Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday post: No Parking on the dance floor.

Let's open today with a jumbled piece from the Atlantic which asks why "Bollywood" doesn't like sci-fi and fantasy written by somebody who appears to have only a passing familiarity with massy Indian films.

This isn't to say that there aren't folk tales with magic and mythology in India. There are. That makes their absence in Bollywood and their overabundance in Hollywood all the more remarkable. Whereas Bollywood takes quotidian family dramas and imbues them with spectacular tales of love and wealth found-lost-regained amidst the pageantry of choreographed dance pieces, Hollywood goes to the supernatural and futurism. It's a sign that longing for mystery is universal, but the taste for science fiction and fantasy is cultural.

Okay. I appreciate the sentiment behind the piece - mutual cultural understanding is always a good goal - but I feel like the author is missing something and is making a one-sided argument. Not only is her definition of "sci-fi" and "fantasy" is too narrow and Western-focused, her survey of Indian films appears to not have run very deep. Just because there aren't dragons and robots in DDLJ doesn't mean that there aren't elements of "sci-fi" and "fantasy" in massy Indian films. I mean, in the last few years alone we've had some mega-reincarnation stories like Magadheera (historical fantasy) and Eega (modern fantasy) as well as wonderful over-the-top sci-fi stories like Endhiran (robots) and more subtle ones like Maattrraan (genetic modification).

We just need to take the Western franchise blinders off to see that fantasy and sci-fi mean more than dragons and space ships. Why do massy films need superheroes in underpants outside of their clothes to protect metropolis when Salman Khan in tight-fit denims does the job?


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Thank you, Salman Khan, for refusing to do a seduction scene with Jackie Fernandez in Kick.

If rumours are anything to go by, the script required Jacqueline Fernandez to seduce Salman, who passes out on the sofa in one scene, but the most eligible bachelor of Tinsel Town felt that the seduction scene would look cheap.

You know, I appreciate a hero who is willing to stick with his rules. I have nothing against sex, nudity, and seduction scenes but 90% of the time there really is no need for them... in films. Especially not in an otherwise family-friendly Salman Khan film. Don't you remember how embarrassing it was to be watching a film with your parents and a scene like that came on? Don't you feel sorry for the young people sitting down to watch Jab Tak Hai Jaan with their parents and all of sudden Shahrukh is banging Katrina in a London flat and Anushka Sharma is prancing around Kashmir in booty shorts?

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ANOTHER filmi biopic. Guru Dutt is the next person to have his life picked apart. Bhavna Talwar, who has directed exactly two films, both of which star Pankaj Kapoor and neither of which I've seen, is tapped to direct.

As for Guru Dutt's family raising objections to the biopic, a source close to Bhavna said: "We're very clear on the legal aspect of filming a real life personality. We'll only be using information on Guru Dutt that is in the public domain."

Why does this just seem like a really bad idea and an invitation to a lawsuit? I'd really suggest that they take that information in the "public domain" and fictionalize it a la The Dirty Picture. Not only can you craft a better narrative that way but you can also avoid angering family members of your subject - family members who apparently are unwilling to cooperate with the film. Because what? Is that public domain information being taken from biographies? Shouldn't they be compensating the people who wrote and researched the biographies, then? Or is the information coming from only wikipedia or something. And what IS public domain information about a life? In my line of work, it includes educational degrees, professional licenses, marriage records, and arrest records. Scintillating cinema.

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Ruh-roh. New tax on Indian films threatened in Pakistan. They REALLY don't want people to see Shahrukh banging Katrina in a London flat, huh.

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"I am not arrogant," says Ayushmann Khurrana in an arrogant interview.

I can't decide if my favorite part is where he "laughs out loud" at the idea that love-making scenes in films are real or when he insinuates that the "arrogant" tag comes from the fact that he's just so busy that he no longer has time to answer every journalist's phone call.

I also feel that my transition from TV to films was very sudden and beyond expectations, which might have made people feel that overnight success has gone to my head.

Ummm... yes. Except strike "which might have made people feel that."

Overnight success has gone to my head.

There you go!

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Vikram!!! There is always time for Vikram.

The South audience has a different psyche. Once actors start doing stage shows, they might think we are jobless. Or we’re doing it to earn easy money. Even if someone offered me five crores to compere or 10 crores to dance, I won’t do it. In fact, none of the male stars down South would do it.

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I don't see what Shahid's vegetarian diet has to do with anything but enjoy this article on his workout routine for Rambo Rajkumar.

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Highway is the first Imtiaz Ali film I've looked forward to in a long time. Ali Bhatt is a charmer. I like that first Geet in Jab We Met-ish shot.

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Pooja Chopra - terrible actress and alleged thief.

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OMG. Do I actually like the Imran-Sona pairing?

6 comments:

Moimeme said...

Re that Atlantic article: do you notice one thing about all the films you listed as fantasy or sci-fi? They're not "Bollywood." They're all films from the southern industries. Do you begin to see the problem? :)

As a matter of fact, films based on folklore or fantasy were EXTREMELY popular in Telugu and Tamil films from the 1930's all the way to the late 1970s, when they finally were replaced by more Hollywood type "action" films. Several of these were also remade into Hindi, and there were original Hindi fantasy based films, too. Even if the author restricted him/herself to just Hindi films from the past ten years, s/he would have found: Ra.1,Paheli, Koi Mil Gaya, Krrish, Apartment 13B (or whatever that number was), all the Bhatt company fantasy/horror films, some of Ram Gopal Varma's films, etc. Heck, even as recent a film as Talaash qualifies! So what kind of research did this person actually do?

I'll read the article later to figure it out. :)

Filmi Girl said...

@moimeme LOL!! You keep me honest. XD I was assuming the author meant "Bollywood" like most Westerners do to refer to ALL massy Indian films but you're right with all your examples. You really do have to wonder what "research" the author did... I understand the intent of the article but it's really on shaky ground.

Divya said...

Don't you feel sorry for the young people sitting down to watch Jab Tak Hai Jaan with their parents and all of sudden Shahrukh is banging Katrina in a London flat and Anushka Sharma is prancing around Kashmir in booty shorts?
--Funny anecdote, we were watching JTJH in a suburban theater and there was this young mom and her kid in the seat behind us. Every time SRK and Katrina started making out she would be tsk..tsking and glancing quickly away. When the movie ended she made a comment like, looks like I can't bring my kids to any contemporary Bollywood film.
At first I was thinking, did you even see the trailer, but on second thought, I felt bad for her, she probably just wanted a pleasant evening out with her kids to enjoy an SRK movie.

odadune said...

As someone who came out of Shootout at Wadala kicking herself for not figuring out in advance that it carried an A-rating, I have more sympathy than I used to with the people who are, hrm, particular about what kind of Bollywood content they expose themselves or their families to.

With regards to the main discussion, I get the impression sometimes that the western blindness to desi "speculative fiction" movies is a side effect of which westerners are drawn to Bollywood. Alot of the latter seem to be people who are drawn to desi films because the films they see are appealing in somewhat the way mainstream 30s/40s Hollywood was: glossy, stylized, larger than life, emotional, sometimes naughty or disturbing but not explicit.

That category of film buff often looks down on the horror/SF genres and fans of same, except for a few token canonized classics, so they aren't going to make, say, Bhool Bhulaiyaa their first Bollywood from the 00s; or make Chehre Peh Chehra (Dr. Sanjeev Kumar and Mr. Hyde) their second or third 80s Bollywood viewing experience.

Re: "Yeh Tune Kya Kiya"/OUATIM the Constantly Renamed Sequel: I have no idea whether the film will succeed as a whole, but the love triangle is shaping up to be glorious. The innocent young love birds look cute together and have great chemistry with each other; the bold bad man who drags them separately into his world is suitably bold and bad and sleazily charming and *also* has great chemistry with the other two. So yay. My expectations were down a bit after the first trailer, but now I want to see this so bad, dangit.

seriousaboutserials said...

Weird. That Mid-day quote seems some sort of shortened/half-baked version of the quote from this DNA interview:

A lot of producers/directors who approach you feel you give them attitude...
That’s not true. Maybe people feel that way because I am not able to give them time and meet them as I could earlier because I am working 24/7. Now I refer them to my manager. I was so approachable as a person when I was doing television. After the shift from TV to films, I have not taken a private number. I have the same number and I get 50 calls in a day, so I just text them to get in touch with my manager.

They should not blame me for that. Now I have to follow a certain protocol because I am being managed by YRF. People have to get in touch with them in order to contact me. I can’t take a call on certain things. In fact you can meet anybody who has worked with me before from radio to TV and they will vouch for me that I haven’t developed an attitude problem. I have taken a difficult route and I still believe that I am not an overnight success and was a gradual transition from theatre to radio to TV and cinema so I don’t think I can afford to have an attitude.




Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/entertainment/1845931/interview-i-did-tv-shows-to-survive-ayushmann-khurrana

seriousaboutserials said...

Weird. That Mid-day quote seems some sort of shortened/half-baked version of the quote from this DNA interview:

A lot of producers/directors who approach you feel you give them attitude...
That’s not true. Maybe people feel that way because I am not able to give them time and meet them as I could earlier because I am working 24/7. Now I refer them to my manager. I was so approachable as a person when I was doing television. After the shift from TV to films, I have not taken a private number. I have the same number and I get 50 calls in a day, so I just text them to get in touch with my manager.

They should not blame me for that. Now I have to follow a certain protocol because I am being managed by YRF. People have to get in touch with them in order to contact me. I can’t take a call on certain things. In fact you can meet anybody who has worked with me before from radio to TV and they will vouch for me that I haven’t developed an attitude problem. I have taken a difficult route and I still believe that I am not an overnight success and was a gradual transition from theatre to radio to TV and cinema so I don’t think I can afford to have an attitude.




Source: http://www.dnaindia.com/entertainment/1845931/interview-i-did-tv-shows-to-survive-ayushmann-khurrana

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