(For Ashwin Kini & Gandhiji)
The first hint of trouble with the whining bastard Sudhish Kamath’s film Good Night Good Morning came when we saw a grateful acknowledgment to Ulaga Madayan Kamal Haasan at the top of the opening credits.
Uh-oh. Not a good omen, we told ourselves.
Folks, only in Incredible India does a young film-maker start off with something so stupid, so disgusting like acknowledging a shameless thief.
Kinda like an Auschwitz survivor dedicating his book on the dreadful Concentration Camp experience to Der Fuehrer.
Or is Sudhish tacitly acknowledging his inspiration from the song Hello, My Dear Wrong Number from Kamal’s 1976 film Manmadha Leelai.
Who can tell.
Different but Not Good
No matter that we didn’t think much of Good Night Good Morning, we will readily accept it’s different from the run of the mill trash flowing from the Augean stables of Bollywood, Kollywood and Tollywood.
Also in an age when film-makers resort to all kinds of computer generated graphic gimmicks to stir jaded moviegoers, Good Night Good Morning dares to be in black and white.
Except for some flashback bits in color.
Was this black and white move dictated by a modest budget? Perhaps.
Set in and around New York City, the English language movie is about a late night telephone call between a tipsy young guy Turiya (Manu Narayan) traveling in a car with his buddies and a not-so-young lady Moira (Seema Rahmani), alone in a hotel room.
It’s New Year’s eve and both have just left a bar.
Yes, the same bar where their paths crossed.
Both Manu Narayan and Seema Rahmani are decent actors.
And that’s sweet relief considering the Indian film universe is peopled mostly with buffoons like Ajith, Priyanka Chopra, Kareena Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan etc who know zilch about acting.
But when you make a film in a closed setting like a small room or moving car for instance, the script has to be dazzling to compensate for the absence of visual appeal.
That’s where we found Good Night Good Morning wanting.
The script of Good Night Good Morning was just a notch above mediocre.
One of the remarkable films of the simple, one-set genre that we watched a couple of years back is 12 Angry Men. Remarkable for the insight it provides into the human soul.
Everything about 12 Angry Men, from the beginning to the middle and the denouement was striking.
Not surprisingly, the 1957 film won three Oscar nominations – Best Director, Best Picture and Best Writing of Adapted Screenplay.
Au contraire, there was not much to get excited about with this two set (a moving car and a hotel room) film Good Night Good Morning.
In our not so humble view, Good Night Good Morning falters primarily because the writing doesn’t keep pace with the off-beat theme.
And the rambling conversation theme itself didn’t endear itself to yours truly.
We suspect Sudhish Kamath’s limited budget determined his choice of theme.
So, were the dialogs sparkling or witty?
Alas, only on few occasions.
While the budget may have constrained Sudish Kamath’s choice of theme surely where the writing was concerned he was not so constrained.
So if you’re looking for the culpable persons to vent your spleen on, they are the film’s two writers Sudhish Kamath and Shilpa Rathnam.
If you have time to waste, you can watch Good Night Good Morning on TV via the Mela Entertainment channel with the Roku box. No, we couldn’t locate it on the iPad.
But your time would be better spent catching something more entertaining this weekend on the Netflix Instant cornucopia.
Our biggest concern now is that when the word spreads on how a no-name fella like Sudish Kamath has put out an English film, it might embolden the buffoons to come out of the woodwork and throw their film-hats in the ring too.
And that would be a tragedy for the nascent indie film movement in India.