Chup: Pyaasa Pyaar Ka!!
Star Cast: Dulquer Salmaan, Sunny Deol, Pooja Bhat, Amitabh Bachchan, Shreya Dhanwanthary, and Saranya Ponvannan. Chup Review
Music Composed by S D Burman, Aman Pant, Amit Trivedi, and Sneha Khanwalkar
Cinematography by Vishal Sinha
Edited by Nayan H. K. Bhadra
Written & Directed by R Balki
Pyaasa Hoon Pyaar ka
Magar Mile Hain Mujhe Kagaaz ke Phool
Jis Pyaar ko Chaudhvin Ka Chaand Samjha
Wahin Mujhe Sahib aur Ghulam Bana Diya…
The above lines seem to be perfect for Legend Guru Dutt. He became a sensation with Pyaasa (1957) but Kagaaz Ke Phool (1959), the most loved, revered, and remembered film lead to his downfall and eventual death of his. He couldn’t afford to retain anything that he held dear to him post-making the biopic his own. It almost felt like the world doesn’t want him but just his art or craft which they can relate to. After watching Chup!, I kept thinking about whether being relative is a must for filmmakers and whether is it also important to critics. Understanding why someone made a film and then trying to pinpoint where they failed or what they might have attempted and succeeded could be the idealistic form of critique. But then we live in a hungry world. Malnutrition is not just in Africa but it is spread all over the world. In every craft, every aspect, we are Malnutrition-ed as a society. It is cool to diss others, cool to shame others, and cool to be fake as well. Yes, we can make fun of ourselves, others, and everything but shouldn’t we know limitations and be sensible at the same time? Yes, it is okay to sometimes aspire or wear someone else’s personality but should we overdo things? Yes, it is okay to have an opinion and a unique thought process but is it important to abuse, or disrespect? Yes, it feels great if someone validates but for even breathing, do we need validation?
Jis Thakdeer ka Badshaah Maana Jaatha tha
Wohi Mere Savera ko Sanjh pe andha Kar Diya
Andheron ki Dhuniya mein apne hi Raasta Bataktha chala mein…
Shreya Dhanwantary‘s character in this film is a refreshingly subtle “bubbly stereotype”. She wants to be herself, has a rebellious attitude, has a relationship to die for with her mother, and aspires to be in a job that gives her time to live in a dreamland or her home – Movies. She could move to Mumbai, take an apartment close to the studio – even if she feels it is a hole, and have bosses above her who like her work, and respects her opinions. Her life just feels like a carefully crafted dream – almost like growing Tulips. We can only grow them under certain conditions and at certain places, hence they are highly costly yet they are highly desirable and so beautiful that you cannot stay away from them. But the freedom she has, the job she loves, and the person whom she thought highly secure, completely similar to her – everything turned into a nightmare in the blink of a second. People in higher ranks turned out to be greyer than those who love to burn flowers for fragrance rather than growing them. Her own ambition turned out to be self-destroying one like how we want to grow plants, and enjoy nutritious food but then we are also ready to cut down trees, erode farming lands, and dry out lakes for land to build concrete Taj Mahal’s that again have green corridors. Still, her charm made the bubbly girl side in her look more relatably down to earth, not just a mere damsel in distress but a clever, ambitious metro woman with desires and doesn’t look to hide. With a smile that is so natural that it almost feels like a fully blossomed flower when we look at her. All she does is choose the wrong doors to open at the right places, still, she manages somehow.
Pyaasa Hoon Pyaar Ka
Magar Badshaah hoon Patthar ke Phool ka!
Kabhi naasamjh mein tha
Magar ab Lag raha hein Duniya hi naa samajh, naadaan aur Bepas hain
Yaha Bepanaah Mohabbat bhi Guna Hain
Beintehaa Nafrat bhi Jais Hain…
Now, coming to Dulquer Salmaan‘s character, it has been designed to invite trouble yet there is a charmer inside him who is almost a genius. Dulquer played both the shades in his character as if he is playing two different people. The innocence in him, the believer in him, the non-practical dreamer in him loves to lead one particular life. On the other side, the practical in him, the man who is accustomed to the world-ly Norms yet trying to find his own corner in a bigger mess, looks to fit in. For an actor, it is difficult to not go overboard while playing one or the other. He charms through the Practical part while he brings alive and sets the screen on fire with dreamer portions. The way he brought charm to Romance and played the character like a lover boy almost, like a neighborhood person whom we befriend easily yet has a highly weird side to him that pushes him to be a loner. He still wants to find the person who is as deeply in love with the art as he loves and equally mad, and innocent in making choices that might be harmful to her and others too, while trying to do the right thing all the time.
He poses the right questions to everyone who easily criticizes – not just films but life in common. Anyways as it only belongs to films – let’s first look at filmy questions. “Write if a film is a copy and watch every possible Cinema without falling prey to the language barrier if you really love cinema!” Yes, making a film is not attending the Annual exam, which means if you pass you will go to next year or go forward. Making a film is more like telling a story that you feel is necessary to tell to the world. And tell in the tone that you feel works for you. Leaving your stamp doesn’t mean you make films that no one else has ever made. Mani Ratnam never said that he did not get inspired by James Bond films or Godfather series or Indian Jones or Spielberg films or Martin Scorsese films or Balachander films. He said that he might get inspired by any film but his film will have his voice. Scorsese might have been dissing on Marvel super hero movies because he feels like their popularity will kill the kind of originality, he brings to the table but he never disrespected the makers involved in them. Trust me, he would be the first one to congratulate someone like Ryan Coogler, if he manages to make a more realistic fantasy with the next Black Panther film that is more close to his taste.
There is no Democracy in making films. Viewers are not Voters. They decide the fate of the box office and the filmmakers but they don’t determine their destiny. In return, films don’t form governments that affect their lives. Relatability determines if a film can last or not. Just how a person’s impact on us determines if they can be our friends or not. Films are like those friends but made by dictators and not by nature. Those who dictate terms to their characters and those who succeed in pleasing more people or making those puppets (characters created by them) dance in a more enjoyable manner, they find popularity. Ultimately some will make it “lasting glory”, and “legacy” and some will have one show or a period of exuberance with few. And as nothing lasts forever even films fade and filmmakers also fail or fade out. Still, believers like Christopher Nolan, and James Cameroon emerge in every generation, every decade to take movies to a new path. Again, their greatness in public perception as filmmakers depends on popular relatability than their ability. Filmmaking is more about choices under circumstances than opportunities. Once you find an opportunity, you need to make a choice about your path. Those choices determine your destiny while people decide your Popularity.
Hope that derail helps you get more clarity about my viewpoints now and in the future. Coming back to the business, DQ’s questions like – “Why should you be fake?” “Why can’t you choose to critique the kind of artform it is then giving personal judgments?” “Why can’t you be those who hold mirrors than those who bash?” “Why can’t you be those who have a voice that can’t be ignored than those attention seekers who mock and crack for fun?” Well, can we have answers ever in a sensible manner in a popular debate on a larger platform that is world? Only, time will tell.
Saazish un Ankhon ki hain jo mujhe naadan samjha
Ya Naadani meri hain jo mein Insaan bana?!
Phir bhi mein Pyaasa hoon iss Pyaar Ka
Dhoondte huve Mohabbat in Gahre Andheron main….
Sunny Deol and Pooja Bhatt‘s characters don’t look to be idealistic like the other two. They have practical viewpoints and they stay away from these dreamers’ worlds. They are like the harsh reality that draws boundaries and looks to judge the inner you with everything you do. Mainly, Sunny Deol’s obsession with finding answers and pushing someone into trouble so that he can be ahead in the race shows a complete human tendency in being those “Winners“. While we wish to see two “Losers” fall in love and not kill each other, we fear the “Winners” claiming victory over both of them. Somehow, Balki managed to make us fall in love with the killer by making us “Nila– The Moon” as if a Satellite obsessed with “Earthly” Sebastian.” Until, the final moments, we tend to hope that Nila finds a way to reform or at least Sebastian shows refrain but when Sun(ny) shines and all three cross paths, eclipse, and dark shadows are bound to happen. Yet, when the eclipse is over star shines on everyone and light falls on those places where the eclipse has overpowered too.
In the last frames, Sebastian Gomes aka Danny becomes highly successful with his film that got dissed by critics and “killed” ruthlessly. People love his craft and the serial killer becomes Guru Dutt. It almost seems like Balki got the idea from Guru Dutt’s life and then thought about how can he make him take revenge without spoiling his image and giving tribute to his legacy. The romantic portions in the screenplay come across as being written and directed by “peak Guru Dutt” Fan while the investigation portions seem to be written by today’s clever writer. Guru Dutt in his Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam and Pyaasa, when he had no references to fall back on, have been so ahead of time in craft and storytelling that people desired to live their lives in his world rather than the real one. Such kind of impact he left on everyone. Today’s clever writer with so much to go to can find something or the other reference to trigger an idea. Just trying to point out the difference to understand what was/is/will ever be “Guru Dutt“. Continuing with our discussion, both seem to have been asked to go hand-in-hand while the debate about why critics or critiquing is necessary goes on. A cameo from Amitabh Bachchan states that critiquing is the only way to grow. It almost seems like Balki wants critics to be more pure, passionate, and unbiased or it might be coming from Raja Sen, a renowned critic who turned into a writer with this film. However the tonal shifts from pure romance to pure serial killer might be, harsh or smooth, we cannot take away the odes to the ever-lasting melody era, and then the Psycho (1964) references cannot be overlooked too. It is like if you love cinemas you should watch this film just for the fun of catching all the “meta” references. Balki engages you right from frame one and tries to add his own flavor to killing spree sequences too.
Patthar ke Phool bhi mujhe acche lagne lage
Jo bhi Mere Taraf Pheke Ja Rahe The
Unse bhi Mujhe Pyaar Hone laga
Jo Ghav bhar nahi sakke
Wohi Mera takdeer badalna shuru kar diya…
On the whole, this film is for those who love Cinema and for those who don’t love it. It is made to make you fall in love with Cinema and also with criticism. Yes, it asks you to love criticism and then asks you to be true to it. Meaning – Be Positive and constructive in giving feedback rather than working with agendas or vendettas. A filmmaker would be putting his life into it and trying to re-invent it, not understanding it and judging with prejudices making any filmmaker, a serial killer with vengeance against those who critique. Saranya Ponvannan’s character who is eternally cast into darkness but dreams of a brighter tomorrow and gets accustomed to being in that darkness with a smile is an example of how our audiences are becoming. Visuals, editing patterns, mainly the Meta references to Guru Dutt, the callbacks to classic romances, everything works yet leaves us desiring for much more than what has been offered. Balki made it with love and slightly overcooked the climax portions (Some good intentions are dead due to some prejudiced judging, better to understand why they are showing something and then tell them about the issues. Whether we agree with it or not, we understand. That can solve many issues, which seems to be R Balki’s conclusion for this film.) even “rushing” us out of his brilliantly conceived world. Just like waking us up from a beautiful dream in the morning forcefully almost paralleling how our loving mothers’ would do. Mother wouldn’t want to spoil her child’s dream but she has to prepare us to face the “real world” too. Balki too “rushed” us from the dream and “sent” us with a bitter aftertaste. Still, he delivered a film that we can always refer to when it comes to being original, novel, and ironically even slightly underwhelming us. Please watch this movie and do not let Balki go back to his disturbing Shamitabh days.
Theatrical Trailer: Chup Review