Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Sad State of Bollywood

Part I

I just got home from the theater, where I had gone with mom to see Fashion. With this, I'm pretty sure India has just gotten its first so-called "respectable"/"serious"/"reality" mainstream exploitation director: Madhur Bhandarkar. The man is great at PR, tom-tomming his so-called "research" at every street corner and in every gossip rag. Because a great film-maker, he is not. Madhur Bhandarkar's "research" is just ripping off the headlines. He stole the Carol Gracias wardrobe malfunction, the Geetanjali Nagpal episode, and a bunch of other snippets, and just makes it all so very crass on screen. This is a shoddy, very superficial movie, and the fashion designers and photographers who made cameos in here should be embarrassed to be a part of it.

The movie is ridiculously long and self-indulgent, with no though given to pacing or script. No effort is made to really show a model's struggle. Every designer is gay and speaks with a weird accent that in some cases (Harsh Chhaya) borders on serious speech impediment. Kangana Ranaut is just horrible. This is the first movie I'm seeing her in, and i'm shocked she's getting any movies at all. Her "model-walk" and facial expressions are downright ugly in comparison to the actual models walking around her. Half the time she's doing coke in a dazed fit, and the other half she's using her laughable child-like voice to scream and screech "YOU BUS-TURD" at her abusive lover. Not only is the movie full of stereotypes and cliches, it's rather illogical at times too, with gaffes likes the show-stopper outfit being shown at the very beginning of a show.

Priyanka Chopra looks good, but her character finds success waaay to fast and easily, and then turns super-bitch in a flash. After the numerous fuck-ups she commits both before and after her fall from grace, I'm not sure anyone in the audience would really have felt any pity for her. I must say Mugdha Godse was the best eye-candy on screen. She was hot, and did a pretty good job at her role as well.

All in all: long, boring, superficial, and very, very self-indulgent. This is an outsider looking in, and it shows.

Part II

Of course, this is a fairly common sight in Bollywood, with directors talking bollocks off-screen and screwing up royally on it. Take Goldie Behl and his so-called movie, Drona. What an embarrassment for him, and everyone associated with it.

I was out with some friends last month, watching a play at Prithvi, called Chaos Theory. It's an amazing play, very well written with some fabulous one-lines, hilarious scenes, and some real touching moments. It was a powerhouse of performances by Zafar Karachiwala and Anahita Uberoi, aptly supported by Sohrab Ardeshir and Shaana Levy. The story follows the lives of Zafar n Anahita from their college days at Stephens, Delhi, to teaching jobs at Harvard, right up to their retirement. It's quite obvious they're in love with each other, but never speak out or really act on it. It's a funny play with a lot of quirks, and never slackens in pace, running at and hour twenty-five minutes.

Then after meeting some more friends, we went out on a lark to see Drona. Boy, that was one of the worst decisions in the history of bad decisions. Drona is the polar opposite of Chaos Theory. Such a horrendous, horrible, atrocious, mind-bogglingly bad boring movie. Aaaaack. Abhishek looks a slacker, drunk and puffy with a scowl throughout the movie. Priyanka Chopra is wasted in some atrocious lines and worse costumes. Jaya Bachchan would make a great witch for Hansel and Gretel, and Kay Kay Menon was surely pumped up on the most narcotic cocktail of drugs ever known to man. What a disaster of a movie. Stealing bits n parts from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, King Arthur's Legend of Excalibur, and a whole lot others that I can't recollect now, the movie really had no coherent script or sense to whatever is happening on screen. Most of the dialogues were obtuse to the point of being incoherent babble. Ridiculous, unimaginative set designs only served to make the whole thing look like some kind of joke. Frankly, if that hack Goldie Behl had actually played the whole thing as some kind of parody, his absolute lack of directorial skills wouldn't have been so blatantly obvious.

My hearts weeps thinking of the colossal amount of money spent and wasted on this. Also, how can I get in on it?

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