Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
It seems unfair to devote a whole review to Arbaaz Khan’s “Dabangg 2″, given that this is hardly a film. As a friend said, it’s a collection of deleted scenes from “Dabangg” that have been put together haphazardly to make the skeleton of a film.
Just as Salman Khan makes no pretence about acting, brother Arbaaz Khan makes no pretence about directing. “Dabangg 2″ is an endless sequence of comedy-song-fight-romance. I can almost imagine the director mentally counting the time elapsed between a fight sequence and a song. A half-hour into the film, I could tell which was next, irrespective of whether it made sense.
This then, is a montage of Salman Khan being himself, dancing, romancing, cracking lewd jokes and of course, beating up the bad guys with some pretty outlandish stunts. Everything else is incidental and of no importance.
If you’ve been a regular watcher of “Bigg Boss”, India’s version of the international reality show “Big Brother”, you will never look at a mop the same way again. Remember model Pooja Mishra breaking a mop and then flinging it across the room in a fit of rage?
Or Sambhavna Seth during one of her screeching sessions? Or the romance between Anupama Varma and Aryan Vaid?
Watching a Salman Khan film ‘first day first show’ is an experience in itself. I watched it in a multiplex, where there were snaking queues full of excited fans, hoping they’d get tickets for the first show of “Bodyguard”. They were hooting, cheering and screaming in the aisles even before the movie started.
When Khan made his appearance on screen a few minutes into the film, grown men were dancing and cheering him on. This is clearly a star with ample charisma and a fanatical fan following who don’t care for technicalities like good cinema. “Bodyguard”, written and directed by Siddique, is in the same mould as Salman’s earlier Eid hits “Wanted” and “Dabangg”, showcasing the star’s romancing, fighting and comedy skills, thus rendering things like the story and screenplay useless.
I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned this before, but there really should be a template created just for the kind of cinema Anees Bazmee’s “Ready” represents, because having to find something to say about a film that seems like the exact replica of ten other films you have seen recently, is a very tough job.
There is always a rich hero, an airhead of a heroine, long-haired, weird looking villains who make sporadic appearances and brandish guns, bumbling aunts and uncles and loads of toilet humour. You can also call it mass cinema, formula films or the oft-used “leave-your-brains-behind-cinema.”
At the “Dabangg” screening, someone sitting a few rows behind me would scream hysterically whenever Salman Khan came on screen. She would cheer, shout out encouragement when he was beating up the bad guys and wolf-whistle when he was romancing the heroine.
In the beginning, it was endearing. But then it began to seem contrived, forced and totally unnecessary — just like the film. Unless you are a Salman Khan fan like her, because then you would be able to forgive anything.
The first day of the 11th edition of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend has been as chaotic as it has been revealing. From early morning chaos over accreditation and access to venues, by evening it had turned into excitement as the stars starting pouring in for the three-day event.
The centre of the chaos — the Cinnamon Grand hotel has become the ideal ringside location if you want to catch a glimpse of your favourite star and Bollywood crazy Sri Lankans weren’t letting go of any chance. By afternoon, the sprawling lobby of the five-star hotel was packed with eager fans, cameras ready to click and craning their necks to see if any star had arrived yet.
This has got to be one of the most difficult reviews I have ever written. All I have done so far is stare at a blank word document for more than 15 minutes. Words fail me, but I will have to do it, because I will not allow those three hours of my life to be in vain.
Perhaps I am being a little overdramatic here, but this drama is nothing compared to the extremely loud, jingoistic and nauseating drama that Anil Sharma’s “Veer” indulges in, so kindly bear with me.
One of my favourite films from 2008 was Abhishek Kapoor’s ‘Rock On’, the story of four rock band members who have a bitter fall out only to regroup years later.
It was a coming of age story that managed to stay in my heart for a while.
The other day a colleague asked me why I never seemed to like any film these days. I thought about it and wondered the same myself. Don’t they make good films any more?
Setting out to create a Bollywood blockbuster? Just make sure you have all the right ingredients — big budget, famous actors, foreign locales, fabulous music.
Wait, something’s missing — yes, the script.
Unfortunately for Subhash Ghai, the era of formula films has long gone and even the most ambitious project can’t afford to take it easy in the writing department.