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

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“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

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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

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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

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 (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!

Filmy Weather (30): Another “Monsoon” Coming Soon

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Monsoon 2015 Poster

A new Bollywood Hindi Movie titled “Monsoon” is all set for release shortly this year (2015) under the banner of Mango Movies. It is produced by Mahendra Dhariwal and Jitender Gulati and directed by Suzad Iqbal Khan. The film will have an all-new cast of Srishti Sharma, Sudhanshu Aggarwal, Shawar Ali, Vijay Singh and Raja Gulati. “Monsoon” is a story of the coming of age of a teenager who falls in love with a much older married woman, whose husband dies while on duty as a forest officer. The film revolves around the boy’s dreams, fantasies and feelings towards her.

There are six songs in the film and their music videos have already been unveiled by Zee Music. The music is directed by Biswajit Bhattacharjee and the lyrics are written by Krishna Bharadwaj and Shabbir Ahmed. The songs and their singers are:

“Thoda Sa Pyaar”  Mohammad Irfan, Veena Bhatiya
“Rasleela”  Neha Kakkar and Santokh Singh
“Soni Kudi”  Divya Kumar
“Man Hoya Bawra”  Biswajit Bhatacharjee
“Maahi Ve”  Shahid Mallya
“Maula”  Krishna Beura

The music has rhythm and romance, and the tunes are catchy. Why is the film titled “Monsoon”? Perhaps because it is difficult to predict its success!

Filmy Weather (26): Sturla Gunnarsson’s Monsoon

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Monsoon TIFF

Watch the trailer of Sturla Gunnarsson’s “Monsoon” at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqO115k9BAE

To find out more about the movie, visit http://www.monsoonmovie.com

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