Tag Archives: men

It’s not just Akshay Kumar, but the female characters in the satirical dark comedy drama, Jolly LLB 2, were also applauded.

It’s not just Akshay Kumar, but the female characters in the satirical dark comedy drama, Jolly LLB 2, were also applauded.

One such character was the wonderfully-nuanced cameo by SayaniGupta, who played Hina Siddiqui, a young Muslim woman driven to despair.  It’s a small but pivotal and deeply impactful role, so much so that Sayani was lauded for her performance by some of the veterans from the industry. Twitterati in large numbers also poured their love for her.

Gupta has so far been doing a balancing act between commercial and art cinema. She has received critical acclaim for her offbeat and distinctive roles in films like her debut Margarita With A Straw (played the role of Kalki’s love interest)and most recently Fan (as Shah Rukh Khan’s secretary), however, Sayani doesn’t take compliments or criticism seriously.

“I have never sat down to ponder over what others have to say because ultimately you know what you have done. Piyush Mishra (theatre and film actor, NSD alumni) called me few days back when I was shooting for Jagga Jasoos, and said while referring to Jolly LLB 2, ‘I didn’t know you acted so well.’  Lot of people are complimenting me on social media as well. Somebody told me that they went to watch the film thrice because of me. There are lot of people who said I made them feel for the part and I made them cry,” says Sayani.

sayani

She continues, “My performance really moved my mother, and she is far too detached about the industry and not at all excited about the film world or what I am doing. She is not in favour of me acting and it was quite a struggle to convince her when I went to FTII (Film and Television Institute of India). Little by little, she is coming to terms with it but she would have rather seen me as an IAS officer or in a regular job.”

“We are from middle class family and they didn’t want their only daughter to get into films. Obviously there are certain perceptions about the film industry. My close friends never say nice things, they are always critiquing my work, but finally they felt that I was brilliant in Jolly LLB 2.”

Strangely enough, Sayani has been getting offers for horror movies for last few years and she, too, fails to understand the reason for it. “Maybe they think I am a Bengali, I have big eyes…” she laughs.

While Sayani so far has rejected two offers post Jolly LLB 2 (as  she is “choosy”, “instinctive”, “and not ready for it”), she is certainly excited about her first international project, The Hungry, which is an Indo-British production starring Naseeruddin Shah and Tisca Chopra. The film, for which the actors were very selectively chosen, is directed by debutante filmmaker Bornila Chatterjee, who is an alumnus from New York’s Tisch School of the Arts. The Hungry is an adaptation of William Shakespeare tragedy Titus Androcinus, which is believed to have been written between 1588 and 1593.

“This year marks the 400th death anniversary of Shakespeare. His stories could seem a tad hyper-real for this era, but this film is a realistic take. The script won at a collaborative cine-lab,” says Sayani, further adding, “The film has a bunch of deadly actors. We shot for it in Delhi and Agra. The ambience on set was stimulating and since we all got along so well, it turned out to be a great shoot.”

Recently, Sayani earned an honourable mention for the Best Actress award for her short film, Leeches, at the Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles  (IFFLA). In just two years of her career, she’s also bagged one of the lead roles opposite Naseeruddin Shah with The Hungry. The actress considers it her privilege to act alongside ‘Naseer’, who was her teacher at the FTII.

“Naseer was very excited about his role after decades. He plays my father. He has been my teacher and lot of my understanding about acting and the craft is because of him. It was almost like reassurance of sorts when he would come to take our class. I adore him as a human being. He is fun to be around. He has always taught us how acting is all about reacting. He is a keen listener, which adds to the performance,” she says, adding:

“There are two of the coolest men I have worked with – Shah Rukh Khan and Naseeruddin Shah. They are sensitive, they are aware, they don’t take themselves too seriously. They are normal dudes.”

So did Sayani take any advice from the two “coolest” men?

“Some of the things Naseer told me is: ‘Learn your lines till you bump into a furniture. Know your lines backwards. Study the script well. Be relaxed and don’t take things too seriously. Make it fun and light.’ On the other hand, there’s much to learn just by the way Shah Rukh carries himself. He is the most technically sound actor, I feel. His understanding, the cleanliness with which he does everything, his craft is solid. He doesn’t show it. He is persistently hardworking and also the humility. He doesn’t take his stardom seriously,” she reveals.

Two of Sayani’s “friends” from the industry are the erstwhile directors – Rajkumar Hirani and Vishal Bhardwaj. She may not have offers from them yet but she certainly takes their advice. “I don’t talk work with them. Hirani often tells me that I should give people time after they have seen my film. I did audition for a part in Rangoon but Vishal told me that it won’t be good enough for me. I would never ask them to cast me because that could hamper our relationship. Whenever they want to cast me, they will.”

Sayani is currently shooting for Ranbir Kapoor-Katrina Kaif- starrer Jagga Jasoos which has been in the making for a long time. “When I signed the film I was playing the only narrator in the film. I had a separate track of my own. But since there is no script — Dada (Director Anurag Basu) doesn’t work with scripts, he writes as he goes along — my role has changed. I will know what my part is only after I see the film. Also, it is a very difficult film when it comes to format. It is musical, it’s a children’s film, and it is not a normal narrative. I play a 14-year-old girl and that is all I know (laughs),” she says.

Pyaar ka Punchnama 2 review: Lovestruck men, bimbettes and silliness amount to light-hearted fun

In Pyaar ka Punchnama 2, the Hindi word for a man in love is ch$@#ya. As someone puts it succinctly in the film, “kuch ch$@#ye auraton ka ch$@#yapa sokhne ke liye istemaal karten hai.”

While in its first edition, 2011’s sleeper hit Pyaar Ka Punchnama, the man in love was the dog or the substitute ‘good friend’ who cried, Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 has made some progress. This time, he doesn’t cry. Instead he shops, paints nails, sets up matrimonial profiles for his girlfried, says “I love you”, is a yes man and wags his horny tail. And so the peppy theme song continues: “Ban gaya kutta…

In the writer/director, Luv Ranjan’s world, the ch$@#ya is the Frustrated, Used Boyfriend (FUB). If the popular and hilarious five-minute monologue in the first Pyaar ka Punchnama depicted the level of male frustration, the eight-minute monologue in the second bursts out of the Indian male waiting to bash the female. And yes, it’s funny in some parts. But way too one sided — like a half fried egg, dripping all over the faces of pretty women.

Basically, the concept is just another version of the marriage jokes that we’ve all heard a hundred times over. There is one thing thread running through all the punchlines: the joke is on the women. PKP2  uses this well in the context of today’s youth and relationships. The fundamental misogynist principle remains the same.

Pyaar Ka Punchnama. Screengrab from YouTube

For instance, the monologue of frustration starts with, “Problem yeh hai ki woh ladki hai.” Gogo (Kartik Aryan) launches into the hate speech for which the audience has been eagerly waiting since Pyaar ka Punchnama. His back literally against a wall — it has on it a sign that reads “Dead End” — Gogo raves, rants and holds up the baton for Team FUB. Well done, boys (aka the writers Rahul Modi, Tarun Jain and Luv Ranjan). Only, are these ‘problems’ really real? It seems that the monologue had more truth than the script that supports the hate speech.

So, yes Gogo, Chauka (Sunny Singh) and Thakur (Omkar Kapoor) find girlfriends and lose their peace of mind. Chiku (Nushrat  Bharucha), Supriya (Sonali Sehgali) and Kusum (Ishita Raj) are women and of course, no one understands women. So why even bother? Let them just do illogical things since they’re from Venus.

So Boy 1 (Thakur) meets Girl 1 (Kusum) in a gym. She squats; he stares at her derriere; they end up in the girl’s bedroom. Here, the boy says something about the girl being from the ’70s. Then, he promptly puts on a cassette player (belonging to the ’70s) and the two of them do some exotic dancing for each other. Soon enough, the boy is wearing a Tshirt that says: ”In the end, it’s all about s*x.” Point taken. He’s a clever Engineer who can prove his prowess in the boardroom and the bedroom, while Girl 1 only shakes her booty, earns less than him and eyes his gold card.

Boy 2 (Gogo) meets Girl 2 (Chiku). He goes beyond veg or non-veg jokes and instead delivers some fruit talk as pick-up lines. She giggles. Love strikes. For all his flirting, he is a really good boy who is ready to go to any extent to please his girl. She doesn’t think beyond shades of blues and pinks, talks in a baby voice and shops till he drops.

Boy 3 (Chauka) meets Girl 3 (Supriya).The two dance to “Didi tera dewar deewana” at a wedding. She lets him drop her home. Next, they are having wine in his home. Lusty glances replace conversations. Love strikes. He is the sincere sort who wants to marry the girl. She has some unexplained fears regarding her parents, but no qualms about flirting with Boy 3.

It’s that easy to fall in love.

But not that simple to sustain the relationship because women are demanding creatures and men are suckers. He’s got to love her, love her best friends, which include irritating bimbos and a childhood male buddy who sleeps in her bed. Loving her means loving her parents, who want her to marry someone else and just pretend to be her brother instead. Love is handing her your wallet when she claims to want to split the dinner bill.

The ‘problem’ is that while such women may exist in fact or fiction, it all feels rather forced, superficial and designed to play to the frustrated men in the crowd. As Pyaar ka Punchnama 2 continues, the women get dafter. Chiku doesn’t know Sachin Tendulkar has retired. Kusum gets more greedy and manipulative. Supriya becomes more and more coy.

It’s rather convenient that all the boys are simply wonderful people while the women are bimbos or bitches.

The men curse their own weakness, which is not such a ‘problem’ here. It brings out the best in the bromance scenes, both in terms of dialogues and performances. The way Sunny Singh’s Gogo says “beta..beta..beta..” while aping his girlfriend’s father, is applause worthy. So are innumerous one liners, including one on Sooraj Barjatya and his take on love, friendship and saying sorry.

Men, be ready to relate. At times. Women, be ready to hate. All the time. Hopefully, you can laugh it all off. Together.