The Festival of Fire (1985)

  |  Comedy, Drama

The Festival of Fire (1985) Poster

In a typical college in a typical Indian city, the hostel boys Madan Sharma (Aamir Khan) and his friend are a rowdy lot. The teaching staff suffer from the common apathy of most teachers in... See full summary »


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13 January 2006 | Aam_Aadmi
| Not even passable quality, technically very poor
The subject matter of the film is novel and not many in Bollywood would have pursued it even back in 1984. However, the film is clumsy, poorly made and comes across as an 'experimental project' rather than a full-length feature film. Technical quality and production values seem non-existent. It appears the director was himself in college (learning his craft?!) while filming the rioting college kids.

The director has employed hand-held photography before it became truly fashionable in Bollywood. But the impact is jarring motion and when it comes to dialog, total commotion. Horrible, just simply horrible. Where did they record the soundtrack for it? Jeez, either that or the actors were so poorly trained they just couldn't pace their delivery. Its just impossible to make sense of what anyone is saying half the time.

The time-line of events is rather poorly established. Scene after scene appears to be mid-morning or mid-day, leading one to question if it all took place in 1 day (supposedly, the Holi holiday) or 2-3 days or many days. Also, what on earth is one of the guys doing on the roof with his girlfriend?? How did manage to hoist her up there?! Cannot believe if such a thing could ever happen in a college. The canteen scene has been repeated 3 times at least. To what purpose? Here as in many Hindi films a weak screenplay is the real culprit. Thus, no plot, no punch. And who is the protagonist here? Professor Singh? If so, then his character has not been adequately developed.

Sparsh (1980 Sai Paranjape) Arth, Saaransh (1982, 1984 Mahesh Bhatt), Ardhsatya, Party (1983, 1984 G Nihalani), Umbartha (1982 Jabbar Patel) were some of the good films made in early/mid-80s -- Holi's comparative universe, but they don't come across as patchy or unduly arty. The use of said devices may have been unintentional but the effect is opposite. Anyhow, it could've been a much better film than this.

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