I am writing this by stealing some hours of work. Sandwiched between deadlines to meet, this post just cannot wait to get out of me. Yes, I loved Kaminey – to the core. I don’t know if its brilliant, but it does come close, very close. Here’s the thing. I am a Manipuri, born in Assam. Most of my friends are Bengali. And then I went to work in Pune. So, I am quite fluent in Bengali, and I know enough Marathi to ask my maid to cook Daal with Bengan ka Bharta. And I love listening to street Bengali – the kind that you get to hear at Siliguri or Bordhoman, or may be Howrah – stuff like – Budho boyoshe Phaazlaami [ Translation: You’re getting senile as you get older ]. And when I get all of this together under one roof, surrounded by a skimmed, sugar-free script with unforgettable characters , I smile in utter satisfaction. Yes, Kaminey is THAT good.
Without giving much away, Kaminey’s plot revolves around twin brothers – Charlie and Guddu [Shahid] who have nothing else in common, except their face. One is a wannabe bookie, a lisp, and sees hallucinating images of his own bookie counter. The other is a self-righteous, stammering NGO worker, spreading AIDS awareness. Guddu falls in love with Sweety [Priyanka] who is the younger sister of a gangster turned wannabe politician, Bhope Bhau. Enter other characters in this weird jigsaw – Tashi, Inspector Lele, Mikhail, The Bengali Brothers; and yes, the pieces fit together in a magnificient climax. Let’s not talk about that just yet. Its life, destiny -whateva, that makes all of them come face to face with each other, and in this comedy of errors, horrors and gun-bam bams, the plot is revealed – of why Charlie is what he is.
Vishal Bharadwaj’s writing is excellent. The Bengalis speak in Bengali – and not just some tailored line, awfully pronounced . It is non-compromised street stuff without the F-bomb [ or in Bengali the Ch-bomb]. And so is the case with Marathi. And the characterisation of each actor has been very well defined. The last time I remembered all of the supporting character names was I guess – Mr.India – Daaga, Teja, Calendar etc [ Of course, we know of Sholay, but that is quite obvious, and it was released before Mr.India]. The screenplay is non-linear, but the events unveil the layers in the fashion they should. And thank God, for not spoon-feeding us with the details, and trusting us with our brain.
The delectable ensemble created the much required onscreen magic.Bhope bhau is protrayed as the vada paav eating, Jai Maharashtra chanting, ever-threatening-with-a-smile ex-gangsta, now a politican, who is never OTT [ you know the kind who drop metaphors after metaphors, the stuff that Bolly often can’t resist resorting to].Mikhail is a coke-addict who knows the business through and through and gets a high thinking of Copacabana trance.The Bengalis are maniacs who know their snipers and love First Person Shooters. And Tashi, Lele, Lobo and the African brothers are just brilliantly used in the plot, and do not seem like some characters staright out of a comic strip.
The pop-culture references are a delight to spot. Much like the movie itself is playing a trivia quiz with its audience. Let’s see.
1.’Apna Haath Jagannath’ on the door of Guddu’s Chawl’s Loo.
2.Do Lafzo Ki Hai playing in the room of Franfiff
3.Duniya Mein..Logo Ko..[ Was it a sweet tribute to Panchamda?]
5. The horse chasing – I donno why it reminds me of Zanjeer
6. Maharashtra vs. UP as an Election agenda [ Yes, that IS a pop-culture]
..I’ll update this list when I watch it on DVD.
The whole world of Kaminey created in front of my eyes, spell magic. And yet it doesn’t seem anything different or unreal. Mumbai drenched in rain, Chawls, crowded Local trains and dark alleys in the night – all have been recreated to perfection. Excellent cinematography, and brownie points to unchoreographed fights, dances.
I know this is a brilliant movie for Shahid and Priyanka. And they definitely did not disappoint. Guddu and Charlie are poles apart – in personal beliefs and motives. And Sweety is the fearless tigress of sorts. Yes, Priyanka outdoes any of her previous works with this one. But Bhope Bhau steals the show for me. He knows how to have fun with the Ghoda in his hand. He giggles in an infectious way, and every line he speaks, comes across as a line from a certain Bhope Bhau that you’d expect having massive hoardings on the Chowk, wearing a white kurta and a fanatic supporter of the Mee-Marathi campaign. His cunningness is reflected in ways like he refers to getting his sister married to a builder’s son, just to raise election funds, and even bribe his nephew to keep him silent. And in such small details is what this movie made me tickle. Right before the climax, when Sweety starts blank-firing, Bhope guesses if his nephew has told Sweety, and he looks at the balcony to find the little boy to be munching a chocolate. No words spoken, but the message is conveyed. Bravo Vishal.
Lastly, Gulzar’s lyrics and Vishal’s music glides on this thrilling joy-ride. The lyrics are extra-ordinary, and someday I will do a music review of this. But for now, let me just not stop dancing to Dhan Te Nan. WARNING: Watching Dhan Te Nan might cause you a rare infection called – Shakemybootiosis. Sukhwinder’s vocals are piercing, and the picturisation of that song could not have been more apt. Not only does it serve as a major point in the movie, but it also appears at major junctions of the movie.
Yes, the climax was very Lock-Stock-ish when all characters collide, and there is wham bam. But even during the climax, as the bodies pile-up, the characters refuse to fade away. Not at least from my mind. Kaminey is a must watch of this year, and it is my favorite to sweep all the awards – or should it be Dev D. Now I’m pretty damn confused.