Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
We Mumbaiwallahs hear so much about the big guns down south – Rajnikanth, Kamal Hassan, Mohanlal, Chiranjeevi, etc, but hardly get to hear them.
So of course, I didn’t know Rajnikanth has such a great sense of humour, in addition to being a huge star and a great actor. The veteran charmed everyone off their pants at the music launch of his new film “Robot”, and had the audience in splits with his explanation of how he came to do the film.
“If I hadn’t known Shankar (the director) before, I would have said no to the film, because it is a very tough role. You Kamal Hassan was to do the role initially, and even Shah Rukh Khan was approached, but ‘daane daane pe likha hai khane wale ka naam’ (every grain has the name of the person who is going to eat it),” he said, leading to hoots and claps from the audience.
I wonder if I have seen so much candid humour from any Bollywood superstar.
He described “Robot” as a never before seen experience in Indian cinema, and said he “guaranteed” that it would be a great film.
There are a lot of nuances in Anusha Rizvi’s “Peepli Live” that you may not get at once. There will be a comment on the health system in villages or the lack of hygiene but they are so subtle that it may escape the notice of the less attentive viewer.
It will be your loss if you do miss out on these small details because this film thrives on subtlety — something we aren’t too used to as viewers.
What there is though is plenty of laugh-out-loud humour and an affectionate look at our favourite movie clichés — all of which are being mouthed by a middle-aged, pot-bellied hero.