Rating: 4/5 Stars (Four stars)
Star cast: Sharib Hashmi, Innamulhaq, Kumud Mishra, Gopal Datt, Saroj Sharma, Sanjay Mehta, Ravi Bhushan, Waseem Khan
Director: Nitin Kakkar
What’s Good: It will be an understatement to merely call Sharib Hashmi a fine actor. He and Innamulhaq exhibit an ineffaceable camaraderie which when blended with a stirring story makes for a gratifying film.
What’s Bad: Almost nothing. Though one could have hoped for a different climax, probably the ending, Kakkar and his team decided, was the most effective one.
Loo break: None
Watch or Not?: Filmistaan is probably every filmy insaan’s wet dream translated on screen. This film uses humor and subtlety to convey the dynamics of India and Pakistan without switching on the mandatory preachy mode. Sharib Hashmi is superlative in a film that is every bit brilliant. I was awed and aww-ed by the film’s simplicity and sincerity in telling a story whose theme is usually complimented with a heavy narrative. But don’t we often negate the fact that the real power of cinema lies in telling tender stories which have soul and comes straight from the heart! A riveting film that will delight you with its innocence.
Sunny (Sharib) is a small time actor who is awaiting a perfect break. The film begins with him doing the mimicry of popular Bollywood stars. After much toiling, Sunny lands up in a job for assistant director for a documentary that is being shot by an American media team for the money but life takes an unusual turn when he gets kidnapped by a group of Pakistani right winged terrorists.
Captivated in Pakistan, the filmy buff finds that the other side of the border is connected to each other by Bollywood. Though the film is essentially about Sunny’s escape route back to his homeland, the film is a heart wrenching story of India-Pakistan’s animosity. Though jubilation at India’s victory at a cricket match is frowned about, the differences between the two countries is all a matter of perception!
Filmistaan Review: Script Analysis
The film begins with a memorable shot where a budding actor is sitting on his couch and sipping his morning cuppa. The director doesn’t shoot him directly but via a mirror on his cupboard. While the movie flows, that first powerful shot gave an insight into what the film has in store for us. The story is novel yet not an unthinkable or out of the world product. Nitin Kakkar deserves a salute for seamlessly binding heavy topics of infiltration, cross border terrorism, the ideals of right wing Islamists and yet the prevailing love for Bollywood. Anything dealing with the hostility of India and Pakistan gets sucked in by gloom but Kakkar manages to maintain his film consistently light hearted.
This too like Queen isn’t much about the script, as it is about the moments. There is a lightness of being in the narrative which is well nuanced and still the film emerges as thrilling. Probably I am someone who eats, sleeps, dreams and talks cinema and hence Kakkar’s vocabulary made perfect sense to me. And if I understand the psyche of India well, Kakkar has managed to tell a story that will have many keen takers simply because the story is beautiful sans the sermonizing.
In a particular scene, Sunny is locked up in a room while Aftab plays Maine Pyaar Kiya outside for his villagers. As the film advances, a very excited Sunny is simultaneously reciting the lines of the film with its recognizable feel and zeal. Eventually, his captivators who are frustrated of his rantings allow him to watch the film out of desperation to get him to shut up.
In the second half of the film, the plot becomes racy and every bit nail biting. Sunny’s trysts to escape are so intense that your heart goes out to both him and his accomplice Aftab. For the last half an hour of the film, you’ll be praying, hoping and wishing for Sunny to cross the border. Probably the last scene should have been affirmative and with a filmy ending, but leaving it in haze was justified and more appropriate.
Filmistaan Review: Star Performances
Sharib Hashmi dons the endearing role with a dazzling brilliance. The guy enacts every filmy keedas, keedapanti with sheer earnestness. In the scene, where he humors the children of village by showing the varied style of Bollywood actors shooting a gun to the next scene where he lies hurt and helpless are two diametrically opposite scenes place one after the other. It is hard to miss that the man redefines versatility and does so without airs. Bollywood has found a fresh and gusty actor finally!
If Hashmi is brilliant, Innamulhaq matches up his caliber with a noteworthy flair. He is fantastic and the camaraderie with Hashmi is extraordinary. If Hashmi’s work is the pivot, Innam is just the icing on the cake.
Kumud Mishra is translucent in his role which is written with virtuoso. Even Gopal Dutt is first rate as he expresses mostly without words. That blink and miss bit where he smiles at Hashmi as the two watch a film amidst villagers is clever.
Filmistaan Review: Direction, Editing and Screenplay
The movie barely ever falters and though Sharib and Inaam walk off with rightful accolades for their parts, it is eventually Nitin’s ingenious thinking that makes the film winsome. The guy has tackled scenes with an intuitive understanding which comes off well.
Usually directors don’t quite paint a picture of the film they make. Rather it is rapidly becoming mode of manufacturing ventures for consumerist consumption. The one scene where Sunny talks to the local Haqim who had lived in Amritsar all his life until Partition reminds Sunny of his grandfather who till his last breath wanted to catch a last glimpse of his birthplace Lahore. The scene is pertinent not only for what it holds and the effect it will have on its audiences.
A special mention for Subhransu Das who has done a fine job at cinematography. Luckily music director Arijit Datta uses soothing melodies to play alongside the warm story. The use of mild music builds the gentle ambiance in a film that smartly gives a somber tone a miss.
Filmistaan Review: The Last Word
Nitin Kakkar’s Filmistaan is a crackling movie to the core that doesn’t give you one dull moment in its lambent tapestry. Sharib Hashmi is precocious for a debutant and along with Innam’s adept performance, the duo deliver a effulgent film. I, for one, didn’t get enough of the film and can’t wait to pay the price and watch it again. I am going with a 4/5 for this film.
Filmistaan releases on 6th June, 2014.
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