Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A few thoughts around the Fitoor Trailer

After watching the Fitoor trailer, I'm tentatively on board the bandwagon. Although I admit that if it wasn't Katrina as the heroine, I probably wouldn't be as forgiving.

Here's the thing-- I like Abhishek Kapoor as a director. I loved Rock On and Kai Po Che and think he has a talent for wringing likable performances out of otherwise soggy actors. In other words, there's a good chance I might even find the notably soggy Aditya Roy Kapur tolerable. However. Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, on which the film is based, is a tricky work to get right. Much like Romeo & Juliet it is often misread as a modern romance, which it is not. This isn't poor boy meets rich girl, some troubles, happily ever after. Pip, the main character of Dickens's work, is a total dick... a fact that often gets left out of adaptations. He's the kind of guy who feels that the world OWES him things because he wants them, including the heart of a beautiful rich girl. Estella, the heroine, is often depicted as a cold-hearted bitch but how much of that is because we get given the story through that dick Pip's eyes? You know?

If Abhishek Kapoor understands the story this way, I'm going to be fine with this adaptation and with dickish Aditya Roy Kapur as the hero. Actually, as long as we're not supposed to sympathize with a dickish Pip, see Estella as cold-hearted bitch, and there's no "happy" ending, I'll probably be okay.

When I first read Great Expectations in high school, I did think it was a romance but coming back to it later, as a young woman with a little more experience in life, I understood that it wasn't. And over the years I have really grown to dislike stories of hearts "owed" to pining heroes or heroines, especially when they are "nice guys (tm)" like Pip, who is exactly the type of character to whine about getting friendzoned instead of respecting a woman's autonomy to chose whatever the hell life she wants for herself.

That said, over the weekend I re-watched one of my all time favorite films: The Cutting Edge. It's a film that's remembered fondly today by a large number of women but has gotten zero critical respect and I think that's a shame because it's a remarkable work. On the surface it's a romance. Kate, a cold-hearted figure skater, meets Doug, a hot-blooded hockey player. Shades of "Taming of the Shrew", right? WRONG. It's Doug, the prototypical American dude, who learns that "women's work" (aka figure skating) is not only really difficult but also worthwhile. It's Doug who learns to respect his partner as a human being, not just some babe for sleeping with, and it's Doug who falls in love first. Kate's growth has nothing to do with being "tamed" and everything to do with acknowledging her own emotions. It's an intoxicating fairytale of female empowerment and respect and one I return to again and again for that reason... as well as the fun of the figure skating, the humor in the writing, and the great performances.

What I'm saying is I don't dislike romances but I do dislike romances where the woman is an object to be won. Great Expectations is sometimes interpreted that way rather than how I see it: a cautionary tale about a dick who gets butthurt when he can't "have" a lady he wants. We'll see how Fitoor handles it. I like Katrina, Tabu, and Abhishek Kapoor enough to give it a chance.

2 comments:

Jess said...

I think you are in for a disappointment, all of the interviews recently Katrina talks about why she signed the film and it definitely sounds like "epic romance" but we'll see. I'm excited for the film either way I think it looks lovely.

Filmi Girl said...

Oh jeez... well, I suppose I should have expected as much. I might still be into it if the ending is "tragic" but I find Aditya really grating so I may wait on this one. Or at least read a few reviews first. Considering no Hollywood adaptation has gotten Pip's dickishness down, it might be asking too much for a contemporary Hindi film to do it.

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