Sunday, 14 February 2010

My favourite of last year - Dhan Te Nan...Kaminey

I can’t say enough about this film, this is going to be a long post so bear with me…

Let me just clarify, this film ranks with movies such as Lagaan, Rang De Basanti and Taare Zameen Par in my mind. There are very few faults in this film which is just one of the reasons I love it so much…

The six things I must have long and detailed ramblings about are the acting, the direction, the plot, characters and of course… the music.

The only faults I could find was the cinematography, although stylish, was a bit annoying if you wanted to see one character clearly. And the Tashi storyline.

First of all… the acting and wow is it good! Every character is life-like and all the actors have definitely done a commendable job. First of all, let me say I absolutely adored Priyanka, Shahid and Chandan Roy Sanyal’s acting, they struck me as perfect. I really really liked Amol Gupte’s act of the rouge politician, who thought the writer of TZP could churn out such a performance? Priyanka looked great in a spunky, deglamourised character but i wish she had gotten rid of the manicure, because that was the only bit that spoiled her image in my opinion. I liked the idea of a girl being ‘the man’ in a relationship and she portrayed in a way I feel only she could and there was definitely some wonderful chemistry between the two leads. Shahid played his two roles to utmost brilliance. There was this charming screen presence when he was on, he constantly understated himself such as in the interrogation scenes and the scene when Amol’s men come to Charlie’s house. He brought life in to the two characters. I could hardly recognise him as Charlie in the confrontation scene near the end. I thought he was pretty much perfect in his speech defects. As I stammer when reading out sometimes, I could completely sympathise with him and his story about his past in year six, although why it might make someone nearly fail I couldn’t understand. However, it might have been he developed an inferiority complex therefore didn’t try as hard as he wasn’t as confident. I loved the way he was constantly understating himself, he seems like the future Aamir and SRK mixed together. The confrontation scenes were great because it was totally convincing (without a moustache) that there were two different characters onscreen. The lisp was far far far better than Ranbir’s as he did things like contract his throat and close his eyes and even occasionally hit something. This was something totally different to his other characters but I did feel it had some vague similarities to he role in Fida, which I really liked which may seem strange. It is evident he inherited a lot of his acting talent from his father Pankaj Kapur. Chandan Roy Sanyal made me laugh every time he came on the screen. Right from the first “kaisa hai tu?” to the ‘Bhope Tope’ scene.

Now on to direction. I really need to see Omkara! I loved this piece of Vishal Bhardwaj’s work so hopefully I’ll love that too. The attention he gives to detail is outstanding, I had heard about the ‘Apna Haath Jagganath’ problem in a newspaper and it is a perfect example for what I mean about detail. This script was a diamond in itself if it was only $4000. What I really like about him is that he can get actors to get out of their comfort zones and do something original. Priyanka has so little make-up on and Shahid is playing the ‘bad guy’ (with a vulnerable bit to him) which is lots of fun. Another thing I really liked was he was true to his word. I difcovered my mean fide! I felt this weird side to me when Shahid hits Francis on the head multiple times with the UBT (Unidentifiable Black Thing) I don’t have a clue what it was! I found myself cheering on the violence and enjoying people getting hit on the head with fire extinguishers, so much for me being a conditional pacifist. Pfft!
I really liked the original plot, this is what helps to give this film re-watch value for two main reasons:
The plot is so complicated that it is easy to miss the finer nuances on first watch. When you know the basic version, you can fill in the small gaps, I personally didn’t notice any plot holes.
The first time, one must focus on the plot even though one knows here are some great lines being said and some wonderful action, one must stop their attention from wavering. However, when one has got to grips with the plot, one has to watch it again but this time enjoy the acting, cinematography (even though this didn’t go down all too well with me) and dialogues.

I feel the story is split into five sub-plots that all intertwine:
Charlie and Mikhail which starts off with ‘Franfif’
Guddu and Sweety with their pregnancy problems
Tashi, the diamonds and his brother-in-law
The policemen and the picture of Charlie
Bhope Bhau finding out about Guddu

*SPOILER ALERT* The climax is fantastic and you have the choice of picking the happy or the sad ending. It can either be that Charlie lived and Sweety has twins is true. Or the sadder version would be that that was all just a dying dream and Charlie actually dies. I want to believe the happy one is true but the sad one keeps popping into my head! *SPOILER ALERT*

Another golden coin in this treasure chest are the characters the complex, comical characters. I have been picking them apart in my head and they all seem to have many facets to them but I’ll disclose my thoughts on each character here:

Charlie: He is probably the most interesting gem of the lot. There are a lot of different sides to him and even after reaching the end, you don’t feel like you fully know him. He shows he can be loyal (him and Mikhail); he can be treacherous (the scene on the train); he can make good decisions (Charlie Guddu fight scene) as well as bad (taking the guitar case in the first place); he can almost be sadistic (him hitting Francis with the UBT- hey I know I said I felt something weird at that moment but that does not imply I’m a sadist) and he can be sarcastic (him and Burgess and him and Guddu). He also seems to have hallucinations.

Guddu: He’s probably the character I can relate to the most. He’s the underdog, the stutterer with an inferiority complex. But he also proves he can be as treacherous as he can be loyal, he proves this on the train and at the airport. You feel real sympathy for this guy when he is being tortured and when he tells his year six story and in the interrogation scene. I am aware some people found his stammer funny, shame on you all. It was a brilliant, accurate and well enacted performance minus any hamming by Shahid that deserves a round of applause, not to be laughed at. The one thing that still isn’t completely clear to me is the amount of love Guddu feels for Sweety. Any views on that?

Sweety: Here’s a girl who doesn’t let others control her life! She’s in charge and she knows it! Sweety is deeply in love with Guddu but I don’t like the deceit she uses to get him. I was as surprised as Bhope Bhau when she pulled the trigger, you must watch to understand what I mean. Overall I quite like Sweety’s character.

Mikhail: How could the characters part end without Mikhail? What an amazing smackhead! I’m in two minds about this one; one part of me reminds me of Charlie’s dialogue ‘Dil se bachha hai magar deemag se paagal hai faala’ while another part of my brain keeps mentioning he’s a dangerous cokehead, who without meaning to gets Charlie into trouble *SPOILER* and himself killed. Somewhere inside me I felt Mikhail’s time coming to an end just before the Bhope Tope scene, I was so desperate for him to live, I remember urging him to listen to Charlie and leave. *SPOILER* Mikhail is easily the most crazy character on the surface but the deeper you get, the murkier he seems.

All of the other characters: The above four really stood out but all of them left a mark, be that Bhope Bhau or Tashi. At first I didn’t like Tashi because he hit me as boring and annoying, but the line that redeemed him in my eyes was ‘Bhope, tope hamare paas bhi hai par khamakha war kyun larde? I’m not America’ haha lol rofl yay ;)

I’ve been going crazy about the music and have even started trying to learn Pehli Baar Mohabbat Ki Hai, although this isn’t my favourite track. My favourite is easily Kaminey the title song, oh my word what lyrics. I bow down to you Gulzar sir. Pure poetry in music and it really touched my heartstrings. I thought the songs were well placed, maybe possibly with the exception of Dhan Te Nan because it disrupted the flow of the plot whereas Fatak helped it flow. I agree with most other bloggers, it would have been good if Pehli Baar Mohabbat Ki Hai had been left in, it would have made Priyanka and Shahid’s love so much more believable because Pehli Baar Mohabbat Ki Hai is very real, with normal lovers doing normal things. I personally adored the lyrics of Fatak, what a great way to promote AIDS awareness! Something unrelated that annoyed me was the way Aamir was lauded for saying for about ten seconds that smoking is bad in Ghajini while Shahid sings a whole 4 minute song about protection and he gets no such recognition! Where’s the justice in that!

Overall, the best film I saw last year!
Rating: 4.75


  1. Wow, what a post! I haven't watched Kaminey yet (long story) so don't have any input as yet. You've covered a lot in detail and brought up some very interesting points - once I've seen the movie I'll surely come back to your post.

    My favourite track is also Kaminey, the depth and meaning of those lyrics move you. I admit that I love losing control when listening to Dhan Te Nan, it's just such an intoxicating song. The entire album is a magnificent composition.

    "...he seems like the future Aamir and SRK mixed together." - This is something that struck me a short while after becoming a Shahid fan. He has the complete package to reach great heights in his career. It's all up to the movies he chooses now.

  2. I told you it would take a while to get through!

    Welcome to Bollywood Ishtyle!

    You definintely need to watch Kaminey, like NOW! No Shahid fangirl is complete without it!

    Was it just me or was the album the best of 2009? The first time I heard Dhan Te Nan, I went bersek and started dancing!

    I find it easy to cover something i detail when I love it as much as this film.

    I agree, it is all up to the choices he makes now... I really hope he picks more excellent scripts like this one