A city that tells thousands of stories each day, a city that weaves the magic for a million people everyday and a city that creates as much as it destroys each day – it was logical that something would pay tribute to its various layers and shades in typical Bollywood fashion but with a hint of betrayal – replace the glitz and the pseudonyms with gleams of passion and realism.
Sitting in Arch lights for the closing gala, I had but one apprehension – will the collective genius of al those makers fail the intelligent and glamor seeking audience in the congregation – c’on, the pick of junta there was either uber rich or over eager in their own endeavors…
Promod Bhai…23: Anurag Kashyap
What a find! The kid playing the protagonist is a true find. If Darsheel floored you with his dreamy look, watch one sequence in this short where the boy’s classmate mocks him for lying excessively – that one log shot from the POV of Promod Bhai… continuous taunts… glaring look… the subtle yet powerful stance of defiance to hold himself… what a shot!
The short did not work for me… Knowing Anurag, I guess I have too much of expectation but brilliant is a lesser word… The problem with great scripts, especially when a lot of mathematics is involved and you know the string puller is a genius is you work out the math… A random character does not quite make sense and for someone who is adept and understanding the common game of “inserting randomness”, the plot is crystal clear. And you are talking about Anurag… Fabulous timing to end the shot… I shall dare to speak again after the release.
Mumbai Bombay Same Shit: Rahul Dolakhia
For me, this short stood out. It’s brazen, arrogant and in your face. It will make you say all that you ever wanted to about the city but hold on… this short says it all. Jimmy’s talent as an actor was never questioned… especially when he plays a rich spoilt brat that he should actually be but is not. The conflict and intervening of lust among all the classes is a subject so well depicted that for 10mins you feel – dyamm, is it Indian Cinema. For all the naysayers who cower in front of 21st century take on Bombay, eat this!
The Ball: Sudhir Mishra
Sudhir is an intimidating persona. A sound bite to make it interesting, when said this to his face by PFC’s OM on his appearance, he replies “It is your insecurity young man!”. So actually not discussing his short helped because what may have been is making me remember the short very vividly. A small boy’s quest to nab a ball from the hands of a murdered man. Simple premise… a guy on the bike whirls on the screen and the next whirls you too…
Who is Soha? Lover perhaps? Who knows… but the memory of a dead man is till he is in front of you – atleast in Mumbai he is…
The only preachy short. Suited to Mumbai – not really, it talks about any other city too. I could relate it to Hyderabad a lot… human trafficking… brilliant ending though… the urge to give up is too tempting in the face of adversary… Vinay Pathak’s dialogues looked forced to me but Revathy smiled and we spoke for a while so I care less now… I was star-struck by her simplicity… Take a bow maam!
Anjaane Dost: Jahnu barua
His short spoke of age and experience. He choose a subject that is so true and the antagonist was me, word for word. Conflict of the young and old told through the 70’s cinema line of tender being missed by an aged employee only to be fired when makes a comeback with vengeance. Simple, effective, common man’s anxiety and dilemma explored with finesse… Jahnu Barua, try watching his work. As Sudhir Mishra put it, Indian Cinema is incomplete without him.
Rituparno Ghosh: Urge – My fav short
101 to short film making. Brilliant pauses, crisp transition, regulated repeats and coherent story telling. Four stories of people begging for last chance. Remember that last math problem that you need to pass the exam and when you said” please god, just this one and I will study like hell, only that you din’t. Remember the first time you wanted to be kissed and when you prayed that you will never want it again(at least to the girl that’s what you said)… dud! 4 realistic stories… Ranvir – Brilliant as ever.
Middle Class… the class that defines India makes kids do the following: Be an engineer, slog to be a doctor or teach them to aim to be a govt servant… but all the kids want to do just two things… Be Cricket Stars or Act in films…
A sentiment as straight forward as this is approached through a family as diverse yet common place as the one assembled… a rich bahu who holds the family together, a dutiful elder son who works 6days to feed the family, a brat of a younger son with girlfriends and dreams, a mother who fusses and a father who is oblivious… All in all a family drama that reminds all of Hum Log… Perfect to the spec! Watch this… its will make the old and better Hindi / Telugu soaps alive…
Kundan Shah –The Train Journey.
There is a reason why the entire IFFLA portico stood up when the man walked in. There is a reason why people walk behind him or stand behind him, people who are worthy of their actions and not words… people at IFFLA who bow to him and behave… not Bollywood but directors of the caliber who are invited to make momentous films. Mr. Kundan Shah is one. Would it be great if he made a mind-blowing comedy… or a serious educative and punitive people’s drama… he chose the most familiar aspect of Mumbai… the trains and made a monologue that is an art that is being passed on for third rate acting! Hilarious, funny and at times introspective… its difficult to sit through it… I could see most in the theatre leaving for a break… the narrative doesn’t pause… I am a nobody to critique the man’s work but sir, using posters to tell a story and recreate scenes was such a fun to watch… Hats off!
Jo Palta Woh Rickshaw Nahin: Ruchi narin
Aah… very apt portrayal of when you say I am bindass in a city and when you don’t. A breezy short… a breezy narrative. I may have missed something in it or perhaps I am over digressing but the short speaks volumes of how a small encounter can change a city that a person loves all his/her life.
All in all the approach to the making of Mumbai Cutting works for me. A land that does not recognize anything without a Sir-name actor/director/producer/dancer/fight-master/spot boy and coffee table talk show host – this method to integrate creativity in parts does make me want to come to theaters. Most will disagree and I stayed away from talking/digressing about the films with the directors afterwards, maybe that’s what I love the film so much but what’s harm I ask? All right some shorts had shortcomings as agreed by a world-class director at the venue but who cares when such genius are back in at least small amounts to work freely when millions are poured on fakes who rape the art form of film-making with family prejudices and regional bias.
P.S: I missed the QnA ( both formal and PFC’s informal ) but then, I would not write what I did above if I would have spoken to the makers. I missed a few shorts as I don’t remember them but all in all – Watch this!