Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Blue Umbrella

None of my grannies ever told me a story. However, a few Mausis & elder cousin sisters, here and there, did oblige. I used to hear them again and again with same interest and liking. Therefore all those Anaar-Ranis, Sukkhu-Dukkhus are firmly etched in my memory.

That's the secret about the good stories. You can hear or read them again and again, and still won't get bored of them. I have lost count how many times I must have read my favourite books, despite knowing the contents all too well. Every repeat read, in fact, adds another perspective.

Rarely I have seen a children story adopted on celluloid. Vikram Vetal in the mid eighties was one in which Satish Shah played Vetal. Keeping with the trend of that era, it was an utterly hopeless movie.

However, I was eagerly waiting for this one. For once, it was good old Ruskin Bond and then it was directed by Vishal Bharadwaj. However, at the end of the move, I realized some stories are better told or read, rather than seen.

The biggest flaw of this movie is that its not a children movie at all. It can't be when it fails to brings more than a laughter or two in the crowd full of kids. It is hardly entertaining. Rather, it turns out to be quite a heavy movie.

See, we all know of what Pankaj Kapoor is capable of. There was no point in hammering that point again & again. Instead of being a soft rib tickler which Ruskin Bond stories usually are, it dwells too much on human emotions. It looks more a piece of art than a children piece.

The dialogues weren't funny on their face value. It was the pahari accent which was used as the laughter tool. Initially it worked, but soon it became repetitive.

In fact, more than these it were the ridiculous subtitles which appeared more funny. I think subtitles is big business opportunity. They remain as idiotic as they were two decades back.

Some of the side stories were without context. They were supposed to be funny, but fell hopelessly short of that. In fact, the pace of the movie was so slow that it was hard to ward off sleep.

To liven the pace, Vishal did try to use the beautiful colours and sounds of the Himachal. There was a Mela here, and song there. But I have serious objection to the way these scenes were edited. It looked so jarring to the eyes.

The only two good thing in the whole movie were - Pankaj Kapoor, the and the blue Japanese umbrella(before it became red). Kapoor worked on his diction well. The way he said "Rajaraam" and "By Chance" made it appear that he has spent his whole life in the hills of rural Himachal.

However, at a few places Vishal did show his attention to detail - especially at the point when Nand Kishore Khatri aka Pankaj Kapoor sees the Chhatri for the first using confiscated binoculars. Besotted Kapoor acts in a particular way when he re-adjusts the binoculars. It can be appreciated only when seen.

But that does not mean I am suggesting you to see the movie.

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