May 24, 2010

Kites, Cannes and Laila

Chapter 1: A review of reviews

I have an extraordinary hunch about movies, so extraordinary that it is often confused with the other superpowers that I have. I can just look at the promo or the poster of a movie and I can tell how good the movie is with an almost hundred percent accuracy. The day I figure out how I can use this special ability to fight crime – I’ll be a superhero. So my hunch about Kites was something like… “They are really going to screw up the story but people will praise Hrithik” which is what always happens for Hrithik irrespective of how shitty the movie is.” (Remember the best acting award he got for Krish?)

Marketed as India’s first international movie, the reviews of Kites is pretty much close to my expectations. Not very well thought-through script, stupid Bollywoodish second half, Barbara Mori, a lot of publicity and the reviewers pimping out of the movie asking you to watch the movie “just for Hrithik” because he looks so "dashing"! May be its time straight men review our movies like in the good old days!

Chapter 2: Bollywood at Cannes

The Indian media makes a lot of noise during the Cannes film festival by meticulously covering the entire battalion from Bollywood making red carpet appearances. Strangely no one reports on what the hosts think of our film industry.

Around the same time last year, I was in this train from Normandy to Rennes (in north-western France) alone and bored. Sitting next to me was this hot chick immersed in her iPod swinging her head almost in sync with the movement of the train. I managed to strike a conversation with her and we discussed a lot of things; movies being the second (don’t ask what the first was!). During the course of our conversation she asked in a thick French accent, “Why do a lot of Indian actors come to Cannes every year? Your movies are not that good!

That was one of the rare moments I was left speechless – I mean literally out of speech! Deep down, I do agree with what she said about our movies but accepting that fact before a foreigner is a completely different thing! (Patriotism?) Having said that, if I try to defend our movies, I’d look like a complete idiot and we all know women talk – which would make half of France think I am an idiot! So I was stuck in this classic delicate ‘country before self’ dilemma. In the end I am proud that I did the right thing – whatever it is :p

Chapter 3: Laila – you’ve got me on my knees

The recent cyclone that hit the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu is named Laila. I am not sure who names those things but this is definitely a recent phenomenon. I suspect it has something to do with scores of 24x7 news channels mushrooming over the past few years. The media hype over Laila reminded me of this monologue by George Carlin,
"Do you know why hurricanes have names instead of numbers? To keep the killing personal. No one cares about a bunch of people killed by a number. "200 dead as Number Three slams Ashore" is not nearly as interesting as the headline "Charlie kills 200". Death is much more satisfying and entertaining if you personalize it"
We Indians sure learned something from Hurricane Katrina ;)

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