Parallel Cinema can be defined as an alternate medium of story-telling sans commercial, masala elements like exotic locations, over-the-top songs and dance sequences and excessively melodramatic scenes and dialogues. Basically, it’s everything that commercial cinema adheres to! I remember Karan Johar saying in an interview “I don’t make films. I make dreams come true. I sell dreams for a living”. While I don’t despise this notion of film-making, but I think it’s the money speaking instead of art. And that’s what Parallel Cinema is all about — Art. Even it goes by the name “Art Cinema”.
Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Aata Hai belongs to this now-extinct genre of Hindi cinema where Writer-Director, Saeed Mirza captured beautifully the post-emergency labour society of India. It begins at the streets of Mumbai, inside an expensive car where our protagonist, Albert Pinto (Naseeruddin Shah) is the mechanic test-riding the car. Soon, we are introduced to his friends and family, his b’ful girlfriend Stella (Shabana Azmi) and her family and the labour strike, around which the story revolves. In retrospect, the film studies the often neglected and rejected middle-class orthodux christian families. A family dining scene where Albert talks about minorities without even knowing the word becomes the backbone of his charater, who becomes amusingly furious over big and small issues equally.
There are a variety of story plots which Mirza has employed such as Albert’s nihilist brother who abhors money. He is an artist (a musician to be precise) and like all artists, doesn’t want to follow the rules of society (a la Rockstar, anyone?). Then, Albert’s sister has a story of her own. She’s a physically handicapped (just one leg) but she’s strong, smart and understanding. All the right ingredients right for an differently advantaged person? Then there is Albert’s to-be father-in-law who either drink or play cards on-screen. His life’s final wish is to get settled in any developed foreign nation where he can do more ayaashi! 😀 Finally, one more major character is Albert’s father who after 28 years of serving in a cotton-mill decides to fight against injustice of corporatism. Wish him all the best!
Apart from the characters, the film is visually pleasing with many long takes on the road following a bike or car. Also, the dastaan of random poor people who fight inequity every single minute of their wretched lives is like cherry on top of ice-cream. Finally, the apt lyrical songs combined with perfect choreography make the film a movie. That too without compromising with the holiness of art cinema. It’s a shame that the parallel cinema of erstwhile Bollywood died so early having never achieved it’s aim of making motion-picture industry a socially viable media of enlightenment.