A Tale of Three Davids

David is about the grey character inherent among us; how the good and the bad are just two different sides of each of us, and how good always wins over evil (more on this ahead).

David‘s scope is vast. Thematically connecting three (almost) independent stories is not something tried often in Hindi films. It’s almost like last year’s Cloud Atlas in that sense. And yet, it is bogged down by stereotyped characters, (especially in the case of the Goa-based segment), a weak third segment (again, the Goa-based) and an unconvincing link between all the three stories.

David #3

The story revolves around three men in different locations and era by the same name and how they defeat their Goliath. The first David (Neil Nitin Mukesh), in London, ekes out forgiveness and sacrifice from an enclosure of betrayal. The second David (Vinay Virmani), in Mumbai, wants his justice, but not in the non-violent manner about which his father (Nasser), a priest, preaches (and practises). The third David (Chiyaan Vikram), in Goa, is searching for love while taking a break from drinking and speaking to his dead father.

The first segment, shot entirely in black & white, is the film’s strongest. It hooks you in right from the first scene, and never lets you go. The second segment, though slightly uninteresting to begin with, gathers steam quickly. It also has the best scene of the film which involves David’s father injuring himself in delusion. The third segment shows a very politically incorrect character in David, and his first scene will send your senses tingling, telling you that something is wrong. It does pick up eventually, but this segment is tonally different from the rest and it affects the flow of the film. It plays lighter and in the manner of a fairy-tale. This also has one of the biggest disappointments with respect to sub-plots in its satku-Santa section.

David #2

The link towards the end is completely unnecessary, though it would be interesting to know why the writers (Bejoy Nambiar and Natasha Sehgal) decided to use it. Leaving character development to fate is fine as long as there is foreboding, and it works between the stories set in London and Mumbai, but the jarring returns when the Mumbai story connects to the Goan one.

The story also paints a very stereotypical picture of all characters. If the Goan David is always drinking, the Mumbai based David is playing guitar. Nambiar addresses a very political issue based on religion in the second segment, which does happen in real-life. But towards the end, one can’t help but feel that all three religions depicted in the film end up being depicted in one particular colour. Christians are white and make sacrifices. Hindus (black) are greedy while Muslims (black) want to avenge themselves and their loved ones. A straight line is drawn through complex issues with none of the sides appearing strong enough, so much that even a character who tells the Mumbai David to act on his words is in a kurta and has a jhola on his arms. No points for guessing which profession he is a part of. (No points for guessing his regionality too. Yes.)

The acting is strong throughout the film. The three leads perform to their best. Tabu (Goan David’s friend Frenny), Akarsh Khurana (London’s Iqbal Ghani) and Nasser support the cast brilliantly too.

David #1

Nambiar chose three different cinematographers for the three different locations, and it must be said that all three of them did a commendable job. Sanu John Varughese’s black and white palette lends a classic touch to the mafia tragedy in London, while R. Rathnavelu bathes Goa (and Kerala) with a soft orange tinge. P.S. Vinod is good with the Mumbai segment too but is overpowered by some impressive photography from the former duo. The editing by A. Sreekar Prasad plays fine too except while switching between segments where a certain jerk is always apparent.

The film is won, though, by two departments that are usually undermined in Hindi films. The production design by Rajeevan and costume design by Ameira Punvani are excellent and some of the best seen in recent times.

Nambiar takes ahead his theme of good triumphing over evil from Shaitan and multiplies it threefold. He does manage to stay in control of his cinematic techniques this time around, using them to create a desired effect, but make no mistake, the movie bleeds visual pleasure. There is, also, no doubt that, perhaps, after Kashyap and Bhardwaj, Nambiar is one director who knows how to use music in his films. It is harsh to say that Nambiar’s second film is ‘all style, no substance’. David has an interesting plot and a few colourful characters going for it. Nambiar knows to play subtle too. But there is no denying that although David is a good film, it could have been a whole lot better had the story been stronger.

Written by Runcil Rebello.

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The Year In Review – Hindi Cinema (2012)

2012 was (by its usual standards) a very good year for Hindi cinema. Yes, we saw the usual masala films hitting the 100 cr mark, but we did see other cinema receive recognition too, and not just from critics, but audiences as well. Here we try to lay down our 5 favourite Hindi movies of 2012, scenes, songs and what you should be looking forward to in 2013.

Favourite films (in reverse order)

5. Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

Finally, an Indian rom-com that did not make me cringe. Bonus points for the end.

4. Paan Singh Tomar

Paan Singh Tomar

An extraordinary (real-life) story told very well. And Irrfan, one of our best actors.

3. Barfi!

Barfi!

May have lifted scenes but its sum was greater than its parts.

2. Supermen of Malegaon

Supermen of Malegaon

Okay, I cheated. This is a documentary. But you’ll laugh, and laugh, and ponder, and laugh again while watching the people from Malegaon creating their famous parodies. The whole film is available online here.

1. Talaash

Talaash

The film got a lot of stick for the twist, and it was promoted wrongly too – as a thriller. But watch the film knowing it’s about grief, and perhaps even knowing the twist, and this film turns out to be something else. My Hindi film for this year.

Before we move on to my favourite songs of the year, the composer of the year goes to Amit Trivedi (Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, Ishaqzaade, English Vinglish, Aiyya, Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana as well as Trishna and the best episode in Coke Studio India Season 2). Runner up: Sneha Khanwalkar for Gangs of Wasseypur.

Might I add the best background score in a movie this year was by Abhishek Ray and Sandeep Chowta for Paan Singh Tomar.

Favourite Hindi songs (in reverse order)

6. Auntyji (Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu)

Composer: Amit Trivedi; Lyricist: Amitabh Bhattacharya; Singer: Ash King

5. Ala Barfi! (Barfi!)

Composer: Pritam; Lyricist: Swanand Kirkire; Singer: Mohit Chauhan

4. Laakh Duniya Kahe (Talaash)

Composer: Ram Sampath; Lyricist: Javed Akhtar; Singer: Ram Sampath

3. Jiya Ho Bihar Ke Lala (Gangs of Wasseypur)

Composer: Sneha Khanwalkar; Lyricist: Varun Grover; Singer: Manoj Tiwari

2. Motorwada (Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana)

Composer: Amit Trivedi; Lyricist: Shelley; Singers: Tochi Raina, Amit Trivedi

1. Aafaton Ke Parinde (Ishaqzaade)

Composer: Amit Trivedi; Lyricist: Kausar Munir; Singers: Suraj Jagan, Divya Kumar

Favourite scenes of 2012 (in reverse order)

Have tried to provide clips as much as possible.

6. The Dinner Table sequence (Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu)

One of the best written scenes of the film (and the year).

5. “I love gandagi.” (Supermen of Malegaon)

One of the writers of the film Malegaon ka Superman comes up with a classy entry with a fitting monologue for the Lex Luthor-esque villain of the film – Ding Dong Ding – who is the owner of a tobacco company and loves filth.

4. The Bengali and Punjabi parents visit each others’ homes. (Vicky Donor)

Our cultural biases can be a lot of fun, especially when shown in such a hilarious manner. What Chetan Bhagat tried to show in one entire book called Two States was shown here in two smartly-written, short scenes. Here’s a (very) short clipping.

3. “Parmissan” (Gangs of Wasseypur)

Hands down, the most hilarious scene this year!

2. The Underwater Sequence (Talaash)

Beautiful cinematography aside, (and avoiding spoilers), this scene was just surreal.

1. Raabta (Agent Vinod)

Not a good film, not a bad film. But was it technically sound! For instance, this one take shot for the song Raabta.

Films to look ahead to in 2013 – In no particular order.

1. Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola

Director: Vishal Bhardwaj; Actors: Imran Khan, Pankaj Kapur, Anushka Sharma

2. Lootera

Lootera

Director: Vikramaditya Motwane; Actors: Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha

3. David

David

Director: Bejoy Nambiar; Actors: Vikram, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Vinay Virmani, Tabu, Lara Dutta, Isha Sharvani

4. Kai Po Che!

Kai Po Che!

Director: Abhishek Kapoor; Actors: Sushant Singh Rajput, Rajkumar Yadav, Amit Sadh

5. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag

Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra; Actors: Farhan Akhtar, Sonam Kapoor

6. Ghanchakkar

Director: Rajkumar Gupta; Actors: Emraan Hashmi, Vidya Balan

7. Dhoom 3 (in IMAX)

Director: Vijay Krishna Acharya; Actors: Aamir Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Uday Chopra, Jackie Shroff, Katrina Kaif

8. Gunday

Gunday

Director: Ali Abbas Zafar; Actors: Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Arjun Kapoor, Irrfan Khan

9. Chennai Express

Chennai Express

Director: Rohit Shetty; Actors: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone

10. Peekay

Director: Rajkumar Hirani; Actors: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma

Deshey Basara: The Dark Knight Rises Review

Stop right there, you. Yes, you. The one who is unnecessarily frowning and complaining about how The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR) is not like The Dark Knight (TDK), or about how Bane is nothing like The Joker. Yes you’re probably right but that is simply because TDKR is not TDK. These are two entirely different entities. In the latter you saw how The Batman rose to be a hero, turned into a masked menace and finally retired a ‘villain’. The former is about him waking up again and taking his rightful position as Gotham’s protector. To the extent that even if the phrase Deshey Basara (He Rises) are used in Bane’s background score, they stand for the broken Bat’s rising.

But it doesn’t end there. Deshey Basara also stands for the rise of every human soul from threat, while depending on only one instinct, “the fear of death”. They may be hurt or may even death, but their rise makes them immortal.

There is a lot of gloom, all through the film. At certain points through the film, you would feel that this is the end, nothing more can be done, no more tragedy for Bruce Wayne. That is exactly when Christopher Nolan takes a step forward and shows you, how things can get worse.

This movie isn’t exactly ‘about’ Batman, but more about Bruce Wayne. It is about how this mere human (with shrinking pockets) can make a difference and how breaking him sends out a signal strong enough to have the toughest of men fall on their knees.

But admist all this gloom and despair, there are moments of hope sewn in so perfectly, it almost feels like real life. Let it be the bonding between a butler and his orphaned master, or between two orphans, or even between a police commissioner and his detective, each one is special and is grand enough to make you pause for a bit and rewind it a little.

Having said all this, let me confirm that the last 30 minutes of the film are probably the best 30 minutes among superhero films ever. Easily among the top ten best endings ever.

Looking at the actors now:

The support caste is simply brilliant. Even if some of the characters have no names, they are awesome for sure. Liam Neeson makes a short 1 minute come-back and I don’t know why that image is still in my head.

Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth: Easily an enormous part of the film’s soul quotient. Caine displays emotions that any parent would have toward their depressed child. Alfred is the only character who truly understands Bruce’s agony and loss in its entirety and Caine does every bit of justice to the role.

Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox: As the brains behind Wayne Enterprises, Fox is one of the few characters privy to Bruce’s dual lives. Freeman is simply a treat to watch, though one wishes there was more of him on screen.

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle/Catwoman: No she isn’t Michelle Pfeiffer or Halle Berry, but Hathaway is every bit of a Catwoman as any can be. She is hot, no doubt, but Hathaway’s portrayal isn’t just about looking pretty. She shifts from being a witty con artist, to the hero’s sidekick with such ease, you will only sigh in satisfaction.

Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate: Wow. I can’t say anything more, it would be injustice to her role. But remember, this femme fatale from Inception, continues to sizzle in all awesome-ness.

Gary Oldman as Commissioner Jim Gordon: Some heroes wear masks and work nights, others wear a uniform and work through the day. Oldman as Commissioner Gordon is one of those characters who have stayed consistent through the trilogy. Is he anything less than mind-blowing here? No sir. Awesome as ever!

Joseph-Gordon Levitt as John Blake: The surprise package of the film. Levitt, in his portrayal of a rookie police officer, is going to make girls go weak in their knees. He is so good throughout that you wonder why the Dark Knight series is just a trilogy. Makes you feel that probably Nolan should consider a spin-off with Levitt alone.

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/The Batman: Bale is my only Batman. I cannot imagine anyone donning that suit except him now. It would practically be impossible to trump his portrayal. He fights, gets beaten, gets up, gets beaten again, but he never loses hope. Bale is easily one of the two best actors in the film (the other being the bad guy). Though one still wonders if the hilarious gruff  voice along with the suit is necessary.

Tom Hardy as Bane: Massive, dangerous and viciously scary. That probably sums up Hardy’s role in TDKR. He should not be compared to Heath Ledger, that is an unnecessary comparison. Give him his own space, I would suggest, because Hardy is awesome as hell himself. The polite manner of talking and his peculiar voice will find its own audience for sure. Would personally love it if Bane makes a come-back sometime soon.

Final verdict: Most tickets for the movie have been booked till Wednesday, next week. Don’t wait. Go hunt for some over the weekend and watch ASAP.

Written by Vishwanath Nair.

An Amalgamation Of Contradictions

I had a lot of expectations from Shanghai. Mostly because, in its initial days of production, I thought it was a political thriller involving the Chinese secret service and a plot to nuke India. But apparently, Agent Vinod and Ek Tha Tiger are dealing with the spooks angle. Shanghai, on the other hand, is better than I expected it to be. And its subject matter is much closer to home than the ISI or the Chinese secret service.

Many critics have called the movie a metaphor. For me, the movie was a metaphor and beyond. Set in an Indian periurban village/town, presumably in north or central India, Shanghai tells the story of an aspiration that the Indian state envisages for its cities; an aspiration which pits decades of faulty governance, lack of infrastructure and a volatile Indian public psyche against the clean, geometric facade of civilization, and corporate governance.

I won’t go much into the plot right now, mostly because I wish to keep this review spoiler free, and partly because I intend to go beyond that.

In many ways, Shanghai is about contrasts; more so, contradictions. Bharatnagar – the ground zero of the genesis, so to say is where Dr. Ali Ahmadi (a kurta-jhola-beard sporting Leftist played by Prosenjit) protests against the capitalist state turning the area into a SEZ. His detractors want him out. Not because of the ideological differences; because in India, politics is not about ideology anymore. It’s a numbers game, as we see the ruling coalition trying to keep its aspirations alive for this Shanghai – to the extent of murdering the doctor.

The principal characters Krishnan (Abhay Deol in his finest performance so far), Shalini (Kalki, who is more confused than anything) and Joginder (Emran Hashmi, a fine actor) are caught up in their own agendas; trying to find something to anchor themselves in the turbulent political climes of Bharatnagar. Yet, I would not call any of them protagonists; they’re characters, each organically placed in their roles, which makes the film’s progression more eased and natural without being caught up to explain their agendas. However what really contributes to the organic nature of the film is the fact that the supporting cast does a brilliant job; from the wily mandarin Kaul, to the Chief Minister and her coalition partner – his cronies, the cops and the plethora of angry political hooligans… It’s a myriad picture, both violent and vibrant, and certainly something from which you cannot turn away.

Cinematically, for me, the winning factor was the cinematography by Nikos Andritsakis. And frankly, for someone who managed to execute a movie like Love, Sex Aur Dhokha, I would’ve expected nothing short of brilliance from Banerjee. There was a constant nervousness in the camera movements, a sense of unpredictability as it captured both the loud morcha scenes, and the quiet, narrow, yet palpable curfewed streets of Bharatnagar. I spoke of contradictions earlier, and it’s notable that the cinematography contributes to the visual telling of these contradictions; the government offices, with glass doors, polished conference tables, and the municipal schools, non-functional toilets.

The score, I felt was apt for a movie as intense as Shanghai, and it is what really contributed to the intensity of the film. The most striking feature, however, was Banerjee’s use of silence to fill in the gaps – which I believe is the first of its kind I’ve ever come across in Hindi cinema. My only complaint was Vishal-Shekhar’s music which, despite sounding great in the promos on TV, did not have room in the film, and thus, resulted in a slightly jarring effect; the songs consumed more time than what was required.

Coming back to metaphors, I think Shanghai does more than just talk about the Indian state’s aspiration to compete with the world by converting its cities into Shanghais. It is a commentary on the inherent contradictions within the Indian state; contradictions between the welfare role of the state and its capitalistic nature. It is about more than just corruption in the system and the abuse of state power; the corruption runs far deeper, and into the Indian psyches itself. It is a commentary on the very nature of Indian politics. Elsewhere, I’ve mentioned that political parties today are no longer connected to an ideology – be it the right-wing BJP, or the so-called liberal Congress or the Left, or any of India’s regional parties – the politics of India in the 21st century is that of anti-ideology; about synthesizing a form by positioning itself against an ideology; increased westernization, neo-liberal policy, and so forth.

What makes Shanghai the film it is, is the fact that Banerjee manages to capture these fine nuances on screen, in its profoundness and yes, you guessed it, contradictions. For some reason, I think of Shanghai as a “muted” film, mostly because of its noted and brilliant use of silence, as I said before, and also because you feel a sense of futility, of being inured to its portrayal of corruption and state sponsored violence. The Delhi HC was right it calling it a accurate description of the state of affairs in India; look at the Jaitapur, or Raigad, districts earmarked to become the sites where India would usher in modernity and seal its place in the global economic order.

Shanghai is a warning bell for some alarmists, a time where the Indian state would sell the very people who elect governments to raze areas like Bharatnagar and make them into technological and information hubs, clean buildings, planned streets, and most of all, a populace which is the product of India’s neo-liberal values, who are at best passive consumers and at worse, a stupefied, silenced people. It is also something that would intrigue cynics, because it holds no bars in giving an honest account of the country — that we cannot do without corruption, that we cannot build a township, a sea-link, a sky-walk without our governments and bureaucrats having mud (and often, blood) on their hands. It talks about a genesis, of a violent kind, when our cities become the hallmarks of the modern global world order, in a crass Nehruvian manner of speaking.

This is the India of the 21st century; an amalgamation of contradictions. God, I love this country. And, it seems, the makers of Shanghai do so too. Shanghai is a rare gem of a movie. Many won’t like it, because it raises uncomfortable questions. Many like to see the glass as half full. But optimism would not change the fact that the water in it is dirty.

So long, and Bharat mata ki jai.

Written by Proshant Chakraborty.

Ishaqwaande?

A movie with the title Ishaqzaade sets the expectation of a bastardly love story, simply because of its connection to the Hindi invective haramzaade (Ishaqzaade is a portmanteau of ishq [love] and haramzaade [bastard]). But more than that, looking from the 21st century perspective of romance, you expect a deviation from the norm, that little twist in the tale which leaves a taste which is far from proverbial. But no, enter Yashraj Productions and they will make sure that the conventional is deep-rooted in all the movies they make and produce.

So here’s your regular anti-hero Parma (played by Arjun Kapoor, son of well-known producer Boney Kapoor who shot to fame because of his second marriage to Sridevi) with an unhygienic and extremely unattractive stubble who provides an anti-climax towards the finish. Meet his love interest Zoya (played by Parineeti Chopra, cousin of the famous Priyanka Chopra) who is a rebel, outspoken and wild for a conventional, Muslim family with political roots and whose character disappoints towards the end.

Ishaqzaade is set in a small town in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and is just what the audience expect: our anti-hero with his gang of hoodlums makes use of the family’s political stature and does what he does best – causes inconvenience to the local junta. The couple’s natural hatred for each other is a result of the long-driven political rivalry between families. Without spilling the beans any further, the story progresses from the boy-meet-girl, girl-slaps-boy till they fall in love.

Both the actors have done justice to their roles. Chopra screams for attention, more because of a rather attractive face in the mass of ugliness. But she has proven that she can do better than just being a pretty face like her sister in all her movies (excepting Kaminey and Saath Khoon Maaf).

Kapoor boy needs a make-over if he wishes to play the hero in other movies. Otherwise, he will end up being another Abhishek Bachchan who despite having the height and the shadow of his father, looks constipated in all his movies.

More power to Ranjit Barot for the engaging background score and Amit Trivedi for the wonderful soundtrack. If not for them, the movie’s plot would have been a 135-minute torture.

Hemant Chaturvedi, the cinematographer has shot the film so well as if he’s acquainted with the UP roads and locations like a fish to water.

All in all, it’s an entertaining movie with a woman’s character played down. Chopra’s role should have been more well-defined and powerful. But the director Habib Faisal would rather stick to the love story gone bad routine.

Written by Shubhra Rishi.

It Had To Be Hitchcock!

This might be a review that came out a tad too late. Fifty-eight years after Rear Window was released in 1954. It could only have been a Hitchcock classic based on a 1942 short story It Had to Be Murder, written by Cornell Woolrich. It’s almost like reading a murder mystery novel, the events of which slowly unfold right outside your window. The script is perfectly crafted by John Michael Hayes, neat and fluid. All I can say is that it doesn’t take long to become Hitchcock’s fan, for choosing a flawless cast and solving the mystery in a little less than 112 minutes.

The cast of James Stewart (Jeff) and Grace Kelly (Lisa) seemed just about ideal, with little old style conservative romance spluttering every now and then. Hitchcock gives a character to each one of his actors; be it our injured professional photographer Stewart, strapped in a wheelchair by the window or our exquisite-looking high-society fashion consultant Kelly, who apart from slipping in and out of beautiful gowns and dresses, plays the almost-perfect associate to Stewart in a tryst to unravel the suspected murder committed by a neighbour Thorwald (played by Raymond Burr), living across the building overlooking his window. And let’s not forget Stewart’s visiting Nurse Stella (played by Thelma Ritter), a sharp 40-something woman who doesn’t mince her words that maketh murder.

Hitchcock makes sure that the neighbours are interesting; and whose neighbor’s aren’t! There isn’t a dull moment in the movie. Take for instance, Miss Lonely Hearts who lives on the ground floor of the building opposite Stewart’s window. She is an older woman living alone in her apartment, looking for love; someone who sits alone on a table set-for-two, drinking wine and making false conversations with no one sitting across the table. Then, there’s a belle dancer who captures our photographer’s attention while she practices her art in her sexy attire.

The building is a block full of characters that will seem interesting if you are paying attention. And then there’s our man who commits the almost-perfect murder but he manages to attract Stewart’s curiosity.

What unfolds is not for a review to let slip even if the movie’s too old. It surely is a classic and you will know why! Movies like Disturbia (2007) were loosely based on the original concept of Rear Window, but none could capture the charm of the voyeuristic pleasure that is Rear Window.

Written by Shubhra Rishi.

Image Courtesy: www.jamesjoyce.co.uk (via the8thmm.tumblr.com)

Talk The Night Away

‎Stories are meant to be simple no matter what bells and whistles they come with.

The film is in black & white, it uses a split screen technique and is a talkie. But even with all these “bells and whistles”, director Sudhish Kamath‘s Good Night | Good Morning has a simple story behind it.

This indie offering in English revolves around Turiya (Manu Narayan) and Moira (Seema Rehmani) who spend an entire New Year’s night talking to each other on the phone. What’s so unique about that? They’re strangers who met each other just for a minute or two at a pub. In that span of a few hours, both of them relive their life, especially their relationships, going through the motions of one themselves, turning over a new leaf at the end.

For a talkie film to work, it is imperative that the writing has to be strong, which is what Shilpa Rathnam and Kamath’s writing does achieve. The dialogues involve quite a bit of innuendo, but also a lot of heart-talk. And the best part is it seems natural; it does not seem acted, and that’s a huge plus. The language is simple youth-speak laced with a lot of pop cultural references. There’s Cameron Crowe (whom Kamath describes as “the single-most significant cinematic influence” in his life), Before Sunrise (which this film shares the template with) and Kuch Kuch Hota Hain, which is given a 21st century twist. The two protagonists are well-sketched, with Moira’s character being the stronger one and one of the better female characters I’ve seen in recent times.

Manu Narayan as Turiya charms you with his innocence. He acts out his naive character well. But it is Seema Rehmani as Moira who steals the show. Someone give this woman some more roles please! She makes you laugh, she makes you cry, she seduces you, and more. Turiya’s friends have a minimal role, but Vasanth Santosham as Hussain and renowned film critic Raja Sen as the druggie J.C. punctuate the conversation with their friendly banter.

This is director Kamath’s second indie film (after That Four-Letter Word) and he sure has a penchant for making scenes memorable. The scene where a younger and much geeky Turiya tries to hook up with a girl online will leave you in splits. The flashback which reveals Moira’s past is also moving, helped by the fact that it is set to a wonderful instrumental rendition of Silent Night.

With regards to the adornments, the split screen works fine; it doesn’t distract as the writing truly works. The few scenes in colour were unnecessary, the black & white works its old-world magic well enough. The jazz music utilised throughout the film adds to the charm.

And yet, all is not hunky-dory. The editing could have been smoother, especially when Kamath intersperses Moira’s scenes with that of the sea. The sound editing and mixing could have been better too. In the second half of the film, one could heard slight feedback when the characters would speak.

And yet, it is a well-made film. Because of the good writing and smart performances, it should be lauded. Rarely does cinema of such kind (and quality) come out of India.

Towards the end, there is a scene wherein Turiya plays and sings along to Presley’s Pocketful Of Rainbows on his car stereo with his friends Hussain and J.C. joining in. During this moment of boisterousness, the camera lingers on Moira, the Moira who has rediscovered how to be happy, how to have fun, as she jumps on her bed, moving to the song and eventually pitching in at the chorus.

The conversation has been had | new memories have been made | Let them weather this storm with a pocketful of rainbows | before, into the darkness, they fade.

P.S.: I happened to see an alternate end to the film too. More than an alternate end, I’d say it is an extension of where the film actually ended and would have been the icing on the cake had it been added as a post-credits scene.

Written by Runcil Rebello.