Filmistaan is easily one of the best films about movies in Bollywood, but unlike most of the films of this kind, its not in Bombay that it is set. The film is set in borders of India and Pakistan, where superstars and classics are worshipped like gods and temples. It has humour and a little sensation, but it is a very simple film with warmth which you must embrace whenever you watch.
Let me warn you the film has a forgettable second half despite its memorable performances. Post-interval too, some moments feel like pure drags. But it stays with you as long as you keep watching it- watching the movies- and be in your mind too.
I'm going with 3 out of 5 for 'Filmistaan'. You need to watch it because it is easily one of the best Hindi films this year which transcend the borders of limitless storytelling, be it literally, be it the metaphor. Strong it is, and so is it simple.
Filmistaan, a film by Nitin Kakkar (his debut film), a tribute to Film Industry for its completion of 100 years of cinema. Before its official release on 6th June, 2014, it has won many accolades and awards during various cine festivals (Refer a subheading ‘Awards’ towards the end of this review). Partition could just divide the land, but people’s hearts still remain united. People across the border love watching Bollywood films, it is a great source of entertainment for them. People appreciate the work of artists irrespective of their nationality, rather the fans exist everywhere. Essence of this movie is that a film, its characters, overall this form of art can spread love amongst people, can remove the fences. Nitin has highlighted Indo-Pak cross-border issues but he also projects that people still feel connected with one another. Will we ever get back our old days of togetherness?
The movie begins with an aspiring Bollywood actor Sunny aka Sukhwinder Arora’s (Sharib Hashmi) audition for a chocolate advertisement. Although Sunny is not able to get through audition, he gets an opportunity to be an assistant director for an American film crew shooting a documentary in Rajasthan (Indo-Pak Border), for which he travels outdoor along with them. A militant group mistakenly kidnaps Sunny instead of Americans, and make him hostage in a small village in Pakistan in Aftaab’s (Inaamuihaq) house. Aftaab, a peddler of pirated DVDs, is a great movie buff, who dreams of making his own film one-day. Aftaab and Sunny hit it off instantly due to common thread between them – Bollywood Movies. Even amidst crisis and gun-toting terrorists around, Sunny’s love for cinema remains intact. He does not lose his sense of humour. He entertains children with his mimicking various artists. He is passionate about his camera (which was with him when he was kidnapped).
The mood of the movie never gets grim in spite of the unfavourable situations. The scene where Sunny directs his own ransom video, and insists upon multiple takes is just hilarious. Another scene, where Aftaab does a screening of Maine Pyar Kiya for the villagers, a segment comes where no audio is there due to poor quality of that pirated DVD. Sunny rattles off those lines effortlessly, a very enjoyable scene. It is so touching to watch the camaraderie between Sunny and Aftaab.
What all events unfold? Is Sunny ever able to come back to India? To what extent Aftaab and Sunny bond? Is Sunny able to make a bond with militants as well? Which one amongst the two win – love or hatred / anger? Does love take precedence over hatred?
Both Sharib and Inaamulhaq have given brilliant, simple, natural and endearing performances.
I just felt that the end could have been clearer. But yes definitely, this movie deserves your watch.
"As a movie, there is nothing particularly wrong with Filmistaan. It’s a nice story with decent acting, good characterizations and overall it’s comparable to your typical Hollywood “feel good” dramedy in the way it handles itself. Of course, the melodrama and slow-motion sequences meant to evoke empathy for the Indian’s plight goes a bit too far over the line and reminds us that this is after all, a Bollywood film about the love of Bollywood films. Can cinema really change the world? Can it really bring a mutual understanding between Indians and Muslim extremists in Pakistan? This “amaan ki aasha” film makes the case that yes, it can."
FULL REVIEW: https://extrasensoryfilms.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/filmistaan/