Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Reluctant Funadametalist Film

I   like the  film very much.  There are multiple  tracks of  my  special  interests merging   in to  one  film   like:  1) Terrorism, specially post  9/11 stories    2) social  conflict  3)  Mira Niar films   4)  films   about the   South Asian subcontinents  5)  Films  with stories  about  immigrants experience ,   minority, diversity   and multiculturalism
The List of the terrorism films that I have seen and  enjoyed  is  long .  Fiction,  based on True story or   actual  documentary
·         Hollywood  : Charlie Wilson's War   ( 2007)  , Saving Jessica Lynch (2003) (TV), Argo (2012 film) (2012),  Zero Dark   Thirty ( 2012) 
·         Bollywood :  Roja (1992) Dil Se.. (1998),   Black Friday (2005)    Fanaa (2006), A Wednesday!, (2009) thriller film,   New York (2009)  ,   My Name is Khan (2010)
·         Foreign Films :     Waltz with Bashir ,  Gate Keeper  ( 2012-Oscar nominated for the  best documnetary   (  Kudos to  the  Israeli directors to make  movies  with such  exemplary  candor )  ,  Khudake  Liye  ( Pakistan )..  

The  subject is  also popular theme in some the  award-winning   TV serials like Homeland (HBO) . We live in post  9/11  era. The  era  of  WW-II  spy movies or   James Bond type  cold-war stereo type   has  faded.   Besides terrorism,  there  has been     many   good movies on the   deep  and  agonizing conflicts that people live in . Few just caused by the class war, drug wars specially in Latin American countries    but many more   are also no the  sectarian,  tribal, ethnic  , Islamist  conflicts  that we  see  in  the Middle east,   countries  made  out of the  lines  drawn by the  former imperial powers or  forced  co-existence  by the  past conquerors.   

Usually I like  Documentaries or the  fact based film  a lot more than fiction,  However this  film is an exception. I  liked  may shuttle things  in  the movie  from the titles in English  going from  right  to  left.   Sufi divine music,   the dialogues in  Urdu , not  modifying  the name  Chengiz ( to Gengiz) ,  ghazal, specially the ghazal of Iqbal. (   “the mountain eagle” (Bāng‑i Darā,  your place is  not on the  domes of the palace  but on the peak of  the mountain “  where  The Eagle,”highlights the “ascetic” and freedom‑loving nature of the eagle.  The subtitle  translates its  as Falcon ) .  I like the most of the movie’s ability to  keep the suspense  till the end and Mira Nayar dedicating  the film to  her father. 

I am not going to be  a  spoiler  as I  would  recommend  every  person  of acquaintance  living  the in USA  and the Indian  subcontinent to see the film) . The  critics review   is not the most applauding  with  the  rottern Tamoto meter indicating  on 53%  grade . May be   the  background  Sufi  music and lyrics   could  have made it  difficult to decipher  for  American  Critics.  
Probably this one of the first Indian directors to make a Pakistani film from Pakistani author  and bring it to America .  Though the movie  does not  necessarily  put  Americans in the positive light  but no  one  has   denounced it.   That  makes  proud  of open and liberal  practices in  US democracy.   The  fact no one in India  has  asked  to ban the movie    and  the  fact that  it has   crosses borders makes me so proud of India. 
Probably this  one of the first Indian directors to make a Pakistani film from Pakistani auhor  and bring it to America .  Though the movie  does not  necessarily  put  Americans in the positive light  but no  one  has   denounced it.   That  makes  proud  of open and liberal  practices in  US democracy.   The  fact no one in India  has  asked  to ban the movie    and  the  fact that  it has   crosses borders makes me so proud of India.

It’s no wonder that the words Islamic and fundamentalism are often so tightly coupled in our  minds that  by default we  bind them together.  On a superficial level, “fundamentalist” refers to religious identity, one unfortunately most often associated with Islamic terrorism these days. However the  title is  of “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,”

Mira Niar is  great  film maker from  India     I have seen  Salaam Bombay (1988, probably my first  “off-beat movie in theater) ,  Missisipi Masala  ( 1991 )  , Kam Sutra ( Mediocre)  , The Namesake  , Amelia    and now the  Reluctant Fundamentalist. Can not compare the films in different  but  I find  The  Reluctant  Fundamentalist  as the most  intriguing  film . ( Mira Niar's own most  favorite film is "The battles of  Algiers".  She  said   "only movie in the world I wish I had directed is “The Battle of Algiers”

 We  probably empathize  with  the  travails of  unemployed   youth  with  hopeless  future  in  Palestine more easily.   However   we all wonder why  someone  like   2010 Time Bomber  (Faisal Shahbaz) having   successful  career at the  Financial Analyst, or  some of  2005 London bombers  who happened to be   student form prestigious school like the London school of  economy  or now the  Tsarnaev  brothers in Boston      become  such  terrorists ?

As she demonstrated in films like “Mississippi Masala” and “The Namesake,” Nair has a gift for revealing the challenges and contradictions of the American minority experience, a talent that serves her well in a number of scenes here . She  covers  many social issues  in her films    like  Child labor ( Salam Bombay) ,   Pedophile in  family (Monsoon Wedding),   Immigrant experience  in assimilation ( The Namesake)  and  this  movie  is no  exception. The message of them movie by Indian  director Mira Niar and  the story   by the Pakistani   Moshin  Hamid is   also  something of   profound importance and  a timely reminder after the  recent  bombing at the Boston Marathon. I  feel that the film should be  shown in schools specially on the course work of  social  studies and  diversity in the  society . The film provides  much needed spin on the war on terrorism.  





Sunday, March 3, 2013

Kai Po Che ! Bollywood Film

Interetsingly , In 2007 I returned form the trip to Rajasthan, India and saw a very liked film “Eklavya” shot in Rajasthan, at DeviGath, the place  I just visited. That made my first blog on film at this blog  http://tjshah.blogspot.com/2007/03/eklavya-royal-guardhindi-film.html

Seems the same history is repeating. I just came back form the trip of Gujarat. Again I am seeing a very likable film in USA shot in the place I just visited.  I still have not posted most of the pictures of this trip to Gujarat.   The subset of the albums are posted. The public albums can be seen at http://picasaweb.google.com/TusharInGujarat.
More albums and the associated blog entries will follow at this site,
http://tusharinGujarat.blogspot.com.    In the film , I felt as I  know  every brick in the every building and   some of them I  just  visited, specially  seeinng the spirit of the Kite-flying in Ahmedabad,  places like heritage walk ,  Jumma Masjid, Sarekhej no Rojo  and even trip to Div, Saurastra.   I also had  trip to Saurastra  with three firends  and  so felt  the experiene of the  stars in the  movie  somehwhat personal . 

Other  item common to  Eklavya and  "Kai po Che" is the message  to the  Indian  literature  and culture   about the  importance of   "सत गुरु ". Find a good teacher and life would be made .

 Independent of  my personal association with the locations in Gujart,  attachmnet to  the  recent  natural  disaster of  earthwauke   on 1/26/2001 and man-made disaster on Feb 27 2002,   close  repeat of  the paths of my rcnet, I  like the film a lot.  I feel   I have already seen one of the best  Hindi film of the year.

Kai Po Che is the Gujrati line meaning ‘I Have Cut’ which comes out in a kite flying festival when one knocks down the opponent’s kite. It is used as a cry of victory in kite-flying contests.

I expected the movie to be some kind of cliché about friendship that have seen in many Bollywood dramas which includes flirting, dancing and mimic around during college hours but its about three adult pals and their struggle in life whose friendship is tested on a big scale..

At the most I expected KPC to be another clone or at least a shade of such drama like Rang De Basanti, DCH(Dil CHahta Hai,) 3 Idiots and ZNMD (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara,) specially when the superstars of these movies like Amir Khan, Hritk Rosham Arshad Warsi praised the film.

KPC is none of the above. It is not a copy cat of these films, It is a remarkable depictions of three friends the backdrop the strains of the roller coaster of life. No Bollywood dance, silly comedies, no real villain. Even the character of uncle politician. who is a political leader in a right-wing Hindu party.

The 2002 communal riot is a big part of the story but the film makers smartly avoided any reference to Narendra Modi or other controversy which may block the screen of the movie in Gujarat officially or by de-facto riots as was the case for several such very good movies.  I have  read in media that  the director Abhishek Kapoor  did a  smart trick of portraying the  film as Modi's propaganda by  suggesting  that  the 2002  riot  was an act of  local  BJP leader ( and of Gujarat BJP leadership).  However Abhishek Kapoor  has profusely  rejected  such charge  through the  twitter.

The plot is new and creative. Three friends are in their first business venture of having a sports shop with coaching facilities All three have different personalities, interests, ambitions and vulnerabilities. None of the three are big stars but good actors and I think that goes in favor of the movie . I think some new stars are born. I specialy liked the new actoor  Sushabt Singh Rajput ( Ishan) and the  character of the actress  Amrita Puri and the romance.  I  do not see  the  film is  about the 2002 sectarian violence.  It is nice story on  friendship, life  and also  missing importance of sports, specially during the    growing up  in  building the character of   individual and  nation .  Physical education is   very important and we  as society  ignored  it as part of the basic education.