Firangis Flip for Eklavya


Two US- and UK-based media reviews caught my attention.  

First, the NYC-based Village Voice carried this rave about Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s latest release, wherein David Chute writes:

Elkavya was filmed in two actual Rajasthani palaces, one for the endlessly receding gilded interiors and another for the crumbling facade. But the action that unfolds in these enormous spaces is almost a chamber drama, all intense two-shots and vehement whispered exchanges. And because the entire cast (with the single exception of the star) has been carried over en masse from the last several films produced by director Chopra (including Munnabhai M.B.B.S. and Parineeta), the movie often feels like a work created for a snug repertory company, with roles tailored to the talents of each familiar performer.

And, across the pond,  the BBC’s most talented Dr. Mark Kermode not only listed Eklavya  as one of his Top 5 Films of the Week here, in the podcast of his most recent show with Simon Mayo, he said:

Bollywood movies have  recently started to be screened  for the English-speaking  press, though not  enough of them.

There are certain clichés about Bollywood films:  they’re all too long, there’s lots of singing and dancing, with flimsy plots, but it’s not true.   There are many different types of Bollywood movies.   There’s action movies, movies based on Shakespeare like Omkara and Maqbool.

Interesting case in point, Eklavya, which has a Shakespearean tone to it.  

It’s a two-hour movie, a melodrama,  with one musical  sequence that fits in the world of the film.  

At the centre of it is Amitabh Bachchan, an absolutely magnetic presence.   He’s magnificent, he has  these deep whirlpool eyes, very intense face, who manages to convey extraordinary  emotion without doing very much.  

Very well directed, well put together, and very, very  accessible to a western audience.   A very fine piece of work.

And no, I haven’t seen it yet.   (Curses!) But I hope to rectify that very soon…

13 thoughts on “Firangis Flip for Eklavya

  1. I have watched this movie – eklavya and I found it very interesting. A relationship drama on picture perfect frames. THe best film to be directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra.

  2. Just saw it today—-was extremely disappointed with this film.Looks great but definitely no soul. Was pretty irritated by many scenes especially the one where Bachchan shows off his ‘Nishana’ to Sanjay dutt by throwing a knife at the pigeon’s bell and then positions himself strageically( all the while blidfolded, mind you!) in a pond to pluck it out of the air.This scene was a microcosm of the film in general.I believe the firangi’s flipped over this film because of the lavish sets and the texture rather than the actual quality of the film itself.

    I think this review sums it up best:

    Have you watched ‘Nishabd’ yet? and on a completely different note—Just fiinished reading ‘Shantaram'( in one 13 hour sitting) by David Gregory Roberts and it’s surely one of the best books I’ve read recently( I would rate it ahead of Your Fave ‘Sacred Games’ as well) and if you haven’t read it then please do and lemme know what you think of it.SRK as Prabker and A.B Sr as Abdel Khader Khan are perfect casting!

  3. I stop trusting a review when they stop and take some time to notice the authenticity of the film. I could care less if the film used authentic castles, planes or swords or what have you. Unless you’re a geeky fanboy, no one cares if the castles and locations in the Lord of the Rings were built or shot “fer real.”
    Just make a good goddamn movie and enough with the pandering sentences about banal minutiae like exotic locations and costumes.

  4. >> Interesting case in point, Eklavya, which has a Shakespearean tone to it.

    I would rather say, Mahabaratan, and that predates Shakespeare.

    Mahabarata is full of intrigue, betrayals, doubts about fatherhood, honor, honor redefined – therefore, I would say Mahabarata tone.

  5. The movie is very badly acted. It is a talentless director out of imagination trying to mimic John Woo’s style or some of the stlylized western directors.

    The only saving grace is beautiful cinematography, and 1 sequence by Amitabh Bachchan as a marksman. The depth to story is nada, and every scene is extended by 25%.

    The premise from Mahabarta is excellent but they butchered it.

    All these angrezi critics are going ga-ga over Rajasthan, and neophyte Indian critics over sunset scenes and running camels.

    Movies should be about story telling first, and then anything else.

    Maybe, I am too harsh a movie critic.

  6. i just watched it last evening. loved it. the theatre was quite empty though. loved boman irani and bacchan. and saif and dutt and balan. 🙂

  7. Rajnish, thanks for sharing the link. I thought that for a mainstream American audience, they would probably learn something from it, but true, for most folks of Indian origin, there’s wouldn’t be much news there.

    Ravi, thanks for stopping by, and your kind words. I’m glad to hear you liked it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to get it to with the little that remains of this weekend…

    Kush, I’m amazed! Your the first person I’ve heard who disliked it, and so strongly!

  8. I saw your blog mentioned at the end of your article for the magazine – IndianAmerican.
    I loved your article 🙂 This is the first time i am reading your blog and i am enjoying it.

    My recommendation for EkLavya – it is an awesome movie. It’s a bit short. I would have lengthened it by 15-20 mins but there’s a reason why i am here and vidhu vinod chopra is making movies.

  9. I love Mark Kermode. His Friday reviews on Radio 5 with Simon Mayo are essential listening, I love their banter and I love his passion and humour. And he’s right — if Bollywood can start to produce more movies like Omkara and Eklavya and start to market them more sophisticatedly, showing them to mainstream critics, Bollywood will really begin to take off and become popular amongst non Indians in the UK and perhaps even in the USA. People think that all people want are 3 hours camp hyper saccharine Karan Johar things but those are just one type of movie — there is a definite hunger and market amongst Indians in the UK for intelligent mainstream movies like Omkaara and Eklavya and there is a growing appreciation for them amongst non-brown filmgoers here too.

    One more thing — The Times newspaper has just started a Bollywood section. As far as I know this is the first time a Western newspaper has devoted an entire section permanently to Hindi cinema. And this is THE establishment newspaper in Britain.

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