Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What’s the problem with Slumdog winning at the Oscars?

I’ve heard enough about how ‘Jai ho’ isn’t Rehman’s best stuff. I’ve also heard people say ‘Slumdog isn’t Oscar material’. And that Boyle hasn’t depicted India correctly. And that it’s all wrong. Top Bollywood celebrities say this too.

It’s like the people of Kazakhstan saying Borat shouldn’t have got an Oscar nomination. I mean, it’s an American award show. Unka director, unka film, unka award. Why should we object to what wins over there? And they are the TG, not we. So what’s the problem if it appeals to them?

Imagine Switzerland reprimanding the Chopras for misrepresenting their country. “Nobody sings songs here,” I can almost hear them saying. The Chinese could’ve gotten angry when Circuit, in Munnabhai MBBS, calls the Chinese tourist “Hakka noodle”. And we were roaring with laughter in the movie halls. Was the guy even Chinese?

Aren’t there hajaar such ‘misrepresentations’ in our films? Like the ‘Pretty woman’ song in Kal ho na ho. Do firang neighbours in Manhattan follow suit when an Indian guy breaks into a song-and-dance number?

Of all the people, do we have any right to talk about countries being misrepresented in a film? Ha! Apne girebaan mein jhank ke dekho, bollywood.

I’m happy for Rehman. And for Rasool Pookutty. If ‘Jai ho’ doesn’t go well with you, celebrate this because doors are now thrown open to Indian artists who want to interact with Hollywood. Celebrate anyway. Way to go, Rehman!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I’m allowed to kiss in public now.

“Pucker up, honey.” I say to the better half, who almost chokes over his morning tea.

“Where shall we kiss? The gateway or the beach?” I continue.

Just when the hubby thought he was used to the mad ways of his ad-woman wife…

In response to the quizzical brows, I add, “You see, the Delhi High Court says we’re allowed to kiss in public. It’s legal and all.”

“I didn’t know the Delhi High Court is so interested in your life, or mine for that matter,” he quips.

The battle of wits has begun.

“They say it’s okay for married people to kiss in public,” I explain.

I see the mischievous grin that made me fall in love with him, stretch across his face.

“Do they specify that the two people have to be married to each other?”


I’m glad the Delhi HC approves but I’m wondering if couples – married or otherwise – make elaborate kissing plans etc.

Imagine a daily planner like this.

1 pm dentist appointment.

2.15 pm kiss

2.30 pm meeting

Correct me if I’m wrong but I always thought a kiss is something that happens on the spur of the moment. It’s just a demonstration of affection and isn’t really that big a deal.

They ’re saying it offends the people around. It’s against our culture. Valentine’s Day is against our culture. Anything to do with love is against our culture.

Picture the moral police being thrown back into history.

  • They arrest Krishna and Radha because they’re not married. In fact, Krishna is married to Rukmini and Radha to Ayan.
  • Prevent the worship of the Shiva linga. We all know why.
  • Send Vatsyayana to the gallows for voyeurism. And set fire to the book.
  • Sue Menaka for immoral conduct.
  • Have a dharna outside Durga’s residence to tell her she ought to be in the kitchen, not outside destroying asuras.
  • Order Kaamdev and Rati to shut shop. Maybe confiscate the bow and arrow?
  • Ostracize Vishnu for turning into Mohini. And sue him for immoral intent.

And after all this, tell these individuals that they have no place in Indian culture.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Luck by chance is the thinking man’s Om Shanti Om

A very well made film about real things and real people. It has the classy style of execution that comes naturally to Zoya Akhtar. Surprising a film that revolves around Bollywood can be made without really going over the top. Subtle, sensitive execution with delightful, Wodehouse-like humour.

Beautifully etched characters which are so real, we actually identify with them. Though Zoya has used all her Bollywood contacts, she has done so in a suave manner. They all fit in well with the storyline as against being crammed in one song. And they are not the highlight of the film, only part of it. That’s what’s beautiful.

It’s the story of a Delhi struggler who makes it to the top, and how he reacts to the heady glamour and success. Farhan Akhtar, like the protagonist of the film, is brave enough to play the lead guy with shades of grey. The film revolves not around Bollywood but human beings. In fact one of the characters says, “Don’t call us Bollywood. We are the Hindi film industry.”

It is a satire around how success changes the attitude of a person as well as that of the people around him. And, I know this is a spoiler, but I have to say, I have just seen SRK’s most meaningful role. That was goose-pimply.

The casting, methinks, was perfect right from Vikram (Farhan Akhtar), which nobody else could've done better to Rolly (Rishi Kapoor) the producer who relies heavily on the heavens. And what I loved the most was Anurag Kashyap playing the film writer. There's this hilarious scene where Nikki can't pronounce 'khoon' and the exasperated writer finally changes it to 'murder' in the 'oh-so-difficult dialogue'. He says "Murder kar do" or something like that.

Overall, it was a tad long but I ain’t complaining. I want to go see it again. A couple of times. Just to enjoy the extremely well-written dialogues. No slapstick moments, no hamming and no sugary ending. Comedy that brings a smile to the face.

All in all, if Luck By Chance were an ad, it would be the Hutch (boy and dog) ad. Loved by the masses and the classes.