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Kranti In Cinema: CRD Re-Defines Cinema Space




Starring: Saurabh Saraswat , Mrinmayee Godbole, Vinay Sharma ,Geetika Tyagi

Directed by: Kranti Kanade

Rating: ***

Sometimes, on that rare occasion when we are not watching,  Indian cinema pushes the envelope right up  out collective posteriors.

CRD, which it took me a while to figure out is the initials of  the hero’s name, is  one such absolutely irreverent ,sometimes beguiling at other times exasperating,iconoclastic experiment with truth that has so much balls, it defines the testament of the testicles with a heretic delight.

The disregard of convention in form and content is taken to extreme limits in this film where the characters are all part of a renegade theatre group which insidiously implants elements from street theatre and  tropes from commercial Hindi cinema into the range of its own intellectual selfregard. The setting, I came to know, is Pune which triggers  off a stream of speculation on whether this motley group ofrabblerousing rebels  are meant to be from the FTII.There is  every indication that the ragged bunch of thoroughly selfobsessedmisanthropes in CRD represent a section of the artworld which hovers precariously between the underground and the mainstream.

Too deep to be mainstream and yet not deep enough to be consideredavant- garde the theatre-on-film format  of CRD exudes the air of  one of  those coffeehouse gupshups where out-of-work strugglerspretending to be contemptuous of Salman Khan and  Varun Dhawan, talk on any topic from Brecht to Deewaar just to start off a discussion on art and liberty.

Intentionally or not, the boisterous bachchas born out  of Becht’s intellectualism  come across with more bedlam than  relevance.

There  is a Deewaar moment where our cocky smalltown virgin-heroChetan(Surabh Saraswat, interesting face) wonders what happened to the “unknown” character named Mr Aggarwal who had just one sequence with Amitabh Bachchan .Firstly the actor playing MrAggarwal is now unknown but a distinguished character-actor namedSapru. Secondly the penchant to pick on trivia  to show how deeply connected a character is to the world of specific art, is the oldest trick in the  book to impress the beau monde.

A  lot of the time the characters seem to be posturing on stage even when they are…well, not posturing on stage.The attempt to shock us by showing the world of Indian theatre as “liberated” is not quite the stuff that would  jolt us unless it was done in a more sensitized language than what’s spoken here.Abhishek Bachchan  is unnecessarily picked on to show how art can be insulted when conjoined to nepotism.

The bullying acting coach Mayank(Vinay Sharma) takes on the novice Chetan trying to  break through the boy’s defences by staging an impromptu stage-play in  a sports compound making his mother an object  of theatrical lust. The sequence and  the Mayank-Chetanequation seem  like  a subverted variation on the Amadeus-Mozart rivalry , and a jarring one at that.

In another sequence the same bully gropes the film’s female protagonist Persis(Mrinmayee Godbole) during a  workshop saying it’s  nothing but flesh.

Gropers of the world,please unite.

This is the world of Guru Dutt’s Pyasa subverted  beyongrecognition.Without any wheel on the zeal , the characters just roll around in the juices of their  intellectual masturbation not aware of  or bothered about how ridiculous they appear to the outside world.

Flashers are known to be uncaring of  what  the world thinks. This  is a world that has forsaken convention at a young age and doesn’t quite know what to do with the freedom that stretches like  a long highway in front of them.

At the end Chetan tells his girlfriend that everything he had propagated, including his identity, was a lie. We are not shocked. This is what the Chetans  of the world expect us to believe.They want  to shock us.We oblige .

The innovative language  of expression embraced  by  directorKranti Kanade will rock and shock you, as it is meant to. But it will also leave you  sickened and shaken .It’s like a teenager given too much liberty to watch unlimited porn.

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