Posts Tagged ‘ Istiyak Khan ’

Tamasha

tamasha-poster

Tamasha
Release date: November 27, 2015
Directed by: Imtiaz Ali
Cast: Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Piyush Mishra, Javed Sheikh, Vivek Mushran, Istiyak Khan

Tamasha is not a “rom-com” as you may have been led to believe by any person, living or dead; any source, correct or invalid. If it were just a “love story”, I’d call it lopsided, as I often blame Imtiaz Ali’s constructed romances of being that way. Right from the start of the film, it gives you a lot to chew on: a running gag between a clown and a Tin Man-like robot which soon transcends into a small backstory of one of the film’s protagonists, which is interspersed by flashes of tales that the said protagonist heard from an old storyteller in Shimla.

Then, it’s untidily divided into four chapters. “Teja Ka Sona”, “Ishk Wala Love”, “Andar Ki Baat” and “Don Returns”. Two good looking strangers from India meet each other in Corsica, France. They promise to not reveal their identity or anything about their lives, that they wouldn’t try to chase the other once they’re back in India. The man assumes the name “Don”, after the fictional character played by Amitabh Bachchan in the ’70s. The woman takes off after another popular character from the same era, and calls herself “Mona Darling”. They talk in pop references and chirp on without the possibility of any future between them.

The woman remains to be infatuated with the man, even years after they’ve gone their different ways. She traces him down to his usual bar and introduces herself as Tara (Deepika Padukone) and gets to know his actual name, Ved (Ranbir Kapoor). This man, is quite unlike the Don in Corsica, Tara observes. He looks at the watch every time he leaves her house, yes-mans his way to a successful job, isn’t very interesting at all. He’s almost robotic. Uses the electric toothbrush, washes his car, knots his tie, all in clockwork fashion. None of it is exactly a bad thing per se, it’s just he’s never himself, or as Tara puts it, “Tum koi aur ho“, that he isn’t what he shows.

Tara’s disillusionment with Ved’s changed demeanor triggers the “Don” in him. He lashes out in spurts, going back to his showy, loud and “fun” ways, in the middle of corporate presentations. He gets reprimanded by his boss (Vivek Mushran) and teeters on the verge of losing his job. He doesn’t know what to do.

There’s a whole lotta ‘he’ doing a lot of running and panting after a wedge is driven between her and him. He’s set on a course of self-discovery and self-realization, where interestingly the romantic partner doesn’t feature in extensive long montages. It’s all about him. It isn’t even love for someone else that drives him. That is what differentiates this film from Imtiaz Ali’s other films. Ved is striving to break free from his own partly self-imposed mediocrity. He doesn’t blame anyone, how a younger Ved could have. Perhaps his father, or the society or his entire family. This older Ved doesn’t. He understands that his packaging as a manufactured sales manager has as much to do with himself as well.

The level of acceptance for this man’s antics could depend on your threshold for man-child like behaviour, yet in one of those moments, his conversation with a rickshaw driver (Istiyak Khan) occurs. The whole sequence is simply magical. As a matter of fact, there aren’t many ensemble characters here, just like other Ali films, but Vivek Mushran as the grammatically incorrect boss and Istiyak Khan as the surrendered rickshaw driver pull as much traction as they can with their pitch perfect performances.

Tamasha struggles to keep the balance intact between being a commercial venture and a self-indulgent story. There are songs thrust, just to infuse “life” in the events for the casual viewer. Probably, even to change the flow of the film at a whim. There are exuberant innovative cuts to stories that Ved relates his life situations with, and then there are times when the film obnoxiously gets meta or maybe deliberately dumbs down the proceedings to flash “flashback” in a FLASHBACK sequence.

Deepika Padukone’s natural charisma is ever-so-omnipresent and her chemistry with Kapoor is formidable, yet never fully utilized to extract the pulp out of it. Ranbir Kapoor has the film thrown into his kitty, which he catches quite easily. It’s too much of the same old characterization for him to work his socks off. He mimics Dev Anand very well too, and that is a revelation. His character is hard to emphasize with right until the third act of the film, which doesn’t work in the film’s favor. But hey, who’d wanna see a “whiny, crying loser” for two-thirds of the film?

Flashes of brilliance are aplenty and A.R. Rahman’s compositions are affluent in their short and diverse range. They get Alka Yagnik and Sukhvinder Singh to sing perfectly timed relevant songs! The track with Piyush Mishra as the old storyteller deserves a special mention for itself. You have to watch the film for that.

You could be someone who’s living someone else’s story and waiting for a storyteller to tell you the outcome of your own life’s story, or you could simply write one for yourself. Tamasha could not be a very easy film to like, but it’s got so much to give, packed in its runtime of 155 minutes, it’s not fair to call this a poor film.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

Mastram

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Mastram
Release date: May 9, 2014
Directed by: Akhilesh Jaiswal
Cast: Rahul Bagga, Tara Alisha Berry, Istiyak Khan

Do you know: Sex is a simple and primary form of interaction between one, two or more humans. Or dolls, toys and bionic hand simulators. Yeah, you knew that. Now it may be simple, but how one gets around to it and the perceived complexity that surrounds it is what makes me interested in films which deal with sex as a subtheme. How sex is supposed to be serious, life-altering and how I shouldn’t even be writing about it–makes me all the more interested and irreverent towards it.

Mastram isn’t a film that ‘deals’ with sex upfront; it’s originally a story of a failed writer trying to get his literary works published. Rajaram (Rahul Bagga) is a reticent, young man who has aspirations of making it big in a small town in Himachal. His writings are too idealistic and they are restricted to that. No reason to cheer or jeer for his works is ever established. You can’t decipher what exactly is his writing style and nor are you supposed to care about it, apparently. He gets talked into marrying Renu (Tara Alisha Berry) and now he has a family of his own, and a bank job that he detests.

When he tries to sit down and ‘write’ a story, he couldn’t get anything in his mind, and that’s when one old chap at the tea shop (local cafe) advises him to just keep his eyes open and keep looking around. Throughout, he’s been looking around, sometimes at his neighbour’s wife Savita or at his own wife Renu. He keeps his ears open while his barber makes small talk. Even in an inebriated state, while walking home from the bar with his friend Mahesh (Istiyak Khan) he looks for the ‘masala’ that he’s been asked by the publishers to pepper his work with. This looking for inspiration part turned out to be my favorite up until the halfway mark.

Extra posters because they are awesome.

Extra posters because they are awesome.

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In search of ‘masala’, he discovers what the publishers need and he gives it to them. Masala their knickers can’t handle. And from here on, his metamorphosis from Rajaram to Mastram initiates. He takes ordinary tales of lust and turns them into lore of erotica, which never emphasize on sex, but are all about “feelings”. Or so Rajaram claims. He gets to dance with success, but not with his serious works as Rajaram. This makes him depressed and consumed by excessive pride simultaneously. He turns desperate and wanders close to home for his inspiration.

The proverbial downfall comes knocking along, but not how you expect it to. This is where the excessively simplified plot seems lacking, a more stinging punch could have been better. The dichotomy created in the writer’s life by the double standards of his own readers was good for me, but the execution let off some major steam. Rahul Bagga puts up a stoic face for most of the duration of the film, which is confusing and aversive at certain points. The build to each escapade that he fantasizes about, however amusing, comes undone in front of that final conflict.

Baniye Ka Lollipop, Nurse Ki Suhagraat are fun, and cater to what they promise, Mastram’s own story could have been more. Is it a disappointment then? Not at all. I liked it in spite of its shortcomings.

My rating: *** (3 out of 5)

 

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