April 6, 2013

Yet another Gult movie

What are you doing in the kitchen? Are you eating my roommate's Maggi again?
What else am I supposed to do? It’s been an hour and a half since I ate something. I even sneaked into your neighbor’s kitchen but I hate the cold, tasteless tetra pack milk you humans drink these days…
One of these days, one of my roommates is going to kick you out of the house. Don’t blame me if that happens
What’s with the grouchy mood?
I just came back from a Gult movie
How was it? Wait… Let me guess, it sucked and it was the worst three hours of your life.
Yes, the usual but this movie made me think. Why is it that Gult people HAVE to watch every movie that is cleared by the censor board without any bias, discretion or standards?
Are you talking about Telugu Cine fans?
Why single out the “fans”? Everyone is like that. Sometime in the last ten years, an entire generation of Telugu people has been convinced that every movie that hits the theaters ought to be watched in the theater. I don’t know how that happened but it did – Ritualistic movie going
It’s a part of your culture now
It is our culture. Thursday evenings: Eleven pradakshanams at Sai Baba temple. Friday evenings: New movie at Prasad’s multiplex – That’s the time table.

The thing that really baffles me is that people aren't tired of it. I mean it’s the same movie over and over again. Every hero in a mainstream production is essentially the same misogynistic, boorish, less talented knock off of yesteryear Chiranjeevi but with an unlimited SMS pack on his cellphone. He keeps fighting the same villain – a power hungry businessman-feudal lord with a daughter of marriageable age. The music is a pile of shit and the lyrics are the stink that emanate from it as it rots.

The romance is the same outdated, self-repeating, boring-as-a-block-of-wood Neanderthal mythology where the damsel in distress falls for the eve teasing asshole because he is probably a “nice guy” at heart.

People basically have been watching the same potboiler for the last 15 years. These are the same people who will shout if their mom cooks the same vegetable twice in a week!
Well, your people have always been a little fanatic about movies
Yes but it happens at a totally different scale now. It used to be that people went to the theater only if they were sure that it is worth three hours of their time and read some movie gossip once in a while from the Sitara magazine stocked in the barber’s shop but now it’s crazy.

Movies are the only thing on TV, on radio, on the internet, in the newspapers, on social media, at weddings, gatherings, schools, colleges, trains, buses, hospital waiting rooms…
Yes, that is really irritating
And people passionately follow everything too. They follow the movie right from its announcement, to the press release, the launch muhoortham, the first look, photo stills, audio preview, audio release function (live), controversies, gossip, platinum disk function, movie teaser, ‘official’ trailer, second trailer, item number, and after all this hype, the three hours of old shit on new toilet paper is met with obvious disappointment and then their fans go through the five stages of grief!

Wow, your generation spends ALL its free time, energy, resources, ability, thought and surplus on the Telugu Film Industry complex. That’s a little weird given how bad they are these days
Let’s not even talk about quality. We are living through the dark ages for Telugu movies as an art form – the range of themes, the writing, the acting, the music, the lyrics, the portrayal of women, the portrayal of men – all of them are on an all-time low
Except the profits!
That’s the tragedy…. bad movies go unpunished. In fact they do good business because we will watch anything
But hey, the comedy is still pretty good… most people at least claim that.
Yeah, you can say that but comedy has always been consistently amazing in Telugu culture. We are a people with a great sense of humor. So we’re not doing anything exceptional in the comedy department either. We’re just managing thanks to the amazing comedians and individuals like Brahmi, Kota, Tanikella Bharani, Ali, M.S Narayana, Dharmavarapu Subramanyam etc.
Yeah Brahmanandam’s 20 minute track pretty much decides whether a movie is a hit or a flop
What worries me is that we don’t have a next generation of funny people and Jandhyala’s generation is not getting any younger. The humor itself is moving towards a loud, loaded with on-your-face insults, innuendos, and slapstick moments compared to the subtle idiosyncrasies and clever wordplay
Yes, and Brahmi is getting beaten up way too often. Every bonehead hero with a 50 paisa face wants to trash him and put it on his resume. And that Ali fellow should stop wearing that female costume. Ugh!
He’s the only woman character that stands out if you notice. There are no women in our movies anymore, just cleavage and a navel with Sunitha’s voice. And she is there for the hero to cook for him, dance with him, stalked by him and finally saved by him.
How come Gult girls don’t complain?
They do sometimes. Those who feel strongly about such things have stopped watching Telugu movies altogether. Some have accepted that it is not going to change anytime soon, so they cringe and watch anyway. It helps that none of the heroines look Telugu. But those who grew up watching only these movies are totally desensitized. They even aspire to be cute, helpless and borderline retarded.
"Haha… Hasini" There’s this thing called a Bechdel test which is used to identify gender bias in fiction. Did you know about that?

To pass the test, a movie should satisfy three simple criteria. It should have (1) at least two women (2) who talk to each other (3) about something other than a man
All those posh tests our gult movies wont pass babu. It is “out of syllabus”
Most of the Hollywood movies also fail that simple test. The movie industry is like that.
Don’t blame the Telugu Film Industry for any of this. The industry is doing very well for itself. It has bigger houses, better cars, and hotter chicks, plenty of money, media support, more political power, rave parties, and a generation of obedient fans willing to watch anything.

The industry is fine. The people are fucked.
Take any train/flight/bus from anywhere in the world to Andhra Pradesh, the most common sight is a Gulti sitting in the seat and looking into his laptop/smartphone/tablet screen.

We don’t know of any other hobbies. We have no personal interests. This is what we do with our free time. We plug in our ear phones, shut down our minds, and stare at a screen that is playing ‘Dookudu’ for the nineteenth time.
Without getting bored… that is the amazing part
I don’t know if sociologists are studying us, they totally should. It’s an amazing bubble we live in where young people’s identities are so closely tied to what kind of bad movies they prefer, which hero they worship. And everyone has to worship someone. They even have their own “isms”.
Like the unemployed members of the Morampudi Mega-Power Youth Association?
No, I am talking about the educated, brand conscious, cappuccino-sipping, Android-loving, dowry-demanding software engineers (and soon-to-be software engineers) with good educational background and on-site experience sitting in office and having passionate “our caste heroes are better your caste heroes” fights on the internet!
Haha… Yo hero so fat that his belt is the size of the Equator!
We even have strategies to sit through bad movies. When I say I didn’t like a particular movie people say, “No, you’re not watching it correctly” as if there is a right way to watch a movie and a wrong way
Don’t you know? To fully enjoy a movie, we have to turn off our common sense, intelligence, sensibilities, music sense, respect for women, teachers, law and order, society, the environment, and life on earth in general.
And people do it. They are happy to leave their brains outside the theater. Their commitment is amazing. We should release a postage stamp commemorative of the Gulti Movie-goer or something.
I am not very surprised by all this. It is all consistent with what is happening in the state
Yeah, we’re the first Post-reading Generation.

This is a generation that stopped reading. Not just “general” reading like literature, science, biographies, history etc. This is a generation that has never read its own school text books. We only have printed sheets of “important questions” with answers which are to be memorized and puked in the exam hall. That is how everyone earns their degrees!

So it is not surprising that we have this culture where millions of “educated” people in their 20s are proud to have not read a single book their whole lives; a culture that ridicules and alienates those who have; a culture where education is a transaction in which parents mortgage their ancestral property for an “MS from US”; a culture where success means immigrating into a mediocre job in a developed country; a culture that lacks self-respect and confidence in the face of globalization and consequently, a reactionary “we’re like that only” pride in our mediocrity.
Gultisthan Zindabad!
We don’t have to specially shut down our brains while watching movies. We have shut them down a long time back!
Co-authored by Flawsophy