Director: Madhur Bhandarkar
Cast: Neil Nitin Mukesh, Mughda Godse, Manoj Bajpayee, Atul Kulkarni
Storyline: A young man wrongly sent to prison learns to cope and survive
Bottomline: No bottoms were harmed in the film. Many in the screening though.
The Bhandarkar formula continues, this time with surprisingly less
perversion than usual. Yes, though it is a relief to watch a Madhur
Bhandarkar film set in prison without a sequence where the hero
unwittingly drops the soap and loses his er… innocence of course,
there’s nothing in it that you already didn’t know.
Another newcomer enters the world of *insert name of film* and learns about its workings, its ugly side involving stereotypes involved in assorted perversions you have heard about, struggles to cope with the system and finally learns to survive in the environment. The protagonist loses more than he gains before he finds his peace in life or death.
Since I am tired of repeating what I have to say for every Bhandarkar film, here’s a wholesale review of some of the films we can expect from him in the future.
Bathroom: An illiterate unemployed youth/abandoned old man takes up the job of a janitor in a multiplex/five-star hotel and slowly gets a ringside view of the dirty, stinking underbelly of deprivation and perversion beneath all that gloss and sheen. Someone’s got to clean the system but what if the function of the system itself is to be soiled. A system whose destiny is to be used and abused by the rich, the frustrated and the constipated. How long can our protagonist take it before events reach a flush-point?
Bollywood: I spy an autobiography here. A struggling filmmaker comes to Mumbai with hopes of making realistic films on the lives of strugglers. He ends up replacing one formula with another and
surrenders to the workings of the big bad world of showbiz. Soon, he’s accused of deploying casting couches, waits for the matter to die down before making another hypocritical film replete with racist stereotypes. In Jail, we learn that for every nine Muslim criminals who will not reform, there is one kind-hearted Muslim murderer!
Gym: A married couple, a thin man and a fat woman join a gym to look good and save their marriage. Soon, he starts pumping iron, aspires for a six-pack while she strives for a size zero figure. She has an affair with the gym instructor and he realises he was gay all along. They both become drug addicts, take to steroids, become super-model good-looking and lose their morals. The guy dies because of drug overdose and side-effects and the woman battles her demons at the rehab only to end up fatter than before. She decides to go for liposuction and enters Hospital – The sequel to Gym.
Post Office: An old postman shunted to a desk job a decade ago now licks stamps for a living. He suffers from withdrawal symptoms when stamps that need to be licked are replaced with computerised systems that generate stickers. Nobody can relate to him anymore. He hopelessly watches young couples foreplay over SMS, have sex over the phone and he’s heart-broken when he catches his wife cheat on him over a video-chat. His longing for touch and feel of the brick and mortar world culminates in frustration when he strangles his wife with his bare hands after breaking a brick over her head. On her death, all their relatives get a telegram. Killed Wife. Stop. Killing Myself. Stop. Save Post. Stop. Email. Stop.
Cemetry: A grave-digger is on the verge of a personal landmark. He has performed the final rites for 24,999 dead people when the system calls for his retirement, insisting his services are no longer required because of his age. The world around has changed. The cemetery is to give way to a shopping mall. The man is shattered for he has had a lifelong relationship with a ghost – a girl who keeps him company until late in the night. So digs a grave and arranges to bury himself and unite with his lover. The film ends with a shot of the epitaph: You can take my life away from me. But you can’t take my spirit. Ab Tak Pachees. RIP.