Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai? movie cast: Manav Kaul, Saurabh Shukla, Nandita Das
Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai? movie director: Soumitra Ranande
Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai? movie rating: One and a half stars
In the Saeed Mirza original, which came out nearly 40 years back, there is a great little scene about one of the many, many things that makes our Albert, wonderfully played by Naseeruddin Shah, angry.
One of his work-mates at the garage, played by the late, great Om Puri, tells him that his (Albert’s) girl-friend Stella (Shabana Azmi) has nixed a date. Albert takes in the information, yells at the guy who has just served him tea, about how ghastly it is, and not to charge his account.
His girl friend’s no-show makes him throw a switch. The length of Stella’s dress (too short) annoys him. Her boss, who is always coming on to Stella, enrages him. The state of the country (everything is going to the dogs, declares his mill-worker father) makes him furious. The capitalists are pigs. The commies are losing, and the workers are not uniting. And so on, and on.
Mirza’s film isn’t slick. The director, a master polemicist didn’t need to take refuge in slickness to make his point. But Albert’s anger feels as valid as it was back then because a lot of stuff hasn’t really fundamentally changed in the last four decades. A woman’s dress can still lead to prescription, hectoring, and worse. The list has only grown: anger, as a way of venting, as an expression of dissent, will never go out of vogue.
Why, then, does this redux version, made by Soumitra Ranade, feel like such a waste of time and talent? This is a trio which can carry a thought-driven film with ease: Das, Shukla and Kaul are aware citizens as well as actors. And Ranade’s debut film, Jajantaram Mamantaram showed that he is capable of sharp comment while assessing power and politics and the nation state.
This new Albert, both the character and the film, is all over the place. Kaul tries hard to make something of his character, who chucks up a steady job to turn into a killer. Is he seriously deluded? Is he for real? Who is he? We don’t know. Shukla, as a fellow traveller, is made to spout lines at the top of his voice, and some of those are tasteless and risible. And Das gets a chance to don many guises: regular girl, whore, wife. But nothing and no one is convincing enough.
The original had a protagonist whose raving and ranting, whose very being the way he was, was alive to the moment. This fully superfluous remake will only make you angry.