Monday, October 06, 2008

Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi

Rating : 7/10
Running Time : 118 Minutes
Release Date : 19th September ‘2008
Director & Co-Writer : Sudhir Mishra; Writer : Ruchi Narain ; Music : Shantanu Moitra
Starring : Kay Kay Menon, Shiney Ahuja, Chitrangda Singh, Yashpal Sharma, Saurabh Shukla, Anupam Shyam

It is impossible in this movie not to take sides. It begins in 1969 with two letters being read out, both to the same woman, Geeta (Chitrangda Singh), by two very different men. One is Siddharth (Kay Kay), born with a silver spoon in his mouth (as Vikram points out frequently), the son of a retired judge and a fire-brand college activist and convert to the Naxalite movement. His dream is to go to Bihar and live there. The other is Vikram, very middle class, son of a Gandhivadi father, well connected, the type who knows everyone yet is true friends with no one. The type who, unlike Siddharth etc, don’t want to break out but just want to break in !

And the recipient of the letters, Geeta, is not sure of where she is – a bit lost, very much ‘in love’ with Siddharth, somewhat in love with his ideals, enjoys the attention she gets from the clearly infatuated Vikram but then finds an M.A. in London also beckoning. She clearly needs to sort herself out.

Fast forward four years and we find Siddharth living in Bihar, haunted, skinny, finding real change very hard to implement and on the run from the police, who are a law unto themselves. Vikram is also where he wanted to be, in Delhi, oiling the corridors of power and as he puts it ‘rapidly acquiring power and wealth’. He is a fixer, the man who knows how to get things done, the man whom local politicians are keeping an eye out for, the man who doesn’t really have any beliefs apart from the pursuit of his self-centered goals. And Geeta. She is still a little lost, married, to an IAS officer. Newly returned to India, she meets Vikram by chance at a typical Delhi party and realizes a few truths about herself. And then the movie moves forward. The characters of Vikram and Siddharth are well-drawn and are easy to understand, each being very clear in terms of their goals / ideals etc. Geeta’s character is much tougher to understand. Each time you see her, you sense some indecision. But ultimately, in some ways, she turns out to be the strongest of them all.

The great things about this film are the great performances, the beautiful & enchanting Chitrangda Singh (real life wife of ace Indian golfer Jyoti Randhawa), beautiful soundtrack, lovely dialogue (example : A Maharaja is describing his palace to Vikram and comes to the Harem where the king used to have 700 wives. Vikram asks the obvious question ‘what did the wives do when the king was not around ?’ and gets the deadpan answer ‘they made do with the palace staff except that if any of the staff were caught, their balls were chopped off’. Vikram’s next question is a classic ‘what did they do with the balls ?’). And some very realistic portrayal of the tumultuous early 70’s in which most of the movie is set. Including people being beaten up by the cops in Bihar (excellent cameo by Anupam Shyam as Jhanda Singh, S.H.O. in Bihar) for the murder of an inspector but finding out that the inspector is being brought back completely drunk, on a bullock cart. Or his eye movements when he speaks to Geeta. Or the Delhi upper middle class life & social do’s, where people pontificate on the ill’s of the country over refined English tea and classical music recitals.

The movie is not pretty but its powerful and thought provoking. You do wonder about whats going to happen to the India that we’re not really familiar with, the one that resides in small villages in far off states, where things haven’t really changed that much over the last fifty years. Where the caste system still prevails (hilarious situation shown regarding the thakur and a low caste doctor), where the police or other officials are judge, jury and executioner. And where Independence promised much but has turned out to be a mere mirage. You do wonder whether the people have really had enough. Enough of the principle-bereft politicians, who are willing to sell their soul for a fast buck and change sides even for loose change. Enough of bureaucrats assuming all of the power but none of the responsibility. And enough of all excuses and the stunted growth the country is enjoying. Maybe its time for another revolution. Or maybe it isn’t. Watch it and make up your mind.


Bhargav Saikia said...

Hi Apurv, nice reviews you've got there!
I write reviews too in my blog. Have a look.

Would you like to link each other's blogs?

Cheers and keep watching movies!


Anonymous said...

I am surprised that u had not seen this movie earlier....Absolutely Fabulous!!!!!


Aslam Pyarajan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chaman raj said...

i watched this movie after reading your review. i find it ok. its just too real. when this much reality is shown , i m stuck that i like real movies or not. btw nice review. i m regular reader of ur blog.

Arvind Iyer said...


Landed on your blog through Google Reader recommendations.

My contention about following movie reviewers is that they should closely match your taste. if that faith is built, then for new releases I can bank on their opinion and then watch/reject it. I have this connect with Blogcial Conclusion and Roger Ebert.

I randomly went through a couple of reviews. You have given an identical rating on 7 to both Hazaaron K Aisi and Dostana.

That connect didn't happen with yours. I'd have given Dostana 4 and HKA 8.

Best wishes for your blog :)

p.s - you might want to reconsider your scale - rarely does your rating go below 6. Which means an average of 3.5/5 for movies. How will I choose!!