Tag Archives: Romcom

SPRING (2014): How do you know it’s love? #FILM #RECOMMENDATION

Spring Poster
Spring Poster

It’s been over a week since I saw American indie, SPRING, directed by brilliantly by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, but I haven’t really stopped thinking about it. Love is my favourite genre of all time, but only a few movies have made me reflect over it, and those films need not necessarily be entirely about love at all.

For example, the last film that made me deliberate over love was Spike Jonze’s HER. Unfortunately, I never did end up writing about the film, and I know that Her is about so many larger issues than love – but at its heart, it was about the heart. Because when you think about it, is there really an issue larger than love? Deeper than matters of the heart? Wars have been fought about it, Facebook has been invented over it, wonders of the world have been created for it…

What I really did love about Her – and I think I’ll go back to the film one of these days to feel again what I felt when I first saw it – was that it asked a very pertinent question about love, and attempted to explore the answers to the same: Can love exist beyond bodies? If yes, then can love exist beyond souls too? Of course, in the answer to this question, lies an entire universe of questions about the mind, loneliness, intimacy and sex, which needs to be answered first. And the genius of Her lies in the fact that each one of its viewers would have a different answer to the same, and each one of those answers would be the own, personal truth of that viewer.

Spring, of course, is not nearly as complex as Her, and it doesn’t need to be, because the beauty of the film lies in the simplicity of its theme. But Spring too, raises a pertinent question about an aspect of love that may seem all too simple, but is, in fact, the most complex question, perhaps, of all time: How do you know it’s love? And as an extension to the same: *When* do you know it’s love?

I cannot continue any further without mild spoilers about the plot, but trust me, as in all romantic films, the movie’s not really about the climax at all, but about the journey towards it. Spring is a genre mash up of a romantic comedy and body horror. It’s Richard Linklater meets David Cronenberg; or Woody Allen meets Guillermo Del Toro. But the terrific thing about the film is that it’s got its own, unique take on love, which is distinctly different to those of the aforementioned masters of cinema.

If you’ve seen the trailer of the film above, you’ll know that Spring is about a guy (the charming Lou Taylor Pucci) who meets a beautiful Italian girl (and my God, Nadia Hilker *is* beautiful) and over multiple nights of a Before Sunrise-esque romance, falls desperately in love with her. But instead of a train that the girl needs to get on, there’s a fantastical, paranormal, biological or perhaps straight-up twisted phenomenon that the girl needs to get with, and her love is tested against this ticking clock, but also by this phenomenon.

To go into the territory of strong spoilers: The girl has a condition wherein she’ll morph into another woman every 20 years (but only after becoming a monster first) and live another life from scratch, unless… she falls in love with somebody. And that’s the brilliance of Spring: writer Justin Benson possibly worked backwards with the answer to the question of ‘How/when do you know it’s love’ – when you morph into another being – and created this beautiful, quirky horror romcom that leads upto the ‘will she/won’t she’ climax on drugs.

The body horror element of the script is what lends a wonderful weirdness to this odd scifi romcom, but as with Her, at its heart, Spring is not about the body, but about the heart too. It takes the fear and profound anxiety of learning whether or not the person you love, loves you back, and compounds it with the terrifying fantasy element of the worst way to get turned down ever: by getting eaten by the monster that person turns into! But as they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… as a couple, right?

Lame jokes aside, the gorgeously shot (by Aaron Moorhead) and directed Spring is easily my favourite indie film of the year so far and perhaps will be on the top of my list through 2015, because ultimately, it is about love, in its purest and most heartbreaking form, the love that ‘comes around only a couple of times if you’re lucky.’ And if you’re really lucky, she’ll know that it’s love too.

 

Agree/disagree with the review? Know other films similar to it? Leave your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
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DAAWAT-E-ISHQ: HABIB FAISAL ROCKS! #FBMOVIEREVIEW

By Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon). Original article: http://goo.gl/Uk51lH

How much romance should be in a romantic comedy? I have always felt that the makers of contemporary Bollywood romcoms have not been able to figure that out yet. There’s the new age filmmakers, who believe in ‘less is more’ so there seems to be this big fear when something reaches towards an emotion, or more like, ‘OHMYGOD EMOTION! WHAT DO WE DO NOW? THIS WILL MAKE PEOPLE FEEL AND THAT WILL DESTROY THE WORLD’. For example, the recent Finding Fanny, or Hasee Toh Phasee or Shuddh Desi Romance or you know, Dunno Y.. Na Jaane Kyun (#badjoke).

Then there’s the old school Bollywood filmmakers – or new age old school Bollywood filmmakers – who are basically the sons of somebody or one of the 100 relatives of the Bhatts, who approach emotion as a fat man would approach food: ‘LET’S HAVE EVERYTHING! THIS IS SPARTAAAAAAAAAAA!’ For example, Ek Villain, Aashiqui 2, Tum Mile, and 300 (#secondbadjoke)

And then there’s Dharma, YRF and Imtiaz Ali, who straddle the thin line in between, basically behaving like a drunk guy walking trying to walk straight: one time he will fall to the left, one time he will fall to the right, but he can never, ever stay in the middle. But every once a while, there comes a guy who, like a veteran drunk, can contain his daaru, and *own* this bloody line. Habib Faisal is one such veteran piyakkad (and I’m going to ignore that he wrote Bewakoofiyan because you know what, shit happens, ok?).

Faisal so expertly straddles the rom and the com in his movies that it’s hard to believe the genes of a 16 year old teenage girl and a, say, Asrani or Mehmood, or Keshto Mukherjee, doesn’t run in his blood at the same time (although I have no proof it doesn’t).

Let me cut the crap now and get to the point: Dawaat E Ishq is a romcom feast! It’s a delicious (#wordthatgoeswithdaawat) film with just the right ingredients in just the right quantity (#diditagain) and all the right garnishing on top (#somebodystopme) to make for a perfectly cooked meal (#omgthisisadisease) of love and fun. (#sorry)

I’m not going to get into the story since you should discover that yourself, but what I really loved about the movie is that it’s a movie that completely maintains its irreverent tone from the very beginning to the very end; never for once taking itself too seriously. When there is romance, it’s emphasised so very well in body language or through the eyes, or through the face; basically through everything Parineeti Chopra does because she’s just that damn awesome.

And when there’s drama, it is emphasised not with blaring emotional background music (*cough* Bhansali films *cough*)or a bucketful of glycerine (*cough cough* Bhansali films *gets asthma *); but just through great writing that leads itself to a conflict so well, that you are naturally intrigued to what could happen next. And what happens next, is usually a witty line or a smart foil of a cliché, usually through the OUTSTANDING Anupam Chopra – who is just as good as an Amitabh Bachchan or a Rishi Kapoor in any damn thing he does; in fact, several times he’s better – and the very charming Aditya Roy Kapoor, who’s quite a revelation, really.

For example, in the scene in which Gullu (the girl) has just been proposed to, the camera just stays on her face for a bit – and she is given the freedom to make us feel. And she does it so damn well, that you can’t help but feel and get tingly inside, perhaps because of the direction, perhaps because it’s Parineeti! And when there’s a conflict – like the finale – without giving any spoilers – there’s a leap of logic and some surreality but never any hammering the point away, all done to maintain that fantastic tone that’s been carried from scene one.

The chemistry between Parineeti and Aditya Roy is quite outstanding. To be honest, Parineeti can generate chemistry with a dying puppy if she wants (#ArjunKapoor #runningjoke); but full credit to Aditya Roy Kapoor, who’s taken to the role of a dil-phenk Lucknawi nawaab of the streets, like Deepika has taken to an anti-TOI activist (#snarky #sorryDeepu). To be honest, I really didn’t know Kapoor can act so well, but he’s immensely likeable in this, and makes one thing clear: he belongs among the leads, and he’s here to stay.

Karan Wahi, in the small role he has, is very, very sweet and, pardon my French, cute, and does a super job of making us like him. I really want to see what Kapoor and Wahi do next; their charm is a healthy thing in an industry that needs more of them else Saif Ali Khan will NEVER STOP playing romcom roles. IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? And once again: Anupam Kher!!!!!!!!!!! I mean, what an actor!!!!!!! What a star!!!!!!!!! He owns every frame of what he does!!

The only thing that got my goat a little bit were the badly placed songs, and well, the fact that it had very little plot, but when did things like plot ever come in the way of an enjoyable film, right? I would totally recommend the film: it’s such a great family film after such a long, long time. Light, breezy and very entertaining. And the best part: while being all this, it also makes such a fantastic point about a social evil dowry (so very Rajkumar Hirani-esque, yay). So basically: Habib Faisal roxxxx!

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Note: This article first was first put up on Facebook on September 19, 2014. Link: http://goo.gl/Uk51lH

Picture courtesy: Google. None of the pictures are owned by the author all rights belong to the original owner(s) and photographer(s).
© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.