“Metacinema, also meta-cinema, is a mode of filmmaking in which the film informs the audience that they are watching a work of fiction,” as per Wikipedia. In other words, it often references to its own production, thereby working against the narrative conventions that aim to create an immersive experience for the viewer. Now, some filmmakers go to great lengths to ensure that the viewer completely forgets that he/she
is watching a film. Take, for example, the case of Christopher Nolan who consciously changed the setting of a key scene in Batman Begins to an opera house instead of the cinema hall setting in the original text in order to ensure that the attention of the viewers is never drawn to the idea of watching a film in a cinema hall while watching the scene. Similarly, we also have filmmakers like Woody Allen who take the completely opposite
route and go meta every time they see the creative possibility. Vikramaditya Motwane, in his latest film, AK vs AK, which recently premiered on Netflix, too opts to take the meta route. Presented in a style that closely resembles a fly-on-the-wall documentary, AK vs AK follows a brash film director (Anurag Kashyap, as himself) who kidnaps the
daughter of a movie star (Anil Kapoor, as himself) with the aim of filming the star’s desperate search for his daughter in real-time as his next blockbuster.
Now, meta-films aren’t new to Hindi cinema. Over the years we have seen films like Guru Dutt’s Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Guddi (1971), Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Khamosh (1985), Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chand (2007), Zoya Akhtar’s Luck by Chance (2009), and Maneesh Sharma’s Fan (2016). But, apparently, what’s different about AK vs AK is how it adopts a fly-on-the-wall documentary style to tell a story that’s highly fictional in nature, despite featuring several characters which are based on real people from the Hindi film industry. But, it’s nothing we haven’t already seen in world cinema. Here one is first and foremost reminded of Jean-Luc Godard’s French New Wave classic Le Mépris (1963), wherein the legendary German film director Fritz Lang plays himself. But, perhaps, a more interesting example is Abbas Kiarostami’s documentary and fiction hybrid Close-Up (1990), the film tells the true story of a cinephile named Hossain Sabzian who while impersonating the Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf conned a family into believing that they would cast in his next film. Kiarostami makes actual people play themselves, including Makhmalbaf and Sabzian.
Spike Jonze’s Adaptation (2002) is another film that cannot be overlooked while discussing the subject of meta-cinema. Written by none other than the meta-master Charlie Kaufman himself, Adaptation follows a screenwriter struggling to adapt a book. Interestingly, Kaufman’s own struggles while trying to adapt Susan Orlean’s book titled ‘The Orchid Thief’ became major influence behind writing the screenplay for Adaptation. Another very fine meta-film that comes to mind is E. Elias Merhige’s Shadow of the Vampire (2000). The film begins as a fictionalized documentary account of the making the legendary German filmmaker F. W. Murnau’s classic vampire film Nosferatu (1922), but, fascinatingly, it ends up becoming a spine-chilling vampire film in its own right. In his recent film Pain and Glory (2019), the Spanish master filmmaker Pedro Almodovar takes the autobiographical route by telling the poignant story of a filmmaker resembling himself. In the final scene of the movie, the camera zooms out to reveal the crew along with the shooting equipment. The Chilean-French filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky did something very similar in his 1973 Mexican surreal-fantasy film The Holy Mountain. And who can forget Billy Wilder’s film noir classic Sunset Blvd. (1950) which takes the idea of meta-cinema to nigh unattainable heights when it ends with its lead character Norma Desmond, a long-forgotten silent film Star, walking down the aisle and commanding the legendary American filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille (playing himself), while facing the cameras, “All right, Mr. DeMille, I am ready for my close-up.” Here, I would be remiss not to mention Mani Ratnam’s 1997 political drama Iruvar which is inspired by the friendship and rivalry of writer-turned-politician M. Karunanidhi and actor-turned-politician M. G. Ramachandran.
So now that we have discussed various examples of meta-cinema in Indian as well as world cinema, let’s try and closely analyse AK vs AK and try and figure out where it stands in comparison. Now, a major drawback of the film is that it takes so many things for granted. The viewers are supposed to already know that Anurag Kashyap is asthmatic and that his younger brother is also a film director. They are also expected to know that Anil Kapoor’s daughter Sonam is a fairly successful actor in Bollywood while his son Harshvardhan is a flop actor who is out of work. And that Anil’s elder brother is a film producer. Isn’t Netflix’s content meant to be watched internationally? Interestingly, some unsuspecting critics have praised AK vs AK for its boldness and innovation. But, frankly, it offers little novelty, whether one speaks of content or form. While we should certainly welcome storytelling experiments, it is equally important not to take such pretentious, self-indulgent films too seriously. Netflix India really needs to raise the bar before it greenlights the next project.
The Daily Guardian is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@thedailyguardian) and stay updated with the latest headlines.
For the latest news Download The Daily Guardian App.
FARDEEN, RITEISH’S ‘VISFOT’ GOES ON FLOORS
MUMBAI: Fardeen Khan and Riteish Deshmukh-starrer ‘Visfot’ went on floors on Tuesday. The film, which marks Fardeen Khan’s re-entry into Bollywood after an 11-year-hiatus, is being directed by Kookie Gulati and also stars Priya Bapat in a pivotal role. ‘Visfot’ is the official remake of ‘Rock, Paper and Scissors’ (2012), Venezuela’s entry to the Academy Awards that year for the Best Foreign Language film section.
The story of ‘Visfot’ oscillates between the chawls of Dongri and the high-rises of the city of Mumbai and will be shot in real locations. Fardeen and Riteish were last seen together in ‘Heyy Babyy’ and will be teaming up for this film after a gap of 14 years.
‘Visfot’, presented by T-Series and Sanjay Gupta, is produced by Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Anuradha Gupta and Sanjay Gupta.
‘THE WHITE TIGER’ FAME ADARSH GOURAV BAGS INTERNATIONAL PROJECT
WASHINGTON: After entertaining the viewers with his role in Netflix’s ‘The White Tiger’, actor Adarsh Gourav is now all set to feature in the international project ‘Extrapolations’. As per Deadline, ‘Extrapolations’, which is currently in production, tells the stories of how the upcoming changes to the planet will affect love, faith, work and family on a personal and human scale. The climate change anthology drama series will also feature renowned actors like Meryl Streep, Kit Harington, David Schwimmer, Sienna Miller, Tahar Rahim, Matthew Rhys, Daveed Diggs, and Gemma Chan.
However, Adarsh has not officially announced the project yet. For the unversed, Adarsh earned a nomination at BAFTA for the Best Leading Actor for his performance in ‘The White Tiger’. He will also be seen in Zoya Akhtar’s next ‘Kho Gaye Hum Kahan’.
RANI WRAPS UP SHOOTING FOR ‘MRS CHATTERJEE VS NORWAY’
MUMBAI: Rani Mukerji has finished her shooting for ‘Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway’.
Shot extensively in Estonia and in some parts of India, the film’s team celebrated the wrap on the sets. Several pictures have been doing the rounds on the internet, in which Rani can be seen sharing smiles with the producers.
Talking about it, Rani said, “It’s a really sweet coincidence that I wrapped the shoot of Mrs Chatterjee Vs Norway on the same day that my first Hindi film ‘Raja Ki Aayegi Baraat!’ ‘Mrs. Chatterjee Vs Norway’ is an inspirational story about a mother fighting a country for her children and I went through a rollercoaster of emotions shooting this film. I’m hoping that this film will resonate with everyone who wants to see an entertainer with a brilliant concept at its fore.”
TEASER OF ‘RADHE SHYAM’ TO RELEASE ON PRABHAS’ BIRTHDAY
MUMBAI: 23 October is going to be a special day for Prabhas’ fans as it will mark the actor’s 42nd birthday. Also, on his birthday, fans will also get to see the first official teaser of Prabhas’ most awaited film ‘Radhe Shyam’.
On Wednesday, Prabhas took to Instagram and shared a new poster of the film, revealing that the teaser will be out on Saturday. In the poster, he can be seen giving a serious intense look. Interestingly, the previous promotional materials showcased him as a mild-mannered and romantic hero.
“Who is Vikramaditya? Meet him on 23rd. Enjoy the #Radheshyam teaser in English with subtitles in different languages,” Prabhas captioned the poster. Helmed by Radha Krishna Kumar, ‘Radhe Shyaam’ also features Pooja Hegde. It is scheduled to release on 14 January 2022.
HAVING STRONG MUSCLES IS NOT A MAN’S DOMAIN: TAAPSEE
MUMBAI: ‘Girls should only do cardio, lifting is for guys’, ‘You won’t look like a girl if you build muscles’ — it’s 2021 and women are still facing such stereotypical fitness-related remarks. Taapsee Pannu is completely against the common notion that having a muscular physique is a man’s domain.
“Unfortunately, there’s still a stereotypical outlook towards women’s fitness. It’s extremely sad. Who has made this rule that women can’t have muscles? I find this to be a big myth which all of us must have heard and maybe in the beginning when I was trying to lose weight at a point in life, I also heard that ‘just do cardio and don’t do weightlifting’. I paid attention to that stupid advice because I did not know any better and I was not that open-minded at that time that I would question it, but slowly with time I realised it’s absolutely wrong,” said Taapsee.
According to her, it’s baseless to body shame any woman for having muscles. Like many others, Taapsee also recently fell prey to body shaming. A section of social media users trolled her for her physical transformation for ZEE5’s film ‘Rashmi Rocket’. Many described her transformation as manly.
Talking about the same, she said, “People would have drooled over my look if I had put up a bikini picture. There would be comments like ‘whatta body’, ‘so hot’. For me, the body that’s worth appreciating is the one that has been worked hard on.”
EMRAAN HASHMI’S HORROR FILM ‘DYBBUK’S’ TEASER OUT
MUMBAI: Makers of the horror-thriller ‘Dybbuk – The Curse Is Real’, which stars Emraan Hashmi and Nikita Dutta, have launched an intriguing teaser of the upcoming film. Written and directed by Jay K, the Amazon Original film is the official remake of the Malayalam film ‘Ezra’.
Emraan shared the mysterious teaser on Instagram and wrote, “A mysterious box, an ancient key. If you open this #Dybbuk do you know what will be set free?” It will premiere on 29 October.
Opinion1 year ago
South Block’s mistakes will now be corrected by Army
Sports1 year ago
When a bodybuilder breaks Shoaib’s record
News1 year ago
PM Modi must take governance back from babus
Spiritually Speaking1 year ago
Spiritual beings having a human experience
News1 year ago
Chinese general ordered attack on Indian troops: US intel report
Sports1 year ago
West Indies avoid follow-on, England increase lead to 219
Legally Speaking1 year ago
Law relating to grant, rejection and cancellation of bail
Royally Speaking1 year ago
The young royal dedicated to the heritage of Jaipur