Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Gossip and a mini-rant on Ready reviews.

Not too much gossip today, so I got on my soap box about all those scolds harping on about Ready...

* Raj Kapoor martini anyone?

* Farhan Akhtar in
Abhishek Kapoor's next?

* Shahana Goswami is in Heroine!

* And the
Vigil Idiot take on Ready which opens with this:

Even before I actually get down to watching the movie, Ready starring Salman Khan had already grossed the second-biggest opening weekend in Bollywood history, pulling in Rs 40-something crore at the box office.

I have, of course, taken this fact with a pinch of salt, seeing as to how Salman Khan fanboys would flock to watch a movie featuring him reading a newspaper out loud for two hours, if ever such a movie released.

However, even with a vat of salt,
Ready can best be described as interminable dross. Suitable only for those who possess the ability to go brain dead at will.

At last count, the film's revenue is close to touching Rs 100 crore, ten days into its release. Sometimes I think to wonder how, as a nation of movie-goers, we could allow that.

Since there is no real gossip today, let me get out my soap box for a mini-rant. This snobbish attitude towards
Ready has really been bothering me. Of course, people are free to like or not like the film as they choose but the snide comments on the 'brain dead' audience are really too much.

Let me explain something - not everybody goes expects to be enlightened every time they visit the cinema. Sometimes, a shiny distraction is enough. I work hard during the week and I think
a lot at my job. And despite my bubbly online persona, I do have a lot of worries in real life. That's why I love these silly comedies so much - I can go in and turn off my brain. For 2+ hours, the cares of everyday life are silenced and I can just relax and laugh. What is so wrong with that? I'm sure many of the audience for Ready have stressors and hardships in their lives. And not all of us have the money for a massage or the time to take yoga classes or what have you. Comedies like this are a quick and cheap way to relax from the stress of the week - and if humming "Dhinka Chika" to yourself on Monday morning brings that feeling back, then I call it a successful film.

What I think these cultural scolds are choosing to ignore is that sometimes a 'brain dead' comedy is exactly what mainstream audiences need, especially in times of high stress. And most importantly, the success of a
Ready doesn't preclude other films being made. Look at Shaitan, although there has been a vocal minority bashing it for not being outsidery enough, the audience for a film like that is not going to be affected by the box office release of Ready. Both can exist and we need both.

Ready is candyfloss - made for a moment in time. And the cultural scolds banging on about how awful it is and who we're all idiots for enjoying ourselves need to take a chill pill... write as many negative reviews as you want but really just stop bemoaning the lack of intelligence in mainstream cinema - it just makes you look dumb.

One more thing, I think a lot of people misunderstood what I was saying about the picturization for "Switty" making me uncomfortable. The reasons I outlined above are EXACTLY why - it seems snobby in that cultural scold way:


maxqnz said...

I think that everyone who replied to your comments about Switty understood your view perfectly. I certainly did, you made it very clear, and it seems to me that the others who felt as I did also understood what you were saying. You did state it quite explicitly, there was no discernible ambiguity in your statements about it and why you dislike it.

Sami Saayer said...

while i did not thoroughly enjoy ready, i still agree with you on senseless comedies. i totally find solace in senseless comedies be it andaz apna apna or welcome. my issue with ready was that it failed to make me laugh in the first half. second half was okay. but if the movie has done 100 crores and is a huge success, everyone needs to accept the public verdict. millions of people cannot be wrong. yes, its good to have shaitan every now and then but these shaitans dont fill the bank accounts of producers like readies do. get ready for bodyguard.

maxqnz said...

It's also worth keeping in mind that Vigil Idiot's whole raison d'ĂȘtre is attacking EVERY film. I haven't read one positive review from him, especially if the film made any money. The contrast between this review and the one you complained about yesterday is clear - she said she liked "fart jokes" but wanted more than JUST that sort of film, and worried that the huge financial success of these films might imperil alternatives. He makes it personal and attacks anybody who is entertained by films like Ready. To take BOTH of them as personal insult seems both unwarranted and unfair to her, given that she expressed a much more nuanced position and avoided any trace of ad hominem.

Filmi Girl said...

@maxqnz I disagree - I felt some people were putting words in my mouth. i.e. That I'm acting from some place of "oh, those poor masses... let them have their cake" which is absolutely not the case.

And YES I know that Vigil Idiot attacks every film but there are a string of reviews just like this one. Somebody sent me a helpful list when I mentioned my annoyance. Would you like me post every single one? And re that other article - I already said that my issue with it was the handwringing tone and the 'word salad' that talked around the idiot question. Of the two, I'm annoyed by the other one I posted just because you can tell the author thinks they're smarter than everyone.

maxqnz said...

Sorry, I'm confused. You say
" I love these silly comedies so much - I can go in and turn off my brain"

but when she says "our parked-outside-brains when we are laughing our heads off" that's her being condescending and superior? The distinction is beyond me. And I think it will have to stay that way.

Jess said...

I haven't been following BO takes that much, so I am surprised to hear about 'Ready' breaking records etc. I just looked at the list of top BO earning films for both Hollywood and Bollywood. All the big Hollywood movies are kind of big budget epic quest movies, with a lot of great effects work. I can't seem to pin down the Bollywood hits into one general genre, the only thing they have in common is they have HUGE stars (Aamir, Shahrukh, Hrithik). Just thought that was interesting.

The Bolly Hood said...

Salman can has no real interest in making a "good" film, he's in it for the money and the recognition, and that's why he probably greenlighted the fuss about his item number. Unlike actors like Hrithik Roshan and Shahid Kapoor, who are making cinema people want to watch (Zindagi Dobara Na Milenga & Mausam respectively). Ready's basically a tool for people to speculate whether he's romantically linked with Asin or not. I think we know as well as Salman that he can't make a movie THAT MATTERS even if he tried - he's a terrible actor.

Jess, maxqnz and Sami Sayer, check out my blog (feel free to follow and please comment!!!) where I poke fun at Bollywood and pay attention to those Zero Screentime Walas!

I follow you FilmiGirl but I guess you don't feel the same about my site (I believe I emailed you).


Filmi Girl said...

@BollyHood Dude(ette) please calm down with the self promotion all over my comments section! You cannot berate people into following you - if anything it makes me less willing to check out your site.

NaF said...

That's a really really dumb and snobbish comment by The Bolly Hood. If Salman wasn't making films that people wanted to watch, Ready, Dabangg, Wanted and the numerous hit films he has churned out wouldn't have worked at the box office. I enjoy his films because they are unapolegetically Indian, unlike the newer lot of films that are trying very hard to be "international" (and falling hard on their faces IMO). And his films resonates with a large portion of the Indian audiences, and I think that matters a lot more to him than pleasing some so-called film critics and other snobs.

Moimeme said...

I just ran across an interesting article in the Entertainment Weekly site titled: "Do critics pick out certain movies to bash?"

He makes several interesting points, which at least show that this phenomenon is not limited to Bollywood, but is more universal.

Some relevant quotes from the article:

"What I’ve noticed — and I wonder if you have, too — is that this ritual of movie-bashing, where a popcorn extravaganza (usually a major hit) is picked out, by a kind of media collective, and given an unholy brickbat whipping, has become a recurrent feature of the movie-commentary landscape, with the opinions inevitably magnified by the righteously indignant echo chamber of the Internet."

"... the line between legitimate biting criticism of a less-than-stellar movie and criticism that emerges from a kind of vengeful group-think mentality can be razor-thin. [...] But when a sameness of thinking takes over, as I think it did with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, then the scathing tone of the reviews can be less an assertion of individual temperament and opinion — which, to me, is the definition of any review that matters — than it is a kind of mutually vicious tap dance, an agreed-upon stance."

"... I think I can offer some insight into why, every so often, critics feel the need to pile on. All of us, including me, can build up a gradual residue of resentment when it comes to the often corrupt priorities of popular moviemaking. Yet critics, in recent years, have been the recipients of so much bashing themselves — pan a blockbuster and you’re certain to be called an elitist a–hole — that they live with a certain anxiety about venting that resentment and looking like curmudgeons. That’s where the week’s Worst Movie Ever Made comes in handy. As I said, it’s generally a major hit, and so panning it looks like an act of fearlessness. BUT… because everyone else in the critical collective has agreed to pan it, too, you can let your vicious one-liners fly and know that you’ll be in good company.

"And, of course, by giving a critical bitch slap to the week’s Worst Movie Ever Made, you’re not just writing a funny, nasty review. You’re taking a bold “stand” against The Machine. You’re standing out there like David hurling rocks at Goliath (though with all those other critics standing alongside you and hurling more or less the same rocks, you, in effect, are part of a machine too)."

There's lots more in the article, and the comments reflect the same kind of discussion you've been having here.


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
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