Bridge of Spies

“Every time I go to the movies, it’s magic, no matter what the movie about”. This from a man whose filmography is rich and immense. He has been prolific. He enjoys his craft. And it shows.

I’ve seen only a handful.

First time I was introduced to his craft when in school, in Kolkatta. I saw Jaws, sometimes in 1985, a decade after it was released. Then Innerspace, when in college in Mumbai sometimes in 1989. Jurassic Park, I saw on TV in 1997. Schindler’s List in 1994. Men in Black and Saving Private Ryan in 1998. Then Juraasic World and now Bridge of Spies, 2015.

Of all the movies listed above, I still see Saving Private Ryan innumerable times. The scale in which this movie treats World War Two and the Normandy Landing is impressive.

However, Bridges of Spies is pretty sedate in comparison to all the Spielberg movie I have been introduced to. In fact, I have seen a better movie which a subject of spies in unfriendly land. That is, Shining Through(1992), Michael Dougles and Melanie Griffith starer.

But, not to be too depressing, this movie, Bridges of Spies, has its own allure. It’s straight forward and matter of fact. No suspense. Just great acting and cinematography.

The movie should be seen just to marvel how, Hollywood creates the life and times of 50’s and 60’s. The alleyways of Brooklin, with cars, shops, and attire of those times. Must say, today, Mumbai looks like that. Hopefully, in fifty sixty years, Mumbai would be like Brooklyn of today.

Even, the creation of those times, when the wall, separating East and West Berlin, was coming up, the Iron Courtain, as we know it, and the distress of the population caught on the wrong side of the divide, is believably shown.

Tom Hanks is to Spielberg is like Sumitra Chaterjee is to Satyajit Ray. Both tell their stories through a character who aptly portrays it.

Bridges of Lies is wholesome viewing and that too, I saw, without subtitles. It has some subtle humor too. I understood what they spoke and I was one with the story.

Talvar

Honestly, I have never noticed Lady Justice’s sword. I have noticed the blindfold, the scales. But never, the sword. Probably, the sword is held close to the body facing downwards in all the profiles of the statue. Or, probably, it was never a part of any Hindi movie dialogue, haranguing on the utility of the sword.

Anyway, I missed it. And I knew it today. There is a scene in the movie where the sword (Talwar in Hindi) of Lady Justice is discussed. It’s a subtle pointer to the family in question.

The Talvars. Both parents doctors, living with only daughter. A daughter who, if alive, would have grown to be a beautiful lady. Any picture of hers, show her photogenic oval face and beautiful intense eyes.

She was found with her neck slit on 16 March 2008. Her parents, supposedly, slept through the murder, in the adjacent room with loud air conditioner. The prime suspect, their absconding male house helper, is found dead, smothered and his neck similarly stilt, on the Talvar terrace.

With Talvar’s nominated prime suspect dead, an opportunity arose to one and all, to catch the killer. Indians are schooled in the class where evidence all always in search of the investigator. Thus, the eternal desire of open and shut case.

2008 Noida double murder case was a sensation in the prime time media. Every citizen had a theory. They still have. And I have, and while watching the movie, my biases came alive. The treatment of the movie not did change my theory.

The movie starts by showing the police in poor light. Almost dumb. In fact so bad, that I felt, was it that bad. There is a scene towards the end where Irrfan Khan comments on the investigation. He says, “first the crime was fixed then evidence collected to prove it”. I believe, the movie’s premise was first set to show the Talvars as innocent and then the script written to establish that premise.

Silence is not golden when public opinion is concerned. If the public is not given a narrative to chew on, they will attempt to figure it out themselves. That’s dangerous to governance. Hence, a necessity to fire media controlled narratives. The public, unknown to them, are always in control of some narrative or the other, with control strings going right up to media and then governance.

So, in 2008, screaming narratives where given to the public, for them to creep on broadcast opinions. This movie- Talvar – is similar attempt to influence opinions and portray Talvars as innocent.

The movie ends with similar theme. There are two sides, with distinctly different opinions. And it’s a subtle attempt to shore up compassion. The loosing side is rationalised as the right side.

Truth is shown to be sacrificed on the alter of justice, with the Lady Justice’s sword.

Irrfan Khan, the actor who brought life to the show in the second half of the movie, is on the loosing and the right side. He gives credibility to the core premise, that is, Talvars are innocent. Just as the police are shown as bumbling idiots in the first part, in the second and better half of the movie, Irrfan is shown as serious and methodical investigator.

To put more weight, emotion wise, he is shown as performing a thankless task, despite his personal problems. He and wife Tabu has filed for separation. And, to top it up, his partner in investigation, opportunistically becomes a turncoat. These subtle script manipulations are to get the audience invested in Irrfan’s plight, and invest the accrued emotions to agree in his conclusions.

Atul Kumar as Paul, the investigator who takes up the case when Irrfan is kicked out, is impressive. I liked his controlled acting. After the show, I searched him on the net, and found, he is actor-director in theatres. I must complement the movie makers of not replacing the character of Irrfan with a bumbling idiot. Or did they try that? There was an attempt to show Atul as quirky when he was first introduced.

I didn’t like the movie. I felt it’s contrived with some hidden agenda. As I recall the period from 2008 to 2013, when the Talvars were finally convicted, I recollect numerous and frequent periods of bail applications by Talvar lawyers, articulate Talvar-Friends appear on media claiming Talvar’s innocence, and lawyers debunking any court verdict after any courts judgements. It appeared like a game.

Sorry, the movie doesn’t change my sentiments. I still feel they are guilty. The Talvars and there friends, the media, then and now, trying to prove, poor powerless servants as guilty, does not go down well with my line of thought.

Kis Kisko Pyaar Karoon

Kapil Sharma can act. We already know he can. We saw him on Comedy Nights, that humorous TV sitcom where movie stars showed up to promote their upcoming releases. But with-Kis Kisko, Kapil has impacted the big screen. He has a presence, not that astounding star-like, but he can carry a movie.

In-Comedy Nights with Kapil-where witty wisecracks at every instance was a necessity, in this movie, he added an attribute, which will work well in his future shows. Kapil Sharma can handle melodrama.

Moments where Kapil showed his potential, happened once before interval, then at the end. Just before interval, in an act of drinking binge, he reveals his versatility. He captivates with his drunk act and held tight throughout the performance. This single act changed my perception. He is an all rounder.

Then again, towards the end, when, in most Hindi movies, weepy acts predominate, Kapil shows effective acting. He is a controlled performer, a “Manjha hua Kalakaar”.

In between, Kapil is like, what you see on Comedy Nights. He effectively took his act from small to big screen.

The only other actor whose drunk act makes an impact is Amitabh Bachchan. Though, Amitabh is a “bridge too far” for Kapil, still Kapil Sharma enthralled me and the audience with that one act before interval.

Well, it’s a Govinda type story. Whereas, Govinda had a two-wife plots in few movies, Kapil probably wanted to do better and double the stakes. Though Kapil cannot match Govinda’s flamboyance, but he holds his own Haazir-zawaabees.

Apart from Kapil, whose dialogues and screen presence is well known, the movie is supported by good performance. Arbaaz, though no star power like is brother Salman, has a confident screen presence and delivers his part. Manoj Joshi is a safe bet in a comic role. Manjari Phadnis and Simran Kaur are good and glamorous. Sai Lokur, the third wife, acted well but lacks presence. Eli Evram, surprisingly, is a confident performer.

Jamie Lever, daughter of ace Indian actor and comedian Johnny Lever, is a hilarious performer like her father. Her role on the movie is under promoted. I came to know about her only when, impressed by her acting, I searched her on the net, and was surprised to find this fact. As a bai, (domestic helper) she lights up the screen whenever she appears. Surely, the father has passed on the genes to the daughter.

Irrespective of all the negative reviews which you have read or seen modest star ratings, you can safely disregard those and watch the movie. Throughtout the movie, the audience were enjoying themselves with laughter and claps.

This movie showcases Kapil Sharma’s acting and his attempt to make it on the big screen and big times.

He is successful.