Filmistaan, Bollywood Film movie review, Johnson Thomas, Rating: * * * 1/2
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Filmistaan(Hindi) Rating: * * * ½You will laugh, cry and be amazed at the lucidity with which the universal theme of brotherhood between warring nations is put forth here. And you don’t even feel it’s preachy! Thought-provoking, mind churning, beautifully fluid, the story is told with grace and economy that will put even the experienced directors to shame. An amazing feat coming from a first time director, Nitin Kakkar and cast (brilliantly irreverent Sharib Hashmi) and crew filled with newcomers! It’s also highly entertaining! Run to the theatres…
Hindi film review
Amazingly Lucid Entertainer
Cast: Sharib Hashmi, Kumud Mishra, Inaamulhaq, Gopal Dutt
Director: Nitin Kakkar
Rating: * * * ½
On the lines of quirky satires like ‘Tere Bin Laden’ and ‘Phas Gaya Re Obama’ this innovative entertainer brings to the fore, the universal theme of brotherhood between two warring nations. And it’s done without being preachy or lumpen about it. Helmed by first time director Nitin Kakkar and starring a host of newcomers, this film without a recognizable star name, female lead or item songs to lend glamour and box office clout, dares to take the unconventional route to provide it’s sterling entertainment.
Playing like a parable on love and amity, this film works it’s magic by making superb use of Bollywood fanaticisms. Sunny(Sharib Hashmi), eats, drinks and breathes Bollywood, to the extent that this wannabe actor fails auditions by the dozens mainly because he mimics the Salman’s and Shah Rukh’s without displaying his own individualistic style or craft. The wannabe actor has to therefore make do with the job of an Assistant Director for a documentary produced by a foreign company, being shot in the border regions of India and Pakistan. Despite having a permit to shoot, the team gets hassled by the local police and Sunny’s smart thinking saves the day for the team. That is when you first realize Sunny’s great potential as an actor. Once the shoot is done, he is entrusted with the camera and exposed reels while the rest of the team heads back. Sunny , while on his way back, through the dark, unpopulated wilderness of the border area gets waylaid by cross-border terrorists on the look out for Firangi captives. Since the darkness hides his nationality, he is taken across the border and kept captive in a village there. The terrorists on realizing that he is Indian and not American as they hoped for, decide to hold on to him until they locate the original targets.
Despite being captive , the irrepressible Sunny finds his element in the little village that is crazy about Bollywood cinema(despite the ban) -watched through the pirated cds of a small time trader, Aftaab(Inaamulhaq) who frequently crosses the border to deal in them. What transpires thereafter is history… or will be once this film has been watched by the multitudes it’s intended for.
Utterly bewitching in it’s earnestness to convey the joys and sorrows of a struggling actor caught in the cross-fires of cross border terrorism, the narrative springs surprise after surprise with it’s unique insights and smartly navigated timeline. Art is a great leveler they say and Sunny’s use of Bollywood art is so impressively fascinating that he is able to win over the Paki villagers and even manages to get the terrorists to let him enjoy the treat of watching Salman Khan’s ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’ with the eager villagers. The sequence which has Sunny mimicking Salman while the sound plays hokey, is simply fabulous. In fact , there are many such beautifully written sequences in the film. When Sunny admits to Aftaab, that he knows that he doesn’t have it in him to be a hero, it makes for a poignant moment. Aftaab’s response “ Mere Asli Hero tho tu hi hai’ makes you want to cry and laugh at the same time. Sunny’s solitude brought on by the forced imprisonment is brought out soulfully with him mouthing Yaara Sili Sili, while Reshma’s original rendition ‘Ve main chori chori’ plays on a radio in the background.
There are many more such moments that will make you laugh, cry and be completely mesmerized by the total engagement on offer. You will be amazed at the lucidity with which the universal theme of brotherhood between warring nations is put forth here. And you don’t even feel it’s preachy! Thought-provoking, mind churning, beautifully fluid, the story is told with grace and economy that will put even the experienced directors to shame. Even the ending is quite a masterstroke!
You won’t find the trenchant melodrama of a ‘Veer Zaara’ or the stridency of a ‘Gaddar’ here. The narrative is a smartly engineered confluence of Bollywood ‘isms’ without the accompanied hyperactivity, loudness or conformist tripe that characterizes the cinema from the mainstream. An amazing feat coming from a first time director, Nitin Kakkar, who balances drama, emotions, aggrieved theatrics with a felicity that is at once convincing as it is entertaining. Sachindra Vats’ editing keeps the linear narrative flowing with perfectly timed emotional, humorous and ferocious hefts. Assisted by Sudhanshu Das’s excellent camerawork and superb cast (a brilliantly irreverent Sharib Hashmi and great supporting actors), pitch perfect screenplay and dialogues( jointly credited to Nitin and Sharib), this little gem is high on pure unadulterated entertainment- in fact more so than any of the other releases this week. This is definitely a not-to-be-missed film!