Friday, August 15, 2008

Jaago: Small Movies by Big Directors

A few months back I saw a short film called Positive, made by Farhan Akhtar, starring Boman Irani and Shabana Aazmi. I loved the film. Later I found there was another movie called Blood Brothers, that was around the same topic, AIDS. And today I found a blog entry on PFC that reviews both these movies along with two more. Here it is:

Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, for one of their project on helping humanity, have united with 4 directors Mira Nair, Farhan Akhtar, Santosh Sivan and Vishal Bharadwaj to co-produce 4 short films on issues regarding AIDS education and awareness. These short films are taking the AIDS awareness on more personal level with some beautiful and some incredible journeys involving blood relations, lovers and strangers with urges either sexual or just plain human.

1. Migration (2007).
Directed by: Mira Nair.
Written by: Zoya Akhtar.
Starring: Shiney Ahuja, Sameera Reddy, Irfan Khan and Raima Sen.

Migration is a set of parallel stories between a husband and his lover, husband’s wife, a mason worker his wife and infants. This short is very well directed, right from the drought death visuals to marine drive tides. The cinematography is eye catching. Thanks to Shiney Ahuja’s speaking eyes and Irfan Khan’s emotions for his lover, one way maybe. The core message of the story is delivered by sex education street actor Vijay Raaz with Beedi song in the background. Its the unconventional migration that is thought and written by Zoya Akhtar gives a different but convincing journey. It was exciting to see marathi stage and screen actress Sulabha Deshpande as Sameera’s mother-in-law, little has she changed from Choukat Raja’s (1991) mother.

2. Positive (2007).
Directed by: Farhan Akhtar.
Written by: Rajesh Devraj.
Starring: Boman Irani, Shabana Azmi and Arjun Mathur.

Positive is the story of AIDS awareness for a family as one of the members becomes HIV positive. The effects of it in a broad picture and a very tiny extremely personal point of view is very well written by Rajesh Devraj, whose future writings are Farhan Akhtar starrer Fakir of Venice and Shashanka Ghosh project Quick Gun Murugun. Boman Irani is fantastic with his lowering speaking abilities and at the same time with the desires of a young photographer to capture something. But it needed Farhan Akhtar’s trick to bring out the moment absolutely necessary for this story. The moment when Arjun’s character is positioning the rose in the window. This is perhaps the same transformation moment that occured in Dil Chahta Hai (2001) when Akash (Aamir Khan) calls up Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) only to realise subconsciously he dialed Sid’s (Akshaye Khanna) number. Incredible. Shabana Azmi is short but plays the character who has already past previously mentioned transformation.

3. Prarambha (2007).
Directed by: Santosh Sivan.
Starring: Prabhu Deva and Skandhas.

A truck driver (Prabhu Deva) finds an unknown boy Kittu (Skandhas) hiding in the back of his truck. Truck driver finds it unsolvable to get rid of an unknown boy riding with him. Kittu hands him a letter written by his mother with an address. Truck driver agrees to take him there. But then out of humanity he finds himself on a quest to make the people around Kittu realise what he feels for kittu. This movie is a cry out towards those strangers who might have some humanity left in them. Prabhu Deva does a great job. His apological and optimistic smiles are the driving force for the audience and kittu as well. Skandhas as Kittu is nothing short of a applauding performance. He represents the understanding son, rejected school friend and a happy boy. Though there aren’t many opportunities for Mr Sivan to use his lens he still captures the moments that do not need words.

4. Blood Brothers (2007).
Directed by: Vishal Bharadwaj.
Story idea by: Matthew Robbins and Ajit Ahuja.
Starring: Siddharth, Pavan Malhotra and Ayesha Takia.
URL: Blood Brothers

This story brings in the most courageous factor in the AIDS awareness. The point of view of the main victim, the one with the disease. This is the best short among the four. An ordinary man hears his doctor say that he is HIV positive. Devastated by the news he gives up on his life to find something that out smarts him. This is an absolutely astonishing story. This movie proves the fact that you do not need 1000 cuts in a 5 min movie to make it interesting. Though non-linearity exists in the narration it never seems a cliche by the creation of scars on Siddharth’s faces. This short challenges the viewer by putting in the shoes of the protagonist and ask them what if? Kudos to Mr Bharadwaj. This one is a must see.

Overall rating: 8/10.

Original text here.

PS: If the links given in the post are not good or working, you can also search for these movies on Youtube yourself. They are there too. In case there is any problem, you may contact me.

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