Nothing like a musical to open a movie festival, and it gets the event singing and dancing and rolling through days of cinema – some of which may be sombre and even tragic. And the 31st edition of the Tokyo International Film Festival, opened here on Thursday with Bradley Cooper's joyous debut feature, A Star Is Born.
The star here is Lady Gaga, and we all knew that she could sing and dance, but act, could she. A Star Is Born was a revelation. She can perform and beautifully with her eyes, her face, capturing the happiest moments in her life, and at other times living through humiliation and hurt, finally walking into enormous tragedy. For her, A Star Is Born is a big ticket to enter the portals of great artists.
If the movie told us that Lady Gaga was a fantastic actress, the work also made it clear that Cooper, who wrote, directed and acted in it, was as amazing. What is more, Cooper makes sure that he gives the Lady a generous screen time, and the film turns out to be a touching duet – with some great soul searching music to keep us humming it for a long, long time. “I will wait for you”...'Maybe it is time”... “Trust me” are some of the numbers that moved me.
The plot, in a way, reminded me of the Amitabh-Bachchan-Jaya-Bachan-starrer, Abhimaan, where ego mars their on-screen relationship. One night, Cooper's Jackson Maine walks into a bar, thirsty for drink, and whom does he see there. Ally (Gaga), who gets to sing in the bar, because some friends there let her do that after her trying work day at a restaurant. For Jackson, a celebrity singer, it is love at the first notes, and he is not just smitten by her looks, but also floored by what he presumes her great talent. He coaxes and cajoles her to become his song writer, and also sing along with him, pushing her into the big league. And that is where the rift begins, and, added to this, his drink problem irritates Gaga.
Together, Gaga and Cooper take A Star Is Born on a fantastic journey, and interestingly, the Festival seems to have picked a musical from India as well – Rajiv Menon's Madras Beats – which tells the story of a Dalit boy's “sadhana “ to play his way into the rigid confines of the Carnatic world, a traditional preserve of the upper castes.
(Author, commentator and movie critic has been covering the Tokyo International Film Festival for several years)
Follow @news18movies for more