Theater Watch: Nothing Like Lear

After Hamlet, the Clown Prince, the expectations from Rajat Kapoor and Atul Kumar’s combo (Cinematograph and the Company Theater) were high. Nothing Like Lear starts with a similar setup, but hardly anything similar in execution. Unlike the theatrics, the collective effusion and humor in Hamlet, Lear depends on the brilliance of Atul, since it is, but, a monologue.

I consider myself reasonably well read, but not enlightened in equal proportions. So, yes, I had read shakespeare’s dark work quite some back, but of course, I do not remember quite a few fine details and all the underlying tragedy. So, the first fifteen minutes were tough on me. I was trying to remember just as I was trying to be in the moment. The point where I let go of this trying to remember, I drew the same conclusion as I did the last time I saw Hamlet – these guys are brilliant. What an interpretation! For Rajat and Atul to merge so many characters, right from Lear to Edward to the fool to the sisters, into one actor and so beautifully, I fail to imagine what level of intellectual and theatrical brilliance would have been required.

This play is not the funny and hilarious kinds that Hamlet was. So don’t expect a laugh riot. There are the usual pepperings of jokes and fooling around with the audience. Bu this play is tragic. And there are times when the drama gets you.

I must mention here how effortlessly the clown moves from being just a clown to being a set piece in that epic tragedy, and Atul right now, would probably rate as one of the finest theater actors we have. Right up there with a Naseer.

I dont want to speak too much, for the real joy of the sunrise is in seeing it, and not just hearing telltales about the round burning globe of fire in some poet’s soliloquy. Go watch it. You may compare it with Hamlet, and say that Hamlet was better, but that does not make this one be nothing.

 

This, to me, is what theater should be – brilliant intrpretations, great execution, and out of this world performances.

 

4.5 on 5 for me. Hamlet was a 5, of course.

Movie Review: Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu

I saw Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu Friday night, and was fascinated by my end reaction to the movie. I did not expect it to be what I came out to be – Good!

I have maintained it for some time that Imran is Bollywood’s answer to Hugh Grant. Looks like a douche/chom, can’t act much, mumbo jumbos most of his dialogues, and is almost perfect for low involvement rom-coms.Remember Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Naa/ I Hate Love Storys?

Kareena, as well, is absolutely cut out for these roles. Chirpy girl with loads of attitude and brashness, keeping some of her issues under layers of enthusiasm, with about 15 minutes reserved for some sadness and drama. She is a reasonably good actress, who is lazy and risk averse.

The movie, I conclude, is a very pleasant rom-com. It is short, doesn’t prolong anyone’s agony (including that of the viewers), does not try to take things to an (Indian) logical conclusion, and keeps most of the songs in the background.The music is fine, though disappointing on the back of my expectations from Amit Trivedi ( after Dev D, Udaan, Aamir and the likes). Surprisingly, the chemistry between Imran and Kareena is quite good.

Sorter than 120 minutes is an achievement in indian cinema. Strike one.

Crisp editing is an aberration rather than a rule. Strike two.

Jokes are not necessarily loaded with sexual innuendos, and dive more from conersational wit and timing. Strike three.

 

I went in with low expectation, and mostof them were beaten. So, i was happy. Only one word of caution – either watch it in a theater where everyone loves commenting (or, “interacting” with the screen). Or, where no one does. BUT, not in a thrater where only the person next to you believes in repeating the onscreen dialogues, along with a laughter track for effects. Gubbare.. Ha ha haha. Dinner.. Ha ha ha ha.

 

This movie is (in another douchebag’s style) a “3 on 5 for me, along with a thumbs up”. Go watch it, because it’s not a genre that is usually well made in India.

 

Note: Watch it only once. Which means, that you should watch it with wife/girl-friend/… Because in case they drag you in for a second time because you saw it with someone else (colleagues/boyfriend/…), you may experience serious self-loathing syndrome (at this stage, it’s just a hypothesis).

 

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