Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Jaani Dushman :Ek Anokhi Kahani

A film way ahead of its time..
n the year 2002, India got a chance to witness revival of a genre, a genre called Raj Kumar Kohili, If you are aware of the name then you will already know what i am talking about but those of you who aren't, let me take you a couple of decades back in time, and remind you of multistarrer blockbusters like Nagin(1976), Jaani Dushman(1979), Raj Tilak(1984) and Bees Saal Baad(1988)..there was a time when this name was a synonym to hard hitting thought provoking and yet entertaining films, these films have broken new grounds in Indian Cinema and taken it to places where it had never been before..RajKumar Kohli gave us our first (and probably the only) Warewolf movie, he also gave us the haunting of the beautiful undead woman whose hands can stretch for miles if someone visits her 'Haveli' and asks her for a hammer ( the concept that got incorporated as remote control in present day)..above all Rajkumar Kohili marked the arrival of supernatural and monster movies, which had been a forte of Ramsey brothers until those times..Rajkumar Kohili introduced the elements of supernatural and horror to the mainstream indian audience and managed to get the top stars work for him in those films..among few most memorable scene that he directed ,was a song from film Nagin(1976) in which Jeetendra(his half naked self) and Reena Roy are introduced to the audience as a shape shifter (Ikchadhari Nag) couple, singing and dancing before they start to consummate (in india its a ritual to sing and dance before you consummate, thats why we have such grand marriages,where everyone dances) and where Jeetendra exudes more sensuality than the female protagonist(Reena Roy). This film came at a time when we thought being happy and Gay is the same thing.
Also its hard to forget the transformation scenes in Jaani Dushman(1979) where the most hairy person in the cast (Raza Murad) turns into a hairy monster at the sight of his bride dressed in Red..and that was the earliest visual metaphor in films ever to grace the silver screen(a hairy man turns into another hairy man when he sees Red..get it).

And then with such brilliant films, he got lost in time, trying to launch his Sons career, and then relaunch it..and then launch it again, and then change the name of his son and launch him one more time. Proving him self to be one of the most doting father in the industry. The career of his son,however, even after his relentless efforts never took off and a decade passed, and then in 2002 a miracle happened..a miracle called Jaani Dushman :Ek Anokhi Kahani ..and this came as a reboot to the quasi franchise of A-grade supernatural flick..and what a comeback it was, a absolute home run..Jaani Dushman (2002) is and will remain a modern classic, a avant grade cinema. A film that challenges every convention and breaks it, a film thats so scary that there are times when you have to turn away from the screen and mute the sound in order to be able to comprehend the ongoing, a film so scary that through out the films i advice you to keep repeating the words,"Its only a movie" to yourself..by the time the movie ends, you are breathless and you just sit there in awe of what you have just witnessed, staring at the screen with your jaws on the floor and yearning for more. A brilliant Star cast, a most original story, amazing dialogs and groundbreaking special effects..it was a shame that the committee who chooses the film to be send to Academy Awards got it all wrong again and instead of Jaani Dushman the ended up sending the lame Devdas(2002).

Now for the story : from a very distant future, a shape shifting Cyborg (Cybernetic Organism :a Robot in Human tissue) is send back , way back in time : and i am talking about the time when Maharashtra had snow capped mountains in winters and it used to look something like the Grand Canyons in Summers..this robot is not just any ordinary Robot..its a much advanced version of T-1000 (Terminator-2) and T-X(Terminator-3) as T-1000 and T-X had there limitations while morphing, this one can also morph into complex mechaines and gadgets..it also has an upgraded attachment that lets him walk on water, so back in 200 AD this Robot (named Kapil- played with amazing restrain by Arman Kohili )ends up falling in love with Vasundhra(Manisha Koirala) and as they are going through the pre-consummating ritual (i already mentioned in India people wear colorful clothes and do some freestyle dancing which pumps the blood pressure and does them good for the real action to follow). In order to execute the carefully co-ordinated dance steps with extreme precision, there continues and relentless thumping and stomping breaks the ground underneath their feets (thats why avant Garde, cause it means ground breaking cinema and this one literally breaks the ground) and they fall on top of a sage(Amrish Puri : hard to recognize under the amazing prosthetic and makeup work) meditating underneath : the sage angered by their juvenile behavior puts a curse on them, which would lead to Vasundhra's death just as the sun sets..and so it happens. Upset from his beloveds death, Kapil decides to morph into a Banyan Tree, waiting for his beloved Vasundhra to be re-incarnated. Cut to present day in one of the most affluent collages of Mumbai, where a gang of 40 something are doing there 2nd year of graduation in some stream which we are never told.. this gang of 40 (years old) something includes the likes of Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Aditya Pancholi, Aftab Shivdasani, Rambha, Rajat Bedi, Sharad Kapoor, Siddhart, Sonu Nigam and oh yes Mainsha Koirala (Divya:the reincarnated Vasundhra). the Collage only have one person staff, the Principal Joseph(Raj Babbar) who is a one man army as he teaches, specializes in parapsychology, and presides over Boxing matches..this is also the collage where the girls take their showers together (mmmmm ;) )and where a student is allowed to carry a gun to the collage and wave it around infront of his principal with elen.. Divya's Boyfriend Karan Saxena( Sunny Deol in an intense performance) is a pass out from the same collage..before you know Divya makes contact with Kapil and faces a dilemma every Indian girl is scared of ; whether to choose her lover from the present time or whether to choose her lover from previous birth who has been waiting for her for a few centuries . And before she is able to make up her mind she is raped by two of her classmates (Slimy Rajat Bedi and obnoxious Siddhart)..and eventually commits suicide. Now here i will like to pause for a moment and discuss the dialogs laced with sheer brilliance:
Just before the goons attempts to molest Divya for the first time (oh yes they attempt it twice, succeeding only the second time.)

Divya : Tum log kisi ki izzat nahin kartain..!!?? (you people don't respect anybody)
Bad Guy : Aree agar sabki izzat karangey to lootaingey Kiski (if we respect everybody then whose respect are we going to steal).

Believe me my friends this dialogs has a ability to gain the same amount of colloquial usage as Sholay's dialogs, and before you know every rapist in the country will be using the same lines before he attacks his victim.

or the intense exchange of words that Divya has, as she sits , bleeding to death and the rest of the gang arrives.

Diya : Mai tum logon ko Kabhi Maaf Nahin Karoongi
Akshay : Tum hum pe aisa Jhoota ilzaam nahin laga sakti
Sonu : Haan Akhir Hamne Kiya Kya Hai.
Sunil : Blah Blah Blah
Aditya : Blah Blah Blah
Divya :Blah Blah Blah Blah

And the whole gang stands there arguing and explaining themselves and it occurs to no one to call the ambulance therefore Divya dies in the Arms of Kapil who just waltz into the location dressed up like R.N. Tagores Shakuntala, but just before she dies, Divya makes Kapil swear that he will revenge her death from the whole gang (obviously: whatever chances of survival she had were meticulously negated by the gang as they decided to argue and explain their stance in the situation leading to Divya's rape..instead of calling for an Ambulance, therefore becoming partner in crime).

The rest of the film follows Kapil methodically dispatching the members of the gang one by one in few of the most inventive death scene indian audience has ever seen, few deaths includes one of them getting French kissed by an anaconda, another one (Arshad Warsi)getting electrocuted and while a couple of hundred watts of electricity is running through his body, he also makes a benediction and bids a final adieu to all his friend ,(Arshad Warsi ironically played a character called Circuit in another movie), then there is a death by getting bashed with a motorcycle on the head.

the credit to use the cast so immaculately also goes to the director, as all the characters are so well etched, and they never do anything outside the parameters of the characters they play

Akshay Kumar- the atheist who carries gun to the collage, and plans parties to get over the death of the dying crew.
Sunil shetty- angry individual who is so violent that in every dialogs of his, he either talks of breaking bones or killing someone.
Arshad Warsi- the wisecracking guy..who always tells jokes so much so that he doesn't even have a orignal line in the film.
Aftab shivdasani- the poor lover boy who keeps getting beaten to pulp.
Aditya Pancholi : the Rich spoilt brat who carrys 50,000 bucks in his pocket and is always dressed in a coat in sweltering heat of Mumbai..and is very scared of water
Sonu Nigam : actually does nothing until the end where he gives out girlie shrieks proving to all the other producers that he is equally capable of doing female playback singing..as much as he is of doing male playback
Sunny Deol : he plays himself (angry, grunting, bringing down the police station with his red bull power punches)

Besides them there are also cameo appearances by Johnny Lever, Dinesh Hingoo, Atul Agnihotri and Aman Verma..all of whom plays equally important part in taking the story forward.

The special Fx department has done a steller job as well by morphing, exploding and levitating the stuff where ever its needed and even in those places where it wasn't needed..creating visuals that are so amazing that it will difficult to outdo them for any one in a very long time to come.
This brings us to Arman Kohli playing Kapil who got launched probably the 4th time through this film, and as they say 4th time is the charm..he delivers and how, a performance propelled by sheer energy and brilliance..he gets the best and the most complex character(we are talking about a character with the ability to travel in time, morph into organic and inorganic forms, the character who is invincible and is out for revenge) to play in the film and Arman Kohli takes the character of Kapil and runs with it..he gets under the skin of the character so well that i cant think of any other example that even comes close to his performance, when it comes to method acting..the way he uses his eyes and his acting especially when is under going a transformation (he is a shape shifter..remember) is immaculate..there is a part where he transforms into a snake, for a moment there i thought he really is a snake, and that transformation into motorcycle, how can i forget that..Wow..!!

the film works at various levels..its a saga of love and redemption, its a powerful action flick..it also makes you think , what will you do if you if the things in this film have happened to you..how prepared are you to sacrifice for your love - will you become a tree, if someone you loved died, and wait for her/him for several centuries..!! or if you blow someone off with a RPG Launcher and then he comes back to life, what will you do..will you try and blow him again..!!?? or if a shape shifting cyborg from a distant future is after your life ,will you make an appearance publicly and perform a song and dance routine infront of a packed auditorium and keep your words to the sponsors , putting your life at stake for your morals and integrity ..

If there is ever going to be a movie of a millennium..this is it, unfortunately people just didn't get it at the time it was released, , but i can promise you that in times to come this will become a cult film and the screenplay might also get entered in Film Academy's Library.This film is India's answer to Terminators and Matrix and to every body who takes our films as complaisant films. Its a film which is a must for your collection..especially if your the kind of person who is into Drugs and Alcohol.
Do not miss it..........EVER..!!


R.Kamal said...

Hilarious stuff...i was having my tea while reading this post and spilled it all over the keyboard, and my work place was a complete mess...you the culprit...Lol

you and your obsession with the white shoe jitendra, Lol...

probably you should have written about the gracious dance moves of you fav super star.

aroop said...

thanks man..i am sorry about the keyboard though..
and yeah..about the dance move.there is link with the text in yellow..you can follow that and see the dance moves yourself..try not having any fluid while you watch it ,and try to stay away from the keyboard..or something worse may happen as you are watching it.

Sridevi said...

Hi Aroop,

You are a very good writer , I should apprciate for your work. While reading this i went inside into the story so deeply, felt like all the actions happened infront of me. Keep it up.


aroop said...

thanks for the nice words Sri..i really appreciate..you must watch the film when you get a chance.. :D

Manu Sharan said...

=)) Gawd..... This is what i call a real Movie review.... I felt the same bout dis Flick but had no word to appriciate its genius..... You my Dear Sir have a gift for movie review........ Send this review to the people at CNN IBN n I guarantee u'll be dere best entertainment copywriter in ages to come...! U need a talent to appreciate a Cult flick like dis..... Amazing philosophy behind da rape scene dialogs....:D

aroop said...

thanks a lot Manu..Its always pleasure to meet some one who appreciates.. a film like this one, trust me, its not under everyones capacity, you need intellectuals like us (no pun intended) who are high on dope to really understand and accolade a film like this..thanks again for your comments.

Shubhangi said...

My God!!! I have actually seen this movie in breaks, but the master comments have made the experience complete. And yes, my jaws did get dropped while watching the death scene of Manisha, what a speech!!!
Bravo review!!!!


aroop said...

thanks Shubhangi..i understand that you made this comment a while back (2 years actually) it just somehow missed my radar..thanks again for taking out the time to read a comment on the post.. :)

Aditya Sharma said...

really good review.it made me realize that I am just a novice at understanding and recognizing a pure directorial and visual masterpiece.scintillating acting performances,especially by armaan kohli and sonu nigam,who is nothing but india 's next hi-man.sir I would be truly obliged if you my newest role model would write many such reviews on such masterpieces(epics)so that I a humble 15 year old movie fan will get get to learn more.also I would like to point out that you missed two things which show nothing but brilliance-
1.armaan kohli's opening dialogue delivery'vasundhara main aaou?'
2.armaan kohli and manisha koralia's supreme dance in the musical melodious masterpiece'aaja o aaja'

thank you so much sir.

aroop said...

Thanks Aditya Sharma i have been living off the grid for sometime now and therefore did not get a chance to respond to your message earlier.

Thanks buddy..and good luck with the growing up :)

Akhilesh Targe said...

There couldn'thave been a better description or review so to speak of this magnum opus

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