Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hanste Zakhm --- Movie Review

Some films in past have had all the potential to become a classic in true sense but failed somewhere due to certain loop holes or improper treatment to the script . Hanste Zakhm is one such film in my opinion which could have well been made into a real "timeless" classic film but the director Chetan Anand failed to do so. He had a really nice story that could have been well made into a good film with great performances . The story which was by Gulshan Nanda might largely look like a typical hindi masala film of those days but still it had something different from the other such films . The film has all the typical elements of a masala film like a willian (Jeevan in this case) , a wamp (achala sachdeva), a rich dad and a dad with principles , two friends cum sisters who get separated because of fate and a poor girl who is a victim of circumstances who eventually falls in love with the rich son of the rich dad . So the question arises that what is different .

Well , the answer to that question lies in the primary love angle that exists in the film . There is nothing new about a love story between a prostitute and a rich guy but in this film what impressed me was the certain level of honesty with which the whole love story was treated . One does empathise for the girl who suffers from a terrible turn of events and becomes a prostitute . She has no memory of her parents but she still has a faint memory of her loving dad who always cried out of joy whenever he met her . This character of hers was written in a real honest and fine way but what lacked was the acting performance by Priya Rajvansh . She acted really terribly and was good only in very few parts . She had some really fine lines that would have become legendary if someone like Meena Kumari would have delivered them . She just didn't have the talent to perform such a tough role and even her diction was bad which is of primary importance when you are delivering philosophical shayaris as dialogues .

Some dialogues of hers were really good and even certain scenes from the film are just great . The scene where she gets instructed by the Police Man (Balraj Sahni ; who is also her Father that she doesn't recognise) to live an ordinary life and leave the world of prostitution . She replies to him that how can she live an ordinary life and who would marry her or accept her as daughter . She delivers this fine Shayari that I really liked and it made me write this entire post just so that I could quote it . It goes something like this :

"Dikhate Hai Sab door se Raasta ,
Koi do kadam saath chalta nahi,
Jalaati hai duniya to jalte hai dil ,
Koi apni marzi se jalta nahi ... "

It really goes well at that moment when her own estranged dad suggests her to leave prostitution . Priya Rajvansh just didn't do justice to this and many such lines that she delivers . She acted the whole part in a very below average manner and in certain parts she almost looked like a zombie who has no idea what she is doing . But still , even though she acted really badly I still loved the whole love stroy between her and Navin Nishchol who didn't act as bad as her and did a fair bit of job himself .

Apart from the fine lines, what worked for me were the haunting melodies of Madan Mohan in the film's music . The best song from the film is no doubt "Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho , to yeh lagta hai , ke jahaan mil gaya .." . The song has nice symphonic melody in it which is one of Madan Mohan's best for sure . I've not heard a lot of him but I can still say that this was and is for sure one of his all-time best . This song is a really different kinda track and sometimes such tracks give an eerie feeling as if they have something in themselves . It is haunting and is great . This track has also been sung beautifully by the great Md. Rafi himself who does a great job as usual . The reason I wrote almost a paragraph about the song itself is beacause it is that important to the film . It is during this song that one can really feel the passion with which the main characters love each other . This song has also been shot in really different way . Not only the song has a psychological angle to it but even the way it has been shot gives a strange feeling . It is shot in heavy rains and it shows Mumbai by night . A little strange but a beautiful track that leaves a lasting impression both visually and even music-wise .

There are also several other beautiful tracks like "Betaab Dil Ki Yeh Tamanna.." which is another classic from the film . Then there is also the famous qawwali , "Yeh Maana meri jaan, mohabbat saja hai, maza is mein itna magar kisliye hai.." . All these hit tracks have been written by Kaifi Azmi who had done a brilliant job . The music is also legendary by the legend himself , Madan Mohan .

Amongst the acting performances , the only acting performance that I really liked was that of Balraj Sahni's who is the father and a police inspector who gets caught between emotions and his duty . His was a very real and mature performance . Apart from him all other acters acted typical of their time and nothing impresses that much .

Warning ; a spoiler is ahead regarding the end . Skip this para if you don't want to know it .

It is also one of the few films where the leading lady in the film dies in the end . Her death sequence has also been done in a good way and the predicament of Balraj's character who loses her own daughter for the sake of his duty is really heart wrenching . A very brave but also a bit obvious ending to the film .

In all , it is a not exactly a typical masala film of those days but still has majority of elements of that type of cinema in it . Still , I would recommend the film because of the following three main reasons :

* The love story part and the honesty in it .
* The great and almost legendary music of Madan Mohan and lyrics of Kaifi Azmi .
* The acting performance of Balraj Sahni .

It could well have been made into a classic film if the director would have avoided certain cliche sequences and had casted some good actors in it .But I would still appreciate the way Chetan treated it in a still different way than what most films were in those days . It is a film from 1973 so one needs to watch the film keeping films of those times in perspective . I would love to re-make this one keeping the original music (a modern day version of it with some changes) and I guess a lot many like me would have thought of it already ... :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Kaminey --- Music Review

Dhan Te Nan , the music is out and the first song is already a big hit . Expectations are on a high , regarding both , the film and the music . The Dhan Te Nan has left people asking for more and now we finally have the entire album . Vishal last worked on "U Me aur Hum" which was a long time back and music lovers like me would love to see more of him . He has always given an outstanding score for his own films and his jodi with Gulzaar works like something . After Omkara the expectations are really high from the duo for this one . Well this one is a completely different album and I also tried to give it an unbiased view keeping the past completely out of my perspective .

The soundtrack opens with a blockbuster track "Dhan Te Nan" by the super-hit machine Sukhwinder along with Vishal Dadlani . Do I even need to say anything about this track which is already a big hit . The music on this one is probably the best on the entire album and Vishal has done a fabulous job for this track . Sukhwinder sings in his impeccable style and Vishal backs him very well . Both of them together have sung it almost perfectly . The thing to notice is the lyrics that are there in this song . Its really amazing how Gulzaar Sir comes up with these wacky lyrics nicely blending english with hindi . He has written the songs in today's language of India , the Hinglish . I mean take a look at this :

"Aaja ki One Way Hai
Yeh Zindagi ki Gali
Ek hi Chance hai

Aage Hava hi Hava hai
Agar saans hai to
yeh Romance hai"

This is just the first song and there is much more to come in the later tracks where his lyrics simply bowled me over . I mean this is the man who has written some of the finest Hindi songs ever and he can still come up with something new for our generation . Truly Brilliant . Overall , its a great track and has that 70's music element to it .

Next comes a completely different track "Pehli Baar Mohabbat" by Mohit Chauhan . This one is soft romantic song which has a bit of Rock feel to it . As a result it also has a western feel to it and it makes nice use of various musical instruments in it . Mohit sings this one in his usual style, the only difference being that he has never sung a song earlier which had a bit of rock feel to it . He does his job great and Vishal has also done his job good . The lyrics here are also very beautiful and innovative . A bit different but a good different . The song in all has a good combination of melody and lyrics and has been sung well by Mohit . Would look great in the film backed up by the chemistry between Shahid-Priyanka which is evident even in the still pictures from the film .

Then comes a song "Raat Ke Dhai Baje" which is in a way extension to the prior track and has a whole lot of singers in it . It has a more commercial tune and is completely different than the previous track . It has been sung by Sunidhi,Rekha,Suresh Wadekar and Kunal Ganjawala . The entire soundtrack is pretty much male dominated and if last time both Sundihi and Rekha got some great tracks in form of Beedi and Namak , this time they had to settle for this very average track which also had two other male singers in it . This song is more commercial in nature and has nothing much to offer . It would probably make much more sense in the film . This song is there in a wedding sequence probably as far as I could make out from the album graphics .
There is also a remix version of the same track towards the end of the soundtrack which is also pretty much the same with some more beats and effects in it .

Then comes a track which completely blew me and now I am thinking that why no one thought of this concept before , especially the NACO (National AIDS Control Org.) . This song , "Fatak" , talks about AIDS and in a way that is so creative and appealing . By the way the "Fataak" is the sound of the whip that symbolises how people need a whip sometimes to understand some things in life. Gulzaar sir has once again proved in this track that he is a true genius and he deserves a special award for this track alone . The entire track refers to AIDS as a 'Bhanwra' which comes in and doesn't leave so easily . Take a look at these lyrics :

"Jitna Bhi Jhoot Bole Thoda hai ,
Keedon ki basti da Makoda hai"

It also makes the use of the famous quote by Ghalib - "Yeh Ishq nahi aasan ... ek aag ka dariya hai ...aur dub ke jaana hai" . Gulzar sir has modified this famous shayari of Ghalib and made it into a social message of having safe sex ."Ek the Ghalib aur ek hai Gulzaar Saahab , dono ka koi jawaab nahi " . The modified version goes something like this :

"Yeh Ishq Nahi Aasan
Aji AIDS Ka khatra hai
patwaar pehan jaana
yeh aag ka dariya hai"

The music in the song is also great and it very well encapsulates the lyrics and the "Fatak" does its job well .Kailash Kher and Sukhwinder Singh sing it in a style which makes sure that the message goes out loud . Last time they were together was for the track in Mangal Pandey (Mangal Mangal) in which they did wonders along with Rehman . Here also they both do the same alongwith Vishal . Both Vishal and Gulzaar need to be complimented for coming up with such an innovative and socially relevant track .

Then comes the title track Kaminey by Vishal Bhardwaj himself . He alongwith Gulzaar have used the word "Kaminey" which is usually considered as a curse word in a really beautiful way . The lyrics might sound funny to a few but they have a very serious meaning to it . Vishal has composed this song beautifully and there is a part (from 4.15 to 4.40) in the song which is symphonic in nature and has been done beautifully by Vishal . I am wondering how this particular part would have been done on-screen . The entire song is a bit symphonic in nature but I loved this specific part the most . This track is also amongst the best on the album . Vishal is also a good singer apart from being a great music composer and director .

Then comes a theme music by the name of "Go Charlie Go" which is a full version of the "Dhan Te Nan" in the first track . It is a nice bit of music which would look great in the film . Since this is the main theme of the film it would play a vital role in the film and it is good enough to do the job . It is a fast upbeat music with all the "Dhan Te Nan" which gives it a Seventies feel very well .
The last time I heard a similar music was in Johnny Gaddar where Sriram Raghvan made a fabulous use of it .

Then lastly comes a remix version of "Dhan Te Nan" which has been done in a nice and different way . It is not like usual remixes and sounds really good . It has been remixed by Aftab Khan who does a great job . There are some extra English lyrics in this remix version towards the end which are by Dominique Cerejo who does a good job singing them too .

Overall , the album has delivered according to expectations and apart from "Raat Ke Dhai Baje" all tracks are good . One of the songs is already popular and some others would soon follow . Vishal and Gulzaar duo has worked again and this time it is a completely different album from the last time which sends a good signal that people need to move on from Omkara and give Kaminey a complete fresh look .

Album Rating : Four out of Five ; a very fresh and innovative soundtrack .