We love to celebrate the fact that we are the best in the World despite the mediocrity of things which we do and produce. All our streets have world famous eateries or beauty parlours and similarly our filmmakers have been trying to make crossover films, now I guess since a decade. Yet Indian Filmmakers have not reached anywhere and there are tall claims which are always made like a recent instance of 7am Arivu’s producer mentioning it as a global Tamil Film, whatever that means, or more recently a section of people saying RA.One cannot be ignored and in my opinion both of these films could be overlooked and we would still be the same nation; producing movies with song and dance, which foreigners find funny and amusing.
Another curse which I feel we are facing is most of our audience are not exposed to Indian Cinema and it is just Bollywood that comes to their mind. No point in blaming them for it is our fault that we do not market our films properly, but then we as a nation sent Jeans for Oscars, isn’t it?
Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls- Bergman, Ingmar.
I am going to share with you two films, which as Bergman quoted went into dark rooms of my soul- first one of which is a Marathi Film Vihir and other being Gandu a Bengali film.
I will be with you in the grave
On the night you leave behind
Your shop and your family.
When you hear my soft voice
echoing in your tomb,
you will realize
that you were never hidden from my eyes.
I am the pure awareness within your heart,
with you during joy and celebration,
suffering and despair.
A Poem by Rumi
The movie opens with a sequence where 2 cousins are playing hide and seek with Umesh not wasting any time to establish the protagonists of this movie. The elder one has given his SSC exam and he shares a wonderful camaraderie with his younger cousin in 9th grade and lives in the city, established by exchange of letters between them. We realize how the elder cousin is trying to find out what life means, while the younger one is in awe of his cousin brother.
There is one scene in the beginning of the movie, where the elder brother explains the scene at an examination hall and for anyone who has given their SSC exam from Maharashtra board, it’s easily identifiable.
But then this movie is not about cousins, it is about life and death; how both play hide and seek with each other.
Life and death are balanced on the edge of a razor.
The movie shifts its action towards marriage, that of Nachiket (Elder Cousin) and Sameer (Younger Cousin)’s younger aunt’s wedding. Mind you this is a true Indian family, unlike the Rajshri productions and YRF movies where everyone is happy and enjoying marriage with no tension about money or family politics. The family is marred with problems like shortage of funds for marriage, a wastrel uncle and fights over family property. This is where Nachiket cannot fathom that the world is not what it seems. As he is tired of the fights, failure at understanding the dark side of life. He explains this to his cousin, in a letter how the school does a mockery of proverbs by writing it everywhere but without bothering to inculcate the values. As he says for a student in India it just 3 choices Arts, Science and Commerce. Meanwhile Sameer looks upon Nachiket for guidance, but then when they talk which is the highlight of the film, you realize the gap between their ideas.
Sameer is unable to understand the shift in his elder brother’s behavior. But then as I mentioned, this movie is about life and death and how death strikes. Now Sameer has to confront death in his life and rest of its story being about how he learns life, meets people who change his perception towards it and finally discovering the bond between him and Nachiket again.
I would not be exaggerating if this is one of the best films ever made in Marathi cinema and one of the best Indian film from last decade.This is a movie, which has to be savored for its moments, as rarely do we see Indian filmmakers rising above mediocrity and giving such gems.
Sudhir Palanse’s camerawork is top notch; it looks so effortless the way he captures Maharashtra beautifully. Girish Kulkarni and Satee Bhave deserve full credit for writing such a heartwarming story of life and death while Umesh Kulkarni is one of the directors whom I can say will take us to road of Global Cinema. Madan Deodhar (Sameer) & Alok Rajwade (Nachiket) were brilliant in their portrayal of respective characters with such fine restraint and wish they could get more roles.
Gandu thankfully and hopefully will break all those stereotypes and it may give birth to change in filmmaking.
Gandu is directed by Kaushik Mukherjee, aka Q. Let me say beforehand Gandu is not any new kind of filmmaking if you follow Japanese or Korean Movies, but is trendsetting and it takes a lot of courage to produce and direct such a film in India.
Gandu (Asshole) is living with his mother in Kolkata, in what seems is the house provided by her lover Dasbabu. The relationship between them seems to be based on lust rather than love and Gandu always steals money from the wallet of Dasbabu, to buy cigarettes and lottery ticket, while Dasbabu is having sex with his mother. He expresses his anger towards society with his Rap, unlike Bollywood where Rap begins and ends with baby.
We follow Gandu everywhere, while he is surfing porn on cyber, while writing rap, masturbating when watching porn, his inability to hit back Rickshaw and how he boils in his rage. Therein lays a difference to understand the character, share his frustration and disappointment without even a single dialogue, bringing out the beauty of such film making.
One of the highlight of this movie is when Gandu befriends Rickshaw; a fanatic fan of Bruce lee, like Tamilians are of Rajni. It is at this time that the visuals and chemistry between actors, music and everything emerges into one providing a bit of comic relief.
The movie falters when director Q enters the scene for it hampers the hyper kinetic energy of this chaotic movie. Although going by the flow of story it makes perfect sense and the only few minutes of colour in this movie is as entertaining as the rest of the movie.
This may not be a path breaking for those who follow International Cinema, neither does director Q claim it, but is one of those movie that should not only be read about too. A chaotic, visually orgasmic, poetry in motion and sometimes confused with its lead character, make this a must watch.
Concluding, I would like to add a cliché that do yourself a favour and watch this; one may like it or hate it, but nobody will come out of this unaffected.