Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Reuters)
Suparn Varma’s “Aatma”, about a violent man who abuses his wife in life and in death, is one film that doesn’t scare you most of the time. Instead, there is much twiddling of thumbs as you wait for the next predictable twist and yet another person to die on the way to the climax.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the angst-ridden ghost out to take revenge on his ex-wife by taking his daughter along to the world of the dead. Abhay (Siddiqui) haunts the house and his daughter’s school, killing anyone who dares to offend the child — whether it is the strict teacher or the class bully.
When his wife Maya (Bipasha Basu) realises what is going on, she and her mother (Shernaz Patel) enlist the help of a priest who reveals that the husband is back from the dead.
When Freida Pinto made it big on the international stage with “Slumdog Millionaire“, there were quite a few who couldn’t quite believe her success.
While she was feted all over the world, found herself on prestigious magazine covers and on high-profile red carpets, in the country of her birth, there was some reluctant praise and a lot of silence which is unusual for a country that “adopts” anyone who sounds remotely Indian and is a success in the West.
Filmmakers in Bollywood, India's movie industry, are notorious for borrowing liberally from foreign films far and wide, especially Hollywood.
Even when they don't copy an entire film frame by frame, Bollywood directors often borrow from several films at once, melding story lines and adapting them to an Indian setting, complete with song and dance. They do this, of course, without buying the remaking rights. Despite a lot of original cinema coming out of Bollywood, plagiarism is rife.
For most people, Friday is just another day to get over with before one settles down for the weekend.
Not so for a film journalist. Friday is the day you watch the releases of the week (sometimes as many as three in a day), form an opinion about each of them and then put that opinion to paper (and then wait for everyone to disagree with you).