Sunday, February 13, 2005

Cultural colonialism

I watched the movie Black yesterday. That makes it 3 movies in 3 weekends for me!!! - Page 3, Rshi and Black. Black, of course, is a master-piece. With this, SLB probably has wiped out his sins for making the likes of Devdas ;-)

This was also the first film I watched at the PVR Cinemas in the Forum. What caught my attention was that once u enter the theater the limitation on the choices for food. All you can get there are burgers, hot dogs, nachos (no chips) and Pepsi. Itz a different matter that the prices of all these are filthly hiked. But what prevents from selling some Indian food items??? Why do we not get the banana chips, chakkuli, etc. Why not some halwas?

And today I attended engagement of a friend, and after all the traditional pooja, exchange of gifts and formal announcement of the wedding dates, what followed was more striking - cutting of a cake, the would-be-couple sharing a Pepsi!!! Why this blind aping of western culture? No wonder then that Bajrang Dal is all charged up to protest celebration of Valentine's day tomorrow!

Our first duty is not to hate ourselves; because to advance we must have faith in ourselves first and then in God.

Monday, February 07, 2005

What ails Kannada film industry???

Watched the Kannada film Rshi this weekend. First of all, they had pronounced it wrong in Kannada itself....itz nor rishi, it should be rshi. Anywayz, one of friends had come back from US, and we thought letz watch a Kannada movie with him. In the end, he could not make it (the regular flow of visitors immediately after you come back after a long stay abroad!). I was vouching for Joke Falls, but one of my friends - who has turned into an extremist supporting the cause of Kannada movies after he came back from UK - pestered us into watching Rshi.

Although Rshi had traces of Main Hoon Na, I would not like to deny it the credit for originality. The story is pretty uncommon, and could have been made into a good movie. What prevented it from becoming a good movie is the lack of guts of the director to do away with the stereotypes.

Some steroetypes I found in the movie that could have easily been done away with:
1. The way Hari gets hooked to drugs - could have shown it in a more realistic fashion rather than the typical filmi style
2. Shivrajkumar's entry in the film - typical hero-worshipping style made for the front benchers
3. Hari's recovery from drug addiction - absolutely no thought has gone into this. Recovery from drug addiction is not a very easy thing, and should not have been relegated to one scene of Hari revolving in the bed.
4. The breakup between Rshi and his fiancee - c'mon get realistic! Nobody would shrug-off an engagement with a single statement loaded with hidden meanings and wait for coincidence to bring them together again.
5. The disclosure of truth to Hari - filmy, very filmi
6. The final acceptance from Hari - again very filmi, with the regular dose of accidents, ICU, etc
7. The travails of a single, unmarried woman in bringing up a child - the director could have showed something different other than the regular schol admission and road-side gestures
8. Relation b/w the Hari and his grandma - What the director could have done better is to showcase the challenges of having a drug addict staying with you, esp when you are a single old woman. How about drug addicts murdering their family members for the sake of money.

The bottomline is that it was a poorly researched venture. The director cared two hoots to pass a message about drug addiction. His aim was to make a film to cater to the front benchers. The storyline was just a coincidence. It was not meant for an intelligent audience.

This begs the question - what ails Kannada film industry? Why are we getting absolutely non-sensical films made with no thought whatsoever? I refuse to accept that the audience is not mature. Although I cannot give an example of audience accepting a good intelligent movie - because I dont think there has been one in a long long time! - the fact that there have been Tamil films with off-beat themes - like the Mani Ratnam movie about SriLanka (I forgot the name) - handled well and made intelligently, and accepted by the audience - one can say that even Kannada people are ready for good films.

The real problem is the self-denial mode that people have got into. By trying to blame other language films for the ills ailing us, blaming the govt for not supporting it, blaming the "outsiders" for not watching it, blaming the localites for lack of pride in the language, the list goes on. We are not trying to look within and see why the films we make does not compare with the standard elsewhere. I'm not saying the quality of the films are not improving, they definitely are, but as Arun Shourie always points out, the whole world is improving. Itz not enuff we improve, we need to improve more than others do so that we do not get left behind.

After I came back from Rshi, I switched on the TV amd the Ritoparno Ghosh movie RainCoat. And now I see the reviews of the film Black. I guess one needs to watch these to find out what is different b/w a run-of-the-mill movie and a well-made movie. Hope the Kannada film industry comes out of the self-denial mode and works towards improving the quality rather than quick-fixes. Amen.

The weak have no place here, in this life or in any other life. Weakness leads to slavery. Weakness leads to all kinds of misery physical and mental. Weakness is death.
-Swami Vivekananda

Sunday, February 06, 2005

A tale of two arrests

While the Shankaracharya controversy is still alive, there is this incident of the arrest of a Muslim priest in Bihar that brought the whole town to a standstill. Itz a sad commentary on the Hindu society that we cannot protest enuff to get a Shankaracharya released and Muslims can not just get a local priest released, but also the judge gets so threatened that he asks for a transfer!

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.
- Douglas Adams

First world and religious fanaticism

And one thought religious fanaticism is a phenomenon in Islamic countries! In this article, NYT paints a different picture. Even VHP has not oppsed the teaching of Darwin's theory in Indian schools!

You live and learn. At any rate, you live.
- Douglas Adams

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

HN, a true Gandhian

The death of HN takes a true Gandhian away from our midst. H Narasimhaiah was a true Gandhian, not just in teachings but also in thoughts and action. I remember one incident about 10 years back when HN was appointed for some Govt post and it involved all the regular emoluments like rent, telephone charges, etc. HN refused all this since he continued staying in the National College hostel. Then a person wrote a letter to editor of PrajaVani suggesting that instead of refusing these, HN should have taken these from the Govt and used the money for charitable purposes. HN wrote back in another letter to editor that he will not be able to do so since he staunchly believes that means are as important as the ends. I have never forgotten those words.

The weak have no place here, in this life or in any other life. Weakness leads to slavery. Weakness leads to all kinds of misery physical and mental. Weakness is death.
-Swami Vivekananda

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

You are visitor number since May 1, 2005