Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hey Ram : Revisited

One thing leads to another. I have been reading the Great Indian Novel, by Shashi Tharoor. A fantastic "must recommend" type book. But this also lead me to suddenly have the craving to watch Hey Ram again.

I had watched Hey Ram as a teenager. Although I saw the entire movie, I just thought of it as another one of Kamal Haasan's rebellious additions to Tamil Cinema. I respect the man immensely, even to the extent that I sometimes quarrel with Rajnikanth fans over his supremacy of the Tamil Film Kingdom.

But this 1 - 4 am late night show, was a pleasant surprise. As the movie moved from scene to scene, it moved with such fluency that it was as simple as different chapters in a book. The acting is stellar, everyone is the parallel cinema world is present - Hema Malini,Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Girish Karnad, Saurabh Shukla, Atul Kulkarni, Vikram Gokhale to name a few. It has an unusual mix of Tamil actors including Raghavan, Delhi Ganesh, Sowcar Janaki, Vaali(a poet by profession) Y.G.Mahedra and a superb debut by Vasundhara Das, even Govardhan Rao from Telugu cinema makes an appearance. Yes it has those Bollywood folks also, Rani and Shah Rukh. A cameo by Tushar Gandhi is a nice finishing touch.

There are just so many layers that one needs to digest through the movie. It is intense as it is intelligent. The anti Gandhian who realises the folly of his way. The man in love. The educated middle class Iyengar. The man who resists falling in love with his wife by devoting himself to a cause.

The setting is superb, recreating everything, from Calcutta to Delhi. Every fine detail is taken care of. And the realism of it, is quite surreal. There is Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, British English and Hindi. All languages that I now easily understand due to variety of people I met at business school. So makes me appreciate the movie even more, but the part I found funny was that, most of the main characters including the Mahatma himself, spoke Tamil. Playing to the gallery I guess. But a fine movie. 4 star I should say.

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