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X PAST IS PRESENT - An experiment that doesn't work until its last 10 minutes with the 'Biryani'. (Review By Bobby Sing)

08 Dec, 2015 | Movie Reviews / 2015 Releases

For a change let me narrate the basic structure of this gutsy experiment wherein a middle-aged director meets a young beautiful girl in a bar and while talking to her remembers his passionate moments lived with 10 different women in the various phases of his life beginning from the early years. The undisclosed interactions with these women get conceived by 11 creative directors on screen in their own distinctive way focusing on love, attraction, sex, lust, anger and much more. And it’s this interesting amalgamation of 11 unusual segments that results in a complete film of around two hours that thankfully ends on a positive note instead of any depressing one.
No doubt an interesting description indeed that sounds quite appealing as a journey into the minds of 11 different women and a man, probably revealing a lot about our hidden psyche having unlimited dimensions or layers of unseen scary fantasies, we ourselves are not aware of.
But unfortunately that is not what the film offers to us as per the promises made, resulting in a rather messy collage of personal interpretations of 11 young and talented directors (including a few reputed film reviewers too).
On a contradictory note, the concept of roping in several directors for a single project revolving around a common theme is not a novel one as projected by the makers in their promotional campaign. The experiment has been tried a few times before in the west and in Hindi films too as in DARNA MANA HAI (2003), DARNA ZAROORI HAI (2006), DUS KAHANIYAN (2007), THE LAST ACT (2012) and BOMBAY TALKIES (2013), with THE LAST ACT coming quite close to X – PAST IS PRESENT in terms of conceptualization (as it also had 12 debut directors looking upon ‘a murder mystery’ in their individual 10-12 minutes short segments forming a complete film).
Having said that, there still exists a unique novelty in the present project, as it has an exclusive feature of 11 experimental directors visualizing the intense love-hate relationships of ‘the same man’ in different phases of his life, bringing in their own personal perspective, not found in any of the attempts mentioned above in particular.
But then why it dosen’t work?
That's because not even one of the 11 contributing directors seems to be ever interested in reaching the viewer talking to him as an impressive story-teller. In fact all the 11 look like competing with each other to come out as the most thoughtful, artistic and deep filmmaker than the other, forgetting everything about the end-users sitting in the theater losing a good amount of money spent on those costly tickets sold by the exploitative multiplexes.
In other words, it’s as if they all are having a bet that who will turn out to be the most creative-visionary director presenting his given section of the film with the weirdest choices of head spinning camera angles, forcibly written one liners and unwanted close-ups of the ladies, offering nothing enjoyable or entertaining to all the energetic, serious supporters of such experimental cinema.
Sharing the experience of watching it in the theater, the film straight away begins with some unbearable camera movements introducing the key characters and this absurdity continues right till the end giving you a real tough time looking at the screen. Besides, the reason that you don’t get to see the main protagonist’s face clearly in its majority of sequences, turns out to be the most frustrating feature of the film quite frankly (as the young character of Rajat Kapoor is presented without showing his face in few segments and the director also presents the scenes in an irritating first person narrative creating an unnecessary tension). Further despite getting conceived by 11 different directors, the story proceedings fail to the engage the viewers in any entertaining manner and one keeps expecting something interesting to surface soon till it all comes down to the concluding segment of the film innovatively titled ‘BIRYANI’ (the titles of each story get displayed in the end credits), that thankfully offers something intriguing and exciting that can be cheered for.
Adding to the very few merits of the project, Rajat Kapoor is immensely believable playing the lead character and it seems to be his own life on the screen proving his silent talent not deservingly tapped by our reputed directors. Anshuman Jha, as the young Rajat manages to give a decent performance playing the confused boy, but its only Swara Bhaskar among the group of girls who successfully makes a solid impact in the final 10 minutes of the film generating a mixed feeling of disgust and amazement together. So surprisingly it’s neither Huma Qureshi nor Radhika Apte but Swara who becomes the sole winner in the project providing the much required shock in the end. Plus it was also great to see the always young, charming and lovable Usha Uthup featuring in a sweet cameo too in one of its key sections.
Summing up, though the film is a collective presentation of 11 sections directed by 11 talented directors dealing with 11 girls, yet its only one segment that actually has some quality stuff to offer putting it honestly. And (as mentioned above) its the final segment of the film featuring Swara and Jha together titled BIRYANI. But instead of spilling out the beans about its uncanny title, I would like to add that these last 10 minutes of the film would readily remind you of the good old days of maestro RAM GOPAL VERMA when he successfully tried to scare us all like hell with many of his enjoyable spooky projects beginning with RAAT.
In short, skip it if some abstract art confusingly trying to present a philosophical take on life doesn’t appeal you. But do try if you wish to study an interesting but failed experiment that attempts to look into the life of ‘the same person’ through the unrelated, distinctive mindsets of 11 creative directors.
Ratings : 2 / 5
(The List of Directors : Abhinav Shiv Tiwari, Anu Menon, Hemant Gaba, Nalan Kumaraswamy, Pratim D Gupta, Q, Raja Sen, Rajshree Ojha, Sandeep Mohan, Sudhish Kamath and Suparn)
Note : The makers of such experimental projects should importantly note that a deliberately increased ticket price of 350-500 rupees would not let anyone even think of trying such off-beat, lesser known ventures very frankly.
In fact for such projects the multiplexes should have special lesser ticket prices in the range of 100-200 inviting more youngsters, following the vision with which they were actually started as per the government programs.

Sadly now these multiplexes are betraying & fooling both the public & their initial vision together with no control as such by the authorities.

Tags : X Past Is Present Movie Review by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Bollywood Movies Reviews, by Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
08 Dec 2015 / Comment ( 0 )
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