Tag Archives: Spaghetti Western

Film Review: Thar (2022)

Inspector Surekha Singh (Anil Kapoor) is a veteran policeman who is posted in Munabao village of Rajasthan. He regrets that he never got a promotion in his line of work. In 1985, when he is closing toward retirement, he gets a case by chance when a psycho killer begins to haunt the village. Meanwhile, an antique dealer Siddharth (Harshvardhan Kapoor) arrives at this village for business and crosses paths with the police inspector.

Thar is an action-thriller directed by Raj Singh Chaudhary. By the style of filmmaking, it is quite obvious that the production methods are pretty much inspired by Western noir and therefore I felt very fresh by watching something different. I like when the director tries to do something different from the way the films are usually shot. Not exaggerating but when I watch this Western-inspired film that makes me think that if the Italian filmmakers can introduce Spaghetti Western subgenre, why not Bollywood introduce Curry Western? Sholay was inspired by the Spaghetti Western and I don’t remember a single that took inspiration from this subgenre after Sholay ignite this genre in 1975. So, Thar deserves its piece of appreciation.

Due to applying this subgenre, Thar reminds me of a few films like Sonchiriya and No Country For Old Men. With a very limited plotline, the screentime of around 110 minutes justifies and despite being slow-paced, doesn’t bore at all. Thar holds a strong command of technical brilliance. Adopting a Western demands excellence in cinematography and action sequences. This film qualifies both. I am amazed by the dramatizing of physical torture the film has depicted. And those tortured characters performed with really great intensity.

Costume and production design are far excellent too especially the latter. The production setting plays a significant role in presenting an accurate sketch of a shot the makers are willing to film especially in such cases and due to high standards, Thar looks very impressive.

The performances are average. Not that the actors didn’t perform well but the actors do not contribute much to the performances when the action is more in command. In many portions of the film, all you will watch is beating, killing, and car-chasing, so there is not much room to have plentiful scenes in the film where the actors have their time to dramatize their characters. And this is not their fault, the film is like that.

But I want this Harshvardhan Kapoor to pick films more often. In six years, this is only his fifth film. Of which one was a cameo and one was an anthological part of the whole film.  He is someone who picks the rhythm of the character too quickly and settles himself well. And he is a better talent than many new faces who belongs to a strong film fraternity.

There are a lot of films to be released as Bollywood is nearing towards halfway mark. But I sense that by the end of the year, Thar is going to be one of the best films of this year. If this film doesn’t get its deserving praise from the critics and the audience, not sure what filmgoers are really willing to get impressed with.

RATINGS: 8.6/10

The Dollars Trilogy

340326Need a rich exploitation of cinematic brilliance among Western films? The only piece of advice I will forward you is to watch Sergio Leone‘s Dollars Trilogy (DT) which will easily erase your memories of John Wayne films. These films are A Fistful Of Dollars, For A Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and all these films were produced in consecutive years without any gap.

Why DT? Because these three films were trend-setters and Western films had a new dimension from the age of 60s. All three films were the landmark of ‘BAD-ASS’ fashion of Western genre. Legendary actor Clint Eastwood played the leading role of a fearless bounty hunter ‘The Man With No Name‘ and brought a new style of heroism among the leading actors of future generations.

Eastwood’s character had an all-round attraction; his gestures of inclining his hat, smoking cigarette, walking, shooting and dialogues delivering were super excellent. I can now easily figure out from where Amitabh Bachchan got influence for his famous ‘Angry Young Man’ persona in 70s. Another prominent feature of his character was that he had no name which is unusual. He had been given nicknames Joe, Manco and Blondie in respective films but the viewers were not entertained with his real name. His cowboy stature had a different persona than what the viewers had experienced in past Western films. I like the character’s costume especially green poncho.

Director Leone re-introduced the art of film-making ‘Spaghetti Western‘ (SW) from this franchise. The general explanation to the term is that such Western films were produced by the European production companies or in collaboration between European companies. In case of this franchise, producers from Italy, Germany, Spain and US were involved as per Wiki source. So in short, this trilogy has the honor to become the most influential Spaghetti Western film which laid its foundation here. Over 600 SW films were produced till the 80s.

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The beauty of all the three films not only lies in Leone-Eastwood combo but also the storytelling. The flow of the story grows on your nerves and it fires you at the most critical point. Few of the scenes demand your full attention especially the last scene of trilogy, that epic Mexican Standoff scene won’t allow you to move your eyes here and there. Dialogues are brilliant and it is a sin to miss Eastwood’s dialogues who rarely talks in all the three films.

Amazingly, Eastwood had no acting recognition nor had ever played a leading role in his career before this franchise. For the first part, he was paid $15k which later increased to $50k for the sequel. For the last part, he received percentage-based salary. Same case with the financial budget which was only $200k in first part, $600k in sequel and $1.2m in the last part.

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Another impressive aspect in directing this film is its depiction of violence. Gunshots are loud, noisy and on your ears. But by violence I mean Leone’s theory of presenting a Western film which differs with the Western films of the past. If the viewers carefully notice, the ideology of heroism in Western culture was changed here. The trilogy was more of amigos whose nature was more of anti-hero. In final part, all three major characters were antagonist to each other. These three films changed the thinking towards the Western by focusing more on capitalism and greed which weren’t their critical subjects in past Western films.

It will be incomplete to give my review of this trilogy without its scores. One of the most versatile composers of the 20th century, Ennio Morricone, raised the curtains of his illustrious career from this franchise. With very impressive scores in the first two parts to his credit, his iconic coyote-howling opening theme for the final part is easily considered one of the greatest instrumental film scores of all time. The world-famous theme is still alive and often listened in many different mediums and sources. Hard to believe Morricone didn’t win Academy for this score which seemed to be a unanimous decision. He had to wait 50 more years to win his first and most possibly last Oscar for the Best Score in the last Academy Awards function for The Hateful Eight.

Personally, my favorite film among the three is the second one which introduced a brilliant villain El Indio. Also among the trilogies I have watched so far, the DT is only second to ‘The Lord Of The Rings’ Trilogy to be considered among the greatest. The DT is one of the greatest achievements in global cinematic village. The trio of Morricone’s score, Leone’s direction and Eastwood’s character will remain one of the most iconic moments of the 20th century cinema.

Overall Ratings: 9.2/10