Home

Filmy Weather (41): “A Monsoon Date”, or a Date with the Monsoon

Leave a comment

“A Monsoon Date” is a very timely film, in that it has been released to coincide with the onset of the monsoon in 2019. It is as refreshing as a brief monsoon shower can be after a long hot summer. It is very different from those monsoon films that drag on in theatres while Dolby Atmos accentuates the sound of the falling rain. It is a short 20-minute film that can be watched on the net.

“A Monsoon Date” belongs to Konkona Sen Sharma in every respect. Nothing else and no one else is of consequence. She is subtle and delicate, and braves with poise an annoying rain that is all set to spoil her evening. In between the rain shots, we see glimpses of her past life. She has already faced many storms of life. This is just another of them. Konkana (her character is nameless) eventually reaches her destination, skin-drenched, and meets her date, but not her destiny. To know what really happens, see the film yourself.

Filmy Weather (40): “Jalebi”, or Life is like Climate Change

Leave a comment

The Hindi movie, Jalebi, which was released quite recently, is the story of a writer Aisha Pradhan (Rhea Chakraborty), who is going from Mumbai to Delhi for the release of her first book. She takes an overnight train in which she shares her cabin with Anu (Digangna Suryavanshi) and her daughter. Anu turns out to be the wife of Aisha’s former lover and husband Dev (Varun Mitra). Later in the journey, Dev himself joins them. Their conversation is interspersed with many flashbacks including songs, and as the journey comes to an end, the viewer is able to place properly all the pieces of the story and bring it to a logical conclusion.

Jalebi is sweet, sad, subtle, soft, touching, restrained, and in spite of all that, it is convincing. It has some nice songs, and as a meteorologist, I liked one of them particularly. It is written by Rashmi Virag and sung by K.K. It says that life keeps changing all the time. What was there before, is not to be found now. And it uses the analogy of climate change to prove its point!   

Pehle ke jaisa kuch bhi nahi hai
Din raat aankhon mein ik nami hai

Pehle ke jaise mausam nahi hai
Baadal toh hai par baarish nahi hai

Kis modh pe aa gaye hum batao
Raahein toh hai humsafar hi nahi hai

Aao chale hum phir se wahan pe
Jahan pe kabhi khushbuon se mile the

Shayad wahin pe kahin kuch bacha ho
Jahan pe kabhi saath hum tum chale the

Jise kho diya hai, khatam ho gaya hai
Us pyar ko zindagi denge phir se

Filmy Weather (39): Kedarnath, or Love and Hate in the Time of Rain

Leave a comment

It was in March 2018 that I wrote my previous post in this series. This long break was due to my inability to go to a movie theatre. When I could overcome my temporary immobility, I decided to watch “Kedarnath” for a variety of reasons. First, it was Sara Ali Khan’s debut film, and I have been her grandmother’s ardent fan! Second, it was a disaster movie, and I always like to see how films depict the India Meteorological Department’s role in weather-related disasters, if at all. Third, I had seen Sara’s aunt Soha Ali Khan in another disaster movie, Tum Mile (2009), and I wanted to make a comparison.

There is no doubt that Sara Ali Khan, with all the actor’s genes in her, carries the entire film and steals the show as Mukku, the vivacious mountain girl. But it is not without the help of Sushant Singh Rajput who graciously allows her to do that, literally carrying her on his back in his role as Mansur, the Pitthoo.

Among the many songs of Kedarnath, Qaafirana is nice and sweet: “Aise Tum Mile Ho, Aise Tum Mile Ho, Jaise Mil Rahi Ho Itar Se Hawa…”. But the perfume does not linger long in the air. Soon afterwards the atmosphere gets vitiated by the stench of hatred, jealousy, separation, misunderstanding, shrewdness, ambition and all. To all this, the environment adds its own woes. Kedarnath does not have just the one mandatory rain song that Hindi movies are required to have. Here, all life including rituals, ceremonies, weddings, arguments, and fights, goes on in the midst of heavy downpours. In one scene, where it is not raining, the heroine is immersed in freezing river water many times as if in compensation. Even when there are no visuals of rain, the film has the sound of pouring rain in the background. The audiography is so realistic that one feels that it is literally raining over the roof of the movie theatre!

In Tum Mile, the Meteorological Department was shown to be a place where people played carrom to pass the time, oblivious of the rain. Kedarnath has a brief sequence showing quite a high-tech Meteorological Department in action, with the staff discussing the situation arising from a low pressure area developing in the Bay of Bengal.

Tum Mile like Kedarnath, was also a disaster movie, but it was singularly focussed on the Mumbai rain event of 26 July 2005. Kedarnath while dealing with the cloudburst of 16 June 2013, attempts to tackle several problems in one go, and obviously cannot succeed. It has inter-faith conflicts, family discords, poverty, hazards of mountain life, all on the agenda. But it does deal with the Uttarakhand disaster in some detail, simulating the cloudburst process pretty well and using actual documentary footage of the tragic events. If the lesson it wants to teach is that man should not disturb the balance of the environment, then it does that effectively.

Kedarnath is about human beings seeking God residing on an inaccessible mountain top. But do they find him? And what do they do after finding him? These and other questions remain unanswered. Like, why does God allow natural disasters to happen? What role does he play at that time? Is it his way of disciplining those he loves? Is it his intention to restore order in an unruly and reckless world? And if an ordinary disaster can be so horrible, what will happen on his final day of judgment?

See also: Filmy Weather (9): Tum Mile, Love in the Time of Rain

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

1 Comment

“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!

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

1 Comment

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”

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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!

Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: