Not Just Another Day or Another Film – Monsoon Shootout at the MAMI ji(o)’s
Monsoon Shootout starts with stock shots of Mumbai’s panoramic skyline in the rain.
And you have an inkling feeling. You’ve probably already seen this film. Bad news is, you’ve probably seen the same film in the 90’s.
One scene down. And a several more. You agree. With your premonition.
More now when the mother is called “Ma-aaaaaa”… the last few ‘a’s sort of reverberate in the sound design. Oh my god check in brochure; how long is it going to take… how much longer?
Suddenly a voice cuts through me. It’s possible it didn’t cut through other people because several started outpouring from the hall. But with film festival conditions; everyone’s lining up 2 hours before some film, to be able to get in to watch a film which is not so close home in what its trying to say, or how its saying…
Back to the voice that cuts through me, I sense a hint of satire, or irony if you may. In a moment, this film becomes one I have not seen ever before.
As it starts weaving a boring story around a dutiful son, who soldiers on for the cute cause of ANTI-GANGWAR-ism… he keeps remembering his father’s lessons taught. ‘Late’ father obviously. Framed on a wall, with genda phool necklace; signifying DEAD for centuries of Indian cinema. With irony he gives an almost Buddhist lesson; “Beta;Teen rastey.” (music and sound shenanigans to ironically sound profound.) “The Good, The Bad, and the middle-of-it-all-path.
Amit Kumar makes use of inventive cinematic techniques to show us this story. The sarcasm, so subtle, that my fear would’ve been that many possibly didn’t catch on to it. “The comedy thus felt; unintentional”, as a friend told me.
In a particularly fascinating montage sequence, when the protagonist is stuck in the ultimate decisive instant of his life; what unfolds in a simple thread of very close-up visuals. So simple that its relatable, beautiful even.
The trailer tells us very well what’s in store.
And suddenly the film’s visual and audio language of the telling of the story becomes inspired. A few very inspired cuts… from a murder to a fish head falling upon being cut elsewhere…
Nawazuddin Siddiqui aces any role given. This role more obviously up his alley… yet the surprise is the ‘rookie cop’ protagonist; Vijay Verma. He looks like a dutiful actor for the director to. But less innovative. Geetanjali Thapa on the other hand illuminates a very boring and functional role. When one catches her only important as far as the hero is concerned. Neeraj Kabi made me reminiscence about his role in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!. Though that said; I do think those were tricks my mind played with me. And if anyone else was playing the very same role, and I wouldn’t have much to compare to; I would’ve said “WHAT AN ACTOR!”.
The very jarring part of the film for me were the pretentious or in other words ironic songs that the film would suddenly break into. At which point no meaning making could hold because the songs just couldn’t tear away from the legendary myths of music laid down in 90’s Bollywood. I wish there’d be a version of the film without the songs, because the sound was cleverly played with for the rest of the film.
An ‘intricately’ worked on film, as a review reports after the screening of Monsoon Shootout at the Midnight Screenings Section at Cannes 2013.
That said. We look forward to Amit Kumar’s next.
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