06 September 2006

Merra style southu, waperations northu

I saw Sarkar. Finally. People had been telling me to just see it for its own sake, but somehow an opportunity never materialized.
Part of the reason I never saw Sarkar before was that I don't watch too many Bollywood movies. Yes, I am snooty. So? See, in this case the snootiness is well worth it. Too many Hindi movies had delivered too many crushing blows. From Dil To Pagal Hai to Border, I suffered enough bad dialogue to last me a lifetime. Now, as a matter of policy, I don't watch Hindi movies unless someone (someone reliable, someone whose taste I trust which is not a ToI review) recommends it. I haven't watched Rang De Basanti.
Don't get me wrong. Some of my favourite movies are in Hindi. When I was twelve, I spent most of time watching an Andaaz Apna Apna tape again and again. Like everyone else, I love Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar. I wanted to be Don! I screamed my lungs out during the climactic cricket moments of Lagaan. And yet, I know that if I make a random selection and go watch a movie on opening Friday I am likely to be dissappointed. Like I was with Shabd - easily the worst movie ever, for the kind of hype it had. An experience like that was enough to scar me for a lifetime.

But Sarkar was a different matter altogether. Sarkar, I wanted to see. Not because of the hype, not because it was inspired by Godfather - one of my favourite movies, but because I was very very impressed with what RGV can do on a canvas of crime. I loved Satya and I loved Company even more. Making a movie where the protagonists' are criminals (or outlaws, a term preferable to 'criminal' in the Sarkar context) is the toughest of tasks, because if an audience is to empathize with the protagonists', an unpopular set of values have to be imbibed very early on in the movie.
RGV does that by unapologetically borrowing Francis Ford's method in Godfather. With certain contextual changes, the introduction of Subhash Nagre isn' too different from Vito Corleone's: essentially, using the powers at his disposal in the aid of a broken man. Immediately, the audience loves him. I loved him.

Anyway, as anyone who has seen that movie is likely to report, the movie doesn't dissappoint. RGV's trilogy of crime and punishment in India are landmark moments in Indian cinema. They might not have generated KANK revenues, but the next time he makes a crime movie, I'll watch it. Maybe even on opening Friday.