Wednesday, June 03, 2009

JOHNNY GADDAR (Hindi; 2007): A Follow-Up

As a follow-up to my review of Sriram Raghavan's Johnny Gaddaar, and in connection with MasterPraz's review of the film:

I loved the sequences involving Seshadri (Dharmendra) and his dead wife, and Seshadri's tape of her crooning the “Mora gora angh lai le” song from Bandini (vaguely reminiscent of Krapp's Last Tape -- given what Vikram (Neil Mukesh) does to him, it certainly is Seshadri's last tape)): in evoking the image of an “old world” and aging thief out of sync with more ruthless times today, Raghavan also evokes a bygone era in Bollywood, be it by way of the references to films like Bandini, Jonny Mera Naam, or Parwana. Neil Mukesh’s character might be inspired by the Dev Anand starrer to take "Johnny" as his name for purposes of his plan to rip-off his partners in crime, but his generation has turned ghaddaar (traitor), slaying the father to grab what’s his. Standard Freudian drama, except that this is about cinema (not an Oedipal contest over the mother), and hence the woman singing the song from Bandini is long since dead, and (for the audience) the (cinematic) era she hearkens to, long past. Leaving the living fighting over scraps.

1 comment: said...

I read both your posts on Johnny Gaddar and found them quite interesting. Raghavan has made a gem of a movie without being too complex. And I agree with you that the parts where Dharmendra listens to his dead wife singing on tapes are very good and are able to convey the love that was required in those scenes.