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Filmy Weather (37): “Monsoon Shootout”, More Blood than Water

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“Monsoon Shootout” was released in theatres in India, not during the monsoon season, but in the winter of 2017. It had in fact been shown at the Cannes film festival way back in 2013, but like a grossly delayed monsoon, it arrived here only in 2017. There are some monsoons that make no sense to a meteorologist. “Monsoon Shootout” was a film that made no sense to me either as a meteorologist or as an average moviegoer. The camera did succeed in capturing some of the fury of the Mumbai monsoon. But besides that redeeming feature, there was nothing much in the film to write about.

The monsoon has been known to evoke emotions of love and romance, and it has inspired great minds to cerate great works of poetry and literature, music and dance. But the point that “Monsoon Shootout” is perhaps trying to prove is that the monsoon influences the base instincts of criminal minds as well. The film has louder gunshot echoes than the thunder in the sky. Instead of raindrops, there is blood splashing all over. There are more streams of blood than the rain water on the streets. Crime, lawlessness, killing, lust, greed, corruption, are all what the monsoon is shown to bring along with it.

Here and there, the film throws in some philosophy for a change. At regular intervals, there is a dialogue about the right path, the wrong path and the middle path. But the film apparently has not been able to understand the path of the monsoon. I watched the movie second-day-second-show. There were just ten people in the hall, including me!

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An Article on “The Music of the Monsoon”

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An article by Prof R R Kelkar entitled “The Music of the Monsoon” has been published on 8 September 2017 in the IAPT-IISER journal Physics Education. Click on the link to read.

http://www.physedu.in/publication/webspecials/PE-WS17-09-085

Filmy Weather (36): “Half Girlfriend”, with a Full Rain Song

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I saw Half Girlfriend not exactly first day first show, but almost. What I liked was that while the story was about the half things of life, the movie had a full rain song. That too at the very beginning. St Steven’s College (St Stephen’s College?) has just put up its admissions list on the notice boards. The moment Madhav Jha (Arjun Kapoor) and Riya Somani (Shraddha Kapoor) see their names, it starts raining. Shower se zyada, cloudburst se kam. And Ash King and Shashaa Tirupati sing to the accompaniment of thunder:

Yeh mausam ki baarish, Yeh baarish ka paani, Yeh paani ki boondein, Tujhe hi toh dhoondhe…

Yeh milne ki khwahish, Yeh khwahish puraani, Ho poori tujhi se, Meri yeh kahaani…

Hawaaon se tera pata poochta hoon, Ab toh aaja tu kahin se, Parindon ki tarah yeh dil hai safar mein…

Tu mila de zindagi se, Bas itni ilteja, Tu aake ik dafa, Jo dil ne na kahaa, Jaan le…

Intermittent showers continue through the movie but towards the climax, it graduates from rain to snow. As New York celebrates Christmas eve, it begins to snow. Snowflakes se zyada, snowstorm se kam. Arjun Kapoor runs, slips and recovers in the snow, as the movie ends half-heartedly.

Filmy Weather (35): Swinging in the Rain with “Meri Pyaari Bindu”

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I saw Meri Pyaari Bindu on the day of its release in a half-full theatre. It was a rather slow film with a nostalgic storyline and so it had many things that I could relate to. Like the manual typewriter, or life in old Calcutta, or Bengali humour. Or like disentangling an audio cassette tape from a player. Or like rotating the terrestrial tv antenna on the rooftop for a better signal and the family near the tv set shouting “Bas abhi theek hain!”.

But what I liked particularly was the long finale of the film that was shot entirely in the rain. There is an outdoor birthday party with banners, cake and all, that becomes a washout. But the partying goes on in spite of the heavy downpour. People are drenched but they sing and dance. Bindu (Parineeti Chopra) and Bubla (Ayushmaan Khurana) find shelter in a room on the terrace to have the conversation of their life with the rain providing the background music. Having said all that had to be said, they too join the party in the rain to get soaked and have their makeup washed away. “Maana ke hum yaar nahin” sings Parineeta Chopra, as the film comes to an end.

I came home after watching the film and there was thunder, lightning and a little rain, for the first time in this really hot summer of Pune. Had there been no rain on earth, what would have human life been like, I wondered!

Filmy Weather (34): Rustom, the Courtroom Drama with the Rain Song

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rustom poster_

I went to watch “Rustom” for reasons of sheer nostalgia. I just had to see how the “Commander Nanavati case” had been portrayed on screen 57 years after it had actually happened. My late father Ratnakar Hari Kelkar, a retired postmaster, used to take keen interest in legal matters and court proceedings, and the Nanavati case of 1959 was his favourite. It was then the hottest topic of conversation in our home. I was a college student, but I had become familiar with the names of Sylvia Nanavati, the wife, and Prem Ahuja, the lover who was shot. Not only that, I even knew names like Karl Khandalavala, Nanavati’s lawyer, and Ram Jethmalani, the prosecution lawyer, and all their arguments. In those days, the Bombay courts used to have a jury like in Perry Mason’s novels, and the actual setting itself was in a sense “filmy”!

So I saw “Rustom” and was, frankly speaking, impressed by its authentic recreation of the Bombay of 1959 and its courts. There was a very realistic interior shot of Bombay GPO, especially the huge circle of service counters located right under its massive dome. My father would have loved to see it!

And midway in the movie, it was there – the unexpected sharp shower! Vikram Makhija (actor Arjan Bajwa) is entertaining Cynthia Pavri (actor Ileana D’Cruz) in the sprawling lawns of his home. Suddenly there is thunder and lightning. Vikram says, “Lagta hai bin mausam barsaat hone wali hai.” And bang on, it really begins to rain, the unseasonal “Avakali Paus”! Cynthia is drenched and trips while hurrying to safety. Of course, Vikram has to carry her to his bedroom and the rest follows.

So that was “Rustom”, a crime-courtroom-love triangle, complete with the rain sequence that Hindi movies must have! But honestly, I liked it!

Fiilmy Weather (33): Bernie, or Christian service under a cloud

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Bernie-Marathi-Movie

With “Sairat” released on 29 April 2016 still attracting huge audiences, I settled for another Marathi film “Bernie”. On 17 June 2016, first day first show, there were just ten people in the hall. Bernie had no weather for me to write about on this blog. The movie was a bold attempt to show the interiors of a Christian convent, an institution that has existed for several centuries in many countries of the world. The convent of Bernie is very much Indian, located in Goa, with mothers and sisters speaking fluent Marathi. The only connection the movie has with the weather, is that figuratively everything is under a cloud and the movie tries to lift it.

Bernie is a young vivacious girl, and the movie revolves around her in the first half. A little before the interval, however, we suddenly see her becoming a nun, just in deference to the dying wish of her father. After the interval, the camera follows Bernie into her convent and we see all the contradictions within it: forgiveness and punishment, abstinence and temptation, freedom and oppression, truth and lies, happiness and sorrow, life and death. Director Nileema Lonari has tried to tackle these contradictions quite boldly, perhaps for the first time in Marathi cinema. But while taking a secular view of spiritual matters, she misses the main point, that following Jesus is not easy because he demands the full life of his followers, nothing less, whether they are inside a convent or in the open world!      

Filmy Weather (32): Awesome Mausam, for the World Meteorological Day

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Awesome Mausam

It is a common practice to synchronize the release of new films based on love stories with Valentine’s Day. But for the first time, a Hindi film named “Awesome Mausam” is being released around the World Meteorological Day which is celebrated on 23 March! Seven tracks of the film’s music are already out. There are songs like Tere Naina Mere Nainon Se, sung by Shaan and Palak Muchhal, Kaisi Ye Pyaas Hai sung by KK and Priya, and Sathiyaan sung by Sonu Nigam which are quite sweet and already popular. The film is directed by Yogesh Bhardwaj, produced by Mukesh Choudhary, and the cast includes Mukesh Tiwari, Rahul Sharma and Ambalika Sarkar and veteran Suhasini Muley.

The theme of World Meteorology Day 2016 is “Hotter, Drier, Wetter, Face the Future”. I do not yet know the theme of Awesome Mausam but it could be something very similar!

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