Monday, April 28, 2014

Revolver Rani (2014)

If there were a genre called "grit," then Revolver Rani (meaning "Revolver Queen" in English) would fall into that, rather than black comedy, action or drama among others. And if there were an award for the best acting ever across all cinema from all over the world, then Kangana Ranaut would be a serious contender and very likely winner for her role as Alka Singh, the Revolver Rani of the film and of Gwalior. And if there was ever an example of how the remaining film fails to match the high-voltage intensity and sheer ability of one of its crew (Kangana), then this film is the example.

Failing miserably in the editing department, the film is still unmissable: simply because of a breathtaking performance, yet again in her life, by Kangana. For me, Kangana's performance in her debut film, Gangster, had been the best-ever performance by any actor in a Hindi film equalling Kher's in Saaransh, but here Kangana as the Revolver Queen surpasses even both of them. And not only that but Hindi cinema gets its first pulsating action performance and its first action hero in the unlikely shapes of Kangana and her act; the finale of the film, set to the high-octane, rhythmic song of "Pehli Lohe ki Chingari," is riveting, stunning, spectacular: before the scene was set into its frenzied motion, I was expecting something like Ishqiya's Vidya Balan ending, but the film, for all its flaws in editing and directing, did serve up a climax unforgettable by way of believable dream stuff. And an unbelievable "rann chandi," Kangana.

If only the film had avoided the Udaybhan clan ... their comedy falls flat, and most importantly it is completely stupid to start the film with a long sequence of them. It is only Kangana's entry that energizes the film; till then, the viewer is floundering, thinking what on earth he came for. Kangana's role in the film does lead to one think: if only someone would make the Betty Blue story adaptation with an evil twist, what a God-given gift would Kangana be in a role similar to Betty's. The wish list couldn't be better for a film lover.

The film is overall simply decent, but watch it for the sublime Kangana. I guess I have set down a litany of adjectives here for Kangana in such a short write-up, and yet I think I haven't done her any justice as yet. Words fail when faced with such exceptional talent and work.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Printed Rainbow

Films, or works of art, come hardly more beautiful than this. Gitanjali Rao's 2006 film Printed Rainbow is ostensibly about an old woman and her cat, her solitude and her dreams, her ability to imagine coloured landscapes and her gumption to live on. But made with loving, careful detail, the film says a lot more. It is not merely about old age, it is about modern society. People trapped in little boxes, far from rain, far from forests, birds and harems' enjoyment. Everyone is on a wheelchair, unable to get out from it: and imagination, bright, vivid imagination rich with music, textures and disperse scenes from the far-flung corners of India, through the matchboxes of Sivakasi, is required, is the only vehicle to escape the monotony, the imprisonment behind a spinning wheel: the spinning, ever-circling wheel of a sewing machne, of a paper boat in too little a sea, of life and death.

As of the time of writing, this 15-minute-long masterpiece can be watched in its entirety here: