One of the defining characteristics of Hindi films is the interval. So often, the first half of a film is merely the pre-cursor for the second half: setting up the background and characters — preparing the viewer for an explosive second half which is where the real crux of the story takes place. For many, part of the whole Bollywood experience is the build up to the interval and the interval scene itself, especially when it’s a cliff-hanger. I share with you one of my most memorable intervals from the 2002 Ram Gopal Varma film Company.
The context is that Chandu (Vivek Oberoi) has just had an argument with his mentor and underworld partner Malik (Ajay Devgan) and other members of the Company, over pulling the plug on a hit contract, which would have meant the potential death of some innocent children, accompanying the target hit. An immediate misunderstanding develops with Chandu thinking Malik has sent men to kill him and in the confusion Chandu shoots down the men, which includes one of their respected elders.
In the main scene Chandu is on a mobile phone, faces the camera and calls Malik. He challenges Malik, proclaiming that the effort he has put into building the Company, will now be used to destroy the Company:
“Malik: Tu aur teri yeh Company: KHALLAS!” (Malik: You and your Company are FINISHED!)
What’s So Special:
The sheer emotions! Chandu, the younger of the two characters is more hot headed, but in this scene he displays a mixture of both immense anger and pain. As he says the final word KHALLAS you see a single heavy teardrop fall from his eye and Malik on the other end of the phone is typically quiet, but his anger is nonetheless visible.
If there was one interval scene that had the audience on the edge of their seats and with collective goose bumps — this was it! That single scene was so powerful that we just simply couldn’t wait for the interval period to conclude so we could find out what was in store for the second half (forget going for a restroom break, or to top up the popcorn!)
Although no film can have a definitive copyright to popular catchphrases, the one word that this scene and film contributed greatly to, partly due the popular song by the same name, was the word KHALLAS! It became part of the popular vocabulary!
Additionally single scenes alone don’t make a film, but certain scenes play a significant role amongst others to make a film a cult classic, for Company this is was one of those scenes.
But finally the most excruciating dilemma that was presented to us in that interval: who would you back? Chandu or Malik?