About Me

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I love the sunrise. I love staring out into the horizon in front of me, feeling the sun's glow, and losing myself in my own world of thoughts... I love being awake when the world around me is fast asleep, and staring into the distance at the tiny glimmering ball of fire as it shyly creeps into my world… Each sunrise brings to me a new day and with it a fresh start. An opportunity to do things differently, see things from a different point of view... but best of all, an opportunity to ponder over the day ahead, giving a new chance every day to live...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Notes on Anwar


When I read other reviews for this film, a fair number of people said the storyline kept wandering off and they got annoyed. I am curious to know what people found meandering... except for Rajpal Yadav's role, I couldn't see any diversions. And the movie only lasted 2.5 hours! I thought all the characters were there for a reason. I thought all the storylines (except Yadav's, it just got annoying hearing him whinge) were there for a reason.

I will probably end up buying its DVD, because the songs, Maula Mere and Tose Naina Lage are extremely special to me.

I loved the movie for what it was - a messy presentation of a messy life. I loved the way every message was laid out, yet subtle. I loved how the film was extremely neutral and normal. It wasn't trying to teach its audience a message about certain religions, and it wasn't out to make you think in any one way when you come out of the movie, which is what I think often happens when Bollywood does a serious/off-beat/social message type kinda movie. You had to pick it up to understand it - no voiceovers, no dramatic speeches, no subtle explanations thinly veiled in the garb of 'everyday dialogue' - it was like a CCTV camera decided to show the fates of all these lives, and you yourself had to teach yourself how people work, how life works, how crowds work, how politicians work, how different people treating different people in different ways works... even how love works.

In the sense of love, for me, it was highly reminiscent of Love Actually, in the way it showed how all the characters - at the core of all their problems and lifestyles, just yearned for love.

I loved how they made absolutely minimal use of music - especially the evident lack of dramatic music for the dramatic moments (so typical of cinema - be it Hollywood or Bollywood). There were so many scenes that had scope for dramatic music, and they were just shown so simply. The flutes at the beginning and the end are hauntingly beautiful. I have an absolute soft spot for the flute, it is one of my most favourite instruments to listen to, and the tune they played was just - wah. I think, of course, the real, most commercially apparent strong point of this movie is the songs. No words can describe Maula Mere and Javeda Zindagi. (As a side note: I always think it is so sad Maula Mere gets played on Bollywood channels as it has pretty visuals, but Javeda Zindagi - far superior to Maula Mere in its poetic beauty in every way - doesn't because it shows the last shots of a dead man with blood oozing out of him in the rain... and the end credits. I have pretty much never seen it being played. So sad. Although it's pretty good that a song from a practically un-noticed movie has made it to the Bollywood channels, I guess.) Dilbar Mera is a song that grows on you, too. I can't get over how natural this movie is. So natural it may go over the viewers' head as a movie worth watching.

I enjoyed the way the characters developed. Sure, the Hindu guy could have done with more presentation of his character, but he wasn't [i]as[/i] pivotal to the movie, so I guess it's OK. I appreciated the way it wasn't glaringly or blatantly obvious what kind of a guy Anwar was, but you could see it in his actions - the number of shots of him just lying on his bed, lost in thoughts, the sketches he spent hours drawing, the way he behaved towards Master Pasha... Anwar reminded me a little bit of me. I loved Master Pasha's role. I don't know if it's a believable or an unbelievable role, but I loved it all the same.

A huge mention has to go to the cinematography/settings/props/costumes people. Never before - no seriously - have I seen such realistic sets. Even the impressive sets of Lagaan and Dor, showing village life, seemed a tad too glamorous in comparison to this movie's sets/settings. This movie kind of came at the right time for me, as I have been missing India very much of late, and seeing all the minor things, the attention to minor detail, and the fact that everything was so realistic, made me feel "right at home". The settings are not made for obvious beauty that makes (at least I feel it does) the film more appealing to the Indian audience, instead they were messy lanes, peeling paint, cloth covering holes in the structures of buildings... they had a raw, natural beauty of their own. The sunrises and sunsets (well, I HAD to comment on this, and notice it, me being me...) were heavenly. Not fake or obvious special effects, but still sweet additions to the background of the movie.

The dialogues in this film were very interesting. Both interesting in the sense of how they can be analysed, and how they were just interesting. One thing I enjoyed was the way the Master Pasha spoke about love. It was not done in an over-the-top Shah-Rukh-Khan-proclaiming-his-love-to-the-fields way (and I LOVE that way, too). I would say it bordered on cheesy, but who isn't cheesy in their real lives every now and then? And in any case, he's an absolutely bonkers guy. I reckon only he could have gotten away with wittering on about love the way he did. And all of what he said made sense, which was what I also loved. It wasn't a flowers-blossom-and-red-feels-nice-and-rains-make-me-horny kind of dialogue, it was a straightforward, cheesy declaration of how love gives us life. And I loved it [i]for[/i] its naturalness and rawness, and the way I could relate to it. I cannot tell whether the other dialogues are realistic and accurate to the nature of how its real-life counterparts would speak, but I felt they sounded fairly realistic.

This movie is not straightforward. There isn't a voiceover or dramatic music to keep you going and making you watch it. The storyline will either be interpreted as a part of a life thing, or as no real substantial storyline that was poorly developed. It is not a fairytale Bollywood. Hell, it doesn't even match up to some of the more serious and intelligent films that Bollywood has done. It is what it is, and if you watch it, watch it with a willingness to let your mind wander and think about the issues and scenes they are presenting. I have no clue what the director wanted from this movie, or what he wanted us to feel, but I think as long as it leaves you thinking, about [i]some[/i] Godforsaken thing or the other, the movie has achieved its purpose. I'm pretty sure the director would have understood it wasn't going to be Bollywood blockbuster of the year, anyway.

Just enjoy the music and see where the story takes you. You may like it; you may not. I liked it.