Paanch – Finally

Meh. That’s my first reaction. I guess the ‘noise’ around the film was so high that expectations went higher still.

Yes, Paanch was a debut film for Anurag Kashyap. And I am a BIG BIG FAN of his now. But even as an early film, it feels a bit amateur. I’ve seen rave reviews about the plot, and the pace. I couldn’t really find a plot, and the pace was too slow for me.

Maybe in 2002, when I was a cheeky 20 years old this would have really affected me. But I knew junkies, groupies and wannabe stars. I knew the kids who refused to shower. Or dozed high on Led Zep. Hell, I was one of them. And I’ve seen a variety. Like the kinds that goes out looking like a ‘good boy’, and whips out a ‘bandana’ (all the bloody rage then) and strums a heavily out-dated metallica song. Yup. Seen them. Seen worse. But where did these chaps come from?

I don’t want background stories. When I saw Deathproof, I sank deep in the violence and evil, without wanting to know if the guy who went about killing women in cars had a bad childhood. No, I don’t want any of that. But it’s a film without a narrator. Surely, it doesn’t hurt to show the protagonist for a few minutes. Utterly alone. So you know him.

It’s an interesting concept, but without depth. Too linear. A bunch of guys in a ‘rock band’. One girl. Need money badly. To fuel drugs, life and everything illegal. A complete lack of respect for anything. And a great love to live in filth. And in that sense, it is interesting. The lack of morality, and the ability to sit in one place for two weeks without doing anything constructive. But the relationships between the people are hardly explored. There’s nothing about music as the context. Nothing about a sense of alienation that someone that young can experience.

Pity it was banned, because there isn’t much to ban. But if it had been released when it should have been, it would have splashed and made some loud noise. Especially of disapproval. And how quickly cinema can age. Even as it is timeless. How easily the norms for sexuality, boozing, and filthy young men shift. It’s not that things have changed all that much, but we’ve seen more of it on the screen now. It’s just not as special as before.

In 2002, I would have been dazzled. Now I was mildly bored and grateful that the director has evolved and given us some brilliant hours of cinema over the years. (Or was it 2003? One is never really sure!)

Watch it, if anything – be amazed at how bold the venture is given the context of the films around that time. We thought Dil Chahta Hai was bold. Heh.

3 Comments

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3 Responses to Paanch – Finally

  1. And finally I made you write :)

  2. If its bold enough, as you say, then it has to be seen. At least it would be better than watching a Chetan Bhagat adaptation, the Idiot Movie! Countless creative minds in the industry, shame that they couldn’t come up with something original as Anurag does.

  3. I haven’t seen the film. However, knowing that it was based on the Joshi-Abhyankar murder case in Pune, I think Kashyap might have purposefully chosen not to explain the motivations with means of background or through scenes establishing characters etc. The Joshi Abhyankar crimes were senseless, inexplicable acts perpetrated by college going students. There was no history of child abuse or dire poverty among the accused. So background obviously wouldn’t help in understanding anything. With regards to subtle brooding moments etc., I think it might not have gone down well since such scenes tend to help the audiences identify with the characters at some level. Since these were ‘ireedemable souls,’ for want of a better expression, probably Kashyap did not want the audience to identify with them at any level and be horrified by the inexplicability and evil of their actions alone.

    I think I have gone overboard in speaking on behalf of Kashyap without even having watched the film. I better stop. :)