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The New Golden Period of Bollywood
Just when I thought Hindi cinema is going through a bad phase, along came directors like Aanand L Rai and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra to prove - "Picture abhi baaki hain mere dost". I was tired of watching candyfloss films, especially those without a meaningful script. From the current lot of romantic films, I liked Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (the climax and music of YJHD wins special brownie points). Now, don't get me started on vulgar comedies, because I choose to ignore them for a reason. But this year, a completely different crop of films like Raanjhanaa, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and Ship of Theseus made me smile. Not because I have a huge crush on a particular actor or something (that's reserved for Shahid Kapoor), but for assuring film lovers like me that directors today are not shying away from experiments.
Last month, on my way back home from work, I noticed a huge billboard of the Dhanush - Sonam Kapoor starrer Raanjhanaa. There was something about this film, the songs, choice of locations, or maybe the unusual cast, that made me book the tickets in advance. There I was, sitting in a packed house filled with Dhanush fans, who whistled and cheered every time he made an entry. It was rather unexpected, considering this was his debut Hindi film and people were not too sure about Rai's decision to cast him in this film. But Dhanush made everyone sit up and notice his presence, as he charmed the audience with his portrayal of the jilted lover, Kundan. He has proved that in the end, talent overshadows everything. People who criticized Dhanush for his looks are nowhere to be seen, while the makers of the film are having the last laugh. Rai dared to take the unconventional route, and the result left me spellbound.
Raanjhanaa was followed by another a period - romantic film called Lootera. Although I still haven't seen this film, I know for a fact that Vikramaditya Motwane's brilliant direction, flawless cinematography by Mahindra Shetty, and Amit Trivedi's soulful music will pull me towards the official DVD, once it is out.
Well, what do I say about Ship of Theseus? I am glad Kiran Rao took the initiative to give this film a helping hand. Although the film is made for a niche audience, one must understand that such films are rarely made. Filled with moments that are best described as cinematic excellence, it is a must watch for every individual who calls himself/herself a cinema fanatic. Three stories, different lives, all woven into a single thread; Ship of Theseus is based on the Theseus paradox, which first noted by Plato. Be it Neeraj Kabi's (one of my early mentors at Prithvi) brilliant act as a monk, or Aida El-Kashef's flawless performance as the blind photographer, each character in the film will touch your heart in a special way. Anand Gandhi is a genius, really.