Movie Reviews, Commentary & More

Movies #12 - More on Masoom

A stranger to old Hindi movies, Masoom made me feel at home and encouraged to check out other titles that my north Indian friends have been recommending. The movie viewing experience was wholesome - the story is believable, actors creditable, music adorable and direction melliflous. For a family drama that deals with a cracking relationship, there is no high decibel noise to be heard here. My wife was unhappy with my brief review of the movie and hence this revisit.

I'll begin with an open letter of praise to R.D.Burman. As regular readers of this blog know, I've seen less than 20 Hindi movies and most of them are fairly recent. Songs from those movies are super duper hit but they didn't touch me on a deeper level - you know, the kind of songs that you hum when you're alone and think about something/someone personal. Masoom's songs make an exception - 'Tujhse naraz' and 'Huzur is kadar' top the list. Not only are the songs soothing and touching, but they are very well placed in the screenplay - they don't intrude into the narration, but just help the story flow smoothly. The background score is simple and touching and never announces itself.

This movie launched the cinematic careers of Jugal Hansraj and Urmila Matondkar. For a director of Shekar's stature, I thought he should have extracted better performances from these kids - but then, this is his debut feature and probably he was happy with what the kids delivered before the camera. I think they are one of the weak links in the cinema. In some of the scenes, they appeared to be performing for a school drama waiting for the teacher from the corner of the podium to give instructions. It's not all that bad, but when compared to what Shabana Azmi and Nasseeruddin Shah did, the kids looked sluggish.

For the most part, the story unfolds slowly, the way neighbourhood women would chat. Such screenplays are a rarity. Say family problem and writers think of a high pitch word war between couples. Gulzar captures the split in the relationship built over years through many scenes that make the bulk of the second half. This is where the English version of the movie fails - when Robert Beckwith breaks the news of an extramarital affair to his wife, there is an immediate rift between them. Though, I found the ending a little unrealistic and hurried. You can't cheat the audience - they always want a happy ending.

1 Responses to “Movies #12 - More on Masoom”

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