Friday, March 28, 2008

Movie Review: Pak Pak Pakaak

Pitu - who watches a lot of hat-ke movies - reviews the 2005 Marathi comedy which features the directorial debut of Sai Paranjpe's son, Gautam Joglekar

Picture this: a lejhim-wielding, chanting crowd winds its way through the dusty roads of a gaon. They are singing the questionable praises of a certain 'Bhootiya'. A half-crazed man comes screaming out of the woods and the chanting crowd flees in terror. Such are the opening frames of this brilliantly crafted film that blends the lines between reality and illusion. The basic concept of this modern fairy-tale was charted by Sai Paranjape, the director who gave us the sublime Katha.

Like Katha, Pak Pak Pakaak (A rooster's crow) welcomes us into a small world peopled by the most extraordinary and yet believable characters. Whether it is Nana Patekar as the brilliant Bhootiya or Saksham Kulkarni as the Dennis-the-menace type brat Chikhloo (which literally means muddy), these are people we grow to love.

The direction by Gautam Joglekar (Paranjape's son and the actor you may remember from the film Prahaar) is top-notch. The pace never flags, the dialogs are memorable and the narrative is part comedy, part social commentary.

At the end of the movie, my husband and I kept mumbling to each other "Jeevan sundar ahe. Mi ajun sundar banivnar!" (Life is beautiful, I'll make it even more beautiful) or the hilarious "Mothi mansa aaplyala tyaaras dyetat, mhanun apan bi tyana tyaaras dyeto" (Older folks trouble us, so we do the same)

Not a single note in this movie was off-key. The costumes were authentic, the songs enjoyable and the dances were fun! The supporting cast did a wonderful job. I was amazed by Narayani Shastri. Her entire demeanor and dialog delivery was so on point, I couldn't imagine anyone else playing the character of Salu. (In contrast, a certain Mahima Chowdhary and her complete inability to pronounce a word like 'Aai' in the film Yeh Tera Ghar Ye Mera Ghar comes to mind)

The locations in this film are evocative, whether it is the verdant jungle with it's crumbling ruins or the little village settlement with it's simple homes, cattle sheds and the little stone temple.

All in all, this simple fable is a heart-warming concoction, much like a steaming plate of varan bhaat with a dollop of 'toop'. Hearty, nourishing and just what you need on a gloomy, wintry Chicago evening!

My Rating: More Puranpoli than Poli. 5 out of 5 Pistas.

26 comments:

Aspi said...

Welcome Pitu and thanks for bringing Marathi cinema to us!

Do the kids in the villages really wear Nehru topis? And what's the story with the Paranjpe/Joglekar last name?

Aspi said...

Forgot: sorry about the caption but I can't resist chaataas in movies. They are my absolute favorite moment. Tragic, comic, shaming - doesn't matter.

Joules said...

This review reminded me of a question I have been meaning to ask the drifters. Anyone seen movie 'Mithya' (from the team of Bheja Fry)? I haven't had a chance but would love to hear a real world review.

Anonymous said...

Hi Joules

I saw Mithya, and enjoyed it. I think Ranvir Shorey did a good job.

Its about a small time "junior artist" who wants to be a star (of course), who witnesses a ganglang murder. The Bhai-log (nasiruddin shah, and others)discover that Ranvir is a spitting image of the biggest Bhai in town, the one that they are plotting to kill.

They "persuade" Ranvir into standing in for the Bhai, who is ambushed and killed. Nasiruddin's moll Neha Dhupia and Ranvir fall for eahc other, meanwhile.

Ranvir is transplanted into enemy territory as Bhai#1. Bhai#1's henchmen and family are convinced, things are going according to plan, when everything goes wrong.

All in all, interesting viewing, and the smalltime goons as Nasiruddin's henchmen and Ranvir's bumbling jailers provide a few laughs.

The ending is rather sad, but there was no other way out for Ranvir or Neha's characters.

Fillumphile

Anonymous said...

I've seen Pak Pak Pakaak recently, and I must say, I had no idea what the film was about...intially. I was just hoping it wasn't something cringeworthy.

I ended up enjoying myself so much, I watched it again. Aspi, the white Nehru topi is normal daily wear for villagers (kids and adults) in many parts of Maharashtra.

Fillumphile

Sania said...

Who's Pitu? :: wary of strangers ::

Aspi said...

Hopefully Pitu will show up and introduce herself. She tends to disappear for long periods of time online :)

priti said...

Hiya folks. Thrilled to be here!

Aspi- yup, they do wear those Nehru topis.. and maha cute they look too!

Sai Paranjape was married to Arun Joglekar (if you've seen Katha, he's Dipti Naval's rather yummy baap). Gautam's their son.

The captions were too funny.. I had such fun watching those silly shows in India! Who needs laughter clubs when you've got Kekta Kapoor..

Fillumphile, I'm gonna watch it again, just for Chikhloo :-)

Sania, I don't bite. Usually :-) I do have some very dangerous moves learned from years of addictive videogaming hehe...

m said...

lol whats with the sudden influx of reviews of random regional movies...

btw i love Jannat soundtrack. The songs are great.

priti said...

Well, I primarily watch arty films and most of those are being made in regional languages. Still trying to get my greedy paws on 'Valu'.. a recently released Marathi movie..

Aspi said...

m, glad you brought that up. I was about to review it here. Motorsandal is helping me figure out the guitar riff in one of the songs.

Cinderella said...

how much ever i try i can never understand marathi;(

megan pumpkin said...

which riff in which song are you talking about aspi?

i got home not so long ago and somehow i felt like listening to smashing pumpkins, i think they made the best most intense love songs ever...

i just finished gish and now am listening to mellon collie and infinite sadness..somehow i don't have disk 2 in my ipod which is weird... cuz i rly feel like listening to thirty three.. oh well...youtube is my friend.. siamese dream and machine are next..

Aspi said...

There are riffs all over the place on Jannat because Pritam is essentially doing guitar pop/rock on that CD. But the one that intrigued me was that two measure's worth on Judai.

Sidekick said...

pitu-priti: welcome and thanks so much for introducing us to marathi cinema. aspi already has us gearing up for masala telugu cinema, so the drift has become quite multi-cultural and lingual. i like hearing more abt arty cinema--- whatever the language. i'm terribly backed up on movies to watch, so i'm not sure when/if i'll get to them but i'm a serial consumer of reviews - i devour them :). hope u'll come back with more.

fm what i've been reading, marathi cinema (i'm assuming u understand/speak the language well)seems to be going thru a revival after some lean times. Chita Palekar's Maati Maay got lots of positive press and acclaim. i'd love to see it if i get a chance. i remember see pics of the valu premiere -- aamir khan and kiran rao and some other stars seemed to be in attendance.

Pitu said...

Sidekick: Thanks for the sweet welcome. Yep, I am Maharashtrian so the language was no biggie. The dialect is very 'gaavthi' (rural)though so I had to pay attention lol.

I am learning Bengali though thanks to my Ray obsession. It's gotten to the point where I actually understand what his characters say without glancing at the subtitles.

Yeah, 'Maati May' seems promising. Nandita Das rocks anyway so I bet she's done a swell job. 'Valu' seems to have done very well on a commercial level and apparently the theater (my cousin went to see it at Fame) was chock-full of non-Marathis so the acclaim seems to be universal.

Sidekick said...

Pitu: very cool - a rayaholic learning Bengali. would love to read yr ray reviews if u get around to it. i've only watched a handful of his movies - the apu trilogy, charulata, ghare baire and shatranj ke khiladi.

it's interesting that some of regional cinema (outside of bengali and malayali cinema that have rich arty traditions!)seems to have found the balance between commercial and critical acclaim - something that tamil cinema seems to have done a bit of recently and it's really great to see.

Joules said...

Pitu, I enjoyed reading this review as well along with the telegu cinema reviews we had from time to time.

I have lived in Lonavla the earlier part of my life, spoke mostly marathi at that time and simply LOVE puranpoli.

I cant speak much marathi now to watch a movie (not even sure if can get marathi movies in Austin specially the artsy kind) so these reviews have been welcome.

meena said...

Pitu, thanks for the update on the Paranjpes and a great review. Loved her since chashme buddoor/ados pados days. Is she doing any hindi cinema nowadays?

Aspi said...

Since I grew up around Marathi - either during vacations in Maharashtra or when playing or covering cricket in Vadodara. Its perfect for cutting someone down to size on the field.

Batsman tries something cute and misses. You chuckle from behind the wickets "hushyari kartos"

Mind Rush said...

A comment about "Leave your comment"...

Driftji, I liked the earlier format better when one could read the comments on a post and then write one in the space at the bottom.

Now I have to scroll all the way up again. It's a waste of 2.5 seconds, not to mention user-unfriendly....

Aspi said...

Actually I can go back - I had done it this way because of some feedburner scripts I was trying to teach myself.

But I've heard anu g can't post properly unless its this format. I'll try something different and see how it works out.

Amrita said...

Thanks Pitu, I've been catching up on Marathi cinema in recent years and i'm slowly building up a list so this is good to hear. I hope Gautam has an easier time of it making movies than Sai.
I've also always liked Narayani Shastri from her TV roles: one of those rare actors who refused to put on Balaji makeup and turn into a ham just because everybody around her was doing the same.

Joules - Mithya is shaping up to be one of my fave movies of the year. It's untidily real, gross, funny, and sweet. I rather love it.

anu g said...

Pitu, very interesting review. Nice to see a Marathi film review on the drift. Hope to see more.
Joules, I was disappointed with Mithya. Maybe cos I had seen Bheja Fry, and loved that movie, so had great expectations from the movie. It had its moments of fun. But it wasnt as good as BF. And worst of all, it had a sad ending. And I am the sort who loves the 'and they lived happily ever after' stories:).

Pitu said...

Joules, I shd make puranpoli for you then, if only virtual. I make the authentic chana dal one as well as the moong dal version. Speaking of Lonavla, I had a rly funny experience in Atlanta. My hubby and I were in the checkout line at a desi grocery store and we were yakking away in Marathi. Cut to the Sardar cashier who promptly joined our convo in the most fluent Marathi ever. And he actually spoke in a Marathi accent! Turns out he was raised in Lonavala and attended a Marathi medium school...

Meena: Chashme Buddoor is one of my all time faves!! I love the whole jhaagdal, khushbu wala Chamko bit! No idea what she is doing nowadays..

Amrita: Which Marathi films have you seen? I only knew Narayani because of Nach Baliye 2. Never seen her soaps. But I have news for you- she used to star in a soap called 'Mamta' - it's a regressive, atrocious soap! Dunno why she deigns to do it..

Anu g, thanks much. I still have to see Mithya but considering it stars the dhinchaak Ranvir Sheorey, I think I'll prolly like it :-)

Anonymous said...

gautam was my room mate in yr 11..i am so happy to read that he has made it as a director