Gautaman Bhaskaran
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INDIAN CINEMA

Cinema In General

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Pans & Tilts…U Me Aur Hum, Mumbai Cutting-A City Unfolds, Pandit Jasraj, Mammootty...

Comparisons are odious, but they cannot be helped at times. Ajay Devgan’s “U Me Aur Hum” (You, Me and Us), comes soon after Aamir Khan’s “Taare Zameen
Par”. Both deal with disabilities: Devgan tackles Alzheimer’s and Khan dyslexia. However, while “Taare Zameen Par” was well directed, splendidly performed (Darsheel Safary was exceptional as the dyslexic child) and wonderfully mounted, “U Me Aur Hum” disappointed me.

To begin with, the film has been lifted from several Hollywood movies, including “Iris”, “Away from Her”, “The Notebook” and “50 First Dates”. Now Devgan need not have done this. He has enough resources and intelligence to have put together something original.

Devgan is Dr Ajay Mehra, a psychiatrist who falls in love with a waitress on a luxury liner, and woos her through some unbelievable situations, like, for instance, learning how to Salsa in a single night. They marry, and her memory lapses begin when she is expecting her child.

Badly scripted and unimaginatively photographed with tight frames and close shots that are terribly unflattering to the lead pair, Devgan and Kajol, the film is often loud. I am afraid that Devgan’s debut helming effort has fallen rather flat.

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Eleven Indian directors have jointly made “Mumbai Cutting…A City Unfolds”, which will premiere at the Indian Film Festival in Los Angeles. Sudhir Mishra, Anurag Kashyap, Rituparno Ghosh, Revathy and Jahnu Barua are some who have captured the flavour of a city out of which the magic of cinema emerged. While Ghosh conveys the city’s seductive pull, Barua explores the effect it produces on a stranger. Revathy says this movie has a “thread called Mumbai”.

However, the idea is not exactly novel. As usual! In 2006, 18 internationally renowned directors filmed Paris in all its love hues. Each segment was about five minutes long, and the entire movie ran for 116 minutes. Olivier Assayas, brothers Ethan and Joel Coen, Alfonso Cuaron, Gerard Depardieu, Gus Van Sant, Walter Salles, Tom Tykwere and India’s Gurindher Chadha were some of the helmers. It was a great tribute to a great city, one of the most romantic in the world, and each part was filmed in a different district of Paris.

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Pandit Jasraj has sung for a movie, the first time ever. The music was composed by Adnan Sami and the lyrics have been penned by Sameer. The sequence shows the Pandit singing at one end with Rakhi Sawant dancing at the other. It seems that maestros are all falling for cinema: we saw how Husain was smitten by Madhuri Dixit and others. It now appears to be the turn of Jasraj, although his affection is still at a macro level. But may not be so for too long.

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Tailpiece: The South Indian superstar, Mammootty, has now got his heart in the right place. I am told. He has lent his name and, who knows, money to promote a free scheme for cardiac by-pass surgery. Hundreds of poor will be benefit. The project is being implemented by Noorul Islam Multi Speciality Medicity in Thiruvananthapuram and the Mammootty Fans Welfare Association.

(Webposted April 17 2008)