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Posts Tagged ‘parallel cinema’

 Aamir (2008) is a gritty parallel cinema film shot in real time that questions whether every man creates his own destiny using an act of terrorism and the crowded streets of Mumbai as a backdrop.  

The film aamirrevolves around a young Muslim man Dr. Aamir Ali who has returned to Mumbai from United Kingdom and finds himself at the mercy of religious extremists who want to carry out a bombing in the city. The movie deals with the problems of the Muslim community in modern India and the increasing religious polarization in the country. (source)

It’s directed by Raj Kumar Gupta and stars Indian TV actor Rajeev Khandelwal, making his Bollywood  Indian Film Industry debut.  I did manage to find the masala style fun within the arthouse film with the small scene of a cabbie obsessed with baseball cap wearing, playback singer, Himesh Reshammiya.aamirhimesh

aamirphoneI really don’t want to write much about this film, in order to avoid spoiling anything.  I will say that it starts out with handsome young NRI  doctor named Aamir being thrown a phone while he waits outside the airport in Mumbai.  Should this ever happen to you, I advise that you try to avoid catching the phone. In case you accidentally catch it, drop the phone and DO NOT ANSWER IT! Do NOT take the call! But Aamir DID take the call and the movie continues on with its tense story. While watching it, I just kept thinking, “how gritty!” And, “I wonder how one says gritty in Hindi?” Yaar, the film is really gritty hai! That’s all I want to get across. 

For a real write up of the film go HERE or, read Subhash K. Jha ‘s review HERE.

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This film was only about 90 minutes, a short story in the realm of Indian Films, and like most parallel cinema, it lacks item numbers.  It does contain some great music though, and  I especially liked the tune “Ha Raham (Mehfuz)” sung by Murtuza-Qadir, Amitabh & Amit Trivedi.  This song is currently stuck in my head.  Dig it:

Here are some of the lyrics translated from Urdu (sounds Urdu, maybe it’s Hindi though) into English, thanks to Simranjeet. They are a bit different from the subtitles the version I saw had, but you can get the idea.

Allah… aani jaani… hai kahaani…
(the stories of life will keep coming and going…)
bulbule si… zindgaani…
(and life is nothing but a bubble ready to burst…)
banti kabhi bigadti…
(…forming, and sometimes de-flating…)
tez hawa se ladti, bhidti…
(…fighting with and entangled in the strong winds…)

ha raham, ha raham, farma e-Khuda…
(remember Him, and keep chanting his name…)
ha raham, ha raham, farma e-Khuda…
mehfuz har kadam karna e-Khuda, e-Khuda
(… and He’ll make sure each step you take is a safe one…)
mehfuz har kadam karna e-Khuda, e-Khuda…

The entire lyrics are translated HERE.

HERE’S a version where you can see the band performing the same tune. 

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 Here’s the film’s trailer:

I recommend taking the time to watch the making of the movie section of the supplemental material since it contains interesting interviews with the director and crew members and shows how they shot the scenes in the Mumbai slums. Gritty.

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I feel the same way Aamir, I don’t want to be a leader, I’m just an ordinary woman.

Have you see this movie? What did you think of it?  Nicki from Hmong chick who loves Indian Cinema did a great post on Aamir and compares it to the Filipino film, Cavite (2005), that it was fashioned after.   For more blogolicious insight on  Aamir ( as well as Aamir) go to TheBollywoodFan. And for an extremely insightful and  thought provoking review of the film from someone who  grew up in the Chor Bazar, Bhendi Bazar, and Dongri areas where the film was shot, see Banno’s Aamir post.

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I watched a parallel cinema film from 1993 last night directed by Kalpana Lazmi called Rudaali.  Like parallel cinema is supposed to do, it dealt with a serious topic: professional mourners, known as Rudaali in Hindi. I was happy to hear great music by both Lata and Asha throughout the movie, a feature not always present in the parallel cinema.  I had a whole stack of Hindi movies from the library waiting for me to watch them, and I was in the mood for some personal, professional mourning, as the night before a ferocious hail storm ruined my garden.  I knew I loved my hosta plants, but this destructive storm only confirmed this attachment.  What in the past I would have described as golf ball sized hail, and now refer to as ladoo sized hail, fell from the sky at high speeds and in minutes ruined my garden. These aren’t my hosta pictured here, I found the image online, (if you click on the picture you’ll see they belong to a math professor from the University of MN) but I believe mine would have looked like these if the storm taken a different path:

 

Ahh, the power of Shiva! I wanted to weep at the loss, and briefly hired myself as a professional mourner.  Afterwards, I had to accept it, tip my hat to mother nature’s shakti, and seek peace through a movie. I was in the mood to mourn and had the perfect movie in front of me so things were already looking up! Here’s a bit about the movie: 

Rudaali is a 1993 Hindi film directed by Kalpana Lajmi, based on the short story written by Mahasweta Devi. The title is a reference to a custom in certain areas of Rajasthan where women are hired as professional mourners after the death of a male relative. These women are referred to as a ‘rudaali’ (roo-dah-lee),literally translated as female weeper. Their purpose is to publicly express grief of family members that are not permitted to display emotion due to social status. The film is set in a small village in Rajasthan, India. It tells the story of a woman named Shanichari, who was abandoned by her mother shortly after her father’s death. Bad fortune follows as she marries an alcoholic, who leaves her with little hope of a brighter future for herself and her son. Throughout Shanichari’s lifetime of misfortune she has never cried. This creates great difficulty once she is called to become a rudaali until Bhinkni, an experienced mourner, enters her life. But Shanichari is simply led to more misery that will surely bring her to tears. Dimple Kapadia won a National Film Award for her role of Shanichari in the film. The film also features Raakhee, Raj Babbar and Amjad Khan in one of his last films. Amjad Khan had died before the film’s release and the film is dedicated to him at the beginning of the film’s credits. (wikipedia)

Read more on the film at Philip’sfil-ums, rAjOo, and alternate movies.

Here’s my progression of Amjad Khan viewing: Sholay (1975), Muqaddar Ka Sikander (1978), Qurbani (1980), Lawaaris (1981)  and last night I saw Rudaali (1993).  In the beginning Rudaali  you see this:

I then realized Amjad must have died around the time of the movie’s release.  I was thinking that maybe he wasn’t in the movie, but rather that the movie simply was dedicated to him. So when someone who looked like a MUCH BIGGER Amjad Khan appeared…

I couldn’t believe it was him. I remember seeing Khan in Lawaaris and thinking how chunky he’d become and how fitting since that character started out in the film as a pig of a man. Khan’s character appears in Rudaali several times and he’s on his death bed, trying unsuccessfully to die. Ironic that it was one of his last roles to play a dying man. 

 Finally I figured out that this was indeed Amjad Khan:

After I got over my shock about Amjad’s apperance, I was free to enjoy the film.

For today’s video, listen to Dil Hoom Hoom Gare” (My heart beats with fear) which is about Dimple’s character’s sad life, but reminds me of the hail storm I’d just survived.  I am dedicating to this song to my plants harmed by the storm.  It’s sung by Lata Mangeshkar, picturized on Dimple Kapadia, with lyrics by Gulzar, and music by Bhupen Hazarika:

Dil hoom hoom kare, ghabraaye

My heart is gasping, it shivers in fear

Ghan dham dham kare, darr jaaye

The clouds are thundering, my heart becomes afraid

Ek boond kabhi paani ki mori ankhiyon se barsaaye

A drop of water sometimes flows from my eyes

Dil hoom hoom kare, ghabraaye

My heart is gasping, it shivers in fear

More Lyrics HERE.

Thanks to Dimple, for her excellent acting, for crying over my injured hosta, for being the Rudaali of my hail storm.

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