Bollywood’s New Wave: Johnny Gaddar and Manorama Six Feet Under

>OK, so I’m a little late. But give me break! I was in China when these movies were released and the only way I could watch them was by downloading them. So I waited for the DVDs to be available here.

But to return to the point at hand. These movies – wow! I knew they were trashed by many people, but liked by the few for whose opinion I really care. And I’m so glad I watched them. Johnny Gaddar was good and the ensemble cast was perfectly chosen. The script was tight, the acting was good, and the pace was perfect. There was no real mystery here. The audience knows right from the start who’s stabbed the gang in the back. What really makes us sit at the edge of our seats is how the events unfold and how each revelation comes about.

I preferred Manorama Six Feet Under to Johnny Gaddar. I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it had to do with Abhay Deol’s perfect portrayal of a small-town guy struggling to re-establish his self worth. Maybe it was how the small town of Lakhot becomes a character in itself, with it’s dust and barrenness and harsh sunshine. Or maybe it was the moral ambiguity of almost every character in the movie – from the hero, SV, who is suspended for taking a bribe to the mysterious Manorama who causes such upheavals in SV’s life. The end was a maybe a little saccharine and not exactly in keeping with the tone of the rest of the movie, but that’s probably the only thing that a perfectionist would cavil at.

I enjoy masala potboilers, but I like watching quality cinema too. If these movies are any indication of the future of Bollywood, then I have reason to feel very, very optimistic.

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8 thoughts on “Bollywood’s New Wave: Johnny Gaddar and Manorama Six Feet Under

  1. >I second that. I loved both of them!! And I love the song from Manorama, Woh Bheege Pal. Yeah, I do feel that bollywood is moving more towards these kind of movies. If you haven’t seen Dor (Nagesh Kukunoor), its a must watch too. It was one of the best movies of 2007 for me.

  2. >@MaddieNo, Mads…not yet back. Will be there in July and I’ll drop in to meet you and the hubby! :D@BlackhawkI’ve watched Dor. It was a tad forced in places, but I did enjoy it. I loved Ayesha Takia’s transformation. By the way, the original is a Mallu movie. That is much better made. @AnicheWell, China is great for holidays any time of the year, but not for living if you’re addicted to freedom on the www! I’m still in Shanghai, but will be back to the foul-smelling, yet free air of Mumbai in July.

  3. >i saw manorama 6 feet under and really enjoyed it…my wife noramally has to drag me to watch hindi movies but hve been pleasantly surprised whn i found out that i actually ended up enjoying some of it…taare zamen par, dil chate hai, etc…but i really didnt like om shanti om and jodha akbar…man, u returned frm china?..just in the time of the olympics…why?

  4. >Now, if you’re wondering why I hadn’t posted a comment on this post for so long, it’s because I hadn’t watched Manorama yet. So, I didn’t want to give a sort of half baked comment! :)What appealed the most to me about Manorama was what you’ve already pointed out. The moral ambiguity of the characters. It’s the sensitivity with which it’s done that made me a great fan!About Johnny, I think that movie has a charm of another kind. To me, it’s a Guy Ritchie’esque film, coming from the same school of thought and very very similar treatment too. What was even more heartening was to see that more or less the same effect was achieved with possibly a fourth of Ritchie’s budgets!All this ramble to say one thing: It’s great to see where Indian cinema is headed, if it is really headed to where I think it is! 🙂

  5. >@Tys on Ice – we hailed Lagaan and DCH as the birth of a new wave. But they proved to be flashes in the pan. Hopefully, this ‘new wave’ isn’t like that! And no, man…still very much in shanghai. But yeah, will be leaving a month before the olympic games begin :D@Rishi – yeah! exactly! Very Guy Ritchie in it’s treatment. And how I love that guy’s vision (at least the ones that don’t star Madonna)

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