Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Review of Naach

OK correct me if I'm wrong. Now I didn't see Naach just when it released so I have no recollection of what the critics said. All I know is that when I saw it last week (intended as a post-prandial laugh riot, thanks largely to Antara Mali's contorted positions and Aby baby's cute as hell smile and everything else (relax I still love the deadly Dutt), Naach turned out to be not so much a laugh riot, but an interesting study into Ram Gopal Varma's mind. I saw it with Gaurav and Ayesha (who has told me I must mention her name) and I couldn't help but thinking that to the discerning eye (and no I am not trying to say I am a discerning viewer; oh hell, whatever), it seemed to me that RGV was making a case for himself in the film. For his art, for his passion, for the way he leads his life. Critics who thought this was an Abhimaan remade have got it so wrong (at least, according to me). I don't think the movie was about Abhishek and Antara and ego clashes or their love stopry (of course on the surface it was), but about an artist trying to tread the thin line between commercialisation and sticking to his/her brand of art. Struggling to pay mounting rent bills but hoping to walk with her/his head held high by not stopping to do any work that comes his/her way, simply because it pays. And, it was about an artist trying to solve that inner turmoil: whether to pander to audience needs or to give the industry something original, fresh, creative.
Antara Mali is RGV. The man who has chosen to walk a path that's quite different from Bollywood. Who's stuck to doing songless films, which may not sell, but not betrayed his style. To whom technique and passion go hand in hand, and who has not let audience tastes dictate his films, but who has always strived to expand thought processes by doing avant garde films.
Naach to me is RGV telling the whole world: buzz off. I did it my way, and I struggled, and I went through my turmoil, and I lost friends, and I lost relationshps, and I didn't make money, but I stuck to my guns. And here I am, successful and doing work my way (even if that means slapping interns and not paying them, as alleged by a recent article). So follow your dreams, stick to your passion, and the money, the fame, the world, they'll all come around. As will Bollywood, and the audience...
And in the end it's all a naach... but while you and your neighbour may want to do the salsa, the ramba or whatever Shaimak Davar and Ashley Lobo teach these days, RGV will just keep inventing his own little naach to make the world dance at his fingertips...


Blogger Jabberwock said...

Hey, interesting interpretation, not that I've seen the film or know much about the types of movies RGV makes. Is this in preparation for a possible film-reviewing stint at IT?

12 January, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you.

13 January, 2005  
Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...

Don't be tentative; you do have a grasp.

Ever since RGV grabbed colourful attention in the mid-1990s, he has been firing warning flares that India's hearty movie moguls, whatever they make of his oft-contorted version of 'operating reality', haven't been complacent enough to dismiss (avant 'guard' more like it, flank-ly, as the Western-sensibility monochrome of the Indian audience spectrum gains critical mass)...

... it sorta goes well with RGV's abiding interest in the complexities of reality-constrained relationships.

14 January, 2005  
Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...

Here is an extract from a TIME interview (now, now, now... is he kiddin' us or is he?):

TIME: Have you had to fight to make the films you wanted?
Varma: The resistance was there, and I've tried to convert people.
At this point, Varma's mobile telephone rings. He checks the number and announces the caller is a film distributor in Dubai and indicates TIME should listen in.
Varma [to distributor]: There's no music in the film, only background music. You won't really hear it... It's a student picture, correct... There's maybe three or four songs in the background but you won't really hear them...
Varma [grinning, hand over phone, to TIME]: "No songs! No songs!" He's having a heart attack.
Varma [to distributor]: Don't worry about it, OK? You're just buying it and selling it, right? ...
Varma [aside to TIME]: I'm in that position now, you know? "F--- you! Take it or get out!"
After a few pleasantries, Varma hangs up.
TIME: What's the future for Bollywood?
Varma: There's going to be a massive change. A lot of old filmmakers are going to go out of business. Anyone who looks at a film as a formula of one song, two comedy scenes and three action scenes, who doesn't look at the totality of the film, is lost now. Anyone who follows the old prudish traditions, of showing a bush's shaking leaves when they mean people are f---ing behind a tree, is gone. And anyone who doesn't follow the West is gone. For many people in the business, their pride won't let them. But following the West is not surrendering. Following the West, the best of the West, is following originality. Western innovation is superior, and I think we're just beginning to understand that. With my films, I'm targeting the urban multiplexes, the sophisticated media-savvy young crowd. Frankly, I couldn't give a f--- for the villages.

14 January, 2005  
Blogger Hans Meier said...

This review is as verbose as Naach is slow. But with Naach i felt it worthwhile to follow through.

Anyway thanks for the funny RGV interview in the last comment.

12 June, 2011  

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