‘Delhi Beats’ review – PAF 2013
Sameer Mishra’s name stands tall when one talks about PAFs here in insti. Sameer has been scriptwriter-director of PAFs such as ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ (2011), ‘Arthur Road’ (2009), both of which won by a mile. He was also involved with setting up the premise of the PAF ‘Prime Minister’ last season.
Sameer has been involved with The Viral Fever (TVF), an entertainment group which has brought hits such as ‘Gangs of Social Media’, and ‘Roadies: Sab Q-tiyapa Hai’.
As brilliantly as the review is written, InsIghT stresses that the opinions in this article are Sameer’s alone, and are in no way endorsed by the PAF Committee or InsIghT.
Firstly, sorry for the late review. After the last PAF, I was told that the next one was not until this Monday, hence I had one extra day to write the review. Like your next iitian, I procrastinated to the last moment. Starting now…
Let me explain the title first, “What not to do in a PAF”. I chose this title because “Delhi Beats” did all those things. They chose a ‘cliché’ theme, wrote a ‘serious’ script on it, tried to show a “filmy” story, and the biggest mistake which they did was to do all these things in front of a foolish and insensitive audience. Not to generalize, but seriously people, what’s wrong with you. You claim yourself to be the creme` of India, to be the best brains in the country, yet you are so insensitive and so disrespectful that you dare laugh when a character playing a 10 year old girl tells her elder friend that she was being molested by her uncle! Seriously, grow up. If you don’t have the sensibility to empathize with such an issue, at least do inculcate the basic courtesy of respecting an artist and his/her art form. So the actual mistakes which the team of “Delhi Beats” did were to choose a ‘sensitive (not cliché)’ theme, write an ‘intense (not serious)’ script on it and to show a ‘different (not filmy)’ story to a bunch of people who only like to laugh while watching a performance. For one thing, I felt that this PAF deserved a better audience.
SCRIPT AND DIRECTION
The premise of the script was definitely ‘rape’. An issue which, after the 16th Dec Delhi rape case, is being discussed and highlighted so much in the media, that unfortunately to our ‘brainy’ youth, it has become ‘cliché’. But at least to me its not ‘cliché’ yet and even if it was, the PAF itself was not at all about “rape”. It was about its aftermath, its effect on our society and the ways to combat its psychological effects. I for one, liked the theme and the way it was shown, but at the same time felt that the script could have been better. Some of the initial scenes could have used a bit of editing and the dialogues could have been crispier. But I really liked the way some edgy scenes were written like the one where a girl tells her experiences in Delhi to Vicky (the protagonist) followed by the confession of the little girl which I have already mentioned. Another portion which was brilliantly scripted was the ‘documentary’ which was shown near the end. It really had a fresh perspective. I felt that there was enough maturity in the writing and for that, ‘Gaganjeet Singh and his script team’ deserve a special mention.
Primarily a PAF director has two jobs. The first is to visualize, plan and execute the overall flow of the performance and second is to extract top class performances from the acting, voiceover, dance and music teams. I would say that the direction team/director of the PAF, fared well in the first job and did a good enough job in the second. The execution of this PAF was almost puthcless and I credit that to the proper planning and visualization of the director. The flow of the story too was maintained well and the prod was utilized properly. As far as the second job goes, the direction team/ director was able to extract top notch performance from the voice over and dance teams but not from the music and acting teams. We will discuss these things in their respective columns but for now, lets just say that the direction of this PAF had a few flaws but without any doubt, it was far better than previous two PAFs.
Script – 7.5/10, Direction – 8.5/10
ACTING AND VOICEOVER
Acting was inconsistent. Not of the individual actors but of the team as a whole. By that what I mean is that some actors were very good but others gave a less motivated performance. The female lead, Aisha, was played very well by Deepti Dyondi, but I can’t say the same for the male lead, Vicky, played by Ronak Mayur Mehta. His body language was not suitable for this character and he looked under-prepared in some of the scenes. Ronak has a very commanding voice and could have been used better in the voice box (this is the direction flaw I was talking about). Rest of the acting team had a similar graph where a few actors delivered well but others gave mediocre performances. From the lot I would just like to mention Yudhisthir Satija, who played Vicky’s friend Karan and was exceptional in his short role.
Voiceover was really a highlight of this PAF. Almost all of them were authentic and the whole team was successful in making the audience believe that the characters are from Delhi. The accent was bang on and the modulation and clarity was exceptional. Best performances in this department came from Gaganjeet Singh who I believe gave several voiceovers including that of Karan, the voice in the documentary and the host of the marriage party who shouts after the generator goes off and from Mrs Bajaj. Hiteshi Sharma – giving the voice over of Aisha, Sankalp Kelshikar – giving voice over of Vicky and Ayush Mishra giving voice over of Mr.Bajaj, did good jobs too. In fact apart from the over dramatic “kyaaa??” from Sankalp during the break-up/metro scene, everything else was perfect from the voice over team.
Acting – 8/10, Voiceover – 9.5/10 (0.5 for the over dramatic “kyaaa” 😛 )
Needless to say, prod was the biggest let down of this PAF. The structures were big and stable but the FA work was very basic and had no detailing. The colors were dull and the combinations unimaginative. I felt that the prod team was over ambitious, took a lot up on themselves and in the end was not able to deliver. The central prod, residential colony, had no finishing and looked like a last minute work. I don’t understand why the color yellow is so often used to paint the exteriors of buildings in PAFs, when in reality I am still to come across a building painted yellow. Similarly, I would request these FA teams using dark blue color for the paint in the interiors of offices in PAFs, to show me a real office having dark blue color on its interior walls. I mean, apply basic common sense man. Else go to real locations and take inspiration from there. Do anything which keeps you from painting a building yellow and an office blue. The best part of the prod was I think the “moving metro” with sliding doors but again it didn’t look pretty because of the sloppy FA work. So overall the prod was a big disappointment.
Prod – 7/10
I think they read my last review and what I said about there being a difference between good music and good background music 🙂 But I being the gentleman that I am :P, won’t take the credit, as they might be having a good music team who already knew the difference. In short, the background music was nice and did what it was supposed to do i.e support the scene and not over power it. I especially liked the use of violin in some of the emotional scenes which increased the intensity and effect of the scenes. The music used during the ‘documentary’ was good too. But I think they took my words too seriously and focused all their energies on making background scores 😛 and that’s why, as far as I remember, they had just one OC. However that OC was good with some nice vocals but it was not too impressive because at the time it was played, there was nothing at all happening on stage. So even the one OC made, was not properly used. So although the background music was very apt and very well made, the lack of OCs might cost them the music trophy.
Music – 8/10
The dance team contributed a lot in taking this PAF forward. Almost all the high points or you can say turning points of the story were synchronized with a dance sequence. So they had a big responsibility on their shoulders and they did a good job. The first choreo on “dilli dilli” song was fast and energetic. The dancers were in sync and had the desired intensity in their steps as well as face expressions. But I felt that they could have chosen a better costume. Infact that was the case with all the choreos. Even if the choreography was good and the performance was nice too, they didn’t look very impressive because of the costumes the dancers were wearing. Coming to the next choreo on “laga chunari mein daag”, I loved Ajinkya’s performance in it. The sequence had a lot of innovation and was executed perfectly. The third choreo on “paani da rang” was a bit too long but ‘Deepti Dyondi’s ‘ solo performance in the end was a treat to watch. The final choreo on “maanja” was very well choreographed, with some very nice formations, however the timing of the “I M Dilli” formation could have been better. Overall It was a good show by the dance team and could have been even better if they would have put some thought in to their costumes as well.
Dance – 9/10
LIGHTS AND COSTUMES
I don’t think I need to write this, undoubtedly they had the best lights so far. Inspite of so many scene changes and simultaneous sequences, there were hardly any puthces by the lights team. Even the moon guy was up to his job. They did some scenes with on-stage lights only, like the initial autorickshaw scene and all the conversation scenes between the inspector and his wife, which gave a very realistic feel to them. The one scene on shadows was a good experiment too and worked well. All the transitions were very smooth and not even once did the lights guy (Swapnil Chichani) fail to light the right portion of the performance area at the right time. Thumbs up to the lights team.
Costumes were not impressive. I understand that there was not much scope for costumes in this PAF but still you got to be innovative and do the best you can with whatever you have. But that was not the case here. If you are setting the story in Delhi, then why not use its climatic conditions to include some scope of costumes in your PAF. e.g, everyone knows about the chilling winters of Delhi, so they could have set the story in Dec-Jan and could have dressed all the characters in different kinds of woolen clothes and jackets. None of the costumes attracted my attention and as I said earlier the costumes for the dance sequences were also not very well thought off. So the costumes of this PAF required some thinking.
Lights – 10/10, Costumes – 6.5 /10
The video element was very nicely used in this PAF. The news flashes before the initial titles were well synchronized with the beats of the song “dilli dilli” and the titles were flashy too. However the names of the characters and the actors playing it were not very easily readable. The second video was the “documentary” which was not only very well shot, but had a brilliant script, nice voice overs and an apt music. It was kept to bring out the theme and the message clearly, a job which it did successfully. The third video was used just to reiterate the message and I felt was not necessary. But overall the video element was used very effectively by the PAF team.
In the end, I was confused, because this PAF had done almost everything correctly but yet something was missing. They had a good script which was directed nicely, the voice over team did a superb job with decent support from the acting team, the music team was supportive and the dance team too went well about their job, but still in the end it was not that Impactful as one would have liked it to be. Something was missing and I really don’t know what. May be the nature of the script was such that it was meant to deliver a subtle impact and not a loud one. May be something else but overall I would say that this PAF still has all the potential to win but I think it could have been better.
Overall – 8.25/10