This note added 2/3: Firaaq (the word means separation, or abandonment) marks the directorial debut of the one and only, the fabulous and ever-dependable Nandita Das! I'm looking forward to it as much as any other this month, although none of the theaters here in Southern California seem to want to show it, in which case the wait will be on for the DVD release. 'A work of fiction based on a thousand true stories', it stars Naseeruddin Shah, Paresh Rawal, Sanjay Suri, Deepti Naval, Shahana Goswami (from Rock On (2008)), Tisca Chopra (from Taare Zameen Par (2007)), etc. FiraaqTheFilm.com has some interesting commentary, I liked Ms. Das's note under 'Director's Space'. I think it's more than fair to say any film involving these two promises more than most!
Another interesting film releasing around Valentine's Day is comedy Billu Barber, starring Irrfan Khan, Lara Dutta, Om Puri, and Shah Rukh Khan (in a somewhat extended cameo). I think its music (Pritam Chakrobarty) is very average, and its tagline -- 'It's special to be ordinary' -- eerily similar to that to Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (2008) and 'There's an extraordinary love story in every ordinary jodi'. Gosh, everyone's trying to be so...ordinary. Official website: BilluBarber.com
While I don't doubt this will be a fun film (Irrfan's an excellent actor and very versatile, and Lara brings an interesting dynamic to their couple), there are a couple of things that bother me. A lead role was initially offered to my favorite Tabu, who turned it down for some very legitimate reasons related to Irrfan. From here:
...what is not so well known is the fact that for most of the shoot of The Namesake they did not even speak to each other. The dislike is not all mutual as it is more pronounced from Tabu's side. Her irritation with him stems from the fact that he likes to let on that they are really attracted to each other off-screen as well. She does not like the fact that he shows the world that there is more to their relationship than their actually is.
Creepy. No one messes around with Tabu and gets away with it. NO ONE! On another note, here's something to think about: For all the bad press and treatment item girls get, how about we wear our feminist hats (I'm wearing one as I write this) and call out the item boys too? Isn't it only fair? If even well-established actresses get called out for item numbers (forget that the songs rarely serve no significant purpose in the films they're in), why not the well-established actors? Am I the only one who sees a double standard (by fans too)?
Aside: I'd rename this segment in the film Aladdin (check out SRK's footwear!).
And finally, there's Dev.D, writer Anurag Kashyap's modern-day remake of Devdas, starring Abhay Deol. Here's a film I wasn't too excited about to begin with (see D here). Then Music Director Amit Trivedi did his thing and gave it a rather good soundtrack (18 tracks, about 5 of which I really like, the rest I skip through). Then I realized the official film website is rated X and even contains a 'Lust Line'. Sure, there's a case to be made for this kind of film under the banner of independent film, and that's okay. But I really am quite disappointed at all the sleaze that's being used to promote the film. I think it'll do well for what it is, and will be heralded as 'progressive cinema', but difference for the sake of difference doesn't work for me, and this film's certainly not for me either. And I like some of Abhay Deol's past works and am among the primary target demographic (18-35, male), but find it all rather misogynistic to reconsider. Am I the only one who thinks so?
Any February releases in particular you're looking forward to?
Feb 6: Chal Chala Chal, Dev D, Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye
Feb 13: Billu Barber, Jugaad, The Stoneman Murders
Feb 20: Delhi-6, Kis se Pyaar Karoon
Feb 27: Banda Yeh Bindaas Hai, Firaaq, Rang Rasiya / Colors Of Passion
List source: IndiaFM
Picture source: Official film websites linked to above.