Archive for June 5th, 2011


Aditya’s Film Recco: Anurag Kashyap’s Paanch

What you may not know about the unreleased film Paanch is it is Anurag Kashyap’s most powerful movie and his best work. No doubt Black Friday and Gulaal are fine displays of the man’s filmmaking skills, but it is with Paanch that Kashyap blows you away with his storytelling.

Paanch takes a good hour to establish its characters – members of a rock band struggling to make it big – the guitarist/vocalist Luke (Kay Kay Menon, outstanding), the bassist Murghi (Aditya Shrivastava, dependable as ever), the keyboardist Genda (Joy, perfectly cast)and the drummer Pondy (Vijay Maurya, Dawood Ibrahim in Black Friday). These faces that are seen in most Anurag Kashyap films also have in their midst the tomboyish Shiuli (Tejaswini Kolhapure in a smoking hot avatar) and the band’s friend Nikhil (Pankaj Saraswat, totally convincing), who doubles up as a roadie.

The film begins with three of the band members confessing to a cop at a police station. They narrate the course of events from how the band started, detailing their indulgences, the differences in each individual, to how they all got entangled in a web of greed and betrayal. The band is shown smoking pot and drinking heavily, playing at rock shows, joking around, and generally going about life. After the first hour, the band’s friend vents about how he doesn’t have even ten bucks in his wallet despite having a rich dad. The band hatches a plot to fake his kidnapping to get ransom from his father and split the cash. Kashyap establishes the characters in such a way that by the time the first hour of the movie is up, you think there is no plot, but you know their personalities inside out.

Kashyap is also exceptionally skillful at building up scenes; the conversations between the characters begin innocuously and develop into sequences intriguing enough to make you watch them over and over again. Paanch is the most violent Hindi film ever made – it’s a shame that the censor board didn’t allow it to be screened because of the depiction of drug use and extreme violence which, by the way, are crucial to the characters’ personalities and consequentially, the story.

Kashyap also establishes the hierarchy within the band effortlessly. Every scene screams out that Luke is the alpha male of the group, Ponty is the pushover, Murgi and Joy are the ones who balance it out, and Shiuli is the sexy bombshell the drummer lusts after but the alpha male singer gets to fuck. The chemistry between every character is the movie is sizzling, and when Kay Kay interacts with anyone, it’s like watching fireworks onscreen.

Paanch has outstanding performances by all – be it the members of the band (who are high calibre actors to begin with), debutante Tejaswini Kolhapure, Pankaj Saraswat, and even the cops. But the highlight of the film is Kay Kay Menon, whose blazing performance will make Abhishek Bachchan commit suicide and Akshay Kumar pack his bags and leave for the mountains. Hell, Salman Khan’s ‘Being Human’ tee will tear itself off because of Kay Kay’s intensity.

Some of the scenes are so intense and extreme that discussing them would take the fun out of watching the movie; I’ve watched this movie some 20-25 times already and its raw feel never ceases to amaze me. The story keeps building up and snowballs into a high-voltage thriller… what you think is the climax is just one of the twists in the tale – the film has explosion after explosion that makes you pull your hair out in disbelief that a Hindi film can be stretched to such a level.

Vishal Bhardwaj has composed the songs (and the world’s only good Hindi rock song!) and the background score and not once does any of it get overbearing. The songs are actually quite catchy.

Paanch is a very heavy watch that will leave you drained but completely satisfied. With every twist, you might think the film is loosening its grip on you, only to realize Anurag Kashyap has grabbed your collar with one hand and is clobbering you with the other.


Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya

Basu Chatterjee’s Chhoti Si Baat (1975)

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