Monday, 15 September 2008

Uncommon movies about common people.............

Last few months witnessed 3 movies which dwelled upon the same theme. Raj Kumar Gupta's 'Aamir', Nishikant Kamat's 'Mumbai Meri Jaan' and Neeraj Pandey's 'A Wednesday'. Though these movies are different from each other, they effectively form a trilogy of sorts.

If you have not seen them, then don't read further as there are quite a few spoilers ahead.

The first one , Aamir which had a quite unusual script of a common man being forced to place a bomb in a bus. Though there might be similarities with
'Cavite', I feel the movie is firmly set in Indian milieu. As a thriller it did a very good job. The seedy underbelly of Mumbai is laid exposed by the camera and the story line is so plausible that it makes you wonder.Though it did not preach , it did leave a subtle message of doing the right thing no matter what the circumstances are.

Mumbai Meri Jaan on the other hand deals with the after math of such bomb attacks. It depicts the trauma the, the victims and their relatives undergo and also their reactions to such a tragedy. Through multiple story lines it analyses the psych of the people who were affected by the blasts.

May it be a corporate executive, who develops a fear of travelling in local trains and also makes him rethink about not wanting to leave India and head for USA.Or may it be the story of a tea vendor who uses the panic and hysteria to get back on those who humiliated him, which leads to a near fatal incident and making him repent. Or the story of a right wing fanatic hell bent on proving a particular person guilty and realising how wrong he had been to stereotype. The story of a hotheaded rookie constable trying to come to grips with the vast chasm that lies between idealism and reality. The world weary senior constable at the twilight of his career trying to teach the rookie with the ways of the world. Last but not least the story of a TV news reporter, who becomes the subject of a 'sensational news' after she loses her loved one in the blasts. The irony of the situation doesn't escape her as she is bombarded with the same kind of questions that she used to ask - with out any thought- victims of other tragedies in the name of journalism.

All these stories either ask questions or leave messages, some subtle and some not so subtle. At the end its a very effective motion picture.

The last one and in my opinion probably the most powerful of the lot is 'A Wednesday'. One cannot describe the movie without giving away the plot. A call to the police commissioner about bombs being placed in various parts of the city and the demand to release few terrorists seems like a leaf out of the standard book of hackneyed movie scripts.But the twist(some might guess it early), when it comes knocks you out with a sucker punch and leaves you gasping .

As the 'stupid common man' vents his anger over the system,police, politicians and himself, you realise its exactly what you always fantasised to do.One might question the plausibility of the story and the message its trying to leave (just like 'Rang de Basanti' did), there is no denying of the fact that its a story which you cannot ignore. As one of the character at the end of the movie states, I too felt that it was right and good.

The common thread in these movies, apart from that they deal with terrorism, they are also stories of common men and women who you see everyday. And it is this fact that makes it easier for us to identify and relate with the protagonists.

The other common factor among all these movies is that they were small movies with no star power whatsoever.The directors were making their Hindi debut (though Nishikant Kamat had earlier helmed the Marathi gem

'Dombivli Fast' and its Tamil remake 'Evano Oruvan') .Also credit must go to UTV motion pictures which backed all three movies.They came without any fanfare and surprised us.

When the time comes to pick movies to be sent to Oscars, I sincerely hope that these movies are given due consideration and one of them gets picked (my pick is 'A Wednesday') instead of succumbing to various lobbies and send out a 'blockbuster'.There might be movies from other Indian languages which I might not have heard and equally worth of a nomination. Even if they do not win, we can be proud of the fact that we sent a good movie and at least tell the west that Indian movies are not just about songs in Switzerland, dons in Australia.

With only 3 months remaining, I don't see any other movies which can be as captivating as these. But it has been a year of surprises and if someone else decides to spring something wonderful on me in the coming months, then bring it on....

Image Courtesy: Wikipedia


Pradeep said...

Aamir and Wednesday were gripping with suspense and tension... I liked mumbai meri jaan the most.... more close to what a common man would go through at such times....

Ravi Kiran said...


From common man's perspective, yes, Mumbai Meri Jaan is close to reality where as Aamir is a common man's nightmare and A Wednesday is common man's fantasy......