Posts Tagged ‘ Pankaj Kapur ’

Finding Fanny

finding-fanny-poster
Finding Fanny
Release date: September 12, 2014
Directed by: Homi Adajania
Cast: Deepika Padukone, Naseeruddin Shah, Dimple Kapadia, Arjun Kapoor, Pankaj Kapur, Anand Tiwari

Deepika Padukone’s voice narrates the story of a bunch of people from a place called Pocolim in Goa, which you shouldn’t bother looking for on a map. Perhaps telling us how it doesn’t really matter if the space exists or not, but paints a picture of how things go at their own pace in this sleepy yet colorful surrounding.

Ferdy (Naseeruddin Shah) is an overgrown choir boy who still hasn’t given up on singing for the church. Angie (Deepika Padukone) catches a rooster from a flock of chickens with her bare hands, and says sorry to him before chopping his head off. Rosalina (Dimple Kapadia) is a hardnosed voluptuous queen bee to the people of Pocolim and a compassionate mother-in-law and a doting mother-like figure to her cat and anyone who needs her. Don Pedro (Pankaj Kapur) is a fledgling painter who’s obsessed about his muses until he’s done painting them. Savio (Ajun Kapoor) is a scorned admirer of Angie who’s inherited 10 dentures and a crumbling house as his family’s legacy.

The five of them leave for an inadvertently selfless road trip in Don Pedro’s car, chauffeured by Savio, which is motivated by Angie’s intentions to help Ferdy know of what happened to the only woman he loved in his life, and what could have happened if his letter professing his love for her had reached the woman. Angie works the wheels around and makes the group of five oddballs assemble, even for their own selfish interests. The premise is thin, and every time Angie says it out loud, you cringe a little.

Their individual traits keep being manifested as they drive further. Often raking up age-old classic comedy shticks and lines of popular deadpan sarcasm, Homi Adajania and Kersi Khambatta place them in a way which makes them seem fit for the characters mouthing those one-liners. Nothing is absurdly serious in the journey, not even death. Finding Fanny prods you to not take life seriously itself, in a whimsically metaphoric way.

The resolution of the final act is too candid and simple, representative of the entire film itself. The resounding message in the end isn’t an unheard or unseen one, yet it’s delectably enjoyable. Mathias Duplessy’s Goan undercurrents to the film’s background score and music soak you in the free-flowing atmosphere. Adajania doesn’t delve extensively in establishing Goa’s aesthetics and lifestyles with his DP Anil Mehta, instead they reduce the clutter by just focusing solely on the protagonists.

Yes, ‘protagonists’. Finding Fanny isn’t just the story of one protagonist, it very well breaks the Bollywood barrier of sticking to one character’s defeats and victories. It’s the collective lives intertwined simply to form a no-frills outright comedy fest with an underline of love. All the mentioned actors are so drenched in the atmosphere of the film, it’s almost as if Pankaj Kapur has always been this sleazy lech, or Mr. Shah has been this fumbling loverboy. Finding Fanny creates a space where you almost forget that all five of them have played so many roles outside the canvas of this film; which in itself is terribly commendable.

My rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5)

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Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

MKBKM poster

MKBKM poster

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola
Release date: January 11, 2013
Directed by: Vishal Bhardwaj
Cast: Pankaj Kapur, Anushka Sharma, Imran Khan, Shabana Azmi, Arya Babbar

With a rustic settlement and background of a liquor store in the middle of a farm and a limousine in the foreground, this is how the film aims at being ‘unpredictable’ right from the start. And it somewhat comes through as that, given the commercial viability of it. Yes, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (MKBKM) is comparably the most commercial venture in Vishal Bhardwaj’s catalogue. No, it isn’t neo-noir or supremely grim in its black comedy.

The plot covers a drunkard, Hari Mandola (Pankaj Kapur) who has rechristened himself to a more English Harry Mandola. The juxtaposition of his both sides, i.e. Hari and Harry are absolutely contradicting. When he drinks, he becomes an earthy cuss word mouthing locale where he even calls himself a selfish person, and the royal Harry is a tough whip-bearing admonisher. He’s hired Matru (Imran Khan) primarily to keep an eye on his drinking habits, or so he says.

The village in which they live in is named after Mandola himself. Just like any other ‘progressive’ state’s farmers face the issue of relocation and giving up their land for the creation of Special Economic Zones and the eventual setup of a production plant, Mandola’s farmers have the same problems. They aren’t pleased with the state and try to reach out to a mercenary Mao. Though not a direct representation of Maoists, but the character is surely symbolic. Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) is Mandola’s daughter who’s about to get married for the mutual benefit of her father and Chaudhary Devi (Shabana Azmi) to her son Baadal (Arya Babbar).

The cinematography remains brilliant and vivid throughout the length of the film. The best display of photography is during the, okay wait (for you to judge) The writing keeps varying between satire and pure realism to completely hilarious debaucheries. Except for Navneet Nishan’s pink wardrobe shtick almost everything is acceptable. Pankaj Kapur’s acting prowess is on outright display and there’s no reason to complain. His inebriated Haryanvi mouthings are perhaps the heart of his character. Many will complain about Anushka Sharma’s portrayal of Bijlee or rather complain about seeing her play out the exact same person that she did in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. But it’s not really her fault or is it.

Imran Khan has not much meat in what’s written for him or his beautiful beard conceals any secret heavy emotions he’s played out. I am fairly confused. The second half has moments that slow down the course of the film and the climax takes the age-old approach of crashing a wedding, but it’s quite fun. There’s mush at the end, but it isn’t cringe-inducing mush. Also, there are immaculate beards all around the village.

MKBKM isn’t a dark-themed out and out draining emotional drama, but is rather a tutorial for our writers on how they can infuse genuine wit and black comedy without sucking out the life from the narrative of the film. It’s a fun-filled entertainer that has its brain in the right place.

My rating: ***1/2 (3.5 out of 5)

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