DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Good Night - Movie Review



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In a wonderfully evocative depiction of human life through a series of intricately crafted happenings in an urban Indian household, ‘Good Night' is a touching take on relationships. Confronted with old age and the consequent loneliness that he refuses to acknowledge even to himself, Madan Mohan Khullar keeps himself busy with the one thing he loves the most music. Not exactly fond of the contemporary fast-paced music aired by the radio stations, he relishes the soft classical numbers on his old-world gramophone. One night, provoked by the constant jibes of his outspoken domestic help Ratan, he decides to get rid of his habit of waking up late. Immaculate preparation for an early morning in place, he is in bed by midnight. As he hums a song in the darkness of his room, the drowsiness in his voice gradually disappears. Trouble begins when he finds himself stuck at a particular point, not knowing the subsequent lyrics. Failing to ward off the block in his head, he can't help getting out of his bed to look for the song in his collection of music. But that is an impossible task as his music collection is enormous. He tries to shirk it off and go back to bed but now he can't get the song out of his head. In an effort to distract himself, he goes on to try to keep himself occupied with other things like watching television. As he settles down and begins to enjoy a drink with some music of his liking, he is swept by an acute longing for his beloved who is not with him anymore. With her photograph in front of him and his voice filled with emotion, he sings aloud a heartfelt song expressing his yearning for her. On the verge of tears, he suddenly notices Ratan who has witnessed him in his state of helplessness. Jolted with the embarrassment of being caught off-guard by a person doesn't exactly get along with, Madan hollers at him to go away. As a dazed Ratan hurries back, a disturbed Madan gathers himself together.

Good NightBack in his room on his study desk, he writes down the same phrase of the song that had started it all, and which somewhere at the back of his mind was still troubling him. Tired and sleepy, the very moment that the elusive sleep finally beckons, the alarm that he had set before he had gone to bed goes off. With all his plans of starting the day early gone wrong, he drags himself to sleep at a time when he had planned to wake up. Ratan is up and he goes to the porch of his house here he spots the newspaper hawker, who is having a cup of tea at a pavement shop. The radio at the shop is playing the same song that Madan had been trying to figure out in vain. The hawker hums that song as he cycles away and Ratan picks up the same song as he hums it back into his house. Back in his room, Madan, half-asleep is still wondering about the song.

First things first, it's a brilliantly written film. The primary reason why it works is because writer-director Geetika Narang fleshes out the humane attributes of the characters. No situation is grandiose or far-fetched, it just presents the most routine things in a riveting manner. Narang also succeeds in extracting fine performances from the lead cast. Vinod Nagpal brings alive the character of Madan Mohan Khullar with a bravura performance. Like in a scene from the film where he dons various hats, his character undergoes varying shades of emotions and Nagpal succeeds in wearing all the hats with immense virtuosity. Shivam Pradhan as Ratan does well for most part of the film, except a few stray occasions where he goes overboard with the animated expressions. Great work by the sound team! The film relies heavily on ambient sound and is captured exceedingly well. The camera department shines as well there is an astonishing variety of visuals, considering the constrictions of space. Shooting almost the whole film inside a couple of rooms is not exactly an enterprising prospect visually but, the DP of the film, Yasir Abbasi turns the situation on its head with some really creative cinematography. Anandana Kapur does a proficient job with the art direction, which lends the story a lot of character that is distinctly unique. The background score by Ashhar Farooqui is undoubtedly good but it does tend to get distracting at times. Overall, the film is technically accomplished.
The biggest success of ‘Good Night' is that it involves you completely and as you come back to your own world once the end credits roll, you inevitably find yourself humming the song the same one that somewhere someone would be losing sleep over.

{pgomakase}

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