wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)
It is fascinating to go to a movie and not see a story but the picturization of an idea. The visualization then is just a starting point for the audience's imagination. My suggestion - don’t look for a linear description of events, look for how this idea, this concept takes shape.Read more
A four-letter expletive repeated thrice is what I am left with. In an excited tone. In an "I don't believe I just saw that in Hindi" tone. And most fascinatingly in an "It is beyond me to completely comprehend what I saw in one take" tone.
The beauty of abstract concepts is that there are almost as many meanings as there are viewers. What a paradox!? Something that is not obviously meaningful has many more meanings than a clear statement! Oh, did I just digress?
Coming to the point - the movie was a treat for the senses. The background music, sound design, camerawork, special effects - all worked towards narrating the idea. Nope, I cannot make myself say I saw a story; it was a visual description of an idea - a 'what if...?' Such cinema might not be the proverbial "everyone's cup of tea". But, the point is, it is now available for those who enjoy a different flavor. Thank you, Mr. Director!
John Abraham plays K and absolutely everything in the movie is from K's point of view. But, don't let that keep you away, even if you are wary of his acting skills. Because he is literally 'unbelievably' good. The transition from the self-obsessed, full-of-himself man to the person who has lost his grip was remarkable. Especially because this came through to us with his performance and not merely the lines given to him. However, we could have certainly survived without the animated thought bubbles. What exactly was their purpose? They were not funny, not insightful - especially since you could make out what John was thinking from his body language and movement of facial muscles (yes believe me, he can actually do that!).
It was a joy to watch Paresh Rawal not making a fool of himself. But his performance lacked a punch that the character demanded. A more powerful, more menacing "Sri Sri Sri ... baba" would have been great.
The dialogues are nice and crisp, and absent when not needed - leaving a lot of room for interpretation. At the very least a couple of metaphors to decipher. Especially, the commentary on the infinite self-improvement programmes resorted to these days.
Do any of the umpteen movie awards given out have a bravery award? I guess not. I think the time has come to start one and the first one should go to 'No smoking' Not just for the technical brilliance, but for the concept itself.
Sadly, though, it might not go down as well with too many people. And those who are exposed to world cinema, have seen similar stuff before. But, what I admire is that I was able to watch it in a theater that screens mainstream Hindi movies and there were people who applauded when the credits started rolling.
The question that I am still struggling with is - Would I have liked it as much if there were more obscure ideas translating into movies? Well, I'd say bring me more and we'll know!
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...I doubt we’ll see something as self-indulgent as No Smoking on the Indian screen – and I mean this as a serious, sincere compliment.... full review
Thumbs up, by Siddharth Pillai, Passion for Cinema : ...The art design and editing lend vertigo and paranoia to the visuals as Vishal Bharadwaj’s superbly employed soundtrack amplifies the dream-reality trip.... full review
Thumbs up, Urge to Fly : ...During those 140 minutes, Anurag Kashyap took me on an intense round of mental calisthenics, after which I emerged exhausted - not tedium but a euphoric state of intense hang-over.... full review
Thumbs down, by Amit Kaundinya, J.A.M : ...But forget answering those questions, the movie keeps posing more questions as the film proceeds and you begin to understand that the film maker has no intention of answering any of your questions... full review
Thumbs down, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ... From the start to the end, no matter how hard you try to keep your mind calm and free it just gets confusing and exasperating and you find it just impossible to connect yourself to the movie.... full review
Thumbs down, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...The main storyline and the narration is completely sidelined by the amount of hard work put into perfecting the colour, frame, background score and other technical aspects of the film.... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
What if a guy is so obsessed with his smoking that he just can't get over the obsession, let alone the smoking?