Shabana Azmi

Review The Master: Shyam Benegal LIFF 2015

Most fans of popular Hindi cinema will be familiar with films like Zubeidaa (2001) and Welcome To Saajanpur (2008) but as The Master: Shyam Benegal shows, Bengal has a formidable body of work before mainstream success; films that won many National Awards, defied convention and were very much ahead of their time – so much so, that today’s cinema will be forever indebted to Benegal’s contribution.

Unfortunately then, The Master has quite a jarring rhythm to it so that the viewer never really gets settled in and feels quite clumsy at times. I also found my attention wandering at one point and at one point, was not sure why we had certain contributors on screen who didn’t offer anything different from what Benegal has already told us. Although the affection Mohammed has for Benegal and his films comes across quite well, I do wish the editing had been more stringent and there was a greater organisation to the material rather than a brisk chronological stroll through Benegal’s filmography.

Thankfully, the subject matter here is fascinating and just about overshadows the flaws- Benegal is a very likeable person who comes across really well as a passionate creative who has conviction in his vision and one gets the sense that his pursuit in making his films really was instrumental in forming independent Indian cinema as we know it today. I felt all of his films could easily fill documentaries of their own, not only because they are rooted in various social causes but also the amazing roster of talent such as Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Naseerudin Shah that his films boast.

Out of all the contributors interviewed for The Master, I thought Shabana Azmi’s anecdotes were quite candid and offered a real insight into what it is like to work with Benegal whilst Manoj Bajpayee’s recounting of how Karisma Kapoor asked him not to kiss her on the lips in Zubeidaa is an awkward encounter, especially when Karisma manages to avoid elaborating on the subject. As Neena Gupta points out, most actresses are quite possessive of Benegal after working with him and it is not hard to see why – his films truly offer actresses a wonderful showcase for their talents.

If you have never heard of Shyam Benegal or are unfamiliar with his early work, The Master offers a a guide of sorts of which ones to watch (I had seen Ankur (1974) prior to this and cannot wait to watch Mandi, Nishant and Bhumika as well as a rewatch of Zubeidaa). Hopefully this won’t be the only documentary made on Benegal but it certainly is a starting point to learn more about one of India’s most prolific independent filmmakers.

Directed by: Khalid Mohammed

Narrated by: Naseerudin Shah

The Master: Shyam Benegal played at the London Indian Film Festival.

For more information about the festival and it’s programme, head over to: http://londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk/programme.htm

Bhushan Kumar is a Hindi film and fashion obsessed being living and working in London.

Follow Bhushan on Twitter: @bogeyno2

Blog: http://bogeyno2.wordpress.com/

 

 

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola Poster and Song Promo

To anyone who has listened to our Jab Tak Hai Jaan Review (If you haven’t you should by clicking here) you can safely say that we are quite enamored by Anushka Sharma, I mean she could be reading the ingredients off a can of kidney beans in Binary code and we would listen with bated breath.

With the first song promo released of her forthcoming Vishal Bhardwaj directed Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, we see her singing and dancing and pretty much stealing the show from Imran Khan.

Now dancing may not be the man’s forte but the ability to grow quite impressive facial hair does seem to run in the family.

We’re quite looking forward to this movie although Vishal Bhardwaj rustic taste might not be for everyone’s taste buds.

Here is the poster, the first song promo and a synopsis of the movie.

MATRU - Upodcast

Promo Shot Matru Upodcast

Anushka Sharma and some other dudes

Set in the rustic surroundings of a village in Haryana in India, Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola is a comedy-drama about Harry Mandola (PANKAJ KAPUR), a wealthy industrialist who loves his drink, his daughter Bijlee (ANUSHKA SHARMA) and the unusual bond they both share with Harry’s man-Friday, Matru (IMRAN KHAN). 
 
Much to her father’s delight, Bijlee is all set to marry Baadal (ARYA BABBAR), the son of a powerful politician Chaudhari Devi (SHABANA AZMI). This alliance which is far from just being a simple union of two young people becomes the seed for a story that brings twists and turns in the lives of Matru, Bijlee and Mandola.

 

Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola releases on 11th January 2013 by Twentieth Century Fox.

@asimburney

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