Lamhaa - Preview
Lamhaa is a Kashmir-issue recap enacted by Sanjay Dutt, Bipasha Basu, Anupam Kher and oh yeah, Kunal Kapoor. It's done in a rush and tries too hard to sell itself to the audience who is presumed to like loud background music and unnecessary drama. Overall, it loses out because it's neither subtle nor loud enough to be a crowd pleaser.
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Like I do for all preview/buzz posts, I try to scour through as much non-gossip information as possible about this week's third upcoming release, Lamhaa. Usually, I've to skim through glam-shots of the lead pair, someone's affair with the other, the latest marketing gimmick tried. But for Lamhaa, to begin with there isn't much out there. And whatever I did find had headlines like -
"Lamhaa no documentary on Kashmir: Rahul Dholakia" where director, Rahul Dholakia has to go on to explain that they had to remove the word "most" from a dialogue which translates to "Kashmir is the most dangerous place"
…and last but not the least, or in fact, the most disturbing - something as trivial as
"Not mocking Aishwarya Rai in Lamhaa: filmmakers", where we have the industry's first family give its blessings to the film with headlines like "Big B fine with Ash slur" Read this particular one for the irony.
And then we have filmmakers right to expression curbed to avoid controversy by changing the story itself.
My role was of a militant-turned-politician named Kuku Pare, a real-life character. It has been completely chopped because the director and producer thought it might invite trouble for the film
True, no one asked the makers to take that decision, but that they had to do that of their own accord is as shameful for us as democracy.
Why do artistes have to be worried about censorship? Why should there be any talk of Government involvement in the release of a film? Why should the celebration of the completion of the film not be shared with the people who the makers are grateful to? And WHY does a film need to be approved by the people or the family who is named in the film to make a point?
Afraid of seeing our reflection in the mirror?
Doesn't anyone care about the creative energies spent by our filmmakers in just preemptively fighting fires that might cause more damage than they are willing to handle? DUH-UH! What kind of a question is that to ask!?
Will our filmmakers always have to be more worried about the ever-ready-to-get-offended citizens instead of catering to make a better product who wants to see a non-gloss, so-what-if-controversial issue?
Are we as a nation that immature child who doesn't understand the meaning of "point of view" or is so full of itself for no apparent reason that our collective thinking is "my way or the will-send-you-high-up-heavenwards-way?"
What child-like questions I ask, no? But I wonder if just reading this stuff agitates me as a reader/viewer, how frustrating it must be for the filmmaker who doesn't care about his comfort and goes on to risk his life to make something he believes in -
When a Mirwaiz speaks at a rally in Jama Masjid, he easily pulls a crowd of 4-5 lac people. It is with his help that we shot in the Jama Masjid- the only Indians to do so, and that too on “Aakhri Jumma”! It was spectacular site. We had to position our cameras eight hours prior to the speech and stay put. No food, no water, no ciggies as well- for a constant 12 hours for a possible 12 second shot in the film.
I think we can see a glimpse here -
Now add to this gamut, the basic need of the film to make money -
We all knew we wanted to do a film on Kashmir but we had no idea about what. And I was very clearly told that it had to be commercial in that sense. Because there was a possibility of stars, we didn't even know which stars. So, the idea originated because of the place and not because of the story as such
It was just that I wanna work with you, you wanna work with me and both fascinated by the place. The only condition was "please don't make a Parzania make a commercial film.
Oh yeah, and the music is pretty non-standard and something to look forward to too. Infact, Milliblog thinks it is enough reason to welcome Mithoon back. Music aloud loved the tracks and Hindustan Times thinks of the album as robust and done justice to theme of film. For Amanda Sodhi at PFC though it didn't work the first time around but it grew on her as she listened to them again. So it is only logical for the analysts at Bollywood hungama to believe that a penetrated reach of the album can't be expected since not all would be enticed to play songs which have their roots in the condition of Kashmir.
It is remarkable that the entire team takes all of this in their stride and still makes a film with non-standard casting, and resisting the urge to use glamor to market the film. Please tell me I'm not the only one who feels like going into the film, already admiring it, instead of the usual clean slate.
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This article was first published at meetu's Times of India Blog