Friday, October 08, 2010

Du(m)bangg!

HT strongly recommended that the best thing to do is to watch it in a single screen cinema hall with whistling public. The best we could do was Darpan Cinema (now Cinemax) in Chakala on Visarjan day. Unfortunately, we discovered, the whistlers were all out there in the street setting new records in noise, air, water and cerebral pollution. The ones inside the theater were the well washed type, getting off early from office on account of the annual excesses of Ganesh Mandals.

Obviously, my expectations from Dabangg were low. Let me put it on record for historians that I was dragged to it against my wishes by Mamata. Devan supported her througout, so I couterbalanced the pressure by inviting Uttara.

Dabangg unequivocally qualifies for the two things that I hear public and paid reviewers say about really bad movies these days (that completely militate against my idea of consumerism):

1. You should leave your brain outside the theater when you go for such movies
2. This movie is badly made, but the fans will love it! 'Salman fans will enjoy this one...'

I say, WHAT the... ?

For years, I (like you) endured the endless mediocrity in mainstream Indian movies quite unknowingly, until suddenly Star Movies dawned on my adoloscence, screening 12 Hollywood movies a day. That contributed immensely to my world perspective. I watched atleast 6 movies a day for four months on the trot, and at the end of it emerged an awakened man. I don't claim I understand the difference between screenplay and direction, but atleast I now know a bad movie when I see one. Sometimes, just the poster is enough.

Yet, for years after that, lonely evenings saw me drag my feet into bug infested innards of the now endangered species - single cinema halls in small towns. I sat through really horrible movies in the early part of this decade, for the want of anything better. Really, really horrible ones. Right at the top of my mind, I remember a telugu movie whose name eludes me, in which EVV's son Aryan debuted along with the voluptous Namitha. Five minutes into the farce, I knew I was up against it. That's when I threw a mental challenge to myself. It was either me or the director now. Let him throw his worst at me, and I will sit through it with gritted teeth and courage befitting a soldier of war caught prowling in the enemy camp. 'Bring it on!' I said. Predictably, I won the bout.

That was just the first of the bad movies that I inadvertently walked into, but stayed on till the end, just to prove a point about my endurance levels. That went on for a while (understandable, since about 80% of movies made in this country qualify as commando-grade endurance tests), until Farah Khan's opus 'Main Hoon Na' hit me harder than I could endure. By the time Suniel Shetty got ready for his mandatory pre-climax speech to SRK explaining why he didn't want to shoot him right away, I lost heart and ran out like I had a bad case of diarrhea. I was broken man for days after that, having let myself down. And I could never recover enough to my pre-MHN courage levels. Consequence? I learnt to tread carefully where angels fear to tread. Except, ofcourse, when I manage smuggle a fart machine in for the comic effect, like I did for Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna.

[Tangential fact: The artificial farts were never loud enough to disturb anybody. But with Karan Johar working overtime on his masterpiece, no one needed the artificial kind!]

Dabangg totally qualifies for any Elite Commando training program as endurance-building module for third, fourth and fifth degree torture. May be even for space exploration and inter-dimensional travel. Builds extreme endurance. Here are a few reasons why:

1. Salman doesn't act. He just plays himself. True story. He himself said that. If there were any women to hit or blackbuck to kill on the sets, he'd have empirically proved it.

2. His facial muscles have frozen at some point of time when the botox injections reacted. The result is, not only can he not act, he can't even pretend to be trying.

3. An early scene from the movie: In a large clearing inside a barn, 7-8 dacoits are fighting our protagonist. They suddenly can't spot him anymore, coz he goes hiding. It is a large open space, mind you. If he ran towards cover, someone could have spotted him. How did he do it then? See, but he is very clever! He simply... hold ur breath here.... jumped out of the camera frame! No one could see him after that. True story again.

4. There is no logic to why the well-endowed chick agrees to marry him. Her father just killed himself, after having a talk and drink with Salman. He just barges into the wake and takes her away to honeymooon.

I don't even want to get into the storyline, support cast and the direction. It is enough if I say that the scenes of ambidextrous-job-letter-signing by Rajnikant in Sivaji have found their match in Bollywood. The movie was a new low in moviemaking, north of the Deccan plateau.

Of the quartet in Darpan Cinema that evening, three people found the movie not very inspiring, to employ euphemism, but one certainly emerged elated. Me. Seriously! My endurance levels are back! I'm only too glad, because I was missing out on so much of Indian cinema just because of my weakened nerves.

That's when I realised why people invent excuses like 'made for fans' or 'keep your brain out'. Whatever works for you, folks! Find your own excuse to watch all the trash dished out in Bollywood. Masochism manifests in many ways!

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