Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi ki Har Khwaish pe Dum Nikle

March 16, 2006

Mr. & Mrs. Iyer

Filed under: Movies — feelingroovy @ 6:41 pm

A very common theme to discussions on movies has been a comparison of Indian cinema vis-a-vis the Western cinema. Such discussions normally tend to form quite an agreeable opinion that western cinema in general is superior to the Indian film industry. Unfortunately in the process, more often than not, the ability and richness of Indian cinema is completely discounted. This happens typically when the contributors to the discussion tend to have “purist” tastes – though they may show some regard for some of the old classics made in Bollywood, granting any touch of commendation to the contemparory Indian film industry seems to be totally out of question. However some new Indian movies like Mr. & Mrs. Iyer and Hazaron Khwaishen Aisi offer an undeniably deafening answer to even such purists.
It was after such a discussion with my friend, Aseem whom I regard often annoyingly purist in his appreciation, that I felt prompted to re-watch a few scenes of Mr. & Mrs. Iyer. Even in the second watch the movie was so beautiful that I could not forward any scene and ended up watching the whole movie :-). Though I am no good at comprehensively analyzing and commenting on any movie, the general impression that the movie gave me was of sheer brilliance. I had gathered over a lot of discussions that the most major flaws that were associated with even the “better” of the Indian cinema are a complete lack of subtlety of expression and consistency in integrating the various elements of the movie. Mr. & Mrs. Iyer incidentally comes out to be a winner on both these aspects. There are very few Inidan movies that would show communal riots in such a sensitive manner and yet not show any gore. More importantly the movie does not aim to handle the “issue” even in a remotely didactic manner. It simply touches enough upon the topic to make you think about the issue and see it in a more larger scheme of things.
Another thing that I pleasantly noticed about the movie was the strong sense coherence in every aspect. The movie actually literally looks a like motion picture with every frame looking like a picture taken too well. Somehow you feel that the whole team is in complete synch with the feeling of the movie – right from the camerman to the director to every actor and to of course the music. The background music of Zakir Hussain is totally awsome and gels beautifully into the experience of every scene. I wonder some times that why incidentally good Indian parellel cinema movies almost always have great music. Hazaraon Khwaishen Aisi, Bazaar, Ijazat, Masoom to name a few… Well that’s beside the point for now.
Talking about the lead actors obviously doesn’t make much sense. Any praise is not enough for the great performances by Rahul Bose and Konkana Sensharma. Interestingly the first time I saw this movie I formed an opinion that the lead actress is actually clearly south Indian :-). What was very exciting to see was that even small roles have been done by really great actors. A lot of scenes had me running into actors whom I had earlier seen somewhere in great performances, in relatively insiginificant roles in this movie. The old Muslim couple for example was played by Bhisham Sahni and Surekha Sikri (the one who’s in Mammo). If I’m not mistaken the Jewish guy in the bus was played by Anjan Dutta. The mother of the sick child and the irritated lady sitting next to Mrs. Iyer in the bus are also great actresses but I don’t recall where I’ve seen them earlier :-(.
Ok well perhaps I’ve been too appreciative of this. I always am about a lot of things – bad habits are hard to go. In any case this is the way I feel about the movie now and more importantly this is my blog, so I’m free to say anything :-).



  1. Nice discussion Chetan, looks like you have given it quite a thought. Wht I feel abt it is- no art, Indian or western should have any need to be defended.

    You may think, ppl think- Β¨it is more stylish/fashionable to be prejudiced against Indian movies.Β¨ You must be aware of itΒ΄s reasons. You can never justify prejudice though and I believe, you are quite right in speaking your mind.

    But we should always remember- Everybody plays favourite! πŸ™‚

    Comment by jigyasu — March 19, 2006 @ 4:31 am

  2. Extremely well written. I have never believed that cinema has to conform. Indian movies today display a huge amount of individualism and innovation. There are more and more movies being made on off-track issues viz. My Brother Nikhil, Page 3, Being Cyrus etc. and that augurs well for us.

    My only peev is that we still dont make good animation. I had a discussion with Mundra the other day and we do feel that it is purely due to lack of funds..a Shark Tale would have a $10 m budget for the s/w alone..Indian movies are just beginning to challenge those barriers..

    Again, a point in favour of our western compatriots is the scripts they come up with. Syriana is an example and so are movies like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Saw, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Chicago…which are well just different.

    My contention: We don’t make such movies because we simply dont have societal exposure to them. Psychedelic drugs? How many Indian audiences would be able to identify with a movie on them ? A musical like Khamoshi failed terribly.

    For every Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron and Pushpak, we have 100 amazingly trashy movies. Hollywood is no better and churns out pathetic movies too. If we can be just be a little more innovative and give more leverage to filmmakers who wish to make a little more than a song-dance movie ( I love those if the songs and dance are good !), we will truly rock ! Wotsay?

    Comment by Kohli — March 22, 2006 @ 6:20 am

  3. Hi Ankur,
    Perhaps you are getting me wrong. For one, I was not talking about appreciating Western movies over Indian ones for being fancy or stylish. A lot of people would have genuine reasons to believe so (e.g. we might have put our cute Mr. Kohli in this class earlier but his present comment apparently smears away this image to a good deal ;-))
    Secondly, I was not able to comprehend most of the rest of your comment :-(. Thanks for commenting neways :-).

    Thanks a lot for your appreciation and sorry for referring to you while answering Ankur πŸ™‚
    Nice to read through your comment. Yaar I still feel that even with a few little experiments being made here, Western movies are on an average better than ours.
    As you said, it would be really cool if good animation starts getting made out of here but I seriously doubt that technology is the major roadbloack in that direction with the western content development and animation industry being outsourced to India in a big way. Its perhaps again because of our aversion to commit to new risky & ideas.
    Though the inability of our industry to come up with a good musical as yet (except perhaps as you say – Khamoshi which I haven’t seen :-() is pretty disappointing, our song and dance sequences totally rock in their own special way :-).

    Comment by feelingroovy — March 22, 2006 @ 4:59 pm

  4. Thanks to my friend, Shobhit, one more movie added to my good-parellel-cinema-movie-with-great-music list today – Saath Saath (Farooq Sheikh, Deepti Naval!!) (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0341554/ – don’t know how to make a hyperlink in acomment :-()

    Comment by feelingroovy — March 22, 2006 @ 5:49 pm

  5. Dear Chetan,

    This comment is nowhere related to your topic of posting. I was just going thru your previous two replies and I was really amused by how your expression changes after almost every other line. In a moment, you are naughty, then sad, then happy, then happy again followed by sad, then happy and again sad. It was fun to read though πŸ™‚

    And now coming to your post, I think the only problem is our audience. The people in film industry in India are nowhere less in taking risks or creating new ideas. You can find a whole genre of actors and directors who have devoted their life to “parallel cinema”. If you watch movies like Aakrosh, Chasme Baddur, Ravana, Ankur, Katha, Ankush, Aarohan, Mirch Masaala, Kissa Kursi Ka, Prahaar, Salaam bombay and the list goes on – each movie will just make you feel so proud about Indian Cinema. They all deal with topics which are completely related to Indian issues and you will be surprised to see the level thought put in such movies. Kohli rightly mentioned that “We don’t make such movies because we simply dont have societal exposure to them. Psychedelic drugs? How many Indian audiences would be able to identify with a movie on them ?”.

    But artists also need money to survive and so they make movies for commercial success, with songs and dance sequences to appeal to the common mass of India, majority of who spend three hour in theatre not to appreciate art – but maybe to have a good happy time with their family. But things are on a move and Indian cinema is changing its face. I am optimistic about it !:)

    Comment by jhapk — March 22, 2006 @ 6:16 pm

  6. I agree with Jhapk.. most animated reply I have ever seen πŸ™‚
    but Chetan, did I really confuse you? I feel for so proud to confuse a manager. πŸ˜€

    Comment by jigyasu — March 22, 2006 @ 6:43 pm

  7. As I have said earlier, I love Baccha!!! Reading his comments just makes my day πŸ˜€

    Comment by Kohli — March 24, 2006 @ 11:11 am

  8. Going to watch Being Cyrus today…will give you guys an unwanted review πŸ™‚

    Comment by Kohli — March 24, 2006 @ 11:13 am

  9. life is not as bad as it may look sometimes πŸ™‚

    Comment by jhapk — March 24, 2006 @ 5:36 pm

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