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'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola' is not everyone's cup of tea at all: Raja Sen

IBNLive.com
Jan 15, 2013 at 05:58pm IST

Rediff's film critic Raja Sen joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the movie 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola'.

Q. Do you think Vishal Bharadwaj be accused of compromising on his films to accommodate stars? Asked by: Sudhir

A. It's a good question. Vishal started off without using stars and yet now his films seem cluttered with A-listers. However, part of it has to do with economics: he makes films that take a long time to shoot, a long time to produce, and if stars are necessary to bankroll them, so be it. also they lead to greater visibility for his projects - even if sometimes they get in the way.

'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola' is not everyone's cup of tea at all: Raja Sen

Rediff's film critic Raja Sen joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the movie 'Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola'.

Q. Such a long title for the film.done intentionally? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. I'm sure the film wasn't named by accident. And yes, I think it's an interesting title, a strange one, almost like a tongue-twister. And you aren't bound to easily forget it -- though I confess it is possible you'll get the order wrong. Or just call it Matru. Either way, a title this weird (for a film this weird) is a good way to tell it apart from standard Bollywood produce.

Q. Your opinion on the movie? Asked by: Ari

A. I loved it ! I had some slight niggles with the initially uneven tone of the film and the pacing, but all that paled in comparison to the bizarre quirks and the absurd awesomeness in the details. Here's my review: http://rajasen.com/2013/01/11/review-vishal-bhardwajs-matru-ki-bijlee-ka-mandola/

Q. While audience has been coming out laughing has the producer gonr to the bank laughing ? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Opinion's divided on that one. The film is said to have been made on a Rs 40 crore budget, and one hears it's made Rs 22 crore in its first weekend. That said, reviews have been very mixed and people who have watched it either love it or completely hate it, so it's not likely to pick up very much. But it could become a cult film on the DVD circuit.

Q. Pankaj Kapoor is a versatile actor and is getting an acclaim a little too late? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. I disagree. In my book he's always been the best Hindi film actor of all time. And while he hasn't made as many films as Naseer or Om Puri, he's also - vitally enough -- not made as many bad films as either of those two. Pankaj has been picky and waited for the meatier roles, which is why there are so many performances to love: Maqbool, Blue Umbrella, Ek Ruka Huya Faisla, Khamosh, Ek Doctor Ki Maut...

Q. A teetotaler acting Drunk is easy or a Drunk actor acting as a sober gentleman ?? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Haha. Deliciously wicked question. Let's see. Acting drunk isn't hard because we all have some stereotypical drunken behaviour in mind, but acting convincingly drunk isn't as easy as you think. (I tried it myself once. And then decided to go method.) As for a drunk person acting sober, well, that seems much harder. To not just gather your wits around you when drunk but to try and pass off as sober? Oh, that fools nobody. Not even your parents.

Q. Why Vishal Bhardawaj makes such complex films. It hardly appeals to masses and even critics avoid appreciation. Asked by: Manish

A. Isn't it good to have at least a couple of filmmakers who derive joy from confounding expectations and are ambitious enough to make something that truly makes the audience think? There are many ways to tell a story, and while we may agree or disagree on the potency of Bhardwaj's storytelling choices, there is no debating the distinctiveness: A Vishal Bhardwaj film is a Vishal Bhardwaj film. And that's what makes an auteur.

Q. What part of the movie did you not like? Asked by: deep

A. The early sections with anushka seemed a bit shoehorned into the narrative. also it took a while to get going. the first half could have used some snipping. and the scene with imran and the powersuited girl featured dialogue too clunky for a bhardwaj film.

Q. I loved this movie so much and wondering after reading some extreme negative reviews how did some senior critics didn't connect with MKBKM. Can you explain this Asked by: Mami

A. Well, it IS a strange film, and like I said in my review, not everyone's cup of tea at all. Funnily enough I think most of the loudest criticisms made about Matru are those that can be levelled against any wildly funny satire: including the great Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro.

Q. What do you think of Imran Khan and Arya Babbar's performances in the movie? Do you think they will ever be able to come out of Aamir's and Raj Babbar's legacies? Asked by: Naveen

A. Imran's trying valiantly and full marks to the lad for pushing himself with roles like this: he's not bad in a role that doesn't demand much more than a straight-face and an occasional scowl, even though his Haryanvi accent slips a bit. but thinking he'll ever be in Aamir's league seems ludicrous. Arya wasn't bad either -- his character kept reminding me of that 'India is great' buffoon from Ram Lakhan -- and lets wait and see where he ends up.

Q. Do you think the movie would have connected more had it been promoted as the kind of quirky movie it is.. and not promoted just as a normal comedy movie? Asked by: Vishwas

A. Possibly, but that's a tough call. There's always the chance it wouldn't have gotten any opening at all. This way at least we're looking at the film and then making up our mind: several people who have seen it might not have given a loony film a chance. But I agree, toying with audience expectations is very tricky.

Q. After The Blue Umbrella the Pankaj Kapur-Vishal Bharadwaj duo gave us another incredible movie.My question is from Blue Umbrella though.What was the tarantino reference?..I still didn't get it.Please tell. Asked by: heartbeat

A. Aah : ) The great QT reference. Here you go. When Biniya fights off the snake with her umbrella (holding it in an unmistakably samurai fashion) and later her brother boasts about how the scared snake fled, he says "saanp killbill-killbill karta hua nikal gaya." : )

Q. There's criticism and criticism. A lot of the poor reviews have come from those who havent engaged with the movie. Does that take away from the criticism of -- however elitist it sounds -- from a more aware viewer? Asked by: Krish

A. No, I don't believe it does. A viewer aware enough to understand which critic has engaged with the film is aware enough to understand how much she wants to engage with the film themselves, and what may appeal to them.

Q. Do you think VB can now go back another movie (true to his sensibilities) ala Maqbool? After all, that requires a sense of freedom (from the commercial prospects as well as expectations) Asked by: Nitish

A. Well, we're all hoping he makes the third of his Shakespeare adaptations soon, but I'm not sure that's coming up next. What may be coming up, however, is a film called Dreams he's been writing for a long time, a very trippy script that (say rumours) will star Irrfan and Madhuri Dixit. If he gets it right, that might be a truly special project.

Q. Many hardcore Vishal fan did not like the film purely becoz of unnecessary inserted FORCED moments i.e. Anushka's entry,romantic track in 2nd half and so on..its too much of compromise..isn't it Asked by: Vishal786

A. I'm as hardcore as VB fans get, I confess, and I think the moments have all been shoved in for a reason. My only big qualm is that absurd cinema doesn't usually follow storytelling tropes this closely, while MKBKM does, especially in that shaadi-mandap climax. Then again, there are few things as obviously absurd as our cliched narratives. I think it's more a creative decision than a compromise.

Q. Why is this that imran khan not given enough credit for performance compared to ranbir kapoor? Asked by: Khalid

A. Because he isn't that good. Heck, no other mainstream leading man is as good as Ranbir currently seems.

Q. VB has rave reviews for this movie. A film succeeds due to team effort. The credit goes to lead actor or director ? Producer of course gets CREDIT only when the film succeeds at BOX office with no bearing to the rating at reviews . Asked by: sundar1950in

A. A film is a collaborative effort, yes, but in a film -- especially a film as bizarre as this -- the director leads the charge, he's the captain of the schooner, he's the one making it work. And it's his neck on the line, most of all. Actors, musicians, cinematographers, writers are all integral to the overall telling, and any one cog could surely make a massive difference, but the film BELONGS to the director. The chain of responsibility (and of credit) stops there.

Q. I loved the movie, but thought Imran was a misfit? Who u think would have been a better alternative? Asked by: jeenit

A. Hmm Let's see. I'd pick someone like Deepak Dobriyal or Chandan Roy Sanyal, both of whom we first saw in VB films.

Q. How would u rate aamir khan as actor compared to say SRK,Salman etc Asked by: Khalid

A. Aamir is a very capable, very intelligent, powerful actor who knows just what a scene or a script needs. it just exasperates me that he isn't as subtle as he once was; now his performances seem more showy, more 'look-at-me-act'. but every now and then there is a flash of pure genius, like the moment in dhobi ghat when he puts two and two together and runs out of the house, alarmed.

Q. Whats the best/USP of this movie Asked by: hadihunt

A. My favourite scene is the one in which Mandola is telling the politician about his dream, about his macabre dream of dying farms and rising malls, a dream he claims is clawing at the back of his eyelids and a dream he would do anything to fulfil. anything?, asks the politician. anything, agrees Mandola, and swears to give up alcohol. the skies burst with rain. perfect.

Q. I have read and in complete consonance with your review of the movie. I myself have loved it. My only question is regarding "Pertinence of Pink buffalo" in the movie. Asked by: Dipanshu shekhar

A. Aah, out of time. Okay folks. My time here is up. This chat was great fun and maybe I'll be back again soon. For now I'm at rajasen.com or at twitter.com/Raja Sen. find me there and we'll keep talking. till then, oye bye oye bye.

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