I call Nagesh the spectrum of cinema because he goes beyond the visible range, sometimes into unknown measures, which can only be felt and not seen.
When I just heard about a Nagesh Kukunoor’s film not being able to find producer, I was shocked, and felt sad for Bollywood. That man should’ve been the face of new Bollywood. Instead, he’s meandering along the course where he’s bound to be forgotten unless someone supports it. He’ll make it good somewhere, surely the film festival culture has supported good filmmakers, and now, is at its peak. It’s the loss of Bollywood.
Let’s start from the start; Bollywood is having a beautiful heir-culture. King’s son becomes king, landlord’s son becomes landlord, farmer’s son becomes farmer, and an actor’s son or director’s son becomes actor or director. Wait, didn’t progress mean freedom of choosing your own profession? The kings have long gone, landlords are almost gone, farmers can’t go anywhere but even their children have a sense of freedom. But actors just meander around thin line, and an actor’s son is qualified to be an actor, if he fails he can try at direction or production.
|One of the revolutionaries of movement called Parallel Ciname|
Let me tell another story. There was a young boy who dreamed of being a filmmaker. He qualified as an engineer and went to US. Still, the dream didn’t die. He saved money, made a film in 17 lakhs. It got critical acclaim at various film festivals, got rewarded as India’s most successful independent film. It was shot in 17 days straight.
Hyderabad Blues started it. Then he made Rockford. Amazingly, from filming a story of a couple set in Hyderabad which is recognized for use of Hyderabad Urdu correctly for the first time, he moved into a school and hostel, and uncovered the tales of growing students underlying various issues which were hardly ever dealt with before. At places, he was terrifyingly honest in his treatment, yet messages were conveyed in the right way, and not in preachy words.
Shawshank Redemption was then remade into 3 Walls (or 3 Deewarein). When you see this film in isolation, and you don’t know that Nagesh has set up a classic film in Indian circumstances, you won’t know. That’s the style. In his first two films, he’d set himself up as a realist, who showed everything true. In the third, he showed his knowledge and creativity by remaking a masterpiece, and still making a masterpiece only.
|3 Deewarein: Remake of Shawshank Redemption|
Bollywood Calling was a satire on Bollywood itself. A beautiful satire, it got you thinking, and left a deep message. And it was an entertainer. Thorough entertainer, like Hyderabad Blues, like Rockford, this film carried a message throughout. 3 Walls was something else altogether. Hardly have we had good satires on the insides of Bollywood, and of ageing actors and young actresses and how films are made and egos run films.
Hyderabad Blues 2 came, just a usual sequel. While the first one was when he was getting used to coming back from abroad and finding a girl, the second one focused on issues of marriage. Modern day marriage is beautifully captured. He was going on establishing himself beyond ordinary realistic directors by bringing out films after films capturing reality, yet each different from the other. He lived his life through his films.
Iqbal came, then. Anyone who’s seen it will vouch for it being pure magic. A story so beautifully told. Not preachy, but hiding a message inside as sublime as iron inside our blood. We don’t really know it, but the color is given by it. Shreyas Talpade, an amazing actor, was given a break via this film. The film moved into a village, dealt with Muslim characters never giving any bias to anyone against any religion. Now how many of the films can do it? Also, on cricket, hardly any good films are there. This one just made the cut, being in top 5 sports film in the world according to imdb.
Dor was in every way sequel to Iqbal, bigger, better, and carrying a message and seriousness, uncovering layers of human emotions, handling many issues, yet never compromising on story-telling. It was serious cinema with a hint of satire, realistic humor, and some entertainment provided purely by Shreyas Talpade’s acting genius, in a character which could’ve been called unnecessary by many. The film though, belonged to Ayesha Takia and Gul Panag, and remains there best film till date.
Sorry to break my one paragraph per film rule I’d in evidently set, but Dor deserves more. This is a story of a girl from Himachal, a Muslim, Zeenat. She goes to find Meera, from Rajasthan, a young widow, to help save her husband, who’s given death sentence for Meera’s husband’s murder. The story is believable, and that’s what is heart-warming. The story tackles issue of love marriage, of friendships, between friendship and love, of the status of widows, of various other issues, all embedded in a very fine story.
If you ever wish to test whether you are human or you’ve changed to adapt to practical life, you should watch some very fine emotional films meandering on thin line of realistic emotional expressions in cinematic language. Dor is one of those, where if you don’t feel anything, you aren’t probably human. Editing, cinematography, music, all add to the film. Imaan ka asar and yeh haunsla stay with you.
I don’t really know why Bombay to Bangkok was made. An idea to make a cross-language humorous love story is good; it has been tried and tested. The film wasted talents, most importantly of Nagesh Kukunoor. The film, still better than most of today’s super hit entertainers, is a dark spot on his career.
8X10 Tasveer is another movie which takes another route, just like Nagesh likes. This was one of the under-rated but amazingly well made films. Akshay Kumar did his role very well, was restrained for the role which is superb because of the demand of the role. Ayesha Takia is superb again. Direction is amazing, and it truly has the thrills and pace. Slackening at times, obviously, because of the romance and songs probably.
Aashayein is a through-and-through feel-good film. John Abraham’s best performance along with Water, in both of which, I felt it wasn’t the normal John. The ensemble cast, however, is amazing. A story about a man diagnosed with cancer leaving everything and going to a rehabilitation center. The meaning of life is portrayed through beautiful storytelling involving emotions, and dreams, and impossible reality. Highlights for me were dream sequences involving Indiana Jones. Everybody loves fantasy, and to bring out so innocently and in a believable way takes some skill.
Mod, his last released project, was a beautiful film again. Taking on another serious issue, split personality, and the same theme as Dor: How far will you go to save your love. It’s another amazing concept, and amazingly well told emotions. The only glitch here is editing, for the first 15 minutes do not generate the kind of interest this film should. There are thrills, there are emotional moments, there are beautiful performances. Ranvijay is surprisingly good for his second film and essaying a difficult role. Ayesha Takia is always great when in a Nagesh film.
The moving canvas that Nagesh paints with vivid colors in every film, every film vivid in itself; yet the overall contrast he brings in various films makes you think it isn’t as vivid. Only great actors have essayed different roles in different films, for a director, it’s much more difficult because you do live a life every film and to make it real, you need to paint real emotions. This director is a modern-day genius blessed with amazing sense of emotions and story-telling, and packaged with a technical brilliance that is hard to come by. Add to that, a strange satire in many of his films on the society.
|yeh haunsla kaise ruke?|
It is this reason which makes me feel it’s not good for Bollywood to lose him out to financial gains. We need to start supporting good films. As for him, he’s made films which splendor us in varying degrees of hope and positivity. He won’t be giving up in what he does best.