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J,K, Sealdah Wale and Smoke 'em all!!!
Oct 27, 2007 01:51 AM 3685 Views





Well, there are some great movies, good movies and not so good movies. No Smoking falls in the fourth category, stay-away movies. If you are just a guy who looks for a good experience on a cool weekend, this definitely is not for you. Storyline is too complicated, twisted and at times just missing.

The plot goes like this (spoilers ahead, if any)

K(John Abraham) is a well to do, established honcho in business and apparently lives life on his own terms, shown by dialogues directed towards himself in the opening scenes, where he stands in front of the bathroom mirror and say "Nobody tells me what to do". Anjali(Ayesha Takia) plays his wife and secretary and an exasperated partner who tries hard to get K to quit smoking. His friend Abbas(Ranvir Shorey), a smoker in his early days, now has been clean for quite some time, all thanks to Sri Sri Baba Bangali Sealdah Wale(Paresh Rawal), who seems to use unconventional tactics like blackmailing, threatening, cutting of fingers(done to Abbas), even murder for helping out his patients.

Abbas seems to have lost his hearing capabilities as well as his index and middle finger. When Anjali finally threatens K for divorce, he agrees to go for the cleansing program of Baba Bangali. When K realises, the threat of his near and dear ones' lives if he smokes another cigeratte, he gets wary of this entire program and in his desperation to get out of this program, he decides to fly away to a far flung place, from where he will take another trip to another far flung place and so on, keeping the final destination a complete secret to himself till the last moment. He reasons that, if he himself doesnt know the final destination then how can Baba Bangali's people can follow him. But to his dismay, when he lights up and takes the first puff of the cigerette in a remote African desert, he finds himself again in the net of this Baba Bangali apparently kidnapping J, brother of K, and subjecting him to 8000 cigerettes smoke. He lives yet  very critical. The story goes on, where he loses Anjali, and then finally finds himself in apparent murder of his wife, Anjali. Anjali is missing with his apartment ransacked and blood stains on the walls. The story takes another twist , when he finds himself from the interrogation room to his bathtub in his home. He then discovers in a parcel sent by the same Baba Bangali, the actual contract of the program. The contract reveals that K can finally smoke between the last minute of a year and the first minute of the next. This is called the zero minute. he can smoke only at a special place, on zero minute. So when he finally reaches over there he finds thousands of youngsters, men, already assembled waiting for the zero minute. When the zero minute arrives, everybody starts smoking but he goes out from the crowd, goes upto the stage, and points out to Baba Bangali present in the crowd. The crowd sees his gesture and surrounds Baba Bangali, yet K wants to talk to Baba , so he tries to wiggle through the crowd when the scene changes to a rat sniffing its way through some pipe and then the scene goes blank. He finds himself in a desolate home in Siberia with Russian soldiers marching out in the cold. He receives his wife's call and confused with the entire turn of events he asks her if she is still alive. With the entire situation being meddled up, he understands that his nightmare is really happening now.At the very beginning K is shown to have the same dream, while in the bathtub in his home. He sees the same  bathtub of his bathroom outside and knows that there is a pack of cigerette out there(he knows it from his dreams). So instead of taking the usual choice of cigerettes he jumps inside the bathtub to find himself, in a gutter, dirty shanty and  unhabitable place. He finds that it is his antaratma, the soul of the actual K.  The movie ends with K waking up from his bed and goes to bathroom to splash water on his face when he finds his index and middle fingers missing.

(Spoilers end here)

The movie is received quite negatively with critics trashing it already on its first day. The cinematography and sets have been rendered flawlessly. The expert use of lighting, camera to give a dark feeling to the entire scene where K goes to find Baba Bangali is expertly taken. the sets were rendered flawlessly, with the scene of the gutter where he finds himself to be his own soul is superbly made. Acting is top class and Ranvir Shorey, John Abraham, Paresh Rawal come up with excellent performances, in that order. Symbology is used to an extent that the movie becomes a mental gymnastic. And this is spelling to be the death knell on the movie. We cant classify it to be a noir film yet there is a distinct dark feeling to it. I would rather classify classics like "Rififi", "The Postman always ring twice" to be a noir.

At times it felt as if Kashyap is trying to bank on John Abraham's hunk image when he is repeatedly shown bare bodied with a cigerrette dangling from his lips, almost tentatively and him donning cool sunglasses in the bathroom mirror. The opening credits roll out with him smoking a cigerette away.

The montage of K and Abbas recounting their childhood memories of smoking is also well shot and executed. I sincerely believe that these movies can only bring a change to the "immature movies"(quote: Kashyap) in India, yet Kashyap unwittingly did too much damage than good. He wrapped this entire essence of superb filmmaking in a tattered unattractive plot. The plot looks too overwhelming, too twisted and too bizarre for any cinema buff to give it a serious thought. Yet there si plenty to learn from it, if you are a NSD product or an indie film maker. Kudos to Kashyap the filmmaker , yet brickbats to Kashyap the story writer.

My verdict a strong "dont watch" for not so-serious movie junta. "Can-give-it-a-try" if you are an enthusiast.  Ratings will vary from a measly 0.2(for aam junta) to 3.00(for movie buffs)

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