Skip to main content

No Smoking, Gentlemen!

A movie reviewer wrote that cinema is all about 3E's: entertainment, education and enlightenment. But it neednt really be, right? Let's talk about this movie No Smoking. This definitely wasn’t a movie I wanted to see despite being someone who really thinks John is a sensational actor. Right from his first movie, I was one of those movie buffs who strongly predicted that he has far to go because his potential was definitely unexploited. Through every movie, John chiseled his body of work but Anurag Kashyap's No Smoking beats everything else. So let’s go to the heart of the story.

There were just about five or six people in the theatre for this movie. No one looked remotely interested at the beginning. There was no sense of expectation in the air. It was like a bunch of sad people opting for the saddest movie in town.

But when the movie began, I was transported to another world that had nothing to do with reality yet smacked of it too. The movie was basically about K, (sexy John Abraham) who can’t stop admiring his bare chested body in the bathroom mirror. He smokes and admires, smokes and admires…till his wife, Ayesha Takia reminds him to stop smoking from outside. The macho guy tells his wife, “No body tells me what to do.”
Though highly successful K loves his wife, he is trapped in a dream that starts in Siberia where he dies a bloody death because of his obsession to grab a cigarette. The dream is so real to K that he doesn’t understand it at all. Nor does his wife who shares her secret with rest of the world that she wants to divorce her husband K who is totally addicted to smoking.

But when she actually leaves K, he goes beserk and promises to visit “Prayogshala” that is a rehabilitation center for smokers who enjoy smoking. Two close friends who had been die hard smokers had recommended this to K who vows to try it out and his wife promises to get back home.

With somber light effects, minimalist feel and strange music, the movie brings a dark world to life. The truths that we long to suppress come back to us through dreams that are so much entwined with reality.


In the film, K’s wife Anjali – nicely played by excessively busty looking Ayesha Takia, who also does a double-role as his breathless, clumsy, secretary Annie – brings tiny twists into the complex plot. But it is Paresh Rawal who steals the show. Donning the role of cash crazy, ruthlessly cruel Guru Baba Bengali, the all knowing, omnipresent influence that takes over K’s life, Paresh Rawal makes us forget all the comedies that he had done through Priyadarsan’s comedy flicks.

The “suffer in hell” kind of concepts which one associated with obsessive cult, religion and Hitler become borderline-metaphorical punishments that K becomes subject to. There is no fun in this but you feel shivers around your spine that is hard to ignore.


However, it is disputable whether John Abraham as an actor enhanced the movie plot because his dialogues were minimal, his body loomed over everything else as did wisps of never ending smoke. The main technique of the director was to engage us with dark, disturbing images, with strangeness of sound and overall execution that makes it so unreal and yet so real. The climax is almost frightening and reminds us of the shower sequences in the striking movie, Schindler's List.


This isnt the movie that can merit a conventional kind of film review or rating because there is no comedy, no masala, no candyfloss dialogues or opulent sets that intoxicate the ordinary filmgoer. This movie is meant for the serious lovers of cinema that can be both dark and light at the same time just as in real life.

Comments

Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

This post on Kerala's caste system has not been written with an intention to ridicule or glorify any caste as such. I do not ever judge or like to be judged on the basis of my caste. I do not support any form of caste discrimination because I know exactly how it feels to be treated differently because of one's caste. It isn't a great feeling.  

First Question is always "What is your Caste?" In Kerala, one of the first things you are bound to be asked by even new people you've just met is, "What is your caste?"  This is not a tirade against any caste but my experience, personally. And just for information, I have never used my caste name 'Menon' to this day. That is something I have learned from my father - who has never used 'Menon' in his name because he believes his destiny is shaped by values, vision and actions, not  by his caste.
As some one who is a Menon by birth, I can also tell you frankly that it often feels like a curse to be…

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. 
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he became very enthusiastic about chanting the mantras. Following this, my mother taught him the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra and he took to …

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Earth Angels have amazing super powers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions &  becoming invisible at will
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in this world. But y…

Gayatri Mantra as Panchamukhi: Get it right or let it go

Most people do not understand the importance of chanting the Gayatri mantra because they are not aware of its power. It is only when I began to read Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings that I learned how sacred and powerful the chanting of the Gayatri mantra is.
The Vedas represent the breath of God. The Gayatri mantra is the very basis of the Vedas. Try not to undertake chanting the Gayatri mantra as a light endeavor or as a hobby. It has to be chanted with faith, discipline and purity of mind and body. Be steady with your sadhana if you want to reap the spiritual dividend associated with the Gayatri mantra  and never once hesitate once you decide to do it.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that the Gayatri Mantra is referred to as Pancha Mukhi, the Goddess with five faces that represent the five pranas or life forces. Here's more on it.


Chant the Gayatri Mantra correctly: Pause Five Times Here are some important things to keep in mind while chanting the Gayatri mantra:

1. Wh…

World Book Day: An Introvert's Perspective on Books as a Refuge

Books and bookshops have always been a part of my life. 
As a child stranded between cultures far too often, it suited me to find refuge in the world of books. I didn't know then that I was an introvert, but it was clear that my escape into the world of books was one of both necessity and protection. 
Books protected me. Back then, children of my age who considered themselves to be ''cool" would never sit next to me if I was reading a book - which is exactly the protection I wanted for myself. I wanted to be left alone.
As a habit since childhood, I carry books with me everywhere. It particularly helps when I travel - I can forget about my tensions and also get rid of strangers who try to open a conversation with me when all I want to do is escape into a book.

Books have been my best companion ever since the early years when I learned to distrust people's intentions - what they said had little to do with what they eventually did - and this continues to baffle me. But …

Say a little prayer for me in the language of love

Recently, I saw the blurb of a book which asked, "How many of you (Hindus) have seen the inside of a Muslim home and how many of you (Muslims) have seen the inside of a Hindu home?" The question provoked a spark of anger in me because I do not view relationships through the prism of caste, community or religion.

However, I understand what the distinguished writer was trying to say - we are so insulated in our ways that even when we talk about tolerance, we still don't dare step beyond the boundaries of our community, caste or religion. 

When I say this in North India, I am told, "You have only read about Partition. You haven't lost a family member or seen a tragedy unfold before your eyes - it's easy for you to talk like this." Maybe...

However, one of the many advantages of having grown up outside India and then during my teens, in Kerala, is that I never learned the social distinction between "Hindus"and "Muslims." There was never &qu…

Mahashivaratri: I'm loving it!

When I was a child, Mahashivaratri bhajans used to be conducted at home. It meant 24X7 work for my parents, especially my mother. But this is the one festival that we loved to get ready for. 
You had to prepare in advance for hosting so many people overnight. They had to be comfortable yet alert because no one who stays can be allowed to fall asleep unless they are unwell or on medication. So, if there were aunties who wanted to take a ten-minute nap, I would time it and call them exactly in ten minutes!
The joy of watching grown-ups make a fool of themselves over getting few more minutes of sleep cannot be underestimated especially when you are ten or twelve years old!
Perhaps it is those beautiful growing up years that make it difficult for me to stay away from an all-night vigil during Mahashivaratri. I can't stay away from it no matter where I am, even if the following day is a working day. This year too, I attended the Mahashivaratri bhajans at the Sai Center, Lodhi Road, and I …