Archive | November, 2012

Hindi movies: ignorance of a chinar tree or graveness of a barren desert?

28 Nov

“I hate Hindi movies. They don’t make any sense to me”, said the average Indian youth.

“I cannot watch anything else except Hollywood movies. Hindi movies are so lame”, said the girl with the Louis Vuitton bag resting in the crook of her arm, flicking her poker straight hair haughtily over her shoulder.

“Hindi movies are so clichéd. Melodramatic dialogues, poor quality action sequences and effects, slapstick comedy and toilet humour and song lyrics that are absurd to the point of being intolerable”, said the intellectual literature student with a face contorted with blatantly unveiled disgust.

Every time I hear such statements, I find myself invariably rising up to defend the honour of Hindi cinema. Being a fan and supporter of Hindi movies, I try to vehemently oppose these opinions of people of different backgrounds and interests, which ultimately lead to a unanimous loathing and contempt for Hindi films. However, I find myself at a loss for words when I try to oppose them, I clamour for appropriate retorts which would defy their accusations completely. My conscience pulls at the hem of my pants and draws my attention to my own affirmation with these very criticisms. Many a times have I returned from a movie theater complaining about having spent almost 3 hours and 300 rupees in vain just to stare at some unprofessional acting by a very beautiful and well endowed actress and humour that made me cringe in my seat and regret having come with my parents, only to be rendered stupefied the next day when I read the newspaper reporting that very movie having made the highest collections at the box office that year.

Having said this, I would like to applaud for the groundbreaking filmmakers and actors who have made successful attempts in trying to change the shape of the curve of Bollywood movies. Ranging into varying genres, some of which did not even make it the multiplexes in big cities, let alone the theaters in small towns, a list of my personal favourites would include, Escape from Taliban, Dor, Well done Abba, Teen Deewarein, Sikandar, Parzania, Stanley ka dabba, Blue Umbrella, to the more recent and celebrated, Taare Zameen Par, Iqbal, Barfi, English Vinglish, Kahaani etc. There are other remarkable pieces of work that sometimes never even make it to the release because of lack of funds(not many are brave enough to risk their capital into something that is not mainstream). Some of these movies have indeed been huge hits, whether it be due to the glamorous star cast or vigorously carried out promotions. However, it also suggests that there is a certain group of people who do appreciate such cinema, however small it may be.

It then makes me wonder what exactly appeals to the masses to catapult the brainless movies to such high peaks, in just one day.

An assumption that I can safely make is based on the “beautiful is good” phenomena. It states that physically attractive people are assumed to be superior to others on many other traits, thereby overshadowing the (lack of) other important qualities. This may explain why a movie starring a fair complexioned actress (a very important characteristic in Indian culture) with a well maintained figure, and a tall actor with rippling muscles but a cute boyish smile tends to do amazingly at the box office, even when it lacks a good story line.

Another possible explanation is what I have heard from many of my own acquaintances who admit that after a hard day’s work, they are not tempted to watch thought provoking movies but rather want to leave their brains at home and cool their eyes on exotic foreign locations, expensive fashion ensemble and men and women gyrating on the celluloid. “Paisa vasool”.

Being a psychology student, a personal assumption I would attempt to make is that as human beings, our psyche is highly complex and there resides a huge mass of unspoken and un-encountered thoughts, wishes and fantasies which try to manifest themselves through media such as art, literature and of course, the cinemas. Most of us being ‘escapists’ by nature, try to escape and lose ourselves, if only for a short period of time into the beautiful Swiss mountains and chiffon sarees blowing in the wind and perfect relationships; to name a few colours in the entire spectrum of rainbow as presented by these movies. Now who would like to escape into a world of doom? A world of mental and physical deformities, abject poverty, sex trafficking and other such unspoken social evils which reside in every part of the country as stubborn as an oil stain on a white piece of cloth.

All these arguments stand justified at their position, since cinema is widely considered as the most attractive form of recreation, and a light movie is always welcome in times when life is so fast paced and complicated. But let us not forget that cinema is also the biggest mass reaching  media which holds the power to depict important issues and create the much needed awareness among people in an engaging manner.

Thus, I would like to urge people to support the novel attempts made by bold film makers which bring important issues to the forefront than just sit through 90 minutes of mind numbing blabber with an item song thrown in about a certain munni or jalebi bai.

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2012

27 Nov

She looks around dazed as she comes out of her reverie. Her face forlorn, she muses, “2012. What a dreadful year indeed. The year of losses.” She lets out a huge sigh, as if trying to heave the dark burden of vague unpleasantness off her chest, but in vain. What was that feeling? Regret? Melancholy? Bitterness? Despair? Maybe it was all of them together. Regret for all the wrong decisions. Melancholy for being a stranger in a strange place. Bitterness arising from the uneasy icy grip on her heart.

Desolation.

The year started off with an omen, warning her of all the events about to unfold in the next few months. She rationalizes, telling herself she couldn’t have done much even if she could have deciphered it and paid heed to it. As each month passed by, and the horrible feeling kept mounting, she started losing conviction in her self statements of “its all going to be fine soon”, and started giving in to hopelessness, and the most crippling disease- self pity.

Somewhere, the Evil cackled mercilessly, triumphant to see her jovial spirit crumble.

Her mind wandered off to the people she lost out on this year. Friends, loved ones, acquaintances. Having always been someone surrounded by people, she suddenly found herself falling into an abyss, with only a few hands reaching out to pull her back. The people who she knew she could fall back on were reduced to mere names on her Facebook page.

She is distracted by the chatter of monkeys on the tree outside her window. Her stream of thoughts shifts to the present. She tries to connect the sequence of seemingly unrelated events that led to her landing in a place where she doesn’t remember waking up in the morning without a damp sinking feeling in her heart, only wanting to clutch onto her mother’s pallu in desperation and never let go. 4 months down, and she still wonders if she took a sensible decision. She steels herself, phrasing it as just a matter of 2 years and not 4 semesters, to make the figures sound smaller, and trying to build strength on the fact that half a year is already over.

As the eleventh month of the year draws to a close, she tries to muster up some strength and positivity, focusing on the pleasant and promising events in the new year. The advent of a new life, strengthening of new friendships and hope for anything that will make the next year bearable. She looks forward to the new year with a childlike hope, silently pleading for it to be kind, a small smile curling up on her lips as she tells herself,
“Its all going to be fine soon…”.