21.8.09

Sab Kaminey hain ...faale

*Warning* longish post... got carried away a little...

'Arre fa ko fa nahin toh kya la bolega, huh?' This pretty much covers the general feeling of people who have seen Kaminey. No one is sure if we want to call it a B-Grade action flick or an amazing tribute to everything great about masala action movies. 'Fa' hai ya 'La' hai? Bhope bhau (Amol Gupte playing the most fascinating caricature of a Mumbai don is amazing) calling out the obviousness of Charlie (Shaid Kapoor is awesome as well) saying 'main fa ko fa bolta hoon' is midway in the movie and by then we have already fallen over laughing at Guddu, Sweety and all the assorted kamineys. But picture abhi baki hai and we are treated to an erratic and fast paced climax which, like summer rain crashes suddenly on us and leaves us wanting more.

I am amazed by the breadth of imagination shown here by Vishal. In this movie, which I see as a tribute to the masala action movies of not that long ago, Vishal blends dark humor with craziness, insanely funny dialogues and some of the best cameos I have ever seen. Be it the irascible Lobo (Ek gaana ga na) or the quirky Tashi (I'm not America) or the stoned pub crawler Mikhail (don't you love communist influences) - the cameos are what underwrite a strong cast and amazing timing. The dialogues are the eventual star of the movie. The storyline is actually different and strongly punctuated by distinct character sketches - from the lisping Charlie and the stammering Guddu to the cowardly, bullying Lele - everyone has their share of the writers attention.

The music is not much to write home about. I love 'Dhan ta nan'- ohh how I love it. Its on loop at work and at home. All day long. But then what? The background score is repetitive and sounds boring after a while. Plus it could have been better :P

So whats with all these forum entries then? I have read so much about people hating the movie, or the movie being more hype than substance. The general consensus is "Could have been better". I for one, don't know what could have been better. What is funnier than Sweety charging out of a room screaming 'toh kya main ne tera r*** kiya hai' and Guddu promptly going into the toilet, on which of course is scrawled 'apna haath jagannath'? Who adds subtle details like that in a lover's spat? There are just so many funny dialogues and situations, each so well handled a post for each scene would not be amiss. It was a masala movie - I don't think any amount of hype hid that fact. Probably even the ultimate masala movie.

I don't know what people felt missing, but I am guessing this was just like the reaction to Satya or Rangeela. So much of the plot and dialogues are Mumbai centric, so much of the humor is subtle (yes, there is subtlety involved, refer toilet door). Maybe the crudity of Mikhail and Charlie groping each other?

Then there was this comparison to 'Lock Stock' and 'Snatch'. People, grow up. The camera tripping away in one song and a comedy of errors does not mean its in the same vein. It is a truly home-grown (might I add 'Amchi Mumbai') story. And even in that comparison, the movie comes trumps. Fast-paced, funny, dark and violent.

I wonder if it was the unpredictability of the movie that turned off people. The twins actually grow up together and don't get separated at Kumbh ka mela - or at the Bandra Fair, take your pick. Everyone knew that the twins would be matching wits against the others antagonists - it is a comedy of errors, no. Did anyone expect them to go back to their real villains - Charlie to Tashi and the keystone cops and Guddu to his 'mehuna' Bhope? Did anyone expect Lele to kill Lobo for 'ek aur chance'? Or did anyone expect Priyanka Chopra to come up with the performance of a lifetime :P ? Probably no to all the above and that turned them off.

Maybe it was the large cast. There are at least 11 distinct characters we follow, never mind the flash backs. The movie jumps from character to character in a flurry of half-scenes. We simultaneously follow the twin's interrogations and it does tend to be hard to keep track if you don't pay attention. After all watching a movie is more a social activity then for the sake of the movie. And the threads of the story were sometimes so intertwined, it might have been difficult to unravel the real 'meaning'.

Or maybe it was the ending? I heard a lot of complaints about the ending - a little overblown, not very funny, too incongruous... what do you expect in a masala movie? If anything that was one of the funniest endings ever especially all the bargaining (3,33,333.33 rupees to be exact). Did people rather want the twin's father to be kidnapped adding another dimension? Did they find the brother willing to sacrifice himself a little too corny?

I don't know what triggered the negativity. Maybe its isolated to me. But, I loved the movie. After a long time, I saw a movie retake on the masala genre - comedy,action,emotion...a little bit of everything. If that does not make a movie awesome, I wonder what does.

ps. did I mention I loved Priyanka Chopra in this movie and have had to reconsider dismissing her as a non-entity. She can act.