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A few days ago, I watched Sudhir Mishra's Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi with
some friends. I am still thinking of it after more than a week has
passed. Rare does it happen that an Indian movie leaves such a lasting
impression. It is refreshingly bold in its portrayal of its central
characters and the story of their personal journeys in search for their
The story is set in the early 70's when emergency and pro-poor (naxalite) movement shaped the thoughts and actions of millions of idealistic youth in India. The story deals with three characters- two males and a female, each from a different stratum of Indian society- each with different passions, goals and idealism. It is their story of love, hope and final attainment of their goals.
The central and most important character is without doubt Chitrangada Singh's Geeta. Her idealism draws her to revolutionary ideas, but she is torn by her need for the softer, more materialistic things of life, for love and a family. This constant pull shapes her life, her choices, and her final destination, depicted touchingly in the end of the movie. She is shown as the most human of all the characters, making her the most believable and most admirable. On one hand, I am in awe of her strength and inner resolve; on the other hand, I feel her suffering and emotional trauma.
KayKay Menon's character Siddharth starts out as a youth of privilege who takes a bold step of fighting for the cause he believes in, leaving behind his only true love. He struggles with the repressive authorities and the demons with in him- his sudden realization that he is after all human in the chase scene, had a dramatic effect on me, suddenly bringing other side of his nature into sharp perspective. His desire to fight out the authorities is derived from his own insecurities about himself. He finds his closure when he accepts his failures.
The most complex of all these characters is Shiny Ahuja's Vikram. His desire to climb the social ladder is surpassed only by his fiery passion for Geeta. She is the only centrality to his other wise meaningless, high powered, and politically connected life. She makes him yearn for making himself successful, and that is what drives her away from him. His choices can be understood only in the context of the complex and unfulfilled relationship he shares with Geeta. His love is never requited in the true sense of the word. Nevertheless, he is the one who finally brings meaning back into Geeta's life.
Technically, the movie is very good, with nice camera work and precise scissors of the editor. Some scenes are breathtaking in their beauty. Dialogues are sometimes difficult to understand, but that ends up adding to the over all tension of the movie. A must watch for any lover of good cinema!
A real breath of fresh air in Indian cinema, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi
is a very real, earnest, crackling-with-life portrayal of what it
(apparently) was like to be a college student in Delhi in the late 60s
and 70s with the opposing currents of Marxism and (indira) Gandhian
totalitarianism. Intertwined with the ideology and the politics is a
love story of three people, who start off with different ideas and
whose ideas criss-cross in the course of the film. Superb direction,
vibrant cinematography, slick editing, lovely music and superlative
performances from all three protagonists make for a thoroughly
satisfying cinematic experience. The surprise package is Shiny Ahuja,
whose model-boy looks belie a prodigious acting talent. Both Kay Kay
Menon and Chitrangda Singh deliver superb performances with Chitrangda
looking stunning throughout. People say she looks like Smita Patil, I
wouldn't know. While the film is not without its faults, including the
occasional stilted dialogues and imprecision in the narrative, the
overall effect is good enough to make you forget these. Watch this and
PS. I also have a quibble with the way 5.1 sound was used quite ineffectively when it could have been much better employed in many scenes. But it's churlish to complain about such things in a treat of a movie!!
Today is a generation obsessed with western clothes, western accent,
western everything... They tend to forget that they can explore these
luxuries ONLY because their homeland is a free nation and a democracy.
Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi is meant to be an eye-opener for the youth who
have not seen India when she was down and a reminder for the adults of
what their generation and their older generations survived.
The movie starts off as a few people just following some ideologies that are very common in the college campuses. But some of them take it too far and decide to live their lives by those ideals while others go and make money and a grand living. Both lives have meanings of their own. The movie very eloquently shows how diverse India is... it shows the cities that are flourishing in wealth and dirty politics; it also shows villages where people die because of poverty or even caste related oppression.
The movie might be perceived in another way too... It could look like the moral is to "Not follow your ideologies if they are for just the well being of others"... but then is that life really worth living?? I think the underlying message was to just follow your vision to completion even if the sacrifices required are humongous.
The casting was perfect. Kay Kay Menon proves to be a very versatile and powerful actor. Inspite of being quite new to movies, he shows a lot of maturity and intelligence in the way he acts. I cannot imagine anyone other than Shiny Ahuja in the role of Vikram. He brings in the "cool" element in the movie. He has the charisma of a fixer-upper guy and also the fiery passion of a man in love with a woman who is in love with someone else. Chitrangada Singh does a terrific portrayal of the girl born and brought up in metros but finally following her ideals (or maybe the ideals of the man she loves). She has a lot of potential to be a powerful character actress.The two songs - title track and 'bawra mann' are really haunting melodies.
I don't think the film was a commercial success... But I definitely vote it as a "must see"... worth every penny! Its nice to see Pritish Nandy putting his money into projects that have some social value...
Here we go.After a long time finally i watched Haazaron Khwaishein
Aisi.Or you can say'Thousand desires such as these'.Sudhir Mishra is a
wonderful director.But he seemed somewhat lost during 'Chameli' and
'calcutta mail' when he tried to combine meaningful cinema with
commercialism But with Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi he is back in form as
he was during 'Is Raat Ki Subah Nahi' and 'dharavi' But most of the
dialogues are in English
Story: Sidhharth(kay kay menon) is an idealist. Born to a Muslim lawyer father and a Hindu mother and believes in Marxism.The story traces Siddharth's journey from Marxist jargon to the Maoist (Naxalite) rebellion. His emotional attachment to Geeta does not stop him from his political pursuits. Post-college, Geeta(Chitrangada Singh) is married to an IAS officer but she continues to see Siddharth on the sly. Vikram(Shiny Ahuja) too has always nursed unconditional love in his heart for Geeta. But that's all there is to his soft side. A small town boy once, Vikram climbs the social ladder by networking in the big league unabashedly. Geeta ends her marriage and starts living in the village with Siddharth. This is the time in the film when Geeta's character evolves. From a London-bred girl to teaching village women, or having a child out of wedlock or asking favours from Vikram in hours of need to a lot of other gruesome realities, Geeta discovers herself. The story movies on. The characters mature and move on. They regret. They apologise. They change. Their lives are not the same.
Hazaaron Khwashien Aisi is path breaking cinema in every aspect.There are movies and movies and movies..then comes Hazaron Khwaishein Aisi.Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi..'thousands of desires such as these'. Life is full of desires.We keep on desiring more and more but how much our desires gets fulfilled?
Kay Kay is good as always.Given the screen time he have got he is good in that.His faith..his ideology and to live for a reason makes u think.He is just perfect
Chitrangada Singh playing the central character is even better than a performance what you can call outstanding The way her character shapes up.From a student to a lover and then living for a cause she is simply outstanding. Her performance is totally flawless.And yes she reminds you of Smita Patil.Both in looks and in acting
And now Shiny Ahuja.From a one sided lover to mastermind rich broker and a person who receives the worst fate he is simply 'Incredible'. Your heart will go for him.His unconditional love and the way he helps geeta over and again is simply out of the world. Love should be unconditional..if there are conditions it doesnot remain love.The character of 'Vikram Malhotra' is so much powerful it will left you thinking about him even after movie ends.In the scene in which he says 'I am getting married' and then he starts dancing and the soulful music 'Mohabbat Mein Nai Hai Farq Jeene Aur Marne Ka Usi Ko Dekh Kar Jeete Hai Jis Kaafir Pe Dum Nikle'. The pain,agony and sadness which he delivers through his smile just leaves u speechless
Music is of high standard.Lyrics are so much meaningfull and heart touching
What makes the movie stand out is the subtle way in which the motivations of each of the characters evolve through the story and the delicate and restrained portrayal of their melange of emotions affecting their decisions at different points of time with different political and social contexts. As my favourite movie critic Mayank Shekhar sums up this movie 'It is this most relevant and urgent mirror of our period that makes Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi one of the most significant films of any time. And a film that I think college kids should remember Mishra by. The confrontation between Siddharth and his dad when his dad says 'So u have faith in an ideology that talks about violation and murder of people as a way of changing the system..what gives u that right?'..Simply incredible
Its definitely one of the best films of this decade.Hard-hitting yet so subtle Its a much watch for everyone who loves quality cinema. A thousand desires such as these...left unfulfilled
Finally i would end this review with the incredible lyrics of the song 'Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi'
A thousand desires such as these A thousand moments to set this night on fire Reach out and you can touch them You can touch them with your silences You can reach them with your lust Rivers mountains rain Rain against a torrid hill's cape A thousand A thousand desires such as these
I loved rain as a child As a lost young man Empty landscapes Bleached by a tired sun And then And then Suddenly it came Like a dark unknown women Her eyes scorched my silences Her body wrapped itself around me Like a summer without end
Pause me hold me reach me Where no man has gone Crossing the seven seas With the wings of fire I fly towards nowhere And you Rivers mountains rain Rain against a scorched landscape of pain
A thousand desires such as these A thousand moments to set this night on fire Reach out and you can touch them You can touch them with your silences You can reach them with your lust Rivers mountains rain Rain against the torrid hill's cape A thousand, A thousand desires such as these ...........
Swansong for unfulfilled dreams!
Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi Dir- Sudhir Mishra Cast- KayKay Menon, Chitrangada Singh, Roshan 'Shiny' Ahuja, Ram Kapoor and Yashpal Sharma. Written by- Sudhir Mishra, Ruchi Narain and Shiv Subramanium. Rating- ***
At the heart of Sudhir Mishra's political chronicle about three individuals during the India of the 70's lies an inherent cry for reform that is valid even in the current age that we live in. 'Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi' then, is not just an account of the Naxal movement that rose, survived, faltered and eventually died in the dictatorial times of Indira Gandhi. As the title rightly suggests, it is about a thousand such dreams that have been left unfulfilled, or soured if realized! Not since Gulzar has a director managed to weave a political story with such assurance.
Siddharth(KayKay Menon) is a young affluent collegian who mulls over the state of affairs with his friends while they dope! Their Gods- Bob Marley, Karl Marx and Che Guevera! Fired with a desire to change things around rather than being dogmatic about the crisis like his earlier generation, he enters the Naxal movement. Joining him on his quest is Geeta(Chitrangada Singh), a woman who has no views of her own but believes that the man she loves must be right! Add to the mix a removed individual who could be an island if he wished! Vikram(Shiny Ahuja) couldn't care less about his country, but is madly in love with Geeta. Destiny takes these individuals on three different routes over the next five years and brings them together again at a time when the country is in turmoil and an Emergency declared. Siddharth is now an active member of the Naxal faction of Bihar, while Geeta is in an unhappy marriage to an IAS officer. Vikram meanwhile has become a 'fixer' and moves in the corridors of power and fame, raising toasts at social dos. Geeta begins an affair with Siddharth and soon accompanies him in his pursuit. As the nation gets chaotic in the following years, Indira Gandhi systematically eliminates all her threats by any means possible and emerges victorious. Siddharth and Geeta are just two of the many sufferers of this clamping down by the government. It is here when Vikram decides to use his influence to rescue his unrequited love, and more importantly- her love!
It is no mean task to include three lives spanning a decade in a script that is merely 120 minutes long. Writers Shiv Subramanium, Ruchi Narain and Mishra himself, do a wonderful job at that. However, one can't be left feeling that the proceedings get too episodic at times. The erratic editing(Catherine D'hoir) doesn't help! Without being construed as a censure, this story is actually suited for a two season series where characters can be allowed to have a development graph and every single incident given enough attention to! But one doubts if in the orgy of saas-bahu serials, any soul will be prepared to spare some time for a serious venture such as this. Let it be!
Mishra doesn't fall into the trap of making 'Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi' into a generic political movie. In fact, the movie doesn't even show us any political leaders of the time. What Mishra does is use the cinematic language of allowing characters to be allegorical references to the whole! Vikram's failed love and his eventual state at the climax is just that- an allegory to what we have been left with. Siddharth's disillusionment also acts as a failure of the whole movement. And amidst all of this, Geeta finds her true voice. Her character assumes shape after going through upheavals of love, hope, disappointment, exploitation and finally comprehension! Much like our country indeed! The recurring haunting track, 'Man yeh bawaraa' aptly captures the mood and ethos, and lingers in you long after you've left the movie.
It is worth noting that nearly the whole film is spoken in the English language. This is the second such experience after Bhansali's 'Black'(although Mishra's film was completed much earlier). Though I do not have anything against the use of English in Hindi films(it is a sign of our times), I can't help wondering whether the preference is out of necessity or simply because these young writers think in English! Also, the fact that we are seduced by Vikram- the blithest character leaves you with a sense of guilt. I'm not sure if Mishra intended that!
But such minor quibbles left aside, 'Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi' is a movie that must be seen by every collegian but sadly won't! They are too busy following the fads of the Johars and Chopras! And mind you, this movie is not an exercise in history lesson! There are some fine performances that adorn this cinematic jewel. KayKay is as he usually is- competent. In an underwritten character, he manages to do exceptionally well. Chitrangada Singh is eerily similar to the late Smita Patil. She is almost a reincarnate! Her emotional range aside, she is also a true Indian beauty- dark and elegant! Ram Kapoor as her husband leaves a definite impression. Eventually though, it is Shiny Ahuja's performance that rivets you the most. In a virtuoso display of talent, he announces himself to Bollywood. Whether it his cocky smirk, his dormant rage, his hidden anguish or his genuine irritation- Shiny is simply brilliant. Easily one of this year's best performances!
- Abhishek Bandekar
* Poor ** Average *** Good **** Very Good ***** Excellent
17th April, 2005
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I just finished watching this movie. Its a 2003 movie, and this is
2006. Why was I unaware of it when it was released - I don't know!
Thanks to a few friends, who brought my attention to the movie.
I am thinking of a suitable adjective for the movie -- 'superb' seems like a huge understatement. The movie is perfect - perfect in all respects. The story has breadth as well as depth. It touches on so many aspects yet one gains something fresh in whichever aspect one focuses on. The narration is honest, brutal, real. All characters are different, standing for their own ideals, consistent with who they are and so very disjoint from who the others are. Not one character does anything that cannot be justified in their context. None of the characters go overboard in their actions, something that is almost inconceivable for anything that comes out off Bollywood. I can go on and on.
But these are not really the things that I noticed while I was watching the movie. All these intellectual appreciations are afterthoughts. As I watched the movie I got intensely involved with the characters, their stories, their lives. Different characters stand for different things - Siddharth wants to contribute to the upliftment of people in the village, he is willing to leave everything and willing to stay in the villages for his cause. Geeta loves Siddharth to the extent that his cause becomes her own. Vikram loves Geeta immensely but knows that she doesn't love him, at the same time his love to her is pure and unconditional. Vikram is very practical, doesn't believe in these high-funda ideologies of changing the world, is ambitious, wants to earn money. (This synopsis really doesn't do justice to the characters)
So where did my involvement come from? : My involvement with Siddharth came from his passion towards his cause. His unconditional faith in his struggle against all odds, standing by his principles. At the same time, my involvement with Geeta came from her taking bold steps: leaving everything when she felt right, returning to the village inspite of a perpetually threat-filled life there, divorcing, and ignoring social pressures, if any. My involvement with Vikram comes from his being truthful to who he is -- a practical normal person, wants to make big in the world, wants fame, etc. At the same time, he is always ready to use his contacts, his earnings for people that he care for, even for people who are cared by people he cares. A genuine person who never gets the love he yearns for but is still mature enough to pursue his one sided love with full honesty.
As I get involved with all these three characters, these undergo lots of changes -- they mature. They all start at college together, life takes different routes with them, they end up at different places. One notices that life is unpredictable, it has the capacity to offer something that is totally unexpected. While life is unpredictable, people themselves are too -- they change. The process of growth of a person never ends, even to the extent that the sole purpose of life changes sometimes.
I know this became more abstract than I intended it to be, so let me focus on some thoughts that struck me while watching the movie. I noticed how much one's context affects who one is: how a rich child is more inclined to take up social issues, as money is not an issue with him, whereas a lower middle class person better earn some money and feed himself and his family well. Also, the brutality of Gandhian principles and altruistic living develops in the child a sheer disrespect for a selfless life, because the child recognises the neglect he/she suffered while the parent was away helping others.
Another interesting observation is that we, humans, tend to leave behind the original reasons for our doing something in the first place. For instance, Geeta continues to work in the village even when Siddharth is no longer there, because she started owning the cause. The cause didn't remain limited to something she is doing for Siddharth.
Somewhat ironical was the fact that Vikram who used to be so disjoint from the whole ideal I-will-change-the-world business, was the one who was most severely affected in the end from the whole process. It was ironical because he wasn't there taking the blows for the cause. He was there taking blows for Siddharth. And he didn't even care for Siddharth so much; he cared for Geeta who cared for Siddharth!
The movie also touches on the Naxalite movement, its original ideology, how there are different factions within the setup etc. It tries to show the movement in a somewhat positive light.
Needless to say that there is a big social commentary on the state of villages (in those days) and to some extent even now, and how people like me living in urban settlements so easily disregard the real issues dealing with them. How we chose to ignore the problems faced by the people there, how we -- relatively more powerful people -- aren't ready to take any stand for them. Even after watching the movie I can't imagine myself leaving the comfortable state of living and stand for this cause, I probably do not have the guts!
If you thought that the 60's and the 70's was just about Rock and Roll,
drugs, and retro clothes, think again? The 3-R's - Revolution,
Rebellion, and Rock n' Roll - dominated most young minds. Rural India
was subjugated. Independence was a mere farce (It's a different issue
that it still is). Amidst all this chaos, the youth of India were
driven towards various Ideologies. But how many of them were serious
about the paths they chose? It was a fad during the 60-70's to indulge
in drugs, rock n roll and college morchas. Most students entered
college politics and turned into rebels, who were against the
capitalist values of the society and the government in general. But not
everyone was serious. Once their "wonder years" were through, these
so-called socialist preachers, born with a silver spoon, backed away in
testing times. But, then there were those who took this path seriously
to a different level. Those who gave up luxury, and dreams of a
"settled" life with wife and kids for the benefit of those Indians who
suffered due to the Government's apathy.
Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi (HKA) is the story of such turbulent times during the India of the 60's and the 70's. The Emergency, the Naxalite movement, the domination of government in every decision Indians made. It is the story of three people who lead contrasting lives, with contrasting ideologies, and how their lives are intertwined.
If Siddharth (Kay Kay Menon) gives up his luxurious ways to reside in the villages of Bihar and start the Naxalite movement, Geeta (Chitrangada Singh) decides to pursue studies, only to eventually unite with Siddharth and support him in his mission. On the other hand, Vikram (Shiney Ahuja) chooses to be a middleman, or broker, of sorts, fixing dubious deals for the government and the capitalists.
This is a movie about ambitions, of desire, of love, and politics. If Siddharth continues his undying mission to form a strong Naxalite movement; Geeta, in spite of being married to Arun (Arif Zakaria), supports Siddharth from the outside as her lover, and confidante. It is as much about Geeta's own struggle of making the right choice: marriage, ideology, love, and as much about Vikram who, in spite of being a womanizer, continues to love Geeta and willing to go to any extent only to be in Geeta's good books.
HKA is a reminder to the youth of today that there were times when young blood was idealistic and not idle-istic. It is a dark reality, and a bitter truth of the struggle, which many went through during those turbulent times. Maybe the youth should wake up to such calls, and not just work in call-centers, lest we downgrade to a society where we might again be dominated and Independence becomes a facade.
I had no clue what the movie was about when I rented it, and I absolutely loved it. Though I felt there were a few oddities when I saw it for the first time, when I watched it for the second and third time, I was able to appreciate the excellent performances by the entire cast, and the awesome script. Especially Shiny Ahuja, who plays Vikram Malhotra to perfection - every single expression on his face throughout the movie was a 100% apt. I also loved the Indian-ness imbued in the settings - the houses, roads, cars, government buildings, sound of birds, Geeta's sarees etc. Made me feel deeply nostalgic. The music adds to the poignancy of the movie, and is used very fittingly, to create a dramatic effect in certain scenes. I highly recommend this movie to all movie buffs, because I think of it as a unique work of art from the Hindi film industry. It's entertaining to those who want light entertainment, provides food for thought to those who are keen on watching films with ideological themes, and is an absolute must-see for die-hard romantics.
Top-notch performances, touching back-ground score and its intense
script take 'Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi' to never-before-scaled heights
of cinema.Its a movie about believing in something so unconditionally,
that you give whatever it takes to stand up for it..even if it is your
The film showcases the three selfless lives of free India's first generation in their youth set in the back-drop of Naxalite moment and Emergency.
Shiny Ahuja is dynamic as Vikram.Kay Kay Menon(Siddrath) conveys more through his expressions and tone than this dialogs, once again proving his excellence as an actor.Chitrangada Singh(Geeta) ligths up every frame not only with her flawless beauty but, equally with her deep performance as well.she is simply brilliant. This movie sets the standard for excellence in cinema.A true masterpiece.
In India there are only two periods which drove the youth into
ideological confrontation , first during the freedom struggle and the
second during 70s when the youth could not bear to see the fruits of
freedom struggle being frittered away. Now this is where this movie
treads.While there has been many movies on the 70s but not many has
dealt with the subject as political as this.
To come to the story,this movie deals with 3 characters coming from 3 different backgrounds.Sidharth(K K Menon) coming from an influential and affluent family has seen it all .Fed up of the hypocrisy of elite he desperately wants out. Vikram(Shiny Ahuja) coming from a middle class family is uncomfortable at the elite circle but still wants a way into the circle. The third and central character is British educated south-Indian girl Geeta(Chitrangada singh) who is in the middle in love with Sidhharth but not quite comfortable with his ideology.
The story goes forward with movement of each character in its own line of ideal.The characterizations are superb .The mysterious Vikram always in love with Geeta , Sidhharth the ideologue ,and Geeta a woman torn between love,ideology,the bureaucrat husband are superbly etched. The turmoil of the 70s are almost authentic.
A must watch
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