Friday, October 28, 2005
The Asian Film Festival Pune, 2005 – Day 3Posted by Aditya Bidikar | 12:58 AM
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Day Three was an unqualified success, in my opinion. The sheer number of good films was not as much as Day One, nor was the actual number of films. But what was there was right up my alley.
I watched three films today: Samapti (India – Satyajit Ray), Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi (India – Sudhir Mishra) and I Fak (Thailand – Pantham Thongsang).
Samapti was not as good as I had expected, but it was very good still. It is a rather short film (slightly less than an hour), and it has a weak beginning, and I didn’t like the ending (it either defeats the point of the movie or it is sardonic in an unnecessarily weird manner – I can’t decide which). But even if you discard those, you still have 20-30 minutes of solid film-making which I could irritatingly analyse and generally wax eloquent about. But I am not going to. If you like Ray, you’ll probably watch this film anyway. I just didn’t like it enough to watch it a second time.
Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi is a movie about three students in Delhi in the seventies. It is wonderfully sad, and sometimes unexpectedly eccentric and funny, and it is good enough to give one hope about non-parallel filmmaking in India. And Chitrangada Singh completely rules, which makes me very sad about the fact that she’s leaving films. The other actors do a good job, and Shiney Ahuja’s first name fits him (he’s so nice and white all the time). The script is good, and so is the direction. I particularly liked the music – I probably wouldn’t want to listen to it otherwise, but it suits the film to a tee. Update: an excellent review here.
I Fak (English title ‘The Judgement’) is one of those films ... Y’know, you go on and on watching films, and you get somewhat jaded, and then, boom, comes a film that is so lovely that you sit up and start paying attention again. I Fak is not a brilliant film, but I loved it. Basically, it is a twenty-first century film about rural hypocrisy – a funny, sexy and, ultimately, very sad film about general attitudes towards sex and gender (the latter might only be my reading of the film, but I think I’m right). Fak’s father marries a young, beautiful woman, Somsong, who is also an utter loony, and then dies after extracting a promise from Fak that he will take care of her. Then due to a series of misunderstandings caused by Somsong, the whole village assumes that they are having an affair, and Fak, castigated, shunned and cheated by everyone in the village, takes to drinking, and starts to slowly lose his mind. It is a pain to watch the handsome, confident Fak turn into a sunken-eyed degenerate through little fault of his own. And thankfully, the clichéd climax of the film turns out not to be the end at all, and the actual end is tragic yet wonderfully tender. The film is also wonderfully shot, colourful, and utterly beautiful to look at.
As if in collusion with the great films, the projection department performed much better than usual. The only problem with Samapti was that the second line of subtitles wasn’t visible, but that was okay, because most of the subtitles didn’t have a second line. Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi was thrice interrupted, for whatever reason, by the ‘3-2-1’ sign that seems to have become a trademark of old films, but otherwise things were fine, and I Fak went without a single glitch, although it started an hour late due to the fact that the cast and crew of the previous film held a conference in the auditorium.