I am often intrigued by the decisions made by filmmakers when they try to show a character under the effects of mind-altering substances -- how do you possibly show what is going on, what the character is feeling, thinking, perceiving?
It's a problem Anurag Kashyap faced with his film Dev.D. Kashyap sought the advice of director Danny Boyle, and the result is there on the screen.
In Janbaaz, director Feroz Khan faced a similar issue -- with what I think are intriguing results. I will do a proper look at the film at some point, but frankly, the Tech Guy and I sat down last night to watch it and the two of us ended up a little....stunned.
Now, watching a film with the Tech Guy can occasionally be a surprising experience, because sometimes I drag him to all these films and he watches just because he likes movies and not because he's made the choice, and yet, he takes it all in and then occasionally blows me away with stuff that makes me think.
I was commenting that it was obvious that Feroz Khan had a vision and an aesthetic that he was trying to capture, and that it didn't always work, but was incredibly intriguing to think about, and how it made me think about Salvador Dali, and then the Tech Guy said he thought it all looked like "avant-garde masala" to him. Not to mention reminding him of Dev.D. At the exact moment that I was thinking about how Kashyap solved the problem of showing his main character on a high, and how Khan had made a different set of choices in doing that.
Which is a long-winded way of saying that now I really need to sit down and think about the film before I write anything about it, because right now, all I could say is, "Holy moly, that is probably the singularly most cracktastic film I have ever seen." Which I think would do Feroz Khan and Janbaaz a great disservice.
Not that it isn't cracktastic. Because it is. But that's not all it is.
However -- that's not why I started writing this post today. No, if I'm thinking about Janbaaz this morning, it's because the film features what would seem to be the only guest appearance Sridevi made in her entire career. In an interview she gave last year at the time of the death of the great and awesome FK, Sridevi spoke about her role in the film, and why she accepted it. (Hint: it's because he was TOTALLY AWESOME.)
Sridevi makes a brief appearance in the film as Seema, the love interest of Rajesh (Feroz Khan), a police officer working in the narcotics squad and bent on breaking a drug cartel. Seema is a beautiful and talented singer, and she is kidnapped by the cartel, drugged, and then killed, all to punish Rajesh.
The role uses Sridevi's beauty and glamour to advantage -- and contrasts it with her rapid descent as her captors make her dependent on the drug they shoot into her arm, to the point where she is reduced to begging for more when she comes down off her high. Sridevi is brilliant. But don't take my word for it, watch for yourself: