Posted by: kcgadiyar | October 18, 2009

Hindi DVD director commentaries

One of the reasons i prefer watching DVDs over VCDs (or for that matter over downloaded prints of movies) is the directors commentary feature on them. These commentaries take us behind the process of the making of the film scene-by-scene. Since i watch most movies i want to see upon first release in theatres, this commentary becomes a reason for me buying a DVD. Some directors commentaries are really good (Any Pixar movie) and some are done as an afterthought just so they will have something to put on the DVD. So, when the DVD shop near my home was having a buy 6 DVDs for 200 bucks offer for Diwali, i  just couldn’t resist. I was slightly disappointed by the fact that most hindi DVDs do not have directors commentary on them, but after a lot of searching, i found 5 DVDs having commentary on them (and i bought “Dil Chahta Hai” to make the purchase number 6 items, and this is my review of the commentary on the discs. (Note: this is not a movie review, it is the review of the alternate sound track featuring the commentary only)

1. Rang De Basanti: Rakeysh Mehra introduces us to the film and how he came up with the title, casting etc. I liked the in-depth way in which he dissects each scene in the movie. How he tells us the different points where Aamir Khan ad-libbed certain phrases, the whole concept behind the film etc. The one problem with the commentary is that he dwells on technical details a bit too much, quoting camera speed, shutter speed etc. for a few scenes a lot. Overall, it is a fun bit of commentary.

Major takeaway:The Cameramen on RDB were geniuses, some scenes which look like they were shot during twilight were actually shot in mid-afternoon (something to do with the exposure)

2. Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na: Abbas Tyrewala starts his commentary with the “All Characters are fictitious” screen unlike the others on this list who wait until the credits have started. This was a fun commentary to listen to, and goes to reinforce the Aamir “Perfectionist” Khan stereotype.

Major secret spilled: As i had guessed in this post: https://irreverentlytimed.wordpress.com/2008/10/14/an-idle-observation/ . One of the characters in the movie was supposed to be gay. For some reason, all the scenes involving that storyline were cut during editing.

3. Kal Ho Na Ho: My personal favorite among the commentary tracks heard. Nikhil Advani is extremely forthcoming about everything that happened during the movie shoot. The commentary track is actually much better than his next 2 movies (“Salaam-e-ishq” and “Chandni chowk to china”). Although, at times, it becomes too much of an ass-kissing exercise, but overall it is pretty good.

Reasons why Nikhil Advanis next 2 movies were so bad: One consistent thing in the commentary is that anytime a really funny scene happens in the movie, Advani says “This dialogue was Karan’s idea” or “This dialogue/expression was ad-libbed by SRK/SAK on the spot” which applies to almost every single entertaining scene in the movie. This will explain why the next 2 movies had a general paucity of fun and entertainment.

4. Heyy Babyy: This is the most comprehensive commentary track i have heard. There is not just commentary by Sajid Khan, but there are excerpts of comments from the actors as well. The main problem with the commentary here is that after a while it just becomes a self-congratulating session.

Buy the disc for: The extremely detailed “Making of a movie” which is almost as long as the movie itself and takes us through every single facet of making a film.

5. Neil and Nikki: The commentary by Arjun Sablok gives us an idea of just how much fun the unit had while shooting this movie (and somewhat strangely, this is the only Yash Raj film to actually have Director’s commentary as a feature). If only they had taken care to have a good story to go with the fun they had. BTW, the climax of the movie is not bad at all, probably one of the better ending scenes i have seen.

The director claims: that he was just putting every man’s fantasy on celluloid when he made this movie.

Some movies i would like to see have special commentary tracks on them:

  1. Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron: Not just one, i would love to hear what every actor involved has to say. This madcap entertainer deserves the DVD with commentary treatment.
  2. Damini: With commentary for the first half done by the director and for the second half done by Sunny Deol.
  3. DDLJ: I think it would be interesting to get the views of the cast and crew as to what they were thinking when they did not know that this movie would become such a huge hit.
  4. RGV ki Aag: I think it would be interesting to get the views of the cast and crew as to what they were thinking when they did not know that this movie would become a metaphor for “bad movie”

Until Next Time,

K.C.G

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Responses

  1. Hey good job at the article and I am glad to know that we do have indian people who go as far going as buying DVDs otherwise piracy is a thumb rule in india…I too buy DVDs some basically for the commentary..

    for me it started with main hoon na (Farah khan) and her commentary goes on continuously with the movie audio muted. It is fun cause she is basically a funny lady. I’ll recommend you get that. I heard kal ho naa ho too and it was more technical coz rather than filling it with unnoticed gags he keeps on talking about seasons,continuity jerks etc. I mean its important but becomes monotonous. I guess Love aaj kal too has a commentary but i haven’t heard it yet.

    Anyway, nice to read your post. Good job..keep it going 🙂


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