CAST & CREW
This is a commemorative film for the 100 years of Indian cinema, and it draws 4 of the finest directors to showcase their talent in 4 different movies, each of which has some correlation with movies or movie stars. However, the subject matter and locale of each of the four films are totally different, and no linkage or continuity is sought to be established amongst them.
Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh: The central characters are Avinash in a brilliant portrayal by Saqib Saleem, who walks away from his home bluntly declaring his homosexuality to a hitherto admonishing father; and the young happily married couple, Gayatri played by Rani Mukerji and Dev enacted by Randeep Hooda. Avinash joins the same magazine publishing office where Gayatri works, and in the course of conversations mentions to her about he being a gay, but is surprised to note her casual response. Avinash starts visiting her home and starts interacting with Dev about their common love for old Hindi film songs. This closeness however leads to a host of misunderstandings, with Avinash mistakenly assuming Dev to be a gay while Gayatri is also inferring the same and breaking their marital relationship. It is not thus one of those happy ending messages but presents starkly the travails in a society while dealing with the reality of homosexuality. This Karan Johar short film is so much different from his normal style that it makes you feel pleasantly surprised.
Star: After the death of his father, Purandar ( Nawazuddin Siddiqui), a failed actor is desperately trying to make both ends meet, expecting unrealistically that work would be coming his way, without his making conscious efforts. He is brought to his senses when his master’s spirit visits him and breaks his misconception, provoking him to start trying on his own. The story ends with Purandar visiting a shooting session and getting a last chance to prove his capability. The joy on his face is reserved more for his daughter who had been looking up to her father all this while to restore her faith in his capabilities. Dibakar Banerjee’s treatment of this simple tale culled out from a Satyajit Ray short story is as exceptional as is Nawazuddin’s acting in the film
Shiela Ki Jawani: 12-year-old Vicky ( Naman Jain) dreams of becoming a Bollywood dancer. However, his father wants him to be a football player instead. One day, he listens to an exhortation on TV from Katrina Kaif, his favourite star, about pursuing one’s own dreams irrespective of hurdles. Picking up courage, he dresses like her and performs the Sheila number, but is caught and reprimanded when the parents return. Moreover, his sister is denied the money needed for a school trip as it was already spent by his father on his football training. Perceiving the misfortune of his sister, Vicky realizes how unfair this is, and decides to organize a show at the neighbourhood garage, where he dances to his favourite tunes, and collects the money needed for his sister’s school trip. This seems to be Zoya Akhtar’s second film on a similar subject, and like always her handling of the sensitive moments is indeed captivating as has been the acting of the two kids.
Murabba: Vijay ( Vineet Kumar Singh) is sent by his ailing father ( Sudhir Pandey) from Allahabad to carry a jar of murabba for his favourite actor Amitabh Bachchan, his father’s favourite hero. He wants Vijay to feed the superstar with the murabba and bring back a portion for him to cherish. Vijay managed to complete the difficult part of his task but while bringing back the remnants, the jar accidentally broke, and he had to replace it with a new jar and new contents. However, his dad smelt something wrong, and when questioned, his son confessed to what had happened. It is then that he recounted how history repeats itself. His own father had given him a similar task to accomplish with Dilip Kumar, but that time it was honey. By the time, he could reach Dilip Kumar the honey had become full of ants, and the actor refused to dip his finger in it, as was requested. Vijay’s father confessed that he also did something similar but was luckier and was not caught, but Vijay’s grandfather tasted that honey and lived pretty long years after that. Besides Anurag Kashyap’s mettle, what is quite remarkable is the talent of the little known Vineet Singh, discovered by Kashyap, with his knack for new talent. A bonus in the film is also a cameo from Big B. The genres are different, but all are short films of a superior quality by avant-garde directors. What sustains the overall quality of the movie is the consistently brilliant acting of the leading actors, besides the handiwork of the directors. The music, composed by three separate composers sounds quite thematic and in keeping with the period trends.
Verdict: A must see movie for all cinema lovers, across all genres and all ages.
OTHER MOVIE REVIEWS