July 02, 2007

Backlog. Eklavya and Guru

In the draft section of my blogger admin site, there are a few unfinished posts that deal with a number of films I watched during the last weeks but that never came out of the draft stage. Since I don´t feel like finishing them and still I want you to know, here a short résumé.

Eklavya. This one pains me a lot. I really really really was looking forward to seeing it. I mean take in the cast. AB 1.0, Saif and his mom, Jimmy Shergill, Jackie Shroff, Vidya Balan, Raima Sen and mera pyaara Sanjay. It is the first direction of V.V. Chopra after Mission Kashmir. The promos hinted at a "Gone with the wind" like outset.
And then V.V. blows it. My Eklavya draft was subtitled: "It might have been grand" and that precisely how I feel about it. The setting is grand, the acting too, even the basic story. Then why, oh why did he have to cut it down to 107min? It is an epic saga, it demands an epic length. So instead we are left with hints at some backstories and we almost don´t learn anything about what drives the characters. And that assembles to a lackluster feeble movie. There is potential, and you get a glimpse of it in various scenes, like at the the climax. But. But it feels like an abstract of a Shakespearean drama for a 3rd grade english class homework.
Two presumptions:
One: In addition to the mutilated story, the very last, bahut kharab scene hints at some "higher power" that forced Chopra to a) give it a masala standard fare ending and b) to edit the length to some "western cinema" timeframe. Big mistake.
And two: It is still rather difficult to get the official DVD. None of the leading online stores have it yet. The only place I found it is amazon.co.uk . I so hope that this hints to a directors cut version in the hopefully not to far future.
So if you can get your hands on a copy. Go and watch it. If only for the acting and treat it like a preview of what might come one day.

Film two is Guru.
I love Mani Ratnam. He is my favorite director. Bas.
But, and here comes another but, Guru is his weakest film so far. I just can´t empathise with the characters here. And that is such a pity. I feel it is the death of any movie if you just don´t care what happens. And that is exactly the problem I have with Guru. Unreflected greed as main statement just does nothing for me. Corruption is good as long as I can turn it into wealth? Journalism should use all means to get the story across even if you have to stage the stories? Don´t get me wrong, but where´s the message? And I don´t mean a profound life altering message. Anything would do, leave it open or tell me you don´t have a message for all I care, but give me something.

So is it a bad film? No. It is still a Mani Ratnam movie. It´s a AB 2.0 one-man show. I love the songs. And technically (in any way) its a great film. I just don´t care about it.

9 comments:

kaushik said...

Oye, you got it so wrong, just so wrong on both the films. Don’t get me wrong, I concur completely with your conclusions. Eklavya(Wasted) , Guru (Not quite there, yet).

But, you actually want to see more than 107 mins of grotesque wigs in dark creepy halls with so much silk and cloth that you think a tarantula is probably breeding behind the heavy curtains? Really, more than the already bloated corpse lying for a week in a pond, aka Eklavya?

And for once, art imitates life. In cinema. No message, no moral of the story punch line. Just state it as it is. Oliver Stone had Gorden Gekko, Ray had his Dipankar Dey. Not heart wrenching, but true nevertheless.

babasko said...

hmm kaushik, you have a point.

i´m with you on the, no thanx, no more of weird wigs and tarantula nestinfested silk curtains, but i want more conflict, schemeing, drama, flashbacks in eklavya. it is all just too hurried, no?

as for guru. true no moral of story it is as real as can be. but is it really necessary to glorify guru in the end? we do (or our society as it is) tend to follow leaders like guru, but i still tend to believe that we do not accept their winning at any price (nixon anyone?) i refuse to believe otherwise. and that is why i feel ratnam failed with guru..

Corny name said...

Hey,
First time here.

Totally agree with you about Eklavya..
Haven't seen guru though.. It'll be part of my Bollywood spree.
Yes, new found bollywood love..

nice place you got here.

cheers!

r said...

screen play is poor in Eklavya. you are right Babasko that VVC, should have increased the length of the film, but it can be said safely that if he was able to manage proper characterization in the present screen play and its length only, then also he could have brought more substance in the film. This is not a story for which one needs 5 years in writing. where is the depth.
Re: Guru,
If you belong to India or have seen India then director messed a potential subject for the sake of market. nice topic which provides good conflicts between ideologies but then so many foolish things are associated with the films. Gujarati characters and songs are in south indian style. Mani cant leave narcissism for his special kind of picturization of songs and hence film does not provide what it shd have provided. films can be good if two ideologies are given equal weightage. both actors did well but somewhere director lost the balance and though film earned good but nobody is going to recall it as good film or a mani ratnam's good work!

yves said...

Hi Babasko,
Haven't seen Eklavya. About Guru, you have a point, I suppose. Worst Ratnam movie... I remember saying (http://www.letstalkaboutbollywood.com/article-5524078.html) that what the film lacked was a certain "indianness": would you agree with that?
In fact I might not have said things quite that way today, but, well, I was still very enthusiastic about BW!
cheers
yves

Velu Nair said...

Honestly, I slept thru both!!
And I didnt hv a clue as to what Eklavya was all abt, but just thought it wud be an okay film, so I had the nerve to show it to my students.

Thank my lucky stars, I'm still alive. But they hv declared they arent gonna go for a movie ever again in their lives!

;) :P

Guru was a YAWN too, yeh and a pretty lengthy one at that.

mike said...

Thanks for this two reviews. I haven't seen "Eklavya" yet, but I'm looking forward to the DVD. I really can't imagine that the length matters if the actors and the visuals are great. But it was interesting to get to know your opinion about this two films. To your second fil, "Guru": I think it's a great entertainer. "Yuva", for example, was not as good as his newest outing. But you like the film, so in general I can agree you. :)

AksFilmi said...

Guru Was ok Movie - Nothing Great

Eklavya - better None discuss that

AksFilmi said...

Nice Blog - Great Writing By writers