It is a #facepalm that we could not catch up with I Am yet, having interviewed Onir himself about the film before its release! But we did manage to watch Dum Maro Dum and Shor In The City. We cannot help but notice some similarities in these films. For starters, both the films have a city as an important character in the film. While DMD's cinematography beautifully revolves around Goa, SITC uses Bombay as its silent character where all the "shor" (noise) is happening (Dhobi Ghat a much much superior film with Bombay playing a similar role).
Rohan Sippy's DMD is his third experiment with stylish film-making after Kucch Naa Kaho (blah!) and Bluffmaster (slick!). DMD has one of the most fast paced first halves we have witnessed in a long time. Well, the unfolding of the suspense is not bad but a little disappointing after the heightened pulse rates in the first half. DMD is a film of characters and not stars and that is something we liked about the film. The story is intriguing as all these characters have a story in their past which has something to do with drugs and Goa and co-incidentally all of it revolves around a 17 year old guy (Prateik, good presence) being caught at the Goa airport carrying drugs. The drama unfolds and we find out that the bad guys in the movie may not be "the" bad guys and there exists a worse and a more dangerous villain behind the whole drug scene in Goa who is a shadow, an unknown entity. He knows everyone, but no one knows him! The revelation of the climax may be disappointing to some people, but we think it is not as anti-climactic as people are telling it is.
The thing we were wondering while watching Shor In The City was why does this film look disjointed? As in, some scene will please the critic immensely and the other would be worse than a graduation film made by the worst student of a film school with poor infrastructure :P We wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that there were two directors credited for the making of this film. Like DMD, even SITC has a screenplay in which the first half tells random stories about its characters and the second half weaves those into the climax. But unlike DMD, the screenplay of SITC was weakish, the characters were undernourished in some cases and obese in the others.
Both these films have been made very stylishly. Right from the posters to the trailers to each frame in the film is attempted to be stylish. While DMD clearly wins in this arena also, SITC is pleasing in some parts and plain in the others. SITC had an interesting story line though. The makers have claimed that each of the stories in the film is inspired from a newspaper incident. If that is so, then let us just say that they should have looked for some better stories, because some of them were just blah!
Why we chose to put both these films in one post is that it brings up an important point in filmmaking. While in Dum Maro Dum the stylishness of the frames and the amazing dialog writing only adds to the awesomeness of the script, Shor In The City is a film where a quasi-dynamic plot was attempted to be set in motion by all the style and glamor. Sadly, it did not work to that extent as a good Hindi film caper does (Johnny Gaddar, Yeh Saali Zindagi)
Talking of the performances, both these films have put forth two new faces to Hindi cinema in the form of Rana Daggubatti (Joki, DMD) and Sendhil Ramamurthy (Abhay, SITC). While Rana seems much more promising as an actor, Sendhil is a brown Greek god but somewhere he looks incomplete in his role, as acting in a Hindi film may not be his cup of tea. But he was not the worst actor in the film. Tusshar did not do that bad a job in SITC, but we were almost constipated in the interval when we saw the trailer of his upcoming film with Amrita Rao (No, we do not really give a fuck to remember its name). The newcomer in SITC, Sundeep who played Savvy the wannabe cricketer who may be a twin of Kumar Sangakkara, was probably the weakest link in the film when it came to the acting part. In DMD, there were some seasoned campaigners in charge (Abhishek, Govind Namdeo, Aditya Pancholi, Bipasha) and they all pulled off a good job.
Finally, the only aspect where SITC may be at par with DMD is the background score and OST. Apart from that, you may really avoid the "shor" and do the "dum" peacefully :P