the world needs more Nana Patekar dancing with Bindu: Krantiveer

The up side of the stereotype of Hindi movie plots is that you get a giddy whirl of variety, linked together if not by reason than at least by fun and a drive to entertain. The down side of the stereotype is that you can get drama, romance, comedy, social commentary, songs, orphans, and even violence coming at you from out of nowhere at full speed. Krantiveer isn't quite all the way into this latter category, but it's pretty close. It's just too, too much. Broad stereotypes of villains and heroes run amok (sometimes literally - watch the extras zooming back and forth in the big fire scene), violating mother India with their greed and selfishness, and I found the violence cartoony but somehow still emotionally (if not visually) harsh. This is the third movie I've seen in as many months that has rape in it; I've been told that's a fairly stock element of 80s and 90s action movies but I'm getting really sick of it (thought at least in here, unlike in Jigar, the only witnesses to it are chained to the wall and unable to come to the aid of the victim).

The villains in particular don't have much context. I'm assuming the story is some sort of comment on the 1992-3 Mumbai riots but in the world of this film the police, judicial system, politicians, and developers are so grossly corrupt that they're not very interesting. I had also hoped we might get a really good heroine here, but no. Megha, the fearless journalist, is also bland; her outrage at the villains is no more engaging than their badness, and all Dimple Kapadia gets to do is yell. Despite all of these flaws, though, I admire the underlying idea of the movie - that the power-hungry will exploit religious, ethnic, and/or socio-cultural differences, provoking them into turmoil that distracts the citizenry while they grab resources and control. It's a shame it wasn't carried out more subtly, because I think it would have been much more effective that way.

The music...gah. It's very badly integrated into the movie, probably the most jarring background score I have ever noticed in a Hindi film. It's overly dramatic, loud, and synthesized; it has cartoony sound effects; and it just doesn't add in any way to the action or ideas. (It does, however, include a few bars of "Axel F," even though that song is ten years older than the movie.) In all of this, though, there were two songs I liked (and actually the songs were fine overall, although there were three crammed in the first hour and none had anything to do with the primary story). "Love Rap" is ridiculous youthful fun (at least it seemed to be - it wasn't subtitled), has some great snippets of fun English ("We don't want bungalows, we don't want cars, we don't want much...we just want pyaar!"), and pairs Nana Patekar with an amorous Bindu (who is looking a bit like a drag queen here, though I guess the line between that and vamp is very fine).

If anyone can find the lyrics to this online, please let me know; I looked for a half hour to no avail. Later we see Atul Agnihotri and Mamta Kulkarni frolicking to eerie music in a waterfall adorned with statues evocative of ancient Hindu temples, and some of the choreography alludes to poses in the sculptures (with a heavy emphasis on her curves and gestures).

This is a really neat idea, visually, and I'm surprised I've never seen it before. The scene would have been even better if the costume department had put Atul in clothing that echoed the sculptures, like Mamta's did; he s out of place in his chinos and loud shirts, while she was exquisite in bangles and flowing, draping fabrics.

I realize I'm running the risk of sounding like I'm exoticizing, but consciously, anyway, most of what I'm saying has to do with visual harmony between actor and set. I also want to acknowledge that both the sculpture and the dance might be "-esque" rather than authentic, and while I'm not knowledgeable enough to tell the difference I certainly respect the frustration of people who are and find the whole thing theme-park-y and fake. Also, as Briyanshu pointed out, I don't like it when people grope art, filmi or not.

The bright spot is definitely Nana Patekar, who is angry and engaged and soulful as required, and in the movie's lighter moments, he seems to be having fun. He seems committed to his role, but he winks through it and never overdoes it, which the other actors are tempted to do (understandably, given what they had to work with). The writing should be credited for providing him with a much more developed character. Though he becomes a hero, a lot of what he does seems individual and local for most of the story - he's got a context and a setting that make sense.

Krantiveer is not awful, and its underlying message of keeping an eye on the authorities and trying to make a difference is admirable enough. It's also patriotic without involving the military - apparently I must prefer my conflict local and personal (Yuva), rather than international and nuclear (I'd name one but I tend to avoid-yaar such movies) - which given on the number of movies that deal with "a neighboring country" is refreshing enough. Although to be honest if you want that you should watch Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani because it's all-around more fun (sorry, Nana). I haven't seen enough of Nana to know if you can find similar performances elsewhere; if so, there's no need to bother with Krantiveer.

Aside: Atul's character (name? Atul, of course) has posters in his bedroom of Sanjay Dutt,

Michael Jackson (the guy in red in the other poster is familiar too - who is he?),

and the New Kids on the Block.

As a grown man does in 1994.


Filmi Geek said…
Don't hold me to this, but I think the guy in red is the syncretic religious leader, Sai Baba of Shirdi
Well, if that Wikipedia article is correct and Sai Baba could be seen as a figure of Hindu/Muslim reconciliation, then he'd be an appropriate figure to appear in the movie, because its story referred to politicians and other ne'er-do-wells playing on religious divisiveness (according to the subtitles, anyway).
ecrvain said…
Those 80's film were pretty raw at times.....Id all out of control...apart from the misogynistic stuff it's kind of a fun period...not overproduced....think quentin tarantino and rob rodriguez were trying to recreate the raw edge in their recent flick...yeah nana patekar never seems to lose his center
GuNs said…
Nana Patekar is AMAZING. he is the most down to earth yet intense actor in the industry.

His best is probably an old movie called "Prahaar" (IMDB Link). Its about a commando training school of which he is a trainer.

Also he does a superb job in "Taxi No. 9211", a recent film which unfortunately is a straight lift from "Changing Lanes". Do watch both movies and if you can get your hands on a recent Marathi language movie by Sai Paranjape called "Pak Pak Pakaak".

Anonymous said…
Parinda is another powerful movie starring Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, and Nana Patekar. Watch it.
AR said…
I remember when Krantiveer came out and Nana Patekar became this HUGE star on the strength of all those speeches he gave - and i remember that song! god! how i remember that song!

I went looking for the lyrics but they're terribly hard to find. so when i get a couple of minutes to myself i'll do it for you. i dont know how i feel about listening to that song again but i have to wonder what it'd feel like after all these years!

Oh, and i second Parinda as one of the best Patekar movies. And Bhoot for an encore - he does weird people very well.

fun fact: if you've seen eklavya, then parinda's the movie jimmy shergill is watching when amitabh goes to see him.
Raka said…
First of all, I love Nana Patekar--such excellent comic timing, but with the dance sequence with sculptures, the scene was used before in Guide when Rosie confronts Marko in the cave, dancing in a costume similar to the ones on the statues.
Keith said…
Not knowing a wh9ole lot about many things, can someone explain to me how Indian culture went from "All our sexy god statues are doin' it!" to "No kissin' please!"
OZZZ said…
waaaaah!!!! i want the love rap song..
We all, do Ozzz. We all do.
tulsi said…
I can't agree w/your title anymore: "The world needs more Nana Patekar dancing.." be w/Bindu or someone else! This site has the whole movie krantiveer w/that song in it (Love Rap):
Unknown said…
Hi Beth, just wondered if you've been able to find the lyrics of love rap :o) If not - I have them :D I used to listen to all the songs of 90s and loved most of them. So I know the lyrics by heart :D

ps: great blog.. I'm still wading through the many posts but am totally enjoying your take on Bollywood :D
Tulsi - :)

Deepa - No, I haven't! Please do post them! :)

And thank you!
Unknown said…
Hi Beth, here it is.. Enjoy.. :o))

Song: Love Rap
Music Directors: Anand Milind
Singers: Amit Kumar, Poornima, Sudesh Bhonsle, Sapna Mukherjee

Maine dekha jab teri nazron ke through
Kabhi hundred one kabhi hundred two
Us din se hua fever ye shuru
Kabhi hundred one kabhi hundred two

Jao jao jaldi jao doctor ko bulaao
Nabz dikhao mera haal bataao
Jao jao jaldi jao doctor ko bulaao
Nabz dikhao mera haal bataao

Kyon dil karta hai dhak dhak mere yaar
Kuch aur nahi ye hai pyaar ka bukhaar
Kyon dil karta hai dhak dhak mere yaar
Kuch aur nahi ye hai pyaar ka bukhaar

Dhak dhak my heart is beating
Dhak dhak my pulse is missing
Dhak dhak I end?? up relapsing
Haaye re haaye re haaye

Maine dekha jab teri nazron ke through
Kabhi hundred one kabhi hundred two
Us din se hua fever ye shuru
Kabhi hundred one kabhi hundred two

Jao jao jaldi jao doctor ko bulaao
Nabz dikhao mera haal bataao
Jao jao jaldi jao doctor ko bulaao
Nabz dikhao mera haal bataao

Kyon dil karta hai dhak dhak mere yaar
Kuch aur nahi ye hai pyaar ka bukhaar
Kyon dil karta hai dhak dhak mere yaar
Kuch aur nahi ye hai pyaar ka bukhaar

We don’t want palace we don’t want name
We don’t want money we don’t want fame
We don’t want bungalow we don’t want care
We want only love we want only pyaar

Bale bale bale oye kudiye

Behakti jawani, gulaabi tere gaal
Nigaahon mein nasha hai, sharaabi teri chaal
Mujhe toh dil jaani, hai tera hi khayal
Na pooch bekaraari, na pooch mera haal

(In Marathi - another language)
Me paahilya tujhya dolyaancha through
Kadhi shambar ek kadhi shambar two
Tya divshi zhaala fever suru
Kadhi shambar ek kadhi shambar two (this stanza has the same meaning as maine dekha jab teri nazron ke through…………….kabhi hundred one kabhi hundred two)

You know my age is thirty plus nine
Oh that means you are old wine
Koi jaane na kahaan ladh jaaye nazar
Dekho dekho dil dekho naa dekho umar
Naa dekh mujhe jaadugar machli
Teri baat lage mujhko nakli

Tujhpe mera jaadoo chal jaayega
Ek din tera dil bhi machal jaayega
Aaja aaja aaja aaja aaja aaja aaaaaaaaaaaa

Chal hat baaju hat na kar ghatpat
Mat lapat jhaptat natkhat
Naa kar ghatpat mat lapat jhapat
Chal hat baaju hat natkhat hat jaa

Na ishq mein ho generation gap
Hum milke karenge aaj
Love rap..
Unknown said…
Hi again Beth, I realised there was a typo..

It's car not care - we don't want bungalow we don't want car :o))

If you need the lyrics of any other 'oldish' hindi songs, let me know.. there's a very good chance, I will have them :o))

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