Friday, January 16, 2009

Good Night (2008)

A Guest Review - Sent to us from Philip Arlington:

'Good Night', directed by Geetika Narang wins half the battle with the first shot of the film itelf. On the strains of a soft song playing in the background, we see a hand that stretches into the camera and stubs a cigarette out into a transparent glass ashtray. It's an ingenious shot and it has us hooked for things to come. The story is about a cranky old man Khullar (Vinod Nagpal) who lives with his servant ratan (Shivam Pradhan), a cheeky young boy who is not very discreet about his displeasure at Khullar's eccentricities. From the banter between the two, we come to know that Khullar leads a rather disorganized life. Piqued at the kid's insolence, and perhaps nudged by his own conscience, Khullar decides to change his erratic way of life from the subsequent morning. As he slips into his bed, smug in his achievement of going to sleep on time, catastrophe strikes! All of a sudden he realizes that he doesn't know the lyrics of the song that he has been humming for !
some time! Now, faced with this quandry, he can't sleep till he figures out the song. Very soon he realizes the unfeasibility of the task as his house is overflowing with music tapes and it's impracticable to go through his entire collection of music. To distract himself from the deadlock, he decides to listen to radio but the decision proves to be a disaster as all the stations play absurd music. Restless, he is up and about in his house watching television, enjoying a drink, and finally enjoying music of his liking. At a time when Khullar is perhaps the happiest he has been in the entire eventful night, he comes face-to-face with his solitude. What happens henceforth cannot be divulged as it would ruin it for people who'll see the film. Shortly after, the film winds up, with some rapid twists to conclude the otherwise leisurely paced narrative. It's a charming end, where all the threads are tied together and all the dilemmas resolved (well, almost!).

It's a wonderful debut by Geetika Narang, who is also the writer of the film. There are times when in terms of the plot, there is not too much significant movement, but Narang utilizes those moments as asides to build up the situation and the characters. The treatment is fairly realistic and the attention to detailing is commendable. Vinod Nagpal performs Khullar with restrained precision. His pitching of the character is bang-on, as he makes the gradual shift from the quirky Khullar to the sensitive one and then back to the quirky one with perfection. The character is an oddball, yet a warm one and Nagpal essays it with admirable ease. Special mention also has to be made of Shivam Pradhan who turns up with a fine performance as the outspoken Ratan. The cinematography by Yasir Abbasi is exquisite. As mentioned earlier, right from the first shot of the film, it is an exercise in visual brilliance. It is one of those films where the camera becomes a character itself, and the e!
xecution is impeccable. Background score by Ashhar Farooqui augments the mood of the story and the fact that it is minimalist adds up to the silence/loneliness of the central character. Mukesh Saini and Manoj Shrivastava have done a competent job with the editing. The film has been edited involving the simple cut-to-cut technique and steers clear of the trappings of the modern edit patterns, and that works, as the fancy effects used nowadays are more often than not a cover-up for a bad product. 'Good Night' does prove it once again that there is no substitute for a simple telling of a simpler story. It's a sweet little gem of a movie and is highly recommended.


Anonymous Jennifer Lawson said...

Nice review. It's a brilliant movie. I was mesmerized by the whole nostalgic feel in the movie. Great work!

1:44 PM  
Blogger J said...

Thanks for the review. Where did you view the film "Good Night". Thank you once again for the good things you have said about the movie.....

7:37 AM  

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