Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Think Like An Indian

No. I haven't forgotten my lucky guy articles. I know at least some of you were expecting the next episode but then I simply felt I had to write about this first. Since this is my own blog, I can do what I want, can't I?

Nanowrimo just went by and I managed to complete my 50,000 words in the nick of time. But I did not allow myself to relax, I managed to finalise the first chapter of my novel before I decided to chill.

And since there's not much happening in Abu Dhabi right here right now, I fished out 'Bang Bang' and watched it last night on my lappie. (Psst - please don't tell anyone about this.)

I'd heard a lot about the movie, mostly bad stuff. The story is ridiculous. They bought the rights from Hollywood but still they botched it up. It's an insult to the intellect to watch Hindi movies etc.

But Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif are not people who I can ignore. (TBH, I'm a fan of most stars, though in my opinion Aamir is better than the others.)

Well, what can I say? Yes, the movie was a rip-off of 'Knight And Day'. No, I've not seen Knight and Day but even if I had, I'd give Hrithik and Katrina a standing ovation any way.

Ok. I confess - I was born with a manufacturing defect.

Really? I'd make that two defects. The first defect is I love both movies and books. The second defect is that I am an Indian to boot.

I've had a torrid affair with English literature since the age of 8. It began with an Enid Blyton book on my birthday. Holding her hand, I walked through picturesque places in England, Scotland, Wales. Then I graduated to American cities with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series. In my teenage years and till my late twenties, I was besotted with fair ladies who ran across the pages of the books I read and screens of the movies I watched - wearing skimpy, sensual, dresses and acting coy, cocquettish and bitchy as directed by their writers and directors.

But the second manufacturing defect never really healed. I read scores of novels and was emotionally touched by many of them - David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities, Pride and Prejudice, We - the Living. For a long time I thought Sidney Carton was the most tragic character whom I identified with (don't ask why, please, just read 'A Tale of Two Cities'). Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock were heroines I'd have loved to fall in love with.

But none of the books I read brought tears from my eyes until the day I read Rabindranath Tagore's short story 'The Kabuliwallah'. I never laughed at English comedies the way I laughed when I read P L Deshpande in Marathi. Girish Karnad's play 'Hayavadana' left me gaping at the man's capacity to shake me from my 'satisfied' life.

Though I was impressed with movies like 'The Sound of Music', it took me a Gulzar and his 'Parichay' to really understand that however glossy, dazzling and shining Hollywood movies and actors may be, the actors I really liked were Rajesh Khanna, Dharmindar (it's deliberate - not a spelling mistake), Amitabh Bachchan, Raj Kapoor, Jaya Bhaduri, Hema Malini, Madhubala, Madhuri Dixit, Sridevi, Shilpa Shetty, Kajol and now girls like Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif and dudes like Ajay Devgan, Akshay Kumar, Hrithik, Varun Dhawan, Siddharth Malhotra and of course the three Khans. (Drat! I don't want to miss anyone but then this is a blog, not a Who's Who of Bollywood.)

So by now you've realized where my ship is headed. Yes. I loved 'Bang Bang'.

If you've not closed my blog by now let me tell you that this is not blind love (or maybe it is, in a way.) I've had a long tryst with the film industry, and I've read over 200 books in my lifetime. I know there are always glitches in Hindi movies, but then I've also seen enough Hollywood and world movies stuff to know that there are almost an equal number of trashy movies churned out by Uncle Sam.

Bang Bang doesn't have a fault-free script, but you can't say the script isn't innovative. Yes, Hrithik carries off improbable stunts but then you might revisit the James Bonds, the Mission Impossibles and The Bourne Identities and then try convincing me that any human being could do what was done by the leading men in those movies.

Who cares? As long as I have Hrithik Roshan doing stunts and dancing to music by Vishal-Shekhar. Who cares? As long as Katrina Kaif looks drop-dead gorgeous whether she's shown up close or from 10 miles away.

For those of you who are writers or who aspire to be writers, Bang Bang is about the fantasies of a beautiful girl jailed in a small-time bank in small-town Shimla. I think the scriptwriter/director won by showing what happened in this single and simple girl's life when a macho man rushed into it like a tsunami and turned it upside down. I've lived quite an exciting life but I've never been a James Bond and never had an affair with a woman as beautiful as Katrina. Does that mean I should shut out all the fun from my life? Well, I won't, certainly not because you say so. I'll leave myself to decide that.

And then the songs. I love songs. Indians are a very musical people. We have songs for various occasions from when a child is born to even after s/he dies. And we are indisciplined. We are not like the westerners who have an etiquette for everything. We sing when we feel happy and we sing when we are sad. We do not bother much about what the world thinks of us. This is the way we are.

So, to cut a long story short, Bang Bang is for me a welcome release from my dull and drab life. And I look forward to the next instalment.

And as a proof that times have changed in Bollywood, the producers had bought the rights of 'Knight and Day' so for all practical purposes, it's not a rip-off but a properly designed movie to entertain the Indian audience. I wouldn't compare it with the original, because that was designed for an American audience while Bang Bang is for people like me - the aam aadmi.
Plus, once you've sold your house and filled your bank with the money, you have no right to object whether the buyer is living in your house or he has pulled it down and erected a totally new structure. So there's really no point in comparing notes between 'Knight and Day' and 'Bang Bang'.
Hell, I don't feel apologetic for saying all this. You see, I was born with a manufacturing defect - I think like an Indian.


iluvfiction said...

Even I like Bang Bang, Neelesh! Loved the post.

Sid @ said...

Haha...Your manufacturing defect is forgotten, Neelesh. For as you correctly said, when Hrithik can dance like that and Katrina looks so drop-dead gorgeous, who cares about the story :) I quite enjoyed it - despite all the criticism.

From the heart-need said...

Thank you Ruchi and Sid.

Sonia Rao said...

I haven't seen Bang Bang (why haven't they shown it on TV yet?) but I do think that this "manufacturing defect" is inherent in all of us Indians (I am a huge fan of Sallu in Wanted).

It's rightly said then, there's no biz like Bolly-Showbiz.