Udaan

Udaan

Starring Ronit Roy, Ram Kapoor and Rajat Barmecha.
Watched this movie recently and enjoyed it thoroughly.

The story revolves around a 17 year old boy rebelling against an oppressive and abusive father. 17 year old , Rohan ( Rajat Barmecha ) gets expelled from school along with three of his friends for sneaking out of school to watch a C- grade movie. He returns home , a stranger;  to a father he hasn’t met in 8 years and to a 6 year old step brother who he hadn’t known existed.

The dynamics between father Bhairav Singh ( Actor Ronit Roy) and son , Rohan is strained due to the dictatorial attitude of the father. The suppressed violence in Bhairav Singh, just bubbling under the surface is all too evident.

Though the film doesn’t depict much graphic violence, the violent side of Bhairav Singh is characterized well.

Bhairav Singh is, most definitely, not an out and out villain, but he does come pretty close to it. He is shown as a bottled up character with a lot of problems. I would have personally preferred to see a character who had more shades of grey, which might have made it more realistic.

Arjun Singh, the younger step brother of Rohan , enacted by Aayan Boradia, tugs at your heart. The film scores, on the way it shows the relationship between Rohan and young Arjun blossom slowly.

Rohan’s aspirations of becoming a writer are brutally squashed by his no-nonsense father who has already charted out his son’s career as an engineer. Bhairav Singh scorns his son and has no compunction of using any barb including taunting his masculinity.
Rohan’s need to assert himself and Bhairav’s Singh’s need for absolute control are at loggerheads and finally, the day arrives when the fragile bond snaps. The turning point happens when even 6 year Arjun is not spared the
violent side of his father.The dam of all Rohan’s built up frustration gives way and he vents it all out on his father’s car.

The film has some good music and good poetry. The camaraderie and the dialogues of Rohan and his buddies is typically adolescent  and depicted well, though the dialogues do get a wee-bit stilted at times. And some of the scenes do seem to lack that touch of polish.

All in all, a very good movie and a must see.

I liked the way the movie ended but you are not going to hear it from me. Hope I can tantalize you to go watch the movie.  🙂

Charulata – A film by Satyajit Ray


One of the best movies I have watched – This film by Satyajit Ray is a masterpiece.

Based on a story by Rabrindranath Tagore, the movie is set in the 19th century, post British colonization of India. The film revolves around the conflict experienced by the protagonist Charulata played by Actress Madhabi Mukherjee.

Charulata’s husband Bhupati played by Sailen Mukherjee, is one of the archetypical rich Bengal landlords of those times who had lot of time on their hands to devote to various pursuits.Bhupati is an intellectual who is shown passionate about publishing political news. Due to his publishing business, Bhupati hardly has anytime for Charu but is sensitive enough to sense her loneliness. When Bhupati’s brother, Amal played by Soumitra Chatterjee comes to live with them for some time, Charu finds herself attracted towards him. Her loneliness is very beautifully depicted , not because of a dearth of people around her but due to her craving for the intellectual stimulation of a companion, as interested as her, in literary pursuits. That craving drives her to step outside the boundaries set by the society even though Bhupati is depicted as a very considerate husband.Bhupati is completely unaware of any undercurrents as his newspaper work is collapsing due to misappropriation of funds by his trusted manager. Eventually, even Amal falls prey to Charu’s attractions but the dilemma he faces is immense and finally decides to leave. After the collapse of his business, Bhupati takes Charu out for a sojourn during which he again gets inspired to start another newspaper with Charu’s support. But as fate would have it, a letter from Amal, is all it takes for Charu to break down completely and is witnessed inadvertently by Bhupati. Charu becomes aware that her husband has witnessed her and awaits his decision.
The turmoil of Bhupati’s mind is shown very well and the last scene when they both extend their hand hesitatingly is frozen with unsaid words and emotions.

The film is a study in complex human emotions. All the characters are caught in the web of their emotions. Madhabi emotes extremely well conveying all the angst experienced by the character. Words are made redundant as the expressions convey much more. The scene when Amal tells Charu that his brother wanted him to convince her to write and her subsequent anger is very eloquent. The film has been able to bring out the subtlety of emotions of the human mind but the understanding of the complexity of female emotions is a masterstroke. Symbolic depiction of the turmoil and anxiety is very eloquent. The camera angles, the shots capturing the emotions on the faces of the characters establish communication with the viewer in a way in which spoken dialogues can never do.
The last scene when Bhupati’s extends his hand is also pregnant with thoughts and the beauty lies in the fact, that it has the capacity to let each viewer interpret it for oneself.

The picturization in black and white. The play of light and shade and the shots are brilliant.

The song ‘Ami chini go chini tomare..’ is so delightful and the tune so simplistic that you don’t have to be a Bengali to enjoy it.

Here are links to some good reviews..
http://www.satyajitray.org/films/charu.htm
http://upperstall.com/films/1964/charulata

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

A brilliant, bold and yet sensitive depiction about life in the ‘darkness’. I found this book very thought provoking but strangely disturbing.The ever present rift between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ manifests in the pressing need of the central character Balram Halwai to ‘break out of the coop’.

The story of Balram Halwai is portrayed in his own words very interestingly, as a letter to the Chinese Premier. Born in a small village on the banks of  the Ganga, Balram describes feudal, hinterland India at its best.Determined to change his lot, he awaits opportunities as they present themselves and finally secures a foothold.As he struggles not to drown in the same rut which ate up his ancestors, all sense of right or wrong withers before his strong instinct to survive. Strangely innocent yet corrupt, the character of Balram Halwai is a study in gray.The author’s stark portrayal, bereft of any pretensions, of the complexities of the character is impressive.

As the story of his life unfolds, the reader who fully empathizes with the character within the context of feudal India with its unforgiving ways suddenly gets sucked into a disturbing whirlpool of Balram’s thoughts. It is an almost maniacal urge to ‘break out of the coop’ as he likens millions living in the same conditions as chickens for slaughter. The lengths to which a man can go, to avoid getting sucked into the rut. Its existentialism at its best as Balram murders for gain, sacrifices his own family all of which he defends in his bid to move to the ‘light’.The character is not depicted as an individual with an inherently criminal bent of mind albeit when the time comes, he displays no compunction or remorse. A chore to be dispensed with. A hurdle to be traversed.Call it Jungle law or Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest ; shocked or disgusted you can be, but you definitely cant ignore.

Do you dismiss him as an opportunist & a criminal or do you admire his tenaciousness to survive ?
Do we take the high moral ground and cast him as a villain or do we castigate the system which made him ?
Does a ‘white tiger’ lurk in each one of us ?

Recommended reading !