Monday, May 26, 2008

Wag the Dog!

For someone, who looks up to the world of cinema as a form of liberation, an expression of a feeling so profound which can move you to tears and inspire, a form of art which is as beautiful as music and painting, there’s one thing going on in my mind…What is wrong with the new generation of film makers who have a reputation of churning out blockbuster movies? I have almost given up on Hindi flicks, except maybe for some few directors and actors whom I believe have some sense left in them to make a good cinema. It’s been ages since I have seen a movie which made me belief that Hindi movies can make the difference in someone’s perception of what Cinema should be like (perhaps, my last favourite was “Taare Zameen Par”). And Hollywood keeps my hope alive…but that’s not what I am worrying about.

The contention here is about the Telugu Film Industry a.k.a Tollywood. It's today one of the biggest regional language film Industry, maybe only second to Hindi. There was a time, when almost every other movie had something to look upto. Flicks those were true to their plots which are quite unlike the today’s genre of potpourris of God knows what all, those flicks of the golden era are definitely a thing of the past. What we see today, is producers and directors simply catering to the needs (read as demands) of the audience. Well, obviously a question arises at this point…is it detrimental to do something like that? It’s a very subjective point of view, but what is interesting to see is that, there seems to be a general opinion among my generation that there is something missing…and that is the “Awesomeness” which we experience sometime or the other while watching a good flick. Perhaps it wouldn’t take too much time in understanding such trite plots and over the top sentiments! To sum it up it’s almost like everyone’s is induced to “Lemon Law” the flick right after 10 mins into the plot (Inspired from Barney’s Law from the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”)!!!...
What’s even more flabbergasting to see is how film makers boast about the production values and hell a lot of things like acting, songs, characterization and yada..yada. After going through some grueling hours in PVR, Prasads, IMAX over the past several months sitting through some of the so called Blockbusters…I can only show pity on me. For one, I don’t really know why I keep going week after week and spending a fortune on something like that…maybe I still have some hope left in me that someday, someone would surprise me with a good flick! I am having serious thoughts about watching a flick just for the reputation that the director commends or those who constitute my favourite protagonists. I think, I can only blame the unknown for all this, can’t really point out any particular person in the industry….but atleast I hope someday someone would read this earnest plea of this movie buff…
1. For Heaven’s sake, somebody move away from 6 songs, 5 fights (or whatever the number maybe), comedy and sentiment which look terribly out of place! I can’t help to not observe this phenomenon that certain scenes of comedy and sentiment in most of the plots are shoved in to please certain sections of the audience.
2. The budding directors of today’s era who have a great talent to make it big, could also fiddle with the idea of making the length of the movie to just 90 or 100 minutes. It not only adds effect but also saves time for almost everyone. It’s very difficult to please all sections of the audience all at the same time and if not handled properly the results are there to see in zillion movies around.
3. And someone please….please chop off the so called “item songs”! It’s been sometime since it only adds to the burden of having to withstand all this…of course they do the job of pulling the crowd and giving great publicity, but come to think of it, we are on the verge of creating another Jayamalini and Jyothilaxmi today. If the producers believe that people want change everytime and that’s why zillion new female leads are introduced, then why not even in the “Item Songs” front??!
4. I really don’t know what constitutes a blockbuster, but if it’s just money which makes or breaks a flick, then how do you fit good cinema into the bill?! (My definition of a good cinema is something which can be applaudable sincerely from the bottom of your heart. And something which you can watch over and over and over again….for the overall aura which the flick creates and not just because it’s the flick of your favourite actors/actresses). So, please give art a chance to find its place! It’s rather pleasing to watch a flick which you feel difficult to understand or something which is different from the rest, than to watch something which makes you feel all the more stupid! (Wouldn’t you agree on that?!)
5. You gotta give credit...quite literally! Credit to the countless flicked tunes, scenes, even plots! Just a simple mention of this at the end of the movie or in interviews would give credibility to the flick, in the sense that atleast those who have seen the original would want to check out how the Tollywood's take on it is! Right now, the situation is that, instead of listening to the tunes or watching the film, atleast the me is trying to remember the original version...(one of the recent blockbuster reminded me of 5 different movies! Of course a lot many of you might have observed it too).

To conclude this monologue which I have been trying to frame in my mind, I do realize that I am not the only one living around to watch movies, and also it’s not me on whom the outcome of the flick depends on. But an idea, a notion is as immortal as life itself. Right from the moment it germinates in someone’s dream it takes an enormous form and someone is bound to put some life into it. It’s bound to have a domino effect and one day finally changing into a conclusive action. If only, we are lucky enough to see some of this change in the near future…. Wouldn’t you agree that one thing inspires the other? In fact that’s what makes us so progressive. Few days ago, one of the directors of the film Industry wrote an open letter in one of the websites that the film makers are entirely aware of what they are doing, and that there’s no point in voicing opinions which usually doesn’t result in anything. Well, he has a point with what he says. But I am of this staunch opinion that any phenomenon will not last forever. There will be a day when the dog will no longer wag the tail, instead it will be the tail which will wag the dog!

The history of Tollywood like that of Bollywood has been undergoing a sort of cycle every 10-15 years. From showcasing the early years of Independence, then to the social revolution, added to this a lot of Family Drama with plots revolving around the bonding within the family, and finally to that of Love and Action. I am not sure if we are still in the era of Love and Action, it certainly seems so, but nowadays with things changing faster than ever, I can see a paradigm shift soon in the offing.Who takes the first step forward remains to be seen! Someone’s gotta understand that whatever has happened so far and what’s been going on, will one day push us into a feeling of void, if it continues. A hunger for something fulfilling will emerge and it’s bound to spread like a plague, because we no longer live in a society where people are alienated from one another. If everyone thinks that the purpose of films is to just entertain, then it does have a serious competition from countless other things. My humble request as I get ready for the upcoming releases would be, maybe you cannot escape the Murphy’s Law, but you can definitely try not to be Lemon Law’ed.
Suit Up! No...No...That should be “Think Suit Up!“

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

When NEWS is not from N.E.W.S....

"Earth has only 4 more years left!" "Khali shows his muscles and 100people faint!" " yet another twist in the "slapgate" scandal" Breaking News:-"Cheerleaders are worse than Bar Dancers" "Thousands line up in streets to see the XYZ of Bollywood…"….Blah…blah…blah…blah…blah.
No, am not trying to promote the self-proclaimed audacity of "anti-blah-blah channel"; but news like this is a common sight. Almost 24 hours a day some or the other channel in around 200 channels that we have in India indulge in the utter stupendous nonsensical stupidity!If you are wondering what exactly I am referring to, then please switch on to a leading Hindi news channel which has the "distinction"of being the best for the past several years. (I have serious doubts on how they proclaim themselves as the best, although I would save that discussion for another day.) The latest fad, or should I call"Breaking News" is that the Earth will come to an end on 21stDecember, 2012. I have no problem when the world is coming to an end,but the oddity in this news is the way things are generated and thesheer impulsiveness of the host in coming to almost over the topbizarre conclusions. Coming back to this report, according to theanalysis of the drawings/paintings found in North America by the erstwhile Mayans claims that the Earth will come to an end in another 4 years.(the first loophole in this happened to be the way, the Mexican pyramids were located while telecasting them in this channel, I could never in my dreams think that Mayans were somewhere close to Hudsonriver!!! Maybe they did...Have to google it sometime..:) ) The then Mayan astrologists had predicted that the age of the present sun is about 5000 odd years and that it will come to an end in 2012 which will then give rise to a new civilization. Sounds like the story of "Stargate", like movies to me….:) . Another twist in the story is that, this is the 5th Sun that we have in our solar system.
To prove this already bizarre finding, the channel brings in a current age astronomer (or was he an Astrologer!??) . I think, he must have been in a fix to keep his version in tandem with the channels' content. And he came up with evenbizarre version of the "Judgment Day". According to him, our solar system will pretty close to the centre of our Milky Way Galaxy and since there is a black hole in the centre, everything is bound to be sucked in. WTF!!!!...This surely is a reason for us to be worried about….but will sense prevail on humanity (read as people who religiously follow the content of this channel) remains to be seen. I mean, someone give this chap and the channel a "NOBELest Prize" for making the discovery of a lifetime. WTF was NASA or ESA doing if we are going to have such a calamity sometime soon. Or is it possiblethat the superpowers have kept mum on this issue to avoid any possible chaos??
Possibly a good example of sensationalism and Yellow Journalism, the channel can be credited with some of the most bizarre things explainedwith all the possible intricacies on primetime. Hold on now, the so called "anti- blah-blah" channel is also not far behind. A partner in crime, it is a haven for page-3 kinda stories (and again debating that likes of page-3 is bringing immorality and destroying the Indian"sanskriti"..) and creating icons out of nothing. Take the WWE wrestler for example, almost an hour or two is dedicated for himeveryday, and the channels just seem to be following him day and night! Shouldn't be a problem, when you can withstand the likes of Sawants, Khans hogging the entire limelight on TV, but is it that important to explain what he eats, wears, thinks, does…..crap!Somebody drive sense to people who think this is worthy enough, but I am nobody to blame or pass a judgment. It's again a moral debate todebate what's good and what's not? But my humble request is to thinkbefore putting the content on TV, there might be zillion better thingsthat could be shown on TV. The same goes on for zillion Regional's better to stop transmission of the channel than to rather fill it with crappiest of things...but again am nobody to pass on a judgement. Which is why I switch on to a movie channel everytime such things are highlighted as "BREAKING NEWS"....:-P