White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal's power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any center frequency, having a given bandwidth. White noise is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies.

Who am I?

Neo-hippie cinephile. Follower of the great Jim Morrison who once said "If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

No Gaddari to 'Johnny Mera Naam'

As I was watching 'Johnny Gaddar', one thought kept haunting me - if Mukesh had worked out a bit and tried his hand at acting, he may well have been the greatest showman in Bollywood. His grandson Neil Mukesh, who looks a lot like him, can be described in two words - Pretty Boy. OK OK...maybe I am being a little harsh. After all, I think his acting and especially his expressions, apart from his dialogue delivery were pretty subtle and effective, though we would never know if the subtlety was intended or accidental. Logic, though, says that a debutante probably hit subtlety by accident. However, casting him in this role was a very smart move, reinforcing the concept of the baby-faced killer that has sent chills down our spines time and again. Mukesh seems to suit the part of the urban street smart chokra with an unbelievably low amount of GQ (guilt quotient).

Apart from the protagonist's dialogue delivery, I would say that the first half of 'Johnny Gaddar' is near perfect. The second half isn't bad, but the halves seem warped. The script has way too much comedy in the second half for a thriller, when compared to the first one, and in my mind, a thriller's script should be like a staircase, with the end culminating in the climax. I must mention here that the elderly lady sitting in front of me probably thought I was an illegally emigrated truck driver from some remote Punjab village the way I was guffawing every time Dharam Paaji said anything in English, which was way too often mind you. They kept reminding me of the suicide scene from Sholay.

Visually, this is certainly one of the best films I have seen since Amelie. C.K. Muraleedharan's use of color is really commendable considering the entire movie has an urban setting and he did not need escapist song sequences shot in Switzerland or Kashmir to showcase his talent. Some of the easier but nice shots include those taken on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. He shot the entire train sequence very smartly, also rendering the Indian Railways a posh look, only rivalled by its European counterparts.

Shankar Mahadevan does not overuse his music. Just as the audience begins to loose interest in the songs, director Sriram Raghavan fills in some action to hold the audience's attention. Before watching the movie, only the title track had attracted me. After watching the movie, I can safely say that it was picturized even better. Raghavan uses the lyrics to express the protagonist's guilt very effectively.

Zakir Hussain is fabulous and manages to outshine even the ever dependable Vinay Pathak. His histrionics don't look over the top even for a single second. Govind Namdeo is fantastic in his short bursts. Rimi Sen seems to have improved since I last saw her on celluloid. Dharam Paaji is alright except when he is speaking Angreji or trying to die a la Amitabh style in Nirupa-ji's arms, but of course you expect more from such an experienced actor.

Raghavan turns out to be a revelation. His last film was also good, but tended towards darkness, intended I am sure. While this films also deals with a dark topic, it has its light moments and the script mentions hope in passing through Rimi and Neil's search of a better life, and the treatment of the film reflects this. A couple of scenes were unnecessarily bloody, but probably made as homage to Tarantino and his fascination for showing blood and gore on screen. The credits are also done in a way that is novel to Indian cinema as far as I know. The film is stylish, and yet, it doesn't loose its focus in all the action, like 'Kaante', a film of a similar setting. His immense eye for detail comes through in little facts like showing the old-fashioned Dharam Paaji character using exclusively one of those large telephones you could kill a man with even though the story is set in 2007 when almost nobody uses landlines, let alone giant phones.

I like Raghavan the script writer more than Raghavan the director. The script is very honest and openly acknowledges films like 'Parwana' and 'Johnny Mera Naam' and the work of James Hadley Chase. The films starts out with dedications to Vijay Anand and Chase - great influences on Raghavan's formative mind I am sure. Almost every scene in the movie is related to the plot in the script. An interesting point to note is that the mystery does not lie in the fact whether Neil is the bad guy, but whether he gets caught or not. Maybe the plot had one too many twists, but I'll give Sriram the benefit of the doubt. Without giving away much, I just want to say that the end dishes out irony in true Shakespearean style. I will gladly give this film an 8/10 and actually feel a little bad about watching it at a discounted price.

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