Category Archives: Weekend Movie Recco

One film every weekend.

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Brahman Naman: Qorgasm… Q Style

Finally watched Brahman Naman, yet another sex obsessed and CBFC rejected flick from the “I fornicate, therefore I am” school of filmmaking by Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee). But this film is also about quizzing, or rather about deprived quizzers, which why it became a more personal experience for me, irrespective of my reservations about the film.

It is set in 80s Bangalore, that era when nobody had heard of gyms, or six packs, and ill-fitting clothes ruled sartorial standards. We get introduced to Naman (Shashank Arora of Titli fame) who is a Brahmin as the title suggests. He rules the quizzing scene in his college along with his teammates although this stardom does not help him get laid. The good things are reserved for the local cricket star played by Sid Mallya (You know his father). So, the quiz champs just drink in a seedy bar, talk about sex, and hump inanimate objects when they are not busy collecting obscure knowledge (Many will relate to most of these…. but won’t admit).

Irrespective of their horny fantasies, they fumble when they come face to face with attractive women, just like any self-respecting nerd should. They go to Kolkata to participate in a national level contest (conducted by one who looks and sounds like the O’Brien patriarch) and also meet a girl’s team on the train. But no matter what they do, their virginity remains intact!

Q crafts the film in the manner expected of him. There are characters constantly making lewd jokes, obsessing over sex, and there are sequences bordering surrealism too but they never reach the delirious/vulgar/erotic peak of Gandu that made him famous. The action here is mostly limited to the words considering the subject matter. However, the very choice of topic probably will also alienate the film from a larger audience. Those who are not familiar with the world of hardcore quizzing will probably not get the emotions at stake here.

Also, I was not sure about the caste angle in this film and somewhat forced and repetitive mentions by the protagonist about him being a Brahmin. May be the makers were trying to make a social commentary but let me tell you, non-Brahmin quizzers never became Casanovas either.

Cinephilia Cycle 3: Quiz 1- Dafa 302

302

After more than a year, I am trying to resurrect these quizzes. This cycle will contain 4/5 quizzes based on my convenience. The cumulative winner gets a real prize at the end of this circle.

Today’s QM is also Vikas Tripathi with little additions by me.

Today’s topic is obscure acts of crime.

Rules:

Put your answers as comments.

They are being moderated and will be published only after the deadline.

You can make multiple attempts and in case of conflicts your last answer will be taken as final.

Every question is worth 10 points irrespective of difficulty level (for ease of calculation).

Answers will be declared on 30th Oct Midnight.

___________________________________________________________________________________
1. Easy one to start with… Identify Him. He shares his name with a popular pop culture figure.
one

2. Two perfectly happy couples. But one person is common in both pics. Gimme the “alleged” story.
two

3. This happened in 1997 at A, where members of B had killed 50+ people allegedly as revenge for a incident in 1992 where members of a certain community were killed by C. Killing started with members of B killing boatmen, who had helped them to cross over to A, followed indiscriminate firing. Identify A, B, C.

4. X was one of the first person to be convicted in a case relating to bribery in independent India. He took a certain amount from a comapny and issued fake documents to help them. He died in prision while serving the sentence.
Hint: X’s son is a better known personality.

5. X is a millionaire and self confessed Marxist. He has worked for a nationalized, foreign exchange speculation and derivatives. He also wrote for a famous newspaper in Thailand and his other interests included mining and companies in lot many countries. Currently under trial in Thailand over charges of fraud, he was supporter of far left parties India and Nepal in his good days. Identify X

6. This 19th Century incident has inspired paintings and plays. Angered by the love affair between priest of ________ temple and his wife, the man decapitated the woman. The event caught public imagination and inspired artworks such as the following. Just FITB.
6

7. X transformed Y so much in India that there were slogans of Indira Hatao, X ko PM banao. It is said Y began at a time when money was bet on opening and closing rates of cotton in New York. Identify X and Y.

8. X was raped by her father in law (FIL) and later, the village kangaroo court declared that X should treat her FIL as husband. This was later supported by a religious seminary as well causing outrage all over the country forcing police to arrest X’s FIL. Identify X.

9. X is a failed actor and producer who acted in some 90s bollywood movie did a remake of one of his father’s(F) better knows films. F, mother(M) and sister(S) died 2 years before X made his debut in boolywood when, under influence of alchohol X’s father shot M, S and himself. Identify X

10. He died in a bomb blast when he went went for a inauguration and at that time, PM of India blamed it on foreign elements. Mitrokhin Archives claim he was on payroll of KGB. His murder case is still unsolved after 30+ years even after session court is hearing it on a day by day basis.
10

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Update:
Answers and Scores

1. Dara Singh, known for Graham Steins murder

2. Amita Singh, a formder Badminton Champion now married to politician Sanjay Singh, But she was once married to badminton star Syed Modi who was shot dead in 1988 in Lucknow… and as you can see, there are speculations…

3. A = Laxmanpur-Bathe, B = Ranvir Sena, C = Maoists

4. Rao Shiv Bahadur Singh

5. Rakesh Saxena

6. Tarakeswar Shiva

7. X = Ratan Khatri, Y = Matka

8. Imrana case

9. Kamal Sadanah

10. Lalit Narayan Mishra

Arnav Sinha 10
Himanshu Upreti 10
Shyamal 9
Kapinjal Chowdhury 9
Darshan Godhia 8
Kaustav Chakravorty 1

Keep playing… the next quiz in the cycle will come after a couple of weeks as I will be travelling for a week…

Siddiq Barmak's Opium War

Opium War: Comedy of Decadence

Siddiq Barmak's Opium War

Today’s Recco is Siddiq Barmak’s Opium War.

Two Afghan warriors crash land in the Afghan Desert, lose track of their base and finally realizes that an eccentric family of Opium farmers is the only human existence in the vicinity. The family head is an one legged warrior, weather beaten and exhausted with his war ravaged nation. He has multiple wives and scores of children and they all live inside an abandoned Russian tank. Initially, the stranded soldiers observe them from a distance but they cannot remain hidden for long. Also, they realize the “value” of what is being grown around them and use it as a solution to all their miseries and anxieties. Soon, in a classic about turn of authority, they find themselves working as laborers in those poppy fields. But with time, both sides get accustomed to each other and wait for their fate.

With the plot mentioned above, one can see the deliberate plotting to play with diverse genres and issues. It deliberately covers the sad turn of events in the war torn nation with dark humor but while doing so, it never loses track of the social turmoil that Afghanistan has been going through. It has been shot in Afghanistan with mostly unknown cast except Marina Golbahari who starred in the director’s seminal work, Osama. But a more interesting piece of trivia here is that the director managed to convince post Taliban government to allow him to cultivate poppy just for shooting this film.

Opium War is a film laden with deep sarcasm. After tragic and hard hitting Osama, Barmak decides to explore humor in this film and does it successfully by juggling elements of stoner flicks as well as socio-political satire. At the same time, he makes sure that he makes his real point, that of the decadence of his society. While black humor coveys most of his anguish and desperation, it becomes much more emotional when we hear the soliloquy of the disillusioned Afghan man striving to get back a respectable life. Opium war does not hit one hard like Osama. But it makes critical commentary of its society in an amusing manner. However, what is more heartening is that people like Barmak are not only bringing Afghan cinema back from extinction, but also making quality contributions to world cinema without getting affected by circumstances.

KINATAY Screenshot

Kinatay: Butchered Beyond Redemption

Today’s recco is Brillante Mendoza’s Kinatay (Butchered… literally!), a film that won Prix de la Mise en Scene for the director but was also trashed by Roger Ebert for reasons somewhat beyond my comprehension.

When one’s only previous experience with Filipino cinema is exploitation softcores made in the 80’s, it is easy to have misdirected expectations. But at the same time, Kinatay’s Cannes triumph led to conflicting expectations on my part. For a film that deals with familiar themes of corruption, poverty and crime, it had to offer something more to impress and thankfully Mendoza’s dark, gritty, minimalist and overwhelming realism achieves that objective effectively.

Kinatay shows a day in the life of a police academy student. He desperately needs money to marry his girlfriend and hence accepts a lucrative assignment for good money. As the night progresses he gradually discovers the actual motive of that assignmnet that involves abduction, rape and eventual murder of a prostitute (Please don’t consider it as a spoiler, there is more to this film).

KINATAY Screenshot

Maria Isabel Lopez in Kinatay

To be honest, Kinatay does test the patience of its viewers. A lot of people walked out during the screening. First due to slow and tedious progress and extremely dark lighting and later on due to sex and violence which was considered explicit by some. I personally did not find them explicit but build up was definitely tiresome to an extent. Besides, the lighting, or the lack of it, can get into your nerves although no one can deny its realism.

In any case, Kinatay is a bold attempt simply because it does not compromise with its stark and bleak vision. There are no heroics and no preaching, just pure helplessness of a common man in a decadent system. Also, since I started by mentioning 80’s Pinay sexploitation films, here is a random piece of trivia, actress Marial Isabel Lopez, who plays the pivotal role here, was one of the major stars of that genre in the 80’s. You can check out Silip to see more of her along with one more favourite of mine, Sarsi Emmanuelle.