‘Sahi Dhande Galat Bande`: Direct Dil Se

                                                                                             As Anna Hazare shifts from Tihar to Ramlila Maidan, our cinema has made a far more gradual movement from the `arty-unintelligible` grammar of Mani Kaul to the `arty-accessible` language of Parvin Dabas` film.This is the land of Shyam Benegal`s social inequalities where politicians pitch their self-interest higher than the good of the country.

Not every do-gooder is a Hazare. Sometime you just have to make do with a benign goon like Rajbir (Parvin Dabas) who breaks legs (shot on mobile phone) and extorts money for his surrogate-father (Sharat Saxena, in his usual excellent form). When Rajbir and his three socially-questionable friends set their hearts on saving their village farmers` land from urban land-sharks you know this is the land of Sholay brought into the political consciousness of the cinema of Mrinal Sen and Benegal.

“Sahi Dhande…” is an immensely ambitious film. Debutant director Parvin Dabas sets out to create a cinema that prods the audiences` conscience awake without lengthy speeches on corruption and reformation. Dabas keeps the pace uniform and even.

But portions of the narration suffer from a sense of slackened tension. Where a more taut editing pattern would have added considerably to the film`s viewable quotient, Dabas opts to just let the plot flow in the way he deems it right. The absence of overt intervention in making the narration slicker, is both a virtue and a vice in the overall design. While you applaud the film`s objective attitude to the theme you also miss the absence of a deft storytelling.

The quibble is shortlived. You cannot stop yourself from admiring the screenplay (Dabas, Sanyukta Shaikh Chawla) for not succumbing to the temptation of creating an enforced charm in the proceedings. Yes, the plot does take off at a rather incongruous tangent in search of a formal climax where we see Dabas and his compatriots put up a fight with the film`s arch villain in slow-motion splendour, a la “Dabangg”.

Also some of the writing smacks of amateurishness. When at the start the Dabas character comes out of jail his friends arrange a girl in a bikini in a bathtub as an antidote to his year-long celibacy. Jail bin machli, kya??

And Dabas` girlfriend`s character, a pretentious arty piece with a nose ring to go with her sham attitude, should have been barred from entering the script.

These concessions to audience-wooing apart, “Sahi Dhande Galat Bande” moves at its own arrogant but endearing pace. Some characters such as the village Taai (Neena Kulkarni) and the corrupt chief minister (Kiron Juneja)`s conscientious son (Udit Khurana) are interesting to the point of being liberating for the screenplay.

The lucid camerawork (Anshul Chobey) and the performances add to the film`s energy level. Parvin Dabas, an actor who has consistently been true to his characters, here gets a huge helping hand from his co-stars.

“Sahi Dhande Galat Bande” is a kind of unique effort. It teases the conscience awake. It`s a warm and honest film that looks with unblinking directness at issues which are more relevant now than ever.

Review: Seriously ‘Not A Love Story’

Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Not A Love Story’ finally releases this Friday and doesn’t fail to impress. The grim story is not your usual crime thrillers where the viewers keeps guessing who the killer is till the last scene neither is it a social drama where the lead protagonist fights for justice. The story is from the killer’s point of view. And it almost makes their crime look believable.

Based on a real life incident that took place in 2008 in Mumbai, the story is of a starlet called Anusha Chawla who lives alone in the big bad city of Mumbai and wants to make it big as an actress. The usual obstacles comes her way in the form of repeated rejection, casting couch etc. When she finally manages to get a role thanks to friendly casting director Ashish (Ajay Gehi) things take a turn of a different kind.

One fine day Anusha’s obsessive lover Robin (Deepak Dobriyal ) turns up at her pad only to find Ashish in a compromising position. In a fit rage, Robin stabs Ashish to death. To hide the heinous crime, the couple decide to chop off the dead body, pack it in bags and dispose it off in the jungles.

After several dismissal films, Ram Gopal Varma again comes back with a hard hitting crime of passion. His maverick style of shooting is evident in almost all frames. Closeups of actors, dark silhouettes are all there. The build up of the murder is very dull with Anusha going from one audition to the other. The film picks up the pace only after the murder takes place.

Fortunately for the viewers, the scenes where the body is chopped off is not shown. It is just merely suggested.

The drama continues post murder with police investigating the case and court room drama. The tale is not of a psychotic slasher, but a crime where the murder took place in a spur of the moment. No one is shown as the culprit and no one is really a victim.

Although the film is based on Neeraj Grover murder case, it does not show anything beyond what`s already known. In fact, RGV sticks to fiction and fictionalizes almost all the characters.

Both Deepak Dobriyal as the maverick Robin and Mahie Gill as starlet Anusha do justice to their role. Zakir Hussain, as the investigating officer pulls of the role with panache. Wonder why the brilliant actor is so underused in our hindi cinema. He delivers a brilliant performance as the cool cop.

Though few scenes in the film are too gritty and could be avoided, it is definitely worth a watch. And yes, it has the touch of a brilliant filmmaker who has given films like ‘Satya’, ‘Rangeela’ and ‘Shiva’ in the past.