PAF Review – “Golden Quadrilateral”
I guess the best reviews of a PAF can come immediately after it ends. When the impact is fresh and the hindsight analysis is least. After having watched 30 PAFs (LIVE) up till now I have realized that perfection in PAFs can only be attempted but not achieved. The Factor that makes it so enjoyable and unique is the IMPACT it creates in whichever way possible. So to set it on record, this review has been written just 2 hrs after the PAF has ended.
The “Golden Quadrilateral”… closest to a movie a PAF has gotten. Let me make a disclosure first… I don’t prefer PAFs with national ‘issues’ may it be terrorism, Maoists, riots, etc etc. Even when making PAFs myself I was always against taking a script in that direction (tough, sometimes you have to give up… it’s a team event). But “Golden Quadrilateral” has truly for the first time, despite taking up an ‘issue PAF’ won my heart. The smoothness of the script and the gripping screenplay is a very rare feat in PAFs which usually relies on individual highs of a scene or some comic characters. The tone was set right from the start with a short crucial scene of the main incident followed by the superb titles on videos. It actually braced the crowd for the mood of the PAF that was going to follow. The introductory scene of court with the superb screenplay was delight… and for someone who loves BOSTON LEGAL and HIMYM it was a scene worth a gem of PAF.
Moving on … I don’t want really want to get into elements, because frankly they were not the highlight of this PAF. Prod was OK, choreo was apt. Music, although mostly recorded, was a fit like Sachin and his bats 😛 (refer Luminous Invertor Ad). Here I would like to highlight something: as an audience member, I really don’t care if the music was an OC or recorded so long as it creates the required effect. They might not win the music trophy but the contribution to the final impact was irreplaceable.
Special mention to Voice Over of the Commissioner and Acting of the Senior Kumar (the father). And most of all the DIRECTION. It truly was a PAF with a clear idea and vision, again a rare feat in a PAF which usually involves so many people involved…. each with a different set of ideas.
The treatment was very honest. By that what I mean is most of the things put in (choreo, music, etc) blended in completely with the story. The first major choreo came after around 40 mins into the PAF. And to that my first reaction was … “haan, yahan ekdum fit hoga choreo”… it blended in superbly. So correct was the timing that despite no real innovation or newness in the moves… it still left a good enough impact. Also the idea of taking the story forward within the choreos truly impressed me.
And finally, the ‘My Body is a Cage’ sequence…. WOW… the feel of the cage breaking and the guy trying to escape…. Needs to be perfectly timed and should have had enough build-up in the PAF, otherwise might look plain silly. But it worked and gave those familiar goose bumps that make me still comeback to watch the PAFs.
Finally … it definitely wasn’t a PERFECT effort… minor light putches, Prod without finishing (After so much effort put into making a working elevator, why not make it presentable too)… but all these things don’t matter in the end… like I said, I know it’s not about the perfection… but the impact created.
In the End I would just say… l hope this PAF does NOT win…. What a season will we have then!!!
Oh … and the RATING 😛 – 8.5/10 (don’t want to go into individuals)
All the best to upcoming PAFs…
Anshul Jain (Zen)
A lot of things have changed in PAFs from our time. The use of videos during the PAF has increased tremendously. Original compositions have become a part of almost all the PAFs. Dancing on live music has increased. But one thing which hasn’t moved an inch, is the feeling among hostels after pulling of a worthy PAF and the satisfaction amongst the audience watching it. Golden Quadrilateral was one among many such performances that I have witnessed.
But before we move into different categories of the PAF, there is one very important thing which needs to be discussed: What happens if a PAF is lagging in most of the individual facets but leaves a mark with good overall impact? What I have observed in past years is that if a PAF imparts a good overall impact, they also pocket most of the individual trophies, which sometimes ends up giving an unfair result. The issue with this PAF is somewhat similar. You might not have found brilliance in individual categories but it definitely left a mark at the end. So where does such a PAF get its points to win? From Execution and Overall Impact? Sadly, there are no such categories to gather points. Is that the reason judges award the winning PAF most of the trophies? You can still be first in your class with second highest marks in all subjects, can’t you? I guess judges would have a tough time deciding the individual trophies if they wish to ensure fairness in all categories of PAF. The situation would be clearer at the end of the season.
Till then let’s discuss this PAF in more detail.
Let’s divide this into two parts, FA and Structures. I would say structures were plenty, good and sturdy. There were many scenes enacted on the first floor, stairs and lift were frequently used without much trouble. Though the use of the lift at certain places did drag the scenes because of its low pace. The rotating prod on the left side was good. The cloth ceiling was nicely made and the hand-rickshaw was nice. I wanted to see it roaming a little more in the quadrangle before the culprits came to murder the lead. What was majorly disappointing was the FA. Structures are important but what brings prod to another level is the ‘artification’ done over it. The team failed to enhance the grandeur of the big structures made with below-average detailing and beautification. The transparent screens kept in front of the main stage prod (side walls) did not add any effect. There were quite a lot of interesting stuff in the prod, like invisible telephone in police station which kept ringing, 2 masks, one ‘manoj kumar’ at the end of the bank scene and a big 42 inch radio in the office conference room. However, the justice idol in the court room scene was well carved and POP’ed. So except the techy lift and some brilliance here and there the overall prod could have been much better.
Script and Direction
If I need to summarize the storyline of this PAF I would go: “Satyendra was murdered because he fought against corruption”, something that everyone sitting the in the audience already knew. I had read about Satyendra in detail to get connected with the PAF and I really wanted to see how well do they bring in the facts. Point to be noted is that I knew almost everything which was coming. Still the script and direction was such that it made me sit for an hour and twenty minutes and go through the facts again. There were no high points in those plain simple facts, but they created them and executed them beautifully. No wonder it was a difficult PAF to execute with scenes happening here and there, choreo coming in between and screen going live amid all of them. Though there were places where they lost the momentum, the best thing is that they came back, strong enough to hold the fort till the end. I liked the way a fictitious story was blended in with a true story without adulterating the facts and the subtle analogy drawn between the characters was nice.
Direction was superb as well. Some of the scenes were splendid. The scene of the puzzled testimony of the confused witness for the bank robbery was pulled off very well. I feel there are two kinds of humour, scripted and situational. Scripted humour is easy to create and execute. Put in some good punch lines or mock some famous / infamous persons and if it clicks, the job is done. Situational humour is far more difficult. The bank robbery scene in this PAF was completely situational. I wouldn’t have laughed reading the script but I giggled watching that scene because of their expressions, body language and comic timing. Impressive! Another praiseworthy scene was the dream sequence where Anand finds himself caged. Loved the way they experimented with whatever they had and as I said earlier they created their own high points.
But on the same time there were parts which lacked brainwork and dragged the pace of the act. There were many such times in the PAF where there was absolutely nothing happening on the stage. Anand’s dilemma for the case was over portrayed. A lot could have been done in the opening scene where there the lead actor had absolutely nothing to do. Every time there were people in the lift, the whole voice box paused to see if it reached the other end safely or not. In the cage scene, there was no need for Anand to run around the quadrangle so much before he understood that there is no point wasting his energy. Though there was a door made in the police station / Satyendra’s office, most of the actors just didn’t care to enter through it. The scene where Satyendra and Anand were stabbed and bullied could have been much better. Come on! You are the so called mafia’s men, make us feel that you really are, bash him up, break things in his office, create some intensity. Don’t rely on music every time to bring out the intensity and seriousness in the scene.
Music … ummm …. hmmm .. umm … was there any background music ? I don’t know, you see I don’t remember. I don’t remember what exactly they were playing because I was busy watching the screenplay. So does that mean that they had awful background music? No, not at all. Because if they would have been awful, I would have remembered everything they would have played. Coming to the point, the background score was awesome. One does not need to be strikingly different or loud to be the best. Remember a background score is meant to “support” a scene and it’s not a place to display “out of the context” creativity in music. If today I don’t remember what they played, that is because the music went along with the scenes so well that they enhanced the impact of the scene, which is the ultimate aim of a background score. PAF is not a music or a dance festival and hence the excellence should not be judged by the number of OC’s created or the number of choreos plugged in. What really matters is how well have they been brought together to create the masterpiece. As far as this PAF is concerned, music played during intense conversations, letter reading, funny parts etc. was apt and good. The OC “Raam Raam” was amazing. Though I felt the folk version could have been better, but the rock version was definitely the show stealer. The execution of music pieces was good with no major jerks except the random, out of the feel, ringtone of “Anand” which rings amid a serious conversation. Overall the music was well appreciated.
This was the second time I saw Chanderiya and Ajinkya together in action. And as I said earlier, I knew what was coming up in dance as well. Nevertheless we need to discuss how well they were in the context of PAF and as individual dance. The first dance sequence on Raam Raam was average. Though they had sync, there was nothing extra ordinary that came out. The sequence on “Aitbaar” with black costumes was a high point. The sync, the choreo, the attitude and the relevance, everything was up to the mark. The use of half and quarter beats and some of the formations were really good.
The contemporary part was well choreographed but it barely had any sync or expressions (except Ajinkya). Coming to the third dance sequence, I really felt it to be a little out of place. Something which was just placed there for the sake of it. Though individually the dance wasn’t very impressive, but the overall scene was amazingly executed. I guess that is the reason that this choreo didn’t hurt much. A lot of things were happening and the PAF was at its highest pace. The entry and exits of the dancers were not up to the mark (may be the fault of lights team). Overall a good effort by the dance team with the script team backing them up very well.
Acting and Voiceover
On a general note, acting was good, with most of the actors carrying their characters well. The guy who played the dad’s role really deserves a special mention. He really had a superb body language which made us feel his dominance. He really looked like a big big daddy, a comment he would definitely mind otherwise :p. Arpit with just one dialogue “yeh case saaf hain” did a good job. However the statement was so overused that it lost its impact. The other lead characters were decent. With some loose acting here and there, overall the acting squad pulled of the drama well.
Sardarji’s voiceover, no doubt, deserves a compliment. The Bihari tones were good and sounded authentic. Co ordination among the actors and the voice over box was good as well. However, there were places where I could easily separate out the two. I might not be able to point out many segments with outstanding voice-overs, the important thing is whatever they did, went well with the characters and the mood.
Lights and Costumes
Lights is one of the category which does not require much critical analysis. To most of us it is obvious that they putched a lot of times. Agreed that the action was going all around the quadrangle and main stage, which sometimes makes it difficult to handle lights, but one has to be very careful with lights. It was not good to see a big firm like Kumar and Kumar wasting so much electricity when no one is there in the office. One of the blue light beside the lift duct was not on for the entire PAF, but as soon as the PAF got over it suddenly got on : ). However the hanging white lights on the first floor were looking good and illuminated the scene pretty well. So all in all, a bad day for lights team.
I think no one thought about the costumes for the actors. A story which is spanned over months if not years, which is 80 minutes long and has several blackouts / videos, but still none of the lead actors could even change a shirt to give me a feel of a new day or lapse of time. Why? Dance and other actors’ costumes were also just normal. I agree that this is no different era or region where you had a lot of scope to bring on creativity but you could definitely have played around much more.
Really a worth watching PAF with good execution and tight script. But having said that, I would say it is not something invincible. If they had some brilliance in certain aspects, there were areas they lacked the edge. Though I am looking forward to some more competition in the market, I am really happy and more than satisfied with this PAF. Script, Direction, Music and Voiceovers, the Four sparkling segments which came together to create what they called – “The Golden Quadrilateral”.
Prod: 7 / 10
Music: 9 / 10
Dance: 8 / 10
Acting: 8 / 10
Voiceover:9.5 / 10
Lights: 7 / 10
Costumes: 7 / 10
Script: 9 / 10
Direction: 9 / 10
Overall: 8.5 / 10
P.S. Sorry for being late in reviewing but India Pak was just inevitable
Photo Credits: Antariksh Bothale and Akvil Sakhare