Friday, September 25, 2015

Let's talk Tamasha.

The tagline to the film is: "Why always the same story?"

Indeed.

It's deeply ironic that many of the same dudes who lecture us about how awful "escapist" cinema is, identify with all these films about escaping ordinary life, generally via romance. What is so bad about getting up and going to the office everyday? Nothing. Nothing is bad about that. What is bad is externalizing your sense of self-fulfillment, waiting for something to fulfill you, instead of buckling down and working to turn your "boring" job and life into something not boring. Take up cooking, get married and have a family, join an intramural sports team or something.

Escapist cinema, masala films, have their flaws. I'm not denying that. But what those escapist masala films don't do is tell the audience that their lives as good, productive citizens are worthless garbage. Escapist films are a stress release from the pressures of daily life but we're not supposed to actually emulate Salim & Anarkali, Jai & Veeru. We live vicariously, taking some comfort in a happy ending and poking at the painful catharsis of a tragic one. But who wants all that fuss in their life? Don't we all have enough problems? Why add to the stress of being alive by putting the pressure on yourself to have One True Love? One True Artistic Profession That's Definitely Not Office Work? That's a fantasy that should stay on the screen. Isn't it enough in real life just to love and be loved? To find a way to make your work fulfilling rather than seeking out some elusive Perfect Job?

Do you know who gets up everyday, eats breakfast, and then goes to work? Me. I didn't realize my life was so boring and worthless, Tamasha. And, as long as I'm on the subject, I got a few "fuck you" tweets for saying this but I'll say it again, it's more than a little condescending to have Richie Rich Star Son playacting a "dreary" office worker. I don't need some dude bankrolled by daddy telling me how I should be living. Give me some of that cash to fund my lifestyle and the power to gain a toehold in any profession I want and then we'll talk.

I'll also say this. All these "you need to escape ordinary life" films, Hollywood and Bollywood, have the musty odor of the post-60s flower child about them. It's as if an entire generation swallowed whole The Graduate, Easy Rider, and Bonnie & Clyde etc. without actually thinking about the messages they contained. We can't be petulant teenagers forever. What's cute at 17 is far less appealing at 27 and even less appealing at 47. Who is the real douchebag? The petulant kid at the bottom of the pool or the guy actually doing something useful with his life: making plastic. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper end up DEAD at the end of their adventure... is that really the way to live?

1 comment:

Divya said...

Could not agree with you more. I had the exact same feelings watching this trailer and while I enjoyed Zindagi na milegi dobara overall, I had the same feelings about the Arjun/Laila track. Apparently people who work for a living are boring!
There are very few people who end up in their dream career, there are even a fewer who have the talent, luck etc. to make it in their dream career. How does it help telling the rest of the world that their life and career is worthless. Sure If I had a few thousand dollars lying around I too would take a vacation to Corsica and not be boring :).

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