Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Kaminey, Vishal Bhardwaj’s newest venture, has left critics and audience expressing anything but indifference. This month, Pushker Awasthi, our Indian collaborator ever since Cinema Hindi’s inception, writes about his experience watching Kaminey on the silver screen. Thank you so much, Pushker for your contribution. Here is hoping we will have the pleasure of reading you more often.

Kaminey. After having been at loss of words I can simply express how much I loved it… It reflects a new type of cinema being made in India and, despite the fact that it does reflect Quentin Tarantino’s influence, its content is purely Indian as it presents a well executed Bollywood Masala. It is Vishal Bhardwaj’s first commercial movie and offers a brilliant direction, writing, acting, background score and photography to his audience.

With the release of Kaminey, Vishal Bhardwaj has proved to all that he is a cinema genius and that a good director will always be good, regardless of the kind of story that he wishes to unfold before his viewers. Vishal’s previous work consisted of serious films featuring realistic people and situations. He unhurriedly dissected and explored the darkness of the human mind and soul without ever succumbing to the temptation of becoming apologetic.

However, let us go back to Kaminey.

Kaminey might dissapoint some of Bhardwaj’s followers if they compare this film to the others he had directed so far. However, one must not forget that he has remained true to his essence with the slight difference of wholeheartedly embracing the Bollywood Masala genre. Kaminey is an all out masala film that strangely does not require the moviegoer to leave his brain at the theatre entrance, which is usually what the audience must do before it starts enjoying a regular Bollywood film. Vishal has definitely opened up a space for Quentin Tarantino in Indian cinema in the same way he saddled Shakespeare firmly into Indian soil. To his credit, he never copied him, as Sanjay Gupta did with Kaante based on Reservoir Of Dogs. No. He has made Tarantino’s influence his own.

It is fascinating to live every moment of the film and indulge in it. Kaminey breaks every rule as far Hindi Masala films are concerned and let me tell you how:

First of all, Masala cinema has a cardinal rule that says that if you have twin brothers, or even simply two brothers, one of them must be a good guy and the other must be a terribly bad guy. During the climax, the bad guy ends up paying for his sins and making a sacrifice. Kaminey displays another take on brotherhood. Guddu and Charlie are different. Neither of them is perfect, neither physically nor emotionally. Guddu is embarrassed about his stammering while Charlie has a pronunciation problem but never feels bad about it. Guddu is a good but weak man, almost ready to crawl under the circumstances but nevertheless having a gentle soul. Charlie has tasted life as it is and knows how to wriggle out of problems and never ever feels self conscious about lisping.

Another of Kaminey’s novelties is that it changes the type of language used by the story’s characters to communicate with each other. The Bengali Brothers, for whom Charlie works, communicate purely in Bengali without ever translating their conversation in Hindi or English. This is not customary in Hindi cinema, which tends to make the characters translate whatever is spoken in foreign or regional languages into Hindi, for the audience’s sake.

Moreover, Kaminey’s photography is extremely enthralling, making the audience jump! Even the background is so powerful that it sucks the spectator in with every single movie frame.

Last but not least, a special mention goes to the song 'Duniya Mein', in which Vishal gives tribute to legendary music director and genius, the late R D Burman. Never, at any point in time, is the audience left remembering that song pictured on Rajesh Khanna (in the film Apna Desh), as Bhardwaj greatly succeeds in attaching the same song to to the screen presence of the film’s main character, Shahid Kapoor.

TEXT BY: Pushker Awasthi

EDITING: Aline CineHindi