If a typical song has to end within four minutes and a Bollywood saga has to cross two hours no matter what, imagine the motivation behind films that are packaged in such a tight manner that the story spans over a day or a night or a week. Pace becomes the mantra in such cases. And it’s worth noting that Hindi cinema has no dearth of examples where chronology is the key factor. For instance, Dimple Kapadia’s upcoming What The Fish covers a month-long timeframe. Similarly, other films have experimented with different time structure in the recent past...
Ek Chalis Ki Last Local (2007)
Director: Sanjay Khanduri
Hourglass: A fitting tribute to late-night Mumbai through the eyes of two individuals who happen to miss the last available local train. Initially, they don’t know each other but the night makes sure they do by the time the end credits roll. Falling in the line of cinema where not a single scene is worth missing, this crime comedy was indeed timeless.
Bheja Fry (2007)
Director: Sagar Ballary
Hourglass: One long night. Many eccentric characters. A rather perfect mix of unique players and circumstances. This experimental comedy introduces new shades of humour via actors who have more to do with offbeat cinema than mainstream films: Rajat Kapoor, Vinay Pathak, Sarika, Ranvir Shorey, Milind Soman and Bhairavi Goswami.
A Wednesday! (2008)
Director: Neeraj Pandey
Hourglass: One of the best thrillers to ever come out of the industry, this film covers a day’s story narrated by Anupam Kher’s cautious police commissioner in flashbacks while focusing on Naseeruddin Shah’s heroic aam aadmi. With a runtime of 103 minutes, the captivating song-less script couldn’t possibly have been tauter.
Director: Raj Kumar Gupta
Hourglass: Coming back to Mumbai proves costly - too costly, perhaps - to the gullible protagonist in this stunning film. His story begins during the early part of the day and concludes by evening when he has to take matters into his own hands; quite literally. The talented Rajeev Khandelwal hasn’t worked in a faster film. No, not even Shaitan comes close.
Ragini MMS (2011)
Director: Pawan Kripalani
Hourglass: A lovey-dovey couple decides to venture into an inhabited location for a weekend and are surprised by one incident after another. While this sleeper horror-thriller had its base in the hugely popular Paranormal Activity, the story takes place over a fear-filled night as everything from desi spirits to spooky elements keep you on the edge of your seat.
Delhi Belly (2011)
Director: Abhinay Deo
Hourglass: Though all the lead characters in this fun black comedy appear innocent, the situation they find themselves in far more dangerous - to say the least. Needless to add, powerful manipulators are involved who neither miss deadlines nor forgive those who miss theirs. And the ‘package’ has to be delivered within the set time period.
Mere Dad Ki Maruti (2013)
Director: Ashima Chibber
Hourglass: A careless son misplaces his car at night and then spends the next day trying to somehow find it back. Or dare to face his temperamental father who is much attached to the lost four-wheeler in question. And oh, the troubled protagonist’s sister is getting married so he can’t afford to overlook the shaadi-related functions as well!
Shootout At Wadala (2013)
Director: Sanajay Gupta
Hourglass: Based on the first-ever registered encounter by Mumbai Police, this crime thriller is primarily a daylong series of flashbacks - narrated by John Abraham’s wounded Manya Surve - about how a law-abiding citizen turned into a dread gangster. By the end of it, somebody has to die and no prize for guessing who that was.
Horror Story (2013)
Director: Vikram Bhatt
Hourglass: The title of the film speaks for itself: it can’t stretch over a month or a year. Now can it? Only one intriguing night is enough for a group of seven youngsters to station in an allegedly haunted hotel to mark the farewell of one of them who is going abroad. A weird idea to begin with, yes, but then, what precisely were you expecting from horror genre?
Blast from the past
Last century too had seen Hindi films that was set against an almost real-time screenplay…
>> Known more for his acting prowess, Sunil Dutt produced and directed Yaadein (1964), a two-hour long soliloquy showcasing him and nobody else.
>> Ittefaq (1969) follows a crazy night during which Rajesh Khanna stumbles upon Nanda and a dead body in her house.
>> The jury drama Ek Ruka Hua Faisla (1986) begins and ends in a room. And in a day’s time.
>> An official remake of a Tamil film, Woh 7 Din (1983) revolves around a nuptial night featuring a bride who married against her wish.
>> Kaun (1999), one of the finest Hindi thrillers, introduces us an evening that transforms into a horrible memory for the protagonist.
>> Sudhir Mishra once used to make fabulous movies - Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin (1996), being one of them - even if the entire plot had to take place through a single night.
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