Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Pastiche of praise; Kaminey.

WARNING: I curse in this review. The title of the film gives me full license to, in my opinion. If you're offended by salty language, just don't read this one.

What do you say about a film as universally appreciated as Kaminey? How to phrase things you've read a million times in such a original, refreshing manner that your voice isn't lost in the sea of reviews?

Yes, I made the awful mistake of reading other people's reviews - tons of them - before writing my own. When you've read stuff penned by professionals and goddamn media scholars, why read whatever I have to say?

The problem isn't that my opinion isn't valuable, no, I would never lack the self-esteem to think that. As a blog writer, a certainty in my own views is absolutely essential. No, the problem only comes in when I realize that Kaminey was loved by me as it was by others, and there's nothing I can really add.

Vishal Bharadwaj is making some of the finest films to grace Indian screens this decade - and the upcoming ones, I'm sure of it. Shahid Kapoor, under his direction, has risen to new heights as an actor, carrying the personalities of two very distinct characters perfectly. Priyanka Chopra gave us a wonderfully complex, multifaceted female character. The newcomer character actors all shine.

The plot takes a while to get going but the storytelling is dense, with amazing eye to detail. While I thought the soundtrack was inferior to that of Omkara it is nevertheless worth mentioning. The black comedy is excellent, unexpectedly funny, and fits in well with the occasionally sternly dramatic thriller plot.

I want to rewatch this, again and again, to catch all the details, all the layers to the storytelling, I want to show this to my friends, those who love Bollywood and those who know nothing about it, because this film is just that damn good.

And because I've read a million reviews of this by now, I can honestly say this: fuck Tarantino. Vishal Bharadwaj is not India's Tarantino. I realize getting called that is by no means an insult, but I feel like in some ways, it is. Tarantino makes films with very little heart or purpose, other than to show he's watches a lot of films and he really, really likes them. Bharadwaj has more of an auteur's touch to his films. He doesn't simply get inspired and spin his inspirations into stories, tying them together with quotable dialogue. His films seem to have more heart than that.

(That's not to say Kaminey isn't, in some ways, a very Tarantino-esque film. Comparisons to the good Guy Ritchie films also make a lot of sense. But in the end, Bharadwaj can't be India's Tarantino, because Sriram Raghavan, bless his soul, is India's Tarantino. End of story.)

This might not be the best review I could've written for this film but you know, it might not be the last. I'll be revisiting this film for sure. Hopefully on this blog, as well.


bollywooddeewana said...

No your review is superb, sometimes the best reviews are those short passionate heartfelt ones and your quick rant makes me want to rush out to watch this imagine my surpise when i found induna selling it for a mere $2.75 cents

ajnabi said...

First impression reviews are often the best, especially for those readers who want to be surprised. :-) I should be getting this in the mail two days from now--whoo hoo!

Filmi Girl said...

I guess I am in the minority with this one on the blogosphere - Kaminey really left me cold.

I did enjoy Shahid Kapoor's performance but other than that... it was kind of like when I saw Jodhaa-Akbar and found that there were pieces of the whole that I enjoyed but overall it just didn't hold together for me.

Anonymous said...

One of the best movies I have seen in ages. Vishal Bhardwaj is a superb director. He takes all these conventions of Hindi cinema, the twin brothers, one good, one bad, and subverts them whilst simultaneously revifying them. Shahid Kapoor is simply superb. A career defining movie for him. Bhardwaj is now a director whose work I will always be excited to see. He has matured into a great auteur. I am evangelising for this movie to everyone I meet too. And it deserved to get a proper release in America and the UK and elsewhere - with the right promotion I could have seen it becoming a cult hit. So many images of the film stay in the mind afterwards, and I am dying to get the DVD with the extra scenes, which, apparently, flesh the movie out even more fulsomely. Along with Anurag Kashyap, Dibankar Bannerjee and others, Hindi cinema really does seem to be entering an age of originality and soulful artistry. Kaminey made me fall in love with Hindi cinema again.


Sonia said...

Although I'm a Tarantino fan myself, I have to agree with what you say!

Now I want to check out Sriram Raghavan's films!

veracious said...

bollywooddeewana - Wow! Wonder if that copy is all legal. If it is, talk about a great deal!

ajnabi - Haha, that's right, I totally forgot to describe the plot in this review. Hope you enjoy it!

FG - I guessed your masala-loving heart might not enjoy this sort of film.. And that's totally understandable. But Kaminey is like a brilliant Indian version of my favourite Guy Ritchie movie, Snatch, and I just loved that so much.

Jay - I agree, I wish this had been doing rounds on film festivals and had a proper big UK/US release.

Sonia - Sriram Raghavan is responsible for Ek Hasina Thi and Johnny Gaddaar, both fine films. Like Tarantino, Raghavan is a massive film buff and influenced by the films he loves.

Nicki said...

Agreed with everything you said. I was so impressed with Kaminey

RB said...

I seem to be turning into a rabid Vishal Bharadwaj fan. Go Vishal!