Anjaathe

Dear Myshkin,

This is a line.


On one side of this line is a hard-hitting movie about two friends, one who wants to be a cop and another who becomes one. And how their paths slowly diverge until they are on opposite sides of a loaded gun. And a serial rapist and kidnapper who stands between them and drives the action. It is devoid of flab, features good acting and realistic dialogue and is absolutely riveting.Now, on the other side is a bloated mess of a movie involving two actors whose heavily accented dialogue delivery detracts from the authenticity of most scenes they are in. And a serial rapist and kidnapper whose actions speak louder than his acting. And much kidnapping and rape, never shown (thankfully), yet hinted at in so many ways that the movie feels at times exploitative. And dialogue that is so clunky, you feel like taking the writer out and shooting him in the kneecaps. And overused camera angles that sometimes detract from the storytelling.

Okay, you see that line? You see what’s on both sides on it? Now listen carefully:

You are on the wrong side of that line.

To your credit, you did get some things right. The movie has a good plot that attains serious momentum in the second half. It has some scenes that are written so well, they almost belong to some other movie. Like one where a distraught father pleads for help from the cops to figure out how to use a feature on his phone. Or one where the hero realizes that his casual approach to his job may have cost someone his life — you made that point so beautifully without actually verbalizing it. Nice work!

The shot composition and camera work is something I noticed throughout the movie. However, I don’t necessarily mean this in a good way. Like the way the aforementioned scene is shot so that the viewer is a participant in the action rather than an observer – fantastic. Or another scene shot entirely at foot level, simply to underline one character’s fear of being caught doing something wrong. These scenes work because of how they are shot. However, these tricks are used so often in the rest of the movie without much reason that I figure it’s a case of a stopped watch telling the right time twice in a day.

And then there are all those scenes that are designed for dramatic effect rather than with any sense of realism. A fight with a bunch of goons in a hospital, where each of them approaches the hero one at a time, even after the first couple of guys got injured trying to take him on. A badly done song featuring the lead pair when just the look in her eyes and a little snatch of music in the background would’ve sufficed. And don’t even get me started on the fistfight between two characters with guns. Seriously, dude, WTF?

On the whole, this is a movie that could have been wonderful. You missed that mark by a wide margin. Pity.

You got some writing skills. I won’t deny that. But what you lack is the discipline to keep it taut. Develop that, and you’ll be a force to reckon with.

And please, for the love of God, get someone else to direct or learn the art well enough to do it yourself.

Regards

Ramsu

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8 thoughts on “Anjaathe

  1. I’ve heard a lot about this movie too, gotta watch it. Hope it isn’t too much violence and gore.

    But rams, if we are actually talking about putting a point across without verbalizing it, can anyone go one better than the almighty TR? Let this argument be settled πŸ™‚

  2. John, you’re probably right. I hope he makes a better movie next time and I wish him luck. He’s not a bad writer, but his work needs someone who can rein it in and create something compact and hard-hitting. Since he’s the director as well, that moderating influence is missing.

    I guess writer-directors are like interference patterns. You get more light in some cases, darkness in some others πŸ™‚

    farandfunk >> There really isn’t an argument you could fashion for or against TR. He requires a leap of faith, nothing less. πŸ™‚

    ~r

  3. Sagarika says:

    Ramsu, I’ve never heard of this Mysskin guy prior but I found Anjaathey to be riveting enough to ignore its flaws (and my family. I sat down with the DVD an hour before lunchtime on a weekend morning looking for a quick Thirai Malar-type break and voila, three hours later my 2-year-old boy was found eating toilet paper, his 8-year-old sister was rummaging through the freezer for icecream after finishing off a family-size pack of Lays chips, and their dad? now don’t even get me started about guys who lock themselves in the garage and fall asleep in front of the TV when all hell’s breaking loose inside the house!).

    Did you get a chance to read brangan’s writeup? I liked what he had to say as well, although he did appear to have cut Mysskin (no pun intended) more slack than you have here (although I loved your style…constructive-criticism du jour!).

  4. Sagarika says:

    And I must add, this analogy of yours is awesome…spot on: I guess writer-directors are like interference patterns. You get more light in some cases, darkness in some others. It also took me down long-forgotten memory lanes back to high-school, Physics…I was particularly reminded of “Newton’s rings” and a certain Physics teacher who always included a question on that in our test papers…this woman was was totally in love with Newton’s rings!

  5. Sagarika,

    I did read Baradwaj’s review of Anjaathe – he seemed to like it.

    My problem with the movie was simply that it took what was basically a strong story and wrote a weak script around it. And worse still, made it worse than the script promised. I mean, whiskey tango foxtrot is that bizarre love song doing in the middle of that film?

    ~r

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