(Remember Taweez banake pehnoon use…..Aayat ki tarah mil jaaye kahin). But dig deeper and you realise that this is a subtle & smart tribute is to a New Age Neo Noir Classic called as Agyaat made by RGV. Hence the name Aa(g)yat. To decipher these interpretations one has to be a cineman with some generous dose of Old Monk to refine your sensibilities.
Another elucidation which I cracked was that Sonam Kapoor‘s character was a Heavy metal/Rock music fan, considering that she gets up many times screaming from sleep in midst of a Metallica/Rammstein concert in her dreams (A nudge nudge wink wink ode to ‘Inception’ that was)
Kapur Saab also pays a tribute to the movie SAAWARIYA and an epic underwater film BLUE which is used a lot as colour co-ordination during movie in the art design, background etc.
In midst of all this our lovers separate after Babri Masjid demolition & meet 7 years later in Scotland where Aa(g)yat is selling tickets for a Mozart concert and Harry is a oh so uber cool Air force lad sporting a dapper moustache thinner than Sonam Kapoor’s eyebrows.
They meet, spend some time together, Harry Top Gun is called for a ride to bomb Tiger hill, lovers separate again, no communication, Harry Brown becomes paralysed, goes to Switzerland, sees Aa(g)yat from a train after 2 years, runs a marathon with a paralysed hand giving Mikha Singh a complex, finds Aa(g)yat with a dickhead beside and a 6 year old kid, expecting it to be her kid as if she gave birth to some mammal which ages 3 years faster than human. Finally they catch up in riot torn Gujrat with a horse & kid to end this 3 hour cinematic endeavour.
Lot of stress is given to intense acting where Aa(g)yat strikes poignant poses by lead and supporting cast of a stone faced & supremely intense Supriya Pathak (who has assumed gigantic proportions) and Anupam Kher as Timecrawler who disappears & comes back as per convenience . Also his character is called as Maacho which seems like it is an ode to Kher saab’s sinewy torso or a popular swear word. An interpretation that is completely dependent on the audience’s perception. Another smart move Pankaj saab.
If you missed shows like “The World This Week” by Prannoy Roy and wanted to travel the world, but didn’t know how, just sit back on your seat & relax and get to see a package tour which includes locations beginning with India and then moving to Scotland,America,Switzerland etc.
And to conclude this celluloid epic, Pankaj Kapur pays a tribute to the Indian Air Force (IAF) in his impeccable style. It is this avant garde sense of film making which the IAF didn’t understand and hence called for a ban on the film. Research and painstaking detailing done by the film makers is evident in scenes where you see Shahid Kapoor striking picture perfect poses with those oh so cool Ray Ban Aviator shades and with dialogues such as “Did you check the Air pressure?” , “Did you check the Humidity level”, “Did you check your bowel movements”….. Oops maybe he didn’t say the last statement.
Anyways with so much gyaan being received by yours truly through the film, couldn’t help but come out feeling blessed and enlightened. The high feeling which yours truly got after watching the film was something which even Old Monk would fail to achieve. Oh, there’s also the love story between Shahid & Sonam which transcends over these calamities & spans over a decade or so. But who the hell cares for a love story when you are getting so much worldly gyaan from it? Ok for the die hard romantics I would like to inform that this love story does meet its Logical end.
If you thought that Air force officers can’t dance then you gotta watch an item song during the end credits by Shahid where he and his fellow Air force comrades dance in their uniform showing classic moves. While writing this ode, yours truly has come to know that the IAF has also included a dance training session with Shiamak Davar in their future course . The result is for all to see. So what are you waiting for? ? Go and grab the tickets for Mausam and feel AWESOME.