Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
The last Hindi film I watched in a theatre was Nagesh Kukunoor’s “Tasveer”, an improbable tale about a man who has ‘photographic visions’ and can revisit the past. Then Bollywood took a break and I hoped it would serve the industry well.
Unfortunately, Bollywood seems to have gone from bad to worse in that time — if you go by the first release since the film producers’ strike — Vivek Sharma’s “Kal Kissne Dekha”, starring debutante Jackky Bhagnani and Vaishali Desai. A jaded, disjointed and totally mediocre film about a boy who can see into the future.
Bhagnani plays Nihal Singh, who comes from Chandigarh to Mumbai for higher studies. It is another story that his college, hostel and surroundings look nothing like Mumbai. There he meets Misha (Desai), the arrogant, rich girl who hates him at first sight.
This is a first. Aamir Khan has gone the Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar way — the actor in him has given way to the star. He’s finally starred in a film that totally rides on his star power and as you discover once you’ve watched “Ghajini”, it’s not such a bad thing after all.
Khan plays Sanjay Singhania, a telecom tycoon, who we are told suffers from short-term memory loss. Singhania’s memory is wiped clean after every 15 minutes and to keep himself updated with his life, he has to continuously take pictures of his surroundings, write notes to himself and tattoo important facts on his torso.
Normally, I do not care much for actor Rajinikanth’s bullet splitting or his iconic cigarette flip.
But as the government gears up to implement the ban on smoking in public places, I realise that the “long arm of the law” (apparently an all-time favourite dialogue of the celluloid police) may one day also extend to Bollywood.
Having grown up on the antics of Bollywood’s Supermen with their rakish head tilts and outrageous stunts, I cannot help but feel a twinge of fear at the thought of the censor board ever sanitizing on-screen smoking scenes.
Try as I might, I cannot imagine a docile, law abiding on-screen Rajinikanth sans his unbelievable cigarette stunt.
In my college years it gave us women endless joy to see male classmates end up red-faced while trying to imitate the southern hero.