Saturday, January 29, 2011

A tale of two tales. Dhobi Ghat and 127 Hours

Last week I watched two movies which evoked extreme reactions from movie goers: 'Dhobi Ghat' and '127 Hours', specially the former.

'Dhobi Ghaat' is a commercial success no doubt but Kiran Rao's maiden directorial venture is not your regular commercial film and with an abstract story line that tries to string the characters very loosely, it wasn't difficult to understand why people were restless. However being restless is one thing and being jackass is another. My whole experience of watching the movie was ruined by people chattering loudly about how lame the film is and laughing where I couldn't even spot the joke. Like a scene where classical music is playing in painter Arun's house. I mean WTF? Since when classical music has become a joke to be laughed at loud? And if you are so annoyed by a film, for God's sake get the hell out of the hall and let those who want to watch it in peace, do so.

It is a film where you have to go with an open mind and give the film a chance to work its charm on you. Prateik Babbar is enthrallingly fresh Monica Dogra get's lion's share of screen time and she is defintely good. However I liked the way the fourth story and character of Muslim girl (played by Kriti Malhotra) has been presented. As a fact this girl is not even a live character in the movie but she has been brought to life by her diaries and though her story doesn't have much of an impact on the course of the plot, it is very engaging and heart wrenching.

Yes, the film is a drag at certain points but then the amazing background score by Oscar winner Gustavo Santolalla is enough to enjoy even those parts.

Second film '127 Hours' didn't have to face such bad reactions however many people considered
it to be slow and dragging. My question to these people is: what the hell did you expect in a story of a man stuck for 5 days in a crevice? I am sure if it was a Bollywood/Tollywood/Kollywood film helmed by some masala director, there would have been plenty of flashbacks where hero's entire life would have been shown to us. A couple of romantic songs and if producer demanded, even an item number!

And the absence of all these distractions is what I loved most about '127 Hours'. Danny Boyle has kept the focus solely on the man trapped. The delusions and devils that are in his minds and how he resolves not to loose his hope and will to survive and how he tries to find humor even in his dire condition. My favorite sequence is when he believes that in his entire life, all his actions have been forcing him to this 'crack on the face of earth'. This thought is gut wrenching and coupled with spectacular shot of the crevice in the Grand Canyon it's impact is multiplied many fold.

Amputation scene is gross and I admit that I could not watch it. James Franco is adjective defyingly good and the cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle and Enrique Chediak (the sequences shot at close quarters in the crevice are stunning) is superb. I had been hearing the OST of this film but to understand how impressive it is, you must watch the film. A. R. Rahman's music actually enhances the flavor of scenes. It may not win any awards but I really feel it is better than Slumdog Millionaire's.

One last thing. I think Leonardo di Caprio could have played Aron Ralston as good as James Franco, only Franco looks like carbon copy of Ralston. What do you say?