Beyond the glitz….

Born and brought up in a very film loving atmosphere my first memories are of sitting in my dad’s lap and watching the dinosaur trying to devour the poor kids in Jurassic Park in 1993 Steven Spielberg movie of the same name. I was 3 years old and still the scene remains etched in my memory. I remember not being scared but thrilled to see the whole sequence. I have an equally crazy sister who is four years elder to me and is the most important reason for my obsession with films. When cable tv was introduced in my house we immediately knew we have met our best friend. We used to sit in front of the TV or so called idiot box and watch movies on one of those channels that are God’s own creation and meant only for showing movies. in fact I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that the first ten years of my life can be related very well with the movies that had come out each year. Be it Hum Aapke Hai Kaun in 1994, Rangeela in 1995 with the “yaayi re yaayi re” song or Raja Hindustani in 1996 or Titanic in 1997 or the cheesy romantic movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai in 1998. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai for me was the beginning of an obsession called Shah Rukh Khan that lasted longer than I’m proud to admit. i have seen KKHH more than 30 times. that’s 5133 minutes of my life I’m never getting back (it was definitely worth watching once hence 177 min have been excluded from the calculation). I have loved him along with the entire country in Dil Waale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (1995), danced with him in DIl Toh Paagal Hai (1997) and fought terrorists with him in Dil Se (1998).

With the turn of the century came the new guy on the block, Hritik Roshan, to challenge the mighty Khan trio and shake the industry. We were swept in the tide of the Roshan fan club. Close to the release of the movie, Kaho Na Pyar Hai or KNPH, there was a massive campaign started by Coca Cola where they were distributing Hritik cards, posters and what nots. Near my grandmother’s house in Chandigarh there was a factory outlet of Coke and my cousins and i, a bunch of hormonal and excited pre- teen and teenage girls barged in the factory. A kindly man listened to us and gave us a bunch of Hritik posters that would have otherwise led to us spending our holiday allowance till the last penny. My god was i thrilled that day! For a long time to come I was fascinated by Raj of KNPH. He made glasses cool. A pair of glasses has adorned my nose for quiet some time and I was always called a geek.

21st century movies were good and bad much like  any other decade. True to the Hritik fan club i saw all his disastrous movies like Mujhse Dosti Karoge or Mai Prem Ki Deewani Hu or Aap Mujhe Achche Lagne Lage but never lost faith and sure enough I was rewarded when he gave an amazing performance like Koi Mil Gaya in 2003. Granted it was inspired by ET but they managed it perfectly to make Rohit and Jadoo completely accessible to us. Obviously all sci- fi movies can be inter- related in some way or the other, right? With movies like Lakshya, Jodha Akbar and Luck by Chance I knew I was not wrong in being a Hritik supporter through and through.

Now let me come to the point of this post. It’s not so much to criticize one of my favorite actors but to ask him why did he contribute to the making of a movie like Bang Bang? This 165 min world tour was not necessary and makes zero contribution to the legacy of Indian Cinema. Time and again we have made Hollywood rip offs. I guess he got excited about getting a chance to get into Tom Cruise’s shoes but really was it worth the effort? There already exists an entire country that willingly rejected the movie then why bring it here?

Why blame only one actor? I have been a devoted audience for so many movies and can conclude safely now that our cinema has grown above and beyond the rip off phase. We have been doing that since the time concept of movies as a form of entertainment has come up. The movie makers of today are capable of adopting Hamlet so beautifully and making it our own in a movie like Haider or imbibe the teachings of the Father of the Nation so succinctly in a film like Lage Raho Munnabhai. This makes one wonder why is there still a need for movies like Aisha or God Tussi Great Ho or Ek Mai Aur Ek Tu? Trust me, I have seen all these movies and taken ten other people with me to watch them. Cant deny that I enjoyed them to some extent. I enjoyed the whimsy of Saif Ali Khan in Hum Tum (Rip off of When Harry Met Sally) and playfulness of Rani Mukherjee and Abhishek Bachchan in Bunty and Bubly (rip off of Bonnie and Clyde) but I still don’t comprehend the pathological need for emulation. Why doesn’t the movie maker trust that if subjected to an original story, funny/ sad/ action or romantic, the Indian audience would reject it? Why are our sensibilities so blatantly ignored?

I have an opinion which probably is not shared by many and that is fine. I have enjoyed watching movies more than anything in my life. There is a movie for every occasion be it of any language. I enjoy good movies and will continue watching them. but I feel let down every time we come up with a way to disregard the Indian audiences’ choice and subject them to such a load of hogwash.

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