No other tale is as familiar to me as the Mahabharat. Whether it was stories heard in my childhood, animated books that were gifted, or watching B. R. Chopra’s television series over Sunday breakfast, this epic is ingrained in the psyche.
In my head, I always imagine Ram Gopal Varma, sitting in his office, legs up on the table, going through a checklist on the last day of a film shoot. Hyperactive camera angle – check. Lots of fake blood – check. Added some element of “Satya”, “Company” or “Sarkar” to the film – check. Leading ladies showing off cleavage – check.
At first glance, Habib Faisal’s “Ishaqzaade” has a lot going for it — there’s some great casting, good direction and performances. The milieu is different — arid, rugged, rural India and this is about feisty, gutsy lovers who are smart enough not to view the world through rose-tinted glasses.
Film-maker Madhur Bhandarkar said during an interview that “Indian audiences don’t like to see reality on screen, they see enough of that in life”. Bhandarkar is known for making “real” films, but he might have hit the nail on the head. Perhaps that is why Indian TV doesn’t normally depict “reality” on screen — preferring instead to hide behind yards of brocade sarees and scheming mothers-in-law and coy brides.
In the first ten minutes of Kunal Deshmukh’s second instalment of the “Jannat” series, the director sets up his principal characters, establishes a romance angle and even adds a song for good measure. He also manages to inject no originality or freshness in any of these facets of the film, with the result that “Jannat 2” never really takes off, maintaining a staid pace throughout its two-and-half-hour duration.
The modern Indian youth has it easy. Very easy. They party, they romance, and they make marriage plans without ever having to worry about their careers and how they would pay their bills. Or at least this is the version Bollywood has been trying to shove down our throats since “Dil Chahta Hai“.