Sunday, November 11, 2007

Manorama Six Feet Under

Recently saw the Hindi movie "Manorama Six Feet Under" and was just blown away. No, I am not saying that the movie is a classic. The movie is just about good does not even come close to being great. The pacing is slow, there are a couple of unwanted sequences and the climax is a bit rushed with quite a few believable liberties thrown in the script. In fact, although the director does have a few aces up his sleeve in the end, some of the major twists in the plot are pretty obvious for Agatha Christie fans.

Nevertheless, it is the excitement of finally watching a well made film noir in Hindi that prompted this post. I haven't seen Polanski's "Chinatown" to comment on the similarities ("Manorama" is supposedly based on it). However, "Manorama" reminded me a lot of the anti-Bush "Silver City", which was also a slow paced film noir set in a small town. The plots have a lot in common - the political angle, the characterization of the leads and the thugs, the double-crosses and even the murders (I even remember a scene in "Silver City" with some kind of chase and fight sequence on the streets where a procession / celebration is going on). But, while "Silver City" showed potential without any results and remained just an attempt at being true its genre, "Manorama" succeeds big time.

This film was very well acted and the dialogues were very real and funny (although I missed a couple of lines the first time), but, it is the cinematography and editing that impressed me the most. Not that I know a lot about any of these departments, but, I did notice that the scenes had consistently long takes (but not too long to be noticeable) and had a good mix of wide, low angle and reflection shots that maintained the noir feel.

All in all, a very nice movie that is part of the new and changing Bollywood. With "Johnny Gaddar" and now "Manorama" giving a new life to thrillers in Hindi, I wonder what "The Fraud" and "The Mugger" have to say !!


Dilip said...

Yeah, I accept that movies are changing for the good in bollywood, but as long as you have HITS in the form of brainless OSO, its tough for producers to dish out movies which are slow and thought provoking. The only way out, I think may be to have extremely rich producers pool some money for quality movies and use the rest to create the masala blockbusters.

Aravind said...

I like the current set of movies. There is a good mix of "Nehle-Pe-Dehla"s for you and "Manorama"s and "Johnny Gaddar"s for me :P

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