Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Gangster, and an old song

This is not a review. And rest assured, this doesn’t reveal a thing.

Please do not see Gangster, if you’re expecting the following:
A Coppola, or even a Tarantino
A firework performance by Shiney Ahuja
Kangana not to have a funny nasal accent
A film you’ll remember all your life

Forget it. Do see this Hollywood-style time-pass masala flick, and here’s why:
For a consistent urbane foreign setting very rare in Hindi films
For tidy editing, neatly packed flashback / to-and-fro, and surprises well kept
For beautiful orange-red-yellow fall scenery, and some haunting picturisation
For a director’s interactive trick on his audience: Will Emraan Hashmi kiss or won’t he?
For the paucity of characters
(Girls) For Shiney, who looks irresistibly Italian when he sports a beret
(Guys) For latest hot-bod Kangana (remember, there’s Hashmi too), though she’s too wriggly and spindly for my taste. And can't act

Also, on a personal note:
When they started Bheegi bheegi si hai raatein / Bheegi bheegi yaadein / Bheegi bheegi baatein / Bheegi bheegi ankho mein kaisi nami hai… I couldn’t stop feeling the last few words myself. I have nothing against the Hindi version, which is excellently picturised, and the movie does it justice. But then the Dolby sat up and the theatre shook with Na jaane koi / Kaisi hai yeh zindegaani / Zindegaani / Humari andhoori kahani… Before I knew it, I was singing too. Bhebe dekhechho ki? Tara-rao koto alokborsho durey... The guy next to me stopped singing, turned, stared, and thought I was daft to be so confidently mondegreening throughout the whole chorus.

After my initial indignation when I heard the Hindi song in February, I came to know from this guy that they took it legally. But this is just to say that I love the colloquial angst of the beloved original.


At 5:15 PM, Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock said...

I loved the original, my wife used to play it on her programme nearly ten years ago. And thans for telling us where the Hindi version is from (now she has it as her caller-tone!)


At 11:52 PM, Blogger Nautilus said...

Hey, thanks for dropping by. I quite liked the movie. I guess my expectations from any Hindi movie is so low that anything which is even slightly different from usual fare makes me jump up and down with joy and declare it a "good" movie :-)

Here's one more confession. By the time I grew up enough to be able to enjoy concerts, Mohiner Ghoraguli was long defunct and Gautam Chattopadhyay dead :-( I heard their music in a 5th Dimension concert later...I was completely bowled over, but never found any cassettes! By the time Krosswindz did a cover, I had already left Kolkata and more or less lost touch with the "jibanmukhi" music trend.

When I first heard "Bheegi Bheegi" I thought it sounded familiar...it took me few seconds to put two and two together. Of course the first thing I did was to look up whether Pritam blatantly copied it or just paying a homage. I'm glad that he did it the right way :-) And I have to mention that James totally rocks...apparently he was drunk while recording the song..well drunk or not he has done a fabulous job for someone who claims not to know a word of Hindi!!

At 8:38 AM, Blogger chumkisingh said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger chumkisingh said...

Thank God this discussion has turned towards Mohiner Ghoraguli and not Gangster (which I guess is not even worth discussing)
I was flipping through some filmi magazine the other day & came across this article where this so called music director Pritam's 'influences' have been listed - apparantly all his 'famous' songs are direct copies of some Turkish or some Arabian or some Hebrew song.
Well, i wouldnt have minded - even R D Burman was 'influenced' many a times by many popular songs and I really dont care two hoots about these new composers, who are actually mixing artistes - cut-copy-pasting any tune they find hummable. And if Bappi Lahiri - the uncrowned king of Copy Cats, could win some 100 million dollar lawsuit by accusing someone else of plagiarism, anything is possible!
But somehow, after reading the fact that these music arrangers have not even spared Mohiner Ghoraguli and that too, my favourite song, I feel a bit violated.
Havent heard the hindi version but the original one is still a favourite song in my playlist - and somehow, imagining the song being sung by some low rung like 'whatever-his-name-is' Hashmi in a D-graded movie like Gangster really enrages me.
The flip side is - i always wanted to have that song as my ringtone..and as Prufrock's wife has rightly shown the way, I think I'll download the tune and make it my ringtone....finally!!!

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Malinee said...

Hi PP,

Watched Gangster last week, the reason being I loved the music..which I hear all round, everywhere and all the time.I swore I wudnt ever pay to watch Emran Hashmi on screen but I am glad I watched this movie.I thought Seoul and South Korea looked beautiful .Tired of seeing bangkok/Pattaya/Mauritius all the time.

The songs are awesome, all of them.And also the background score.

Abt Mohiner Ghoraguli , I know its plagiarism but the current version also rocks .Influence or whatever ...after all these years ..its nice to hear the same tune again!!

Sasha: U should watch it;)

At 3:03 PM, Blogger chumkisingh said...

I ll definitely try & listen to the much-talked-about song - but no way am i watching the movie. Cant stand that guy - whatever-his-name-is. The very sight of him makes me eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeekkkkkkkkkkkkkssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 3:22 PM, Blogger chumkisingh said...

btw, malini..thanks for the link to the song...now I hate the entire Mahesh Bhatt-Anurag Basu-Pritam Whatever-Whoever Hashmi clan even more - with a vengeance. How could they do that to such a wonderful song!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And no wonder James was sloshed when he sang the song - he, of course knew he was committing a sacrilege - hence couldnt face up to it in his right mind, I guess.

At 3:49 PM, Blogger shooting star said...

no wonder..i always thought i had heard this song before...now i know.

At 4:15 PM, Blogger Malinee said...

Chumki Singh,

The pleasure is all mine:)

:D:D:D I knew you would most definitely love it ;o

Lemme search for the movie, will send u that too :D

At 7:20 PM, Blogger Patient Portnoy said...

JAP: What was that enigmatic one-liner about your wife and her programme? Tell me more please

Nautilus: Agree with you on the Hindi movie expectation bit. Which is why I was so happy with "Dil Chahta Hai" and "Rang De Basanti".
As for Mohiner Ghoraguli, I must confess that I too got into all that only a couple of years ago, after I left Kolkata. Mostly from MP3 files amassed through generous friends

Chumki: You rock:-)
Thanks for making this a lively talk. Come now, the film isn’t that bad… Yes, I hate Hashmi too, especially the way he kisses in his films. No, the song is picturised with Shiney Ahuja and Kangana. Don’t get put off by the former’s name, he’s ok. He was in "Hazaron…", remember?
Last comment on James, hilarious. Please don’t stop this mood

Malinee: I know, I feel like I need some ablution for watching Hashmi on big screen. Sometime this week I’ll post on that indulgent weekend that made me do it
BTW, I have an MSN id now. But you guys are never on messenger when I am :-(
Also, how's the little girl in yellow salwar-kameez doing? Are things hotting up?

Shooting Star: Hey there! Glad to be of use :-)

At 12:35 AM, Blogger A fool on the hill said...

Never knew there were so many Indians in Korea. And full-time qawwali also.

At 8:10 AM, Blogger chumkisingh said...

I m online from 10 am to atleast 7 pm every week day - that would be 7.30 am to 4.30 pm ist. Have added you onto my msn list also. looking forward to chatting with u. :o)

Thanks for being such a great friend & appreciating my likes & dislikes - the song link yesterday made my day. i was humming it the whole day in my head (couldnt get the hindi lyrics right, so stuck to the ones I know) Looking forward to some more 'whoever whatever's stuff in future. :o)

At 12:12 PM, Blogger gIftoFwIngs said...

legally plagiarizing? neway the original is so so good..n close to our heart...still one best bangla rock.. :(my pal I commented after hearing the song online "Pritam..tui erokom korli?" ..:)))))))

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Ah, now I know why that tune sounded so very familiar.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger Kusum Rohra said...

Didn't know a thing abt Mohiner Ghoraguli, have been reading abt them now, fundoo band.

How can u watch a movie like gangster? But since u have written about it and more so for the music i will have to watch it to :)

At 1:36 PM, Blogger madnira69 said...

late entry this one...life's been busy...but herad the song at the link malini sent us...oh jesus christ...

kusum, i cannot agree more with you about Mohiner Ghora Guli, they were at least 20 years ahead of their time...fundoo is an understatement...and again I completely agree with Kusum, with so much to watch and so little time why waste it on a gangster...
PP, my wifey mixed up her time...we are two and half hrs ahead of you...so calculate her presence on msn accordingly...let's set a date and time and do an adda on msn...

At 2:38 PM, Blogger chumkisingh said...

ooooopps, sorry..it shud be the other way round!! me bodoh (that's stupid in malay) :o)
so, if i m online 10 to 7, it's 12.30 to 9.30 for you.
see u online.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Patient Portnoy said...


Have watched 2 Hindi films this year, and thought "not bad". In fact, I also liked "Rang De". Promise not to disappoint you guys further.

The Oscar series is still incomplete. I've seen Capote, Pride & P, Munich, Charlie... but was wondering if I should post on them cos Oscar season's so old now :-(

At 3:30 PM, Blogger Patient Portnoy said...

Fool: Just like you to decimate a film in your dismissive fashion...
BTW, when are you posting? Or are you in love with that Cosmo cover girl?

Chumki: Time telling on all of us, right?

Gift: I know. Write to Pritam, before he takes a liking to the rest

Sue: And…? Reactions?
How are you keeping, by the way? How’s V?

Kusum: As I said, sorry to disappoint all you guys. I’ll send you a refund if you dislike it :-)
Also, I’ll give you a couple of short movie takes in my next post (old movies, but that’s a promise) to make up for Gangster

M69: I agree with "with so much to watch and so little time why waste it on…". That's almost like my motto in life
Excuse me, one time, aar hobey na (sheepish grin)

At 3:54 PM, Blogger Priya said...

So, that's what you do for a living huh? Watch movies. Mind if I come along? I empathise with u, as you have precious else to do, socially, in Bangalore. Care for some adda over coffee, with the Marauder and me?

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Patient Portnoy said...

Priya: Ha ha ha

Mukhey phool chandan, as they say. Wish someone would pay me for this, but then again dunno if I would care for it as much then.

Would love some adda, with or without coffee. I've been awfully unsocial lately, as Marauder knows. Would be great to meet you also :-)

At 12:36 PM, Blogger Kusum Rohra said...

@Sweet portnoy: Dunno why but when i think of you the word sweet comes up to my mind.

You write very well so will eagerly wait for your takes on the old movies :)

I didn't realise you were in Bangalore or else would have met you for sure, will be coming back to Bangalore in October, please please tell me you will meet me *pleading*

Probably we can dine at Sahib Sindh Sultan, loved the fish there, oh that brings to mind a question, do you like sea food??

Will be writing about the Bangalore-Coorg trip soon.

@Madnira69: Yup they were way ahead of there times, such joy it is having such bands in India, sometimes I am ashamed of my ignorance, but its a good thing I know portnoy and such other people soo end of ignorance now :0

At 4:25 PM, Blogger the still dancer said...

crucify me for saying this, but I actually like the hindi version, for the raw energy James puts into it, and the oh -so-adorable bangal way of pronouncing na-ha jane koeeee.
Am here on other business though. read your comment on jai's twelve angry men post. call it the height of co-incidences, but a friend has written, and is staing, an adaptation of the play, a project that I am involved with. This version has a couple of women, in fact. So if there are any faint thespian ambitions, why not give it a shot? You have my blog e-mail id. the other one is arka(dot)01(at)gmail(dot)com.
And the number is 9243122682

At 9:50 AM, Blogger Priya said...

uf Arka, boudi baaji'ta chhar ebar! SOrry for using yr blogspace to say this, PP. Get that guy a babe...really.

At 1:15 AM, Blogger Chaila Bihari said...

Prithibata... was really something. Me & some of my friends think it's the only real rock anthem in Bangla ever made. Hope I don't have to add "and ever will be."

At 12:45 PM, Blogger Kusum Rohra said...

Hey portnoy,

I saw ganster, and much to my own surprise, i liked it, maybe it was because of the excellent music, or Ahuja's performance or the story itself (As I was totally unaware about the story). I think it was much better than fanaa.

I won't say its a movie one should not miss, but yeah atleast it won't make you feel like the time machine should have been invented and you could go back by 3 hours :)

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous indianajane said...

When I first heard "Bheegi Bheegi", it sounded strangely familiar (blame it on me migrating overseas before the rise of Banglabands)...but I was introduced to it by my brother. I love Mohiner Ghoraguli. Heard it when I was around 10 yrs old, often misunderstood lyrics (in Bhalolage , I heard "bishad tobuo" as "bishakto buro" which was spine chilling concept at my age) but still loved it. Many years later I was foolish enough to lend my green weston cassette to my boyfriend who never returned it. Can't wait to get the new album.


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