Tuesday, March 27, 2007

thither lies someone else's review of Chokher Bali

Yeah! What she said!

I need to just get over feeling sheepish and stupid when I don't like a serious flim that most people seem to think is wonderful and important and finely crafted.* But I didn't like this movie at all, and I happily admit this is probably because I did not remotely understand it (nothing to do with subtitles - lots of voice-over narration that I couldn't follow). Very pretty to look at, though, with heaps of visual deatails showing the influences and pulls of the various cultures and traditions in nineteenth-century Calcutta. Anyway, Filmi Geek, who was my viewing companion, has nailed the movie's problems very well; she and I had a chat going while we watched the movie and both kept typing "WTF" and "Pause! I need to go back!"**

* There's probably a discussion to be had here about terms like serious and art film and Bollywood, but I tend not to be interested in those discussions, even though I use the terms and thrived in my four years of graduate school. I've noticed that I don't feel at all guilty about disliking a Govinda movie, or something like Hungama that everyone else likes, and can easily come up with reasons why the movie doesn't work for me, but that I don't have that confidence with movies like Chokher Bali. Hmmm.

** There is talk among some of the Deutsch-wallahs about doing a global simultaneous watching of something while having a mega-chat session running so everyone can share comments. Having done this before on a more intimate scale and really enjoyed it, I think this idea is superwow. Watching movies together is so much more fun than not.

2 comments:

carla said...

Thanks for the link, Beth. I am finding a very mixed reaction to this movie - some folks agree with our assessment of it while others think it was wonderful.

I tend to love contemplative cinema - many of my favorite films are slow-paced psychological studies in which very little "happens" - so it's not for its pace or arty-ness that I disliked *Chokher Bali*. Rather, it's because I thought it was a poorly-made example of that kind of film.

scribebollywood said...

beth -

i had high hopes for chokher bali but i agree with you, rather sheepishly, that ultimately it left me feeling unfulfilled. i agree that it's not so much because it's an art-house film, but because any regardless of its genre needs to be entertaining. water, for instance, is also considerably artsy, but it holds your interest and the character jump off the screen vividly. in chokher bali, despite ash's performance which i thought was pretty good, i think the filmmaker was too self-indulgently dark.
-scribe