Maun: Hostels 2,9,10 – A Review
“Cult ka Baap” is back again with a bang with its first PAF by hostels 2, 9 and 10. Though it was called “Maun”, it gave a loud and clear message to everyone that winning PAF 2012 trophy will not be a cakewalk.
Script and Direction
The start was quite loose in terms of direction and voiceovers. Showing the end of the PAF as the first scene and expecting people to relate it at the end did not work. In fact it added to some bit of confusion at the beginning of the PAF as well as at the end because when people reconciled the whole story they asked “why was Madhav Shastri shown as a mass figure at the start”. Though the performing team members have their own explanations, I felt it added chaos more than awe. The TNT studio scene where they attempted mockery of current state of media was average and could not create much humor. The pan shop scene where the two leads were introduced was ok as I felt a bit of unnecessary exaggeration from the voice-box to create humor / impact was attempted. Also the casting video which came abruptly wasn’t required as it disturbed the temperament. But who knew that this was just a warm-up session for the voice-box and the actors as the real action was about to begin. As the story progressed from the bomb blast, the script and direction became compelling enough to keep everyone interested in the story. Script alone had its high points which were well appreciated by the audience. The flow of events and the pace was good to match the intensity of the PAF. The “sabha” scene showing the telecast of the same on a TV was well thought of and amazingly executed. The “torture snippets” screenplay was brilliant with intense acting and voice-over. Though I thought some more effects could have been used in those scenes but nonetheless it was one the best scene in the PAF. Overall it was a wonderful effort from the script and direction team.
Acting and Voice-over
I was very satisfied with the acting squad. “Su-ri” and “Madhav” were good with their parts. “Naziya” did a good job as well. Niyati carried herself well throughout. The ATS guy was good. “Pandey ji” was funny enough to make the scene light. The scene in the bunker with all the torture was very impactful. No one can deny that exaggeration is required when you act in a PAF and I must say the acting team here did it to the right amount to convey the feelings / expressions to the audience. The actors could justify the powerful voice-overs in almost all the scenes and didn’t feel incongruous at any point.
I really feel that voice-overs are extremely important to carry the intensity of any PAF and the voice-over team of “Maun” didn’t disappoint me at all. The chemistry between the actors came out well and a lot of credit goes to the voice-over team. The voice-over of Naziya was remarkable. The bihari voiceovers were good. The voice-overs were well co-ordinated with the screenplay / acting. Best thing was that the voice-over team had stage presence, which means they modulated their voice with the screenplay. If you noticed carefully, they modulated their voice at places when someone was eating / chewing, places when someone had a cigarette in his mouth etc. The chaos created by journalists in the QA session with police was very well executed because I know it is not very easy to create a genuine chaos. The voice-overs at the time of torture scenes were brilliant. The voice-over of Madhav towards the end of PAF was superb. But having said that, there were minor glitches here and there specially at the start of the PAF. Also I felt that the voice-over during the first dance sequence could have been better, loud and clear. Overall, hats off to the voice-box team, you delivered what this script demanded from you guys.
The bunker or the detention centre was well built and also efforts were made to make the scene as real as possible with real ice slab and battery for electric shocks. The durga maa’s jhaaki was a treat for our eyes. The FA work done on the same was brilliant. There was nothing outstanding about the police station prod but it looked neat, tidy and sturdy. What I liked about police station setup was the attention to details.
The prod made for the puppet dance was very nice. The prod shifting was very smooth and quick. The transition from screenplay to video and back was nicely executed. Wish they could have used bigger fonts for all their texts in the video as nothing was visible from back. TNT studio prod was also good. In the party scene I could see the central bar table rotate but couldn’t really understand the purpose. The purpose of red and blue paint on the canvas and the same on the hands of the contemporary dancers was not very clear. The right hand side prod was normal. I felt they could have made the hospital prod a little better. The village prod (dhobi ghat and a well) was well made and executed. The last scene where Madhav is hung was nicely executed. Also what I liked about this PAF was that the entire prod was well utilized in the screenplay and there weren’t many “show off” structures.
It was nice to see people dancing on live and original compositions. The OC “Apni chhoti si duniya mein” was too good. The biggest problem with OCs is that audience is not able to hear and understand the lyrics clearly but this wasn’t the case here. With Shubham’s voice loud and clear, I could understand the whole song and hence enjoyed it even more. The OC used for puppet dance was a masterpiece. Though I noticed that it wasn’t played live (correct me if I am wrong) but in any case I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Talking about the background score during the screenplay, I felt it was good but not outstanding. I felt there was scope for improvement here. Also as far as I remember there was a flautist on the music team who was jamming before the PAF started. If there was any, I feel he could have been used during the intense scenes to add more flavor rather than using plain strings music on keyboard. But in the end, the music team gave appropriate music to almost all the scenes that went along well with the highs and lows of the screenplay.
This might not pertain to this PAF but I think It is high time to realize that quantum of dance wont fetch you a prize!! It doesn’t matter how many genres you cover but what matters is the creativity you put in to make it most relevant to your script. Don’t movies without songs or dances do well? Of course they do.
What I take home from this PAF in terms of choreography, is the puppet dance without a doubt. Not because it was a new concept or because it was performed on an original composition but because of its 100% relevance with whatever was going on at that point of time. It helped the script, it helped the story advance and hence it left impact. And when the concept is fresh and good, people discount you a little for your bad sync as well which I think was the case with this dance. The first dance sequence was good but I felt it was not required. The classical dance sequence was good and I appreciate the fact that it was done on live music. I would have loved to see some use of props though. I enjoyed “apni chhoti si duniya” performance and loved the way it smoothly transitions back to the village scene. The last dance sequence (contemporary) was nice with some good formations. As there were many dancers in this, it could cover the complete quadrangle. The sync was ok, could have been better. Also I felt that it could have been a little more crisp. Overall, good job done by the dance team. But apart from appreciating what you guys did, let me also thank you for what you could have done but you didn’t do – a party item number in the pub / bar scene! 😛
The most under-rated department of PAF but one needs to realize that they have the power to screw up things pretty badly. They probably would never be able to grab applause for themselves, but they are the ones who make sure that the team doesn’t receive a hoot during the whole performance. I must admit the light’s team did a great job. There weren’t obvious mistakes from their side except one. I liked the intentional / unintentional twinkling of one bulb in the detention centre. Moon came at the right time and at the right place more importantly. However, I felt the need of Moon during the conversation between Madhav and Suri in the lock-up amid the dance performance. Lights came a little late during the contemporary dance as a result the initial formation lost its charm. I felt flicker (if available) could have been used during the end of durga dance when Ajinkya kills the monster. But what affects the most is the timing and execution of lights, which I felt was very good. Kudos to the lights team
As this was a story based normal PAF set in Delhii, the costumes for the actors were expected to be just casual. The costumes for the dances were appropriate. Even the costumes for the contemporary dance were little different with body paints to enhance the look. I liked the face paint in the classical sequence. Overall average costumes but nothing much could have been done.
When I went back home one of my friend asked me “What was the PAF about” and I could just say “Oh it was story based wherein two innocent guys get trapped because of politics and media”. And then I wondered how I should convey to him that though it was straight and simple, it was good. That is when you realize that simple things can do wonders; all you need is perfect “execution”. I think the best part of the PAF was its execution. No one can deny the fact that this would be one of the best firsts PAF institute must have witnessed. According to me, this wasn’t an easy PAF to execute but they did it quite well. There weren’t long blackouts. The timing for all the sound effects used for example the opening sound of detention centre’s wall, cell phone rings’ on and off, noise of spark etc. were good. The PAF’s trailer was also very good and did not look amateurish. Broadly, there wasn’t any major disappointment with any department and all I can say is that I am happy that I lied to my boss and made it for this PAF 🙂
Now that it’s over, I can hear people talking about the two most popular jinxes associated with PAF. Will “Maun” be able put an end to a 15 year long wait is something everyone is eager to know. But to all other hostels, this PAF was good but not invincible. I look forward to see some more brilliance in this season. “Machaate Raho”.
– Anshul Jain (Zen)
Script: 8.5 / 10
Direction: 9 / 10
Acting: 9 / 10
Voice-over: 9 / 10
Prod: 8.5 / 10
Music: 8.5 / 10
Choreography: 8.5 / 10
Lights: 8.5 / 10
Costumes: 7.5 / 10
Overall: 8.5 / 10