I wasn't going to post this but what the Hell... what the worst that can happen?
Dear Abbas Tyrewalla (and Siddharth Malhotra, Siddharth Anand, Imtiaz Ali, etc. etc.),
Look, let me be straight with you - it’s not that I don’t like romantic-comedies. I count Jab We Met among my all-time favorite films; I have seen Hollywood romantic-comedy The Cutting Edge upwards of 50 times, including once this past weekend; I paid money to see Valentine’s Day; I own 17 Again starring Zac Freaking Efron for God’s sake! I like the romantic-comedy genre just fine. However, what has been grating on my nerves to no end over the last year or so has been the constant stream of self-important promotion about all the Bollywood romantic-comedies coming out.
I know, I know... a certain amount of purple prose is to be expected from industry journalists, especially ones who have close, um, “financial ties” to the industry like Taran Adarsh, but telling me that your next romantic-comedy film is the second part of (and I quote) “a soul trilogy” is not the right way to promote what appears to be a movie-length desi version of an episode of Friends. What is wrong with saying upfront that it’s going to be a movie aimed at young urban and NRI women? (I give definite props to the team of Aisha for doing just that.)
But I think the problem with Jhootha Hi Sahi is the same problem with Anjaana Anjaani, I Hate Luv Storys, Break Ke Baad, and with a large part of Bollywood right now. You and these other filmmakers - many who are educated abroad - making Hollywood-style romantic comedies in Hindi but promoting them like they are either parallel-cinema (“a soul trilogy’? really?) or like they are normal Indian popular films. Imran Khan and his ilk are being presented to us, the viewing audience, like they are Heroes (like Jr NTR is a hero or like Amitabh Bachchan was a hero) when really, they are just actors. And, on that note, when John Abraham’s performance is the selling point of a film - as I’ve heard mentioned in a couple interviews - that is not incentive to get me into a theater. (And I say this as a HUGE John Abraham supporter and fan - his best work is always done with a veteran actor to help him along, like with Nana Patekar in Taxi No. 9211 or with Ayesha Takia, Paresh Rawal, and Ranvir Shorey in No Smoking.)
Now, I’m not saying that nobody should be making these movies but by the same token you can’t force audiences - especially NRI and young urban audiences, who these seem to be aimed at - to go see the desi version of The Ugly Truth (with its bloated run time and other half-hearted nods to Bollywood conventions) when the actual 90 minute, montage-free, high production values The Ugly Truth is playing next door.
Something has to give - either keep the Hero and traditional Bollywood film reporting and promoting style that showers purple prose and ‘superbs’ over everything or go with this new style of actor who ‘disappears’ into a role and is just a person.
Endhiran was superb and mind-blowing. Jhootha Hi Sahi may be good or it may stink - I can’t say, since I haven’t seen it yet - but I can guarantee you that it won’t be superb. And, really, do we need it to be mind-blowing? No. There is room in this world for films that are pure entertainment. Rohit Shetty doesn’ t go around saying that Golmaal 3 is the third part of a “friendship trilogy” but I’m going to be first in line to see it anyways because I know it will be hilarious - or to use a more appropriate example, Akshay Kumar isn’t promising anything more than a good time with some romance thrown in in Action Replayy.
Jhootha Hi Sahi is a middlebrow romantic-comedy - just own it and stop telling me and my fellow Bollywood-lovers that it’s anything more than that because we’re on to you, Mr. Tyrewala. We have a saying here in the United States: Fool me once, shame on you but fool me twice, shame on me. And I ain’t no fool and I’ve already seen Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na.
PS Can you and your fellow middlebrow NRI romantic comedy filmmakers please stop trying to trick us into thinking that Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Lara Dutta, etc. can act? Just admit that you cast them because they are thin , can pose prettily while a song montages in the background, and some people find them attractive. I’m tired of these same rom-com Barbie heroines getting meaty roles in artsy films that should go to actual actresses.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Note from Filmi Girl:
I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.
If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.
xoxo Filmi Girl