It is beyond unfortunate that the Indian film industry almost ignores its independent filmmakers. In fact, I’ll go out a limb to even say that some of our most prestigious directors could learn immense lessons on originality, execution and the real art of film making from indie filmmakers. One such director includes the uber talented Sudhish Kamath. His film, Good Night | Good Morning was featured at a number of film festivals around the world including: The South Asian International Film Festival in New York and Mumbai Film Festival this year. The lucky lot who managed to bag tickets to the film raved nonstop about Good Night | Good Morning . Whether it was the simple story, the writing, the message or the performances, Sudhish Kamath had scored. So what is all the fuss about? You’re about to find out!
A bunch of lads find themselves hanging out at a bar on New Year’s Eve. Very quickly Turiya Omprakash’s (Manu Narayan) finds himself spotting a lone lady at the bar and the group makes their way to see her. Moira (Seema Rahmani) is not interested and shoos the boys away, but not before Turiya takes a peek at her room number and hotel name. As the dudes travel back from New York City to Philadelphia, Turiya decides to call Moira who decides to indulge in a “one night stand” over the phone with him as his friends, JC (Raja Sen) and Hussein (Vasanth Santhosham) listen on. Over a span of a few hours, the couple talk about love, relationships, baggage and skeletons in the closet. It is then that Turiya and Moira realize this could be the love story that could have been…but will it?
To call Good Night | Good Morning good cinema is understatement; it’s beyond good. The film is impactful in a number of ways. For starters, the director takes on a retro theme as the film is filmed in old school black and white, which really adds emphasis. But it’s not dull, in fact, black and white has never been so colorful. All flashbacks however, are in color. The effect of this simple technique is impressive and it is as though metaphorically, the couple are hiding from colors in their lives and prefer to see the world in shades of black and white ala their past. And because the GN|GM is an hour and a half telephone conversation in the form of a film, the screen in split in half as you monitor the varied environments Turiya and Moira are in as they chat. But that’s just the technical details. As a film, GN|GM impresses because there is no sho-sha with its execution. Rather, it’s the writing and dialogues that keep you engrossed. The conversation between Turiya and Moira never runs dry or boring which is all courtesy of the script. You are forced to think, made to laugh and in end, learn to love because of one conversation. The screenplay is simply fantastic and engaging. As a director, you are simply wowed by Kamath who scores and how with GN|GM. He creates a situation that is almost unheard of and in all honesty as a film, could have gone terribly wrong. However, because of his in-depth understanding of the script, at no point does the situation seem unfeasible. You almost wish it could and should happen!
The cast is simply S.U.P.E.R.B. At no point do any of the stars seem like a misfit. Manu Narayan is funny, cute, vulnerable and charming as Turiya. You giggle at his innate innocence and his “lack of game”, but you are drawn to him no doubt. Seema Rahmani is fabulous as Moira who plays a hard-shelled softie. Her facial expressions and attention to detail are incredible. As a new age kinda gal, you can relate to sentiments, emotions and her definition of love. The chemistry between Manu and Seema has to be noted. You know you have a great pair of actors when the chemistry is oozing despite the fact that they spend the entire film chatting over a phone. The supporting cast too adds and lends great help. Raja Sen as JC adds comic relief with his one-liners while Vasanth Santhosham plays the dude-get-over-it with great ease.
Good Night | Good Morning is a just a quick smack in the face to all those who choose to ignore Indian independent filmmakers. It’s original, engrossing and entertaining. But what it does most is make you think. You find yourself pondering over old relationships, realizing the need to forgo and let go and more than anything, GN|GM reinforces your faith in love. What you take away is of course relative to your mind set but ultimately it makes for a fab watch!
If you don’t watch any other independent film before 2010 is out, watch Good Night | Good Morning; it’s a conversation you’ll never forget.