'Hunterrr': Aimless

MUMBAI: The kind of films one comes across nowadays is puzzling, that too in the era of Rs 200+ admission rates at multiplexes while there is very little property left in the name of single screens across the country and what is worse, that too has a negligible audience.

Hunterrr is a misnomer in all sense as the hero of the film, Gulshan Devaiya, describes himself as a Vasu. Now, Vasu is a typical Marathi slang describing a man akin to a dog chasing and sniffing a bitch! Wonder where our filmmakers are heading. Also, the film has a lot of Marathi flavour; all of the toilet humour kind. What is worse, all the slangs used in the trailors of the film find no place in the film.

Devaiya is some kind of sex fiend, who is against the institution of marriage. He is happy scoring with unattached or unattended women comparing need for sex with a perfect bowel movement every morning. He makes his moves on girls and women and, at times, also gets beaten for his adventures. But, his pursuit continues come what may. The film goes on to show a couple of his affairs once where he lures a young college girl while other is with a married woman staying across his PG accommodation.

This part about the married woman takes most of the first half and is stretched beyond need of the story just because it is the most titillating part of the film and, as the actress in this case, Sai Tamhankar, is willing to expose as demanded. But, in a predictable turn of events, Sai’s husband finds out what is going on behind his back and Devaiya is on the run again. He is always on the run: sometimes from a restaurant or a hostel or a PG flat when his ‘Vasugiri’ backfires.

Producers: Kirti Nakhwa, Rohit Chugani, Ketan Maru, Vikas Bahl, Vikramaditya Motwane, Anurag Kashyap.

Director: Harshwardhan Kulkarni.

Cast: Gulshan Devaiya, Radhika Apte, Sai Tamhankar, Sagar Deshmukh, Veera Saxena

Come interval, Devaiya is now ready for an arranged marriage as his parents think it is time he settled down. He is made to meet Radhika Apte. Both meet a couple of times as in ‘getting to know each other’ exercise. Devaiya has now learnt to say he never dated any woman thanks to his friend’s advice. Earlier, whenever he confessed to his true nature, the girls walked out on him.

Radhika has one giant sized skeleton in her own closet. Just when she is getting close to Devaiya, that skeleton comes out of the closet. But, then, this is a different era. Not because such films are made or such relationships are accepted. These themes were made even in 1960; only now the intentions are to sell sex rather than a story.

Hunterrr starts on a lighter note but, thereafter, it goes on unendingly to reach a conclusion. It keeps jumping from present to past and vice versa and from Pune to Mumbai and vice versa and you don’t know which of it you are watching.

The film was a fair idea, the script is a mess and the length unbearable. Direction is missing. Songs sans lip-sync pass unnoticed. Editor could have done wonders by chopping off about 30 minutes off. As for performances, Devaiya, to his credit, does look like a typical Vasu. Sai is good since she is forthcoming though her character is ill-defined as is her need to indulge. Radhika just fits the mould of a modern uncertain woman. Sagar Deshmukh does well.

The idea in Hunterrr is to titillate the youth but the film is tagged with an A certificate; while it loses a chunk of the youth because of A certificate, it loses out on family patronage thanks to its theme.

‘Dozakh In Search Of Heaven’: Festival fare

Dozakh In Search of Heaven is a different kind of movie experience in that it tries to juxtapose two religious beliefs, Hinduism and Islam. While elders stay rooted steadfastly to their beliefs and rituals, a young boy of 12 sees things from his own logic and eventually finds his own solution to the differences between the two.

Producers: Zaigham Imam, Pawan Tiwari.

Director: Zaigham Imam

Cast: Lalit Mohan Tiwar, Nazim Khan, Garrick Chaudhary, Pawan Tiwari, Ruby Saini.

Garrick Chaudhary studies at the local school in a small village close to the holy city of Varanasi. While he also always wears his skullcap and learns to read Quran from a maulvi, the major influence in his life comes from his school where some lessons deal with Hindu beliefs. The village is peaceful, without any demarcations between the communities, and Garrick is part of everything that his friends do, from studying to playing cricket to playing a role in Ram Leela.

It is not the same with elders though. The two sides are represented by a muazzin, Lalit Mohan Tiwari and, a Panditji, the local temple pujari, Nazim Khan (the casting seems symbolic). They are both zealous about their religion while at the same time making sure to irritate their counterparts. The morning aarti and calling of azaan times are in conflict. As the azaan is being called from a mike, the Pandit’s temple bells toll more vigorously and vice versa.

Garrick’s Quran teacher maulvi is dead and Tiwari is on his way to the burial, it being an act of sajda to give shoulder to a dead body and then to help fill his tomb with a symbolic handful of dirt. Garrick decides to join his father, Tiwari, in the ritual but his small mind is shocked to see how deep the pit is to bury the body. His question to his father is, if the dead are meant to go to heaven, why bury them so deep in to ground; how would they make their way there?

Panditji, on his part, is very fond of Garrick, notwithstanding the fact that he is a Muslim boy. He tends to him, and tells him stories about river Ganga, which definitely holds interest for people who live near Varanasi. While the Pandit invites Garrick to share the Prasad from the offerings made in his temple, he also explains to the boy how pious the river Ganga is and why Hindus prefer to cremate dead people on the Ganga ghat and later immerse the ashes in the Holy River. Garrick gets an opportunity to visit Varanasi to buy some supplies for the small stall his father runs. He includes a boat ride on Ganga in his itinerary and is fascinated by his experience.

But then, the woman he loves most, his mother, Ruby Saini, dies in an accident while out to buy chicken for her son. But, this time Garrick revolts against burying his mother deep down in the ground. He even tries one night to dig up the grave and free his mother to facilitate her journey to heaven.

Now Garrick is missing and later found dead. His body is found in a morgue in Varanasi. Tiwari gets help from a rickshaw driver, Pawan Tiwari, and goes ahead and does the unthinkable for a man of his beliefs and status in his community. He honours his son’s wishes and gives him a cremation at the Ganga ghat, finally immersing some of his ashes in Ganga and taking some back home to merge them with the dirt on the tomb of his wife.

Based on a novel, the film takes a bold stand. It is too slow and takes a toll on its viewer but is sure to get a reaction from those who watch it. Commercial possibilities seem to be the last thing on makers’ minds.

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