Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A masterpiece film and a very good remake.


Bollywood churns out a lot of movies, some of which are very enjoyable.  "Badla" got really good reviews and lived up to them.  I learned that it was a remake of a Spanish movie,"The Invisible Guest" ("Contratiemp") and as usual many claimed the original was the better. Learning it was also available on Netflix a viewing confirmed it was well worth watching and instructive.

Both versions are full of twists, some of which you will not guess.  Both are professionally done.  "The Invisible Guest" was released in 2016, while "Badla" came out in 2019.

A few differences:  One is set in Glasgow and the Scottish countryside while the other is set in the Catalonia region of Spain.  There is a gender switch with "Badla" having a female accused murderer while the original was male.  The lawyer preparation expert  for "Badla" is a male while "the Invisible Guest" has a female actress.

Both movies use a prosthetic devise to entrap a murderer.  The lawyer in both cases is able to cut down on lies and force the accused to be more truthful.  They assure the accused that they can work better with the truth, even when it seems incriminating. 
 
Oriol Paulo is credited as a writer for both movies.  Born in Barcelona (in Catalonia) he has been involved in short films and tv series.  His breakthrough came with "Julia's Eyes" as a co-writer.  Produced by Guillermo del Toro who later also produced "The Invisible Guest."  Oriol has also directed a number of movies including "The Invisible Guest." Another of his movies is being remade in Bollywood, "The Body."

Sujoy Ghosh adapted the script and also directed and produced.  He is most famous for directing writing and producing "Kahanni" which is at the top of my list for twist endings.  His next project is a tv series, "Suspect X" based on my favorite mystery book, written by Japanese author, Keigo Higashino.

Music for "The Invisible Guest" was by Fernando Valazquez.  I should have recognized his name as I had bought a clip from "A Monster Calls" and had seen "The Impossible" both English films.

The Hindi version has three responsible for the music with a notable absence of the normal Bollywood song and dance routines. Amal Mallik and Anumpam Royl shared composing and playback singing.  Clinton Cerejo was a score producer and playback singer.  All three have backgrounds in composing and playback singing.

Cinematography was sited as a strength for "The Invisible Guest"  Xavi Gimenez also did "The Liberator," "Agora" and "Transsiberian."  He has won 10 awards for his work.   On one occasion when forbidden to use a helicopter for a shot he developed  a remote controlled mini helicopter. 

Cinematographer Avik Mukhopadhyay was revealing to research as I encountered a few of his interviews.  He started in Kalkutta where lighting equipment was not as available as in Mumbai so he was forced to innovate.  He began with commercials and to date has done over 1,500 and was lured into films by Riturno Ghosh.  Filmed over 25 Bengali films mostly indoors as Riturno thought people more interesting than outdoors.  Avik learned to use lighting to be effective in confined spaces.  His first Bollywood film was "Bunty and Bablij" that had decided to film on location.  They had been warned that Amitabh Bachchan  (see link below) would draw too many people to a railway station and in fact over 50,000 people showed up and the train schedule had to be dropped.  The madness of the crowd was conveyed to the film.  Other notable films for Avik included "Pink" (http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2016/11/pink-sensitive-film-to-deal-with-consent.html ), "October," and "The Violin Player."

Jaume Marti has edited "A Monster Calls" where he was also the production manager.  He had edited a number of films including "Transsiberian."  He was the production for "The Impossible"  He was brought in as an additional editor for "Jurassic World:  Fallen Kingdom."

Monisha R Baldawa has edited "Neerja," "Begum Jaan" and "Margarita with a Straw." 

Ana Wagener played the lawyer in "The invisible Guest."  She won a supporting role award in "Biutiful." An earlier movie I watched was "Dark Blue Almost Black."  She was the Spanish voice for Felcity Huffman for "Desperate Housewives."

Amitabh Bachchan (http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2018/05/amitabh-bachchan-living-legend.html) in a gender swich played the lawyer specializing in preparing witnesses in "Badla.".  A versatile actor he has the role of preparing the accused.  If you check out the link you will see he has been not only the most popular actor in India, but also in Britain.  Along the way has won multiple awards.

Mario Casas played the accused who supposedly killed his lover in "The Invisible Guest."  Born in Barcelona he performed in videos at age 9 and at age 18 he moved to Madrid for roles in tv series and his family moved with him.  In 2014 he won award as the most searched{Spanish} performer.  Busy with a variety of tv series and movies including, the English language, "The 33."

Taapse Pannu is an upcoming actress who plays the accused in another gender switch.  She had shared screen presence with Amitabh in "Pink."  She started her career with Tamil and Telegu films including opposite Dhansh in "Aadulkalam."    Learned martial arts for some of her action films.

Barbara Lennie played the murder victim (shown frequently in flashbacks).  She was born in Spain, but moved to Argentina with her family at a young age and moved back to Spain in 1990.  Appeared in many Spanish movies including "The Skin I Live In" and "Everybody Knows" winning numerous national awards.

Tony Luke played the murder victim in "Badla" with another gender switch.  He started with Malayalam films making "Badla" his first Bollywood movie.  He is considered one of the top male models in India.

Jose Coronado plays the father of a second murder victim in "The Invisible Guest."   He is the winner of multiple national awards having started with films in 1987

Tanveer Ghani plays the father of a second murder victim in "Badla."  He was born in England and has mostly appeared in British films with one other Bollywood movie to his credit.

Amrita Singh plays the mother of a second murder victim in "The Invisible Guest."   She must be unique in having been the leading lady for Dharmendra and in later years played the leading lady for his son, Sonny Deol.  She had been married to Saif Ali Kahn although he was much younger.  They had two children who are now both in Bollywood movies.  A few years back she was in "2 States," one of my favorites.

Have I left someone out?  Maybe.  They are both movies that build tension and several times you feel you are onto something, but you aren't.  Most everyone will find the ending a big jolt--but poetic.

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