Rating : Above Average (3.5/5)
Genre : Drama
Year : 2013
Running time : 2 hours 7 minutes
Director : Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap
Cast : Rani Mukherjee, Randeep Hooda, Saqib Saleem, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Ranvir Shourie, Vineet Kumar Singh, Sudhir Pandey
Kidwise : PG-15
Four directors present short stories, a tribute to 100 years of the film industry. Each short is different and individual, and alludes to Mumbai’s hindi film industry.
In the first “Ajeeb Dastan Hai Ye”, Karan Johar takes a stab at presenting the marriage of a young, yuppie couple. Dev (Randeep Hooda) is a news anchor while Gayatri (Rani Mukerji) is a magazine editor. Her friendship with new intern Avinash (Saqib Salim) makes Dev uncomfortable.
Dibakar Banerjee directs the second short “Star” with Nawazuddin Siddique in the lead. This is an adaptation of Satyajit Ray’s “Patol Babu, Film Star”. Chawl-resident Purandar wanders to a street-side film-shoot where he is randomly picked out for a minor role. Unbeknownst to the harried director and the casual minions who toil under him, Purandar has been an actor once. His almost accidental foray into prime-time acting brings back long-forgotten memories.
The third short is by Zoya Akhtar and titled “Sheila Ki Jawani”. Vicky (Naman Jain) and his elder sister live in an apartment with their parents. Their father (Ranvir Shourey) wants them to do appropriately girlish and boyish things, i.e.; soccer for Vicky. Vicky however only wants to dress up and dance like his idol Sheila (of “Sheila ki Jawaani” fame), but of course dad will have none of that. What is Vicky to do?
Anurag Kashyap’s short “Murabba” is about (Vineet Kumar Singh) who, under his father’s direction, sets off for Mumbai to get Amitabh Bachchan to partake of homemade murabba. Outside Prateeksha’s big, opaque gates, this lad from Allahabad waits and waits.
Out of these four, I have to say I like “Murabba” best. It is humorous, laughs at itself and at us – the fans who idolize film-stars to absurd levels. This small-town tale is well done, down to the small details. Vineet Kumar Singh is fabulous as the dutiful son (I hope we see him in other films too), and veteran actor Sudhir Pandey is fantastic as the father who waxes nostalgic about Yusuf Sahab and the magic of the silver screen. This is a smart, witty film with dialogues crackling with irony. Wonderful!
A close second is Banerjee’s “Star”, a very different film from “Murabba”. Banerjee manages to capture the pathos of the little man, his big dreams crushed under the weight of mundane life. Siddiqui is fabulous as the thwarted actor, who nevertheless takes his little victory and offers it up to his precious, bedridden daughter – an anecdote to make her smile.
I’m not too impressed with Akhtar’s short. She takes up an important topic – the desire to not follow socially prescribed gender roles, and the social frowning upon that results. This is new for desi audiences, but done often (and better) in films like “Billy Elliott” etc. The kids were cute though, and acted very well. Johar’s work comes in last, as the film that failed to move me the least. While the actors did well enough, and the story was pertinent, the film itself seemed to flounder at the edges. His “filmi connection” seemed contrived and an after-thought.
This is a good one-time watch; I might watch just “Murabba” again though!
Kidwise : Stories 1 and 2 (“Ajeeb Dastan Hai Ye” and “Star”) might be inappropriate for younger kids, both visually and conceptually. Kids might enjoy Vicky’s story and Murabba is a fairly benign watch.