Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Golden Age

This is a post that's been around two months in the making. It would've started off simply enough - as a gushing, celebratory, fanboyish review of Rajat Kapoor's Ankhon Dekhi, of how stunning, brilliant and even more, extremely important the film is - perhaps the closest Hindi cinema has ever veered off to achieving perfection. None of the above is hyperbole, Ankhon Dekhi is probably among the greatest Hindi films NF's seen - don't be fooled by its disarming simplicity, its modest understatedness, its charming parochialism - and while the chest-thumping, self-important mantle of "genuinely great" is a weight too heavy to be borne on Ankhon Dekhi's lithe shoulders, this self effacing beauty is definitely Rajat Kapoor's towering masterpiece - a career that has given us the fabulous Raghu Romeo and Mithya before. Its stellar ending and philosophical scope make it a fitting tribute to Rajat Kapoor's mentors and the most famous abstract Hindi filmmakers nobody's ever heard of - Mani Kaul and Kumar Shahani.

If only it were all so simple! As time went by the post became longer and more complex, acquiring a shape and scope so vast that capturing it gave NF the howling fantods ('the jitters' in non DFW speak). Adding to the complexity was series of powerful, jaw dropping Hindi films NF was floored by, including Ritesh Batra's The Lunchbox (a staggering achievement, breathtakingly beautiful - pure cinema at its best! Along with Ankhon Dekhi, it should be a serious contender for being in the all time greatest); Hansal Mehta's Shahid (spare, lean and absolutely devastating); and Ashim Ahluwalia's Miss Lovely (which has to be seen to be believed - a moody, abstract, arthouse take on the seedy world of underground Hindi horror/porno cinema of the '80s - glorious, dazzling, blisteringly intense).

And the hits they never stopped coming. Should this forever-being-planned post contain references to the dark BA Pass (is it a demented pastiche of/homage to The Graduate?); the paradigm shifting, path breaking Shuddh Desi Romance; the charming, simple but groundbreaking sisters English Vinglish and Queen; the delightful, just delightful Hansee to Phansee

NF's epic post was crushed under the heavy burden of chronicling the genius of our new Hindi cinema. But it's the kind of premature death he is willing to celebrate! Hindi cinema has never been so fearless, has never had it so good, has never wallowed in such surfeit of new, exciting talent. We're living in a Golden Age and like all such ages this one won't last forever but while its does, let's unite in singing paeans to its new set of wings!



ankurpandey said...

Ankhon Dekhi was one of the most moving films I've seen in my life..thanks.
A useless trivia is that Ronkini Gupta sang in the movie! :)

Nanga Fakir said...

Ha ha ha...I'd noticed that and was super surprised myself!

Ankhon Dekhi is Ship of Theseus done right - deeply philosophical without being preachy, wordy, pretentious or self conscious; and while I know that you're a big fan of the latter, I hope you will see the merit of my argument :)

Aadii said...

Updated my to-watch list in include Aankhon Dekhi and Miss Lovely. :)