Karwaan- Delightful Example of “3 Layered Story Telling”

Karwaan- Delightful Example of “3 Layered Story Telling”

It feels like a journey called life but mostly on roads. Yes! Karawan is that coffee which may not taste splendid in the first sip but the taste stays with you for a long time. By now you may have heard several great reviews about the performances of the lead cast but to me, it works for many other reasons including performances. One of the most important reason is the three-layered story telling. The people who know the craft of telling a story on the cinema screen, Knows the fact that it is always told three times before it comes to the audience. Though most of us know only one of it. But I guess after this write up I will try to make you agree with my viewpoint. In Karawan all three layers merged so effortlessly that you can’t differentiate who has contributed to what? So let’s start with the first layer.
1. Writing on Paper- Many of us believe that sitting in a room with your laptop is an easy task but as I have come across many writers and believe me it is equally tougher if not less than any other part of filmmaking. Though it doesn’t look that difficult when Akarsh Khurrana and Adhir Bhatt writes a screenplay for Bejoy Nambiar’s story. They don’t force you to like there characters from the start. A man who is not looking affected by his father’s death. A teenager who is drinking and flirting even when her grandmother lying dead in a coffin and a narrow-minded religious extremist. Yet eventually by the end of the story, you start to care for them and eventually fall for them. This is pretty unconventional to do in Indian Cinema where writers are forced to make protagonists lovable even when there are organically not. Above than that is Hussain Dalaal’s dialogues. Except at certain places where Irfan Khan’s character delivers some really out of context yet extremely funny punches, none of the dialogues are written which doesn’t belong to this world. At a certain place Irfan’s Character who was reading Shayaris from mobile phone leave it all of a sudden and says something which comes to him naturally and then also says that yeh to Dil Ki Baat Hai. That’s how the writing of Karawan is. It is written without any “Filter” ( you will get the context once you watch the second half of the movie).
2. Story Telling through Visuals – What is written on paper is often perfect in a writer’s vision. The things that can go wrong, the factors which not in control in the first step of visual storytelling are very limited and whereas the things that can go wrong while executing it are limitless and still if the product is a satisfying watch then it should be appreciated.  It’s difficult to imagine that this is Akarsh Khurrana’s only second feature film as a director. His first film “High Jack” was a nightmare to the people having claustrophobia where he used inside of a plane for the major length of his screen time. But here he comes out and like a pro. He picked up the location which pretty less explored in Hindi Films – Yes! Kerala! Well if you are thinking that we have seen backwaters of Kerala many a time then I would like to add that Kerala is way more than that and without indulging in the scenic beauty of Kerala, Akarsh and Masaan and Killa Fame cinematographer Avinash Arun tries to capture the feel of the place. In “God’s own country” three lost souls trying to figure out life in its true sense and life is not on tourist places but may be at a small unimportant bridge where Akarsh and Avinash chose to tell a very important scene regarding the common thread of the three characters. One can face Life lessons in a hospital or on roads going to somewhere or nowhere. From an IT Company’s office to a small restaurant in Kerala, the choice of space is subtle and hence beautiful without beating louder drums.
3. The retelling of a story through Edit –  Very few cinema lovers understand the importance of the art of editing. We all must have heard that the best edit is the edit which is almost invisible. But what does it exactly means?  It means that an editor should be a person who acts like Mr. India and rethink the whole story after looking at the footage in a manner so that the story gains some unexplored meanings and layers. Is it possible through edit? Yes, I would like to believe so. Karavan could have been a film which just runs from one set of the event to other and no one would have complained about that because that’s what most of the editing is happening these days. But No! It has its own pace and hence the editor Ajay Sharma should be applauded. His last work Jagga Jasoos and Karawan both look like as if both have been edited by two different persons. Where in Jagga was blamed with a tag of “lengthy watch” Karwaan finishes under 2 hours. In Jagga he used fancy transitions and followed the musical beats, over here in Karawan he followed the beats of the story and never used any gimmicky transitions or cuts. I am sure that you can feel the up and downs of the pace graph when the editor chose to stop for a moment and let the audience feel the moment instead of rushing it up. Eg- In the very end of the movie when the journey finishes, there is a shot when Dulquer’s character gets inside the lift of his building once again and this time he is alone and then the smiles. Without giving spoiler I just want to say that the choice of the length of that shot makes you realize the presence of the previous lift shot and you feel that story comes to a beautiful closure. These minute things are multiple but still never comes too hard on you and remains subtle.
I can talk about performances also but that’s altogether a different set where again I would have appreciated the subtleness of even small cameos (Special Mention to Kirti Kharbanda, she is just amazing in such a small screen time)  and the leads. But for now, I would like end on the note that Karawan is just a beautiful example of three-layered storytelling which rare but should not be that rare!

7 Contemporary Quotes about Love, Life and Vulnerabilities

Time has changed; and with that the dating scenario, definitions of love, relationships everything else too have changed.

These seven quotes about contemporary love and dating life by our fellow writer surely deserve a read.








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Omkara: Othello at its Best

Omkara: Othello at its Best

There are stories which are capable enough to bring a whole new or unseen universe, and make you a part of it until the end credits roll. Omkara is that masterpiece. Omkara is a raw poetry presented  in an extreme desi-style.

Omkara (2006) is Shakespeare’s masterpiece “Othello” set in modern India. It is co-written and directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. Vishal himself composed the entire music for the film, including the background score, with lyrics by Gulzar. It starred Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan, Vivek Oberoi and Kareena Kapoor in the lead roles, supported by Naseeruddin Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma and Bipasha Basu.

The film became part of a series by Bhardwaj of film interpretations of popular literary works, including Maqbool (2003) based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, The Blue Umbrella (2007) based on Ruskin Bond’s The Blue Umbrella, 7 Khoon Maaf (2011) based on Bond’s Susanna’s Seven Husbands, and Haider (2014) based on Shakspeare’s Hamlet (source wiki).

On the day of Dolly’s wedding, Omkara (Ajay Devgan) attacks the groom’s party and abducts her as they both love each other. When her father advocate Raghunath is able to trace her and Omkara, and puts the gun of his head to get back her daughter, Bhaisaab (Naseeruddin Shah) intervenes and asks him to not to do so as the local elections are coming, and he must avoid bloodshed. Hence, begins the crime drama of love, politics, seduction and betrayals.

I think the most important thing for a film is its content. Knowing the fact that Othello is an amazing story in itself, the screenwriters surely haven’t taken the advantage of that. They had adapted it in the best possible manner and very creatively. The language of Omkara is beautiful, which takes the film to another level. And, the the way visuals and sounds are used to portray the emotions of the scenes is just perfect. The character’s are so real – be it the humanized devil Langda Tyagi (Saif Ali Khan) or the playful and innocent Dolly (Kareena Kapoor).

Omkara is also the best of Bollywood because the most brainy and creative souls of the industry clubbed together to do justice with Shakespeare’s masterpiece “Othello”.  Be it performances, the writing of it, direction to music, everything will spellbound you. To me, each and every song from the film is so meaningful and a delight to my ears. Gulzar Saab at his best.

To make a count of awards this movie bagged, it reaches almost a century. Yeah! A big number. This movie received awards of every possible category:  best film, best direction, best actor, best actor in negative role, best actor in supporting role, best music, best lyrics, best choreography. The list includes National Awards for Special Jury Award — Vishal Bhardwaj, National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress — Konkona Sen Sharma, National Film Award for Best Audiography — Subhash Sahoo, K. J. Singh, Shajith Koyeri. A total of thirteen awards were in Omkara’s name at the Filmfare Awards. The film was showcased in the Marché du Film section at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival along with a book on the making of Omkara. It was also selected to be screened at the Cairo International Film Festival, where Bhardwaj was awarded for Best Artistic Contribution in Cinema of a Director. The film also won three awards at the Kara Film Festival, an award at the Asian Festival of First Films, three National Film Awards, and seven Filmfare Awards. (source:wiki)

Omkara is a disturbing delight for all your senses!


Sarfarosh – The Poetic Thriller

Sarfarosh – The Poetic Thriller

Many stories have been told about the sensitive subject of Indo-Pak relations, about intertwining boundaries of politics and religion, and that of religion and terrorism, but this flick is an outstanding cinema because of its intense characterization, powerful story-telling, and thoughtful writing.

Sarfarosh (1999) is an Indian action thriller-drama film, produced, written and directed by John Matthew Matthan and starred Naseeruddin Shah, Sonali Bendre and Aamir Khan.

After his brother being killed by terrorists, the medical student Ajay Rathod (Aamir Khan) decides to quit his studies and join Indian Police Services, in order to bring justice to his family and the nation. Ajay is a great admirer of Pakistan-based ghazal singer Gulfam Hassan (Naseeruddin Shah). On one of Hassan’s concerts, they meet for the first time and become great friends. His investigation takes him to Rajasthan, which uncovers certain disturbing truth to him. What unfolds next is a brilliantly written thriller.  Along with the powerful story-telling, what works for this thriller is the amazing characterization of the protagonist and antagonist. Also, it won’t make any sense if I talk about their performances in the films. Surely Naseeruddin Shah and Aamir Kahn are the best actors of Indian cinema.

Also during the concert he meets Seema (Sonali Bendre) – and their silent love story starts shaping. Surely, this is one beautiful part of this film – they way the love story is dealt. Not to mention, the most dramatic moments of the film were treated in the least drama way, to quote the scene where Ajay’s father put tilak on Ajay’s forehead.  It was done without any dialogue and a subtle background score.

Nida Fazli’s ghazal “Hoshwalon Ko Khabar Kya”, sung by Jagjit Singh is another gem in the film. Also, along with it there are other beautiful songs in the film, including “Zindagi Maut Na Ban Jaye” (written by Israr Ansari), “Jo Haal Dil Ka” (written by Sameer).

Sarfarosh won National Film Awards (Sept 2000), Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, Filmfare Awards for Best Movie (critics), Best Editing (Jethu Mandal), Best Screenplay (John Mathew Matthan), Best Dialogues (Pathik Vats & Hriday Lani.)


Ajay says, “Kis kaum (caste) ki baat kar rahe ho tum? Tumhari kaunsi kaum? Agar tum Musalmano ki baat kar rahe ho toh Pakistan se zyada Musalman yahaan Hindustan mein hai. Tumhari bandook se bheji hui goliyaan kisi  ka dharam puch kar usse nahi maarti. Tumhari goliyon se Musalman bhi maare jaate hai. Aur tumhari harkaton se woh badnaam hote hai…tum jaise log kisi ke sage nai hote! Tum jaise log dushman hote hai saari insaniyat ke!” This surely is the crux of the film in one line.

Ankhon Dekhi – Philosophical yet Simple

Ankhon Dekhi – Philosophical yet Simple

Socrates said “I know that I know nothing.” And isn’t there quest actually begins?

After a dramatic incident, Raje Bauji (played by Sanjay Mishra) begins a new journey of his when he decides that he will not believe in anything that he has not seen and will create his perceptions only with what he sees now.

Ankhon Dekhi (2014) is written and directed by Rajat Kapoor; and is his 5th feature film as a writer- director. Ankhon Dekhi is a spiritual journey well blended in a family drama, which is utterly insightful and surely humorous at the same time.

The characters of the film are so well written, and if you belong to a small town, you will feel like you know them already. There is extremely honestly in its writing and the acting of entire cast. Be it the relationship between husband-wife (Sanjay Mishra and Seema Pahwa or Rajat Kapoor and Taranjit Kaur), of that of father and daughter Rita (Maya Sarao), beautiful detailing had been done on each part.

There are sequences where Raje goes to select the wedding card for her daughter, and returns with a very plain card which disappoints her daughter a lot, then when Raje finds he had never seen a tiger roaring and visits a zoo with his chamchaas, and many more sequences full of quirk and surely raises a question within us. There are beautiful nuances between him and his wife when the world starts calling Raje a mad person, and how she tackles the societal pressure, yet having a wonderful understanding of her responsibilities as a wife. The final scene of the film is thoughtful and beautifully crafted – leading us to question what freedom is.

About the performances, I guess this is Sanjay Mishra’s best work till date. Every person in the cast had been so real in their performances. Surely, they deserve applause. It was the opening film at the 8th annual Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF) 2014. The film won Best Film (Critics), Best Story (Critics), and Sanjay Mishra won Best Actor (Critics) at Filmfare 2015. At the 2015 Screen Awards ceremony, the film won the awards for Best Supporting Actress for Seema Pahwa, Best Story and Best Ensemble Cast. The music of the film is quite decent and meaningful because the beautiful lyrics written by Varun Grover.

If you have been through existential crisis, or you are living a living full of judgments and creating your realities through others words, watch Ankhon Dekhi. Trust me, it won’t serve you gyaan, but insightful entertainment.