With a title that loosely translates into “Pain in the Ass”, one expects the defiant and the irreverent. Thankfully, director Amit Masurkar is protesting against both the money-spinning mindless Bollywood blockbusters as well as the pseudo-intellectual aesthetic world cinema. The movie is filled with allusions to the homegrown brands of directors like Anil Sharma, Mahesh Bhatt and Aditya Chopra as well as the film auteurs like Tarkovsky, Truffaut and Bertolucci. But while it alludes, it also evades the traps of either. What it does attempt and achieve is far simpler- a realistic cinematic capture of life as seen and felt by the subjective experience of the filmmakers.
The casting and the acting is kept close to the plane of realism to the extent that the acting looks unrehearsed. The deliberate pacing out of the background score lets the audience to believe that the film was recorded like a documentary rather than shot like a silver screen fictional film. The actors seem so natural and spontaneous; as if the director had set out to look for non-actors. Touted as a bro-mantic comedy, in parts it is acts as a powerful mockumentary on the phony film industry as well as the backyard realities of aspiring script writers. Masurkar reiterates his directorial vision in the dialogues, which are not imagined but rather revisited from personal or observed memory. Seldom does one hear the natural rhythm of human speech reflected in a cinematic projection of life. The tone and diction, expletives and naiveties all encompassing!
The film seems to drive home a simple truth about life- that we do not live life larger than life, we live life in all things, small and beautiful. Out in the company of Dulal (Naveen Kasturia), Ruma (Aditi Vasudev), makes conversations like reading the names of lovers etched in the stone walls of a decrepit. On the other hand, a dialogue espousing the profound philosophical conception of the futility of life is comically delivered through the caricature of a director and through the metaphor of a white handkerchief. The significant split between the two bros is shot amidst the ambient sound of the outdoor location with the innocuous backdrop of pigeons. There are more mid shots and long shots and the use of wide angle lens to shoot a scene dripping with emotional tension and internal and external conflict. The inversions and subversions are myriad and these scream out the contemporary lens view on life – the simultaneous thirst for the future and the need for fulfilment in the present, the simultaneous quest for fame and the need for the possibility of freedom.
The young is often distinguished by their ability to experience time and space in ways that are significantly different form their successors. The transience and transition of time and the transfer and texture of space both carry a refreshing flavor, in the film. Consider the juxtaposed scenes of Dulal at Ruma’s place enjoying the classical tune played by a guest and of Mainak (Mayank Tewari) serenading Oona (Rukhsana Tabassum) on his bike on the way to her house. The rapid editing pattern, which superimposes one scene and character over the other is one of the most powerful visual medium of communicating the contrasts in the two characters- the contained grief of Dulal and the fleeting fun of Mainak. Ironically, the fast paced bike ride ends in an abrupt anti-climax while the serene stillness in Ruma’s house becomes the new avenue for romance. Then there is the comic book-meet-stock motion photography-meet psychedelic manifestation of a drug-induced state of mind in the animated sequence that narrates the death of Gonzo’s (Karan Mirchandani) cat Fellini. The incredulous part is this: art and experiments with its form has been employed for the sake of it. There is no symbolism, no metaphors, no implications. It is a cineaste’s tryst with his art, a creator’s truth with his subject. It is this energy and “un-intention” that creates mis-en-scen like the one with Dulal at the fun fair with headphones peppered with disco lights. The darkness of his inner emotions against the intense lights around him, the stasis of his life versus the movement of the city, the mechanical construct of the street gizmo identifiable with the mechanical persuasion of life by the character. It is due to the bold and fearless spirit of the debutante that constructs frames through thin plant stems and pink flowers, through hanging handles in Mumbai’s local trains and through between the spread legs of the hot girl in the bookstore.
The camera finds its corners just as the creator seeks out his niche. The film finds its appeal just as the audience roots outs its conventionality. Suelmani Keeda definitely sows some tough seeds for the new age viewer to consume and crave for more.