Friday, November 28, 2008

"Old wine in New Bottle"!

Hello and a Good Morning to all Bloggers!

I thought why not entertain you with a few humble offerings on contemporary cinema after some serious issues.

The last movie I had seen was "Showman" Subhash Ghai's latest offering  "Yuvvraaj" with leading actors of the industry in it. His productions are generally known for the extravagant styles in them.

His last product though, was a take on Terrorism and myths around it which came last year(Black & White).

This movie though has streaks of his Extravagant Storytelling,yet has a dreamlike element in its treatment.We in Niscort are taught film appreciation with some movies screened at the institute.

This was not a part of that exercise for me and my  movie-buff partner, Father Jerry from Chennai who is pursuing Broadcast Media here. I am in the Print course. So I would be able to inform you about the storyline with valuable inputs from Father jerry, who happens to own a audio-visual studio in Chennai.

The movie if told in a nutshell tells the story of a family in Europe where a Father creates a huge wealth for his three sons but ends up his life observing that they have lost family values and declare themselves as "partners" than brothers and play dangerous mind games with each other in need and greed of money. 

The tale as I have told earlier is related in a treatment similar to fantasy.Here Songs are an integral part. Hollywood musicals to name one of the most popular happens to be "My  Fair Lady". This type of literature and other works of art meets motion art  in contemporary Hindi cinema can be said to be Amol Palekar's "Paheli" and the recent "Saawariya".

The Tagline "the Musical Extravaganza" proves right.The first song "Aaja Main Hawaon mein..." itself is an escape to fairyland and carefree life which is led by Salman Khan who hates his  father for disowning him. He has a sympathiser in Katrina Kaif's character,who in Father Jerry's opinion is just a "doll" in the sense she is made to look opposite of her glam-image in all the movies she has acted in. She does not carry the oomph-factor along with her but is shown as a simple elite society girl from Prague. Father further adds,

"Her face is given more importance, than her body as exclusive closeups of her face suggests,in short she is made to look feminine and dignified."

As far as the acting is concerned, Salman Khan looks good in scenes, especially ones which show his show his Con-like capacities to convincingly tell a lie.His confidence to take risks in order to mould situations in his favour are worth applauding.Zayed Khan playing Salman's younger brother looks handsome and acting wise excels in the emotional scenes, especially ones with the outbursts, coupled with vocal strains.(but that is as all of you would know is his forte which he displayed in Main Hoon Na..) . Anil kapoor playing an  autistically challenged big brother is worth mentioning and  is the linking chain between his other two brothers. One of the symbolisms in the movie are the diverse manequins kept in the green-room of Kapoor when he is grooming himself for the orchestral-nite. In my opinion they seem to denote the different and complex characters of individuals. 

The look of the film are the extravagance showed in Zayed Khan's over the top lifestyle contrasted with the simple and innocent world of Anil Kapoor with music and Bala,the child of one of the servants in the mansion.

The story can be summarised as "old wine in a new bottle", with the tried and tested storyline for audiences. The clash of joint family values is shown as being in odds with the So-What Attitude of West in the garb of independent-living.

A last thing about the movie is that it takes its viewers to an elite, affluent society. Simple family values are shown in a costly manner. The positivity or that silver lining is shown with the triumph of paternal-love which can be contrasted with the cold dialogue of the story,

"We are not brothers but partners"!, uttered by Zayed Khan in their ploy to pocket his late   father's wealth.

This is not taking any stance but Mr.Ghai could have made something on some other issues but he chose to say a story differently and that is courage enough! 



Friday, November 21, 2008

Fashion or something else?

Good morning , followers of this Blog, I am at your service again!

The Fashion industry is one  of the most lucrative markets in the world among many other markets.

The overseas brands are Roberto Cavalli, Versace, Gucci, Prada and so on.In India too it is not a miniscule affair.The circuit here has Ritu Kumar, Rohit Bal,  Ritu Beri, Sabhyasachi Mukherjee and so on. The common man's perspective on this industry is somewhat negative. They view it to be comprised of glossy models ,  gay designers, extravagant parties , opportunism and lifestyle which is high on packaging, but not content!

There should not be any generalisations but I fully symphatise with the common man.

I suggest my followers to watch Madhur Bhandarkar's ''Fashion" to gain an outline of"that world" which is unknown to us. India is not represented by  Glossy Corporate cabins,  Gossips  of lifestyles  of  the so called Rich and Famous, Parties thrown by the misnomer, "Socialite".

It is represented by the huge middle class,the working labour force toiling day and night and still surviving hand to mouth.This is why filmakers like Satyajit Ray, Bimal Roy communicated with the urban population with films either on rural themes or backdrop.

Leaving these propositions aside let us dwelve into some ground reality.

As i had said earlier on this blog that i reside in Vaishali, Ghaziabad.I along with some of my seniors had gone to a place called Kaushambhi.It has the mall  "Big Bazaar" located there. We were given a treat in the MacDonald's there by one among my seniors. Entering there I was literally taken aback when I saw there was an empty space inside the building where many women as well as men were seated on chairs and a makeshift stage was in front of them on which children, comprising boys and girls 5 to 6 years as well as girls 13 to 14 years of age shashaying to  item numbers of bollywood ( which again I can state in the affirmative,Do not represent the real cultural quotient of India.) 

There was a fashion show too with one of the young girls wearing a short skirt and another a vest like garment. How come 5-10 years back this was not the state of affairs. The word   "modernity"has been mocked at by these acts and over the top trends. It is obvious that in its place thinking should be modern, by being positive, kind, generous, humble, courageous.Boldness does not ooze out of the clothes one wears but by the courage to stick to one's convictions and rationality.

What was most appaling to see was the reaction of the parents with proud expressions on their faces, busy enquiring about their child's status in the so-called competition with its peculiar and glossy comperes, anchors etc.

Aren't we turning our innocent and fragile future generations grow too fast? What kind of rat race are we living in? With whom is our competition ? Can't we see beyond consumerism? Are ethics and issues to be 'politically correct' only to be kept in various forms of literature?

Is this Modernity, Multiculturalism, Fashion or something else?

Good old Days.!

Good morning,

This is my second communication to all my followers.

Colour Television started in the year 1979 during the ASIAD games held in Delhi that time.Prior to that Black and White sets existed.

The national channel of India was Doordarshan with government control over the content to be broadcasted.This was a golden era for Television history in India.The midas touch happened to Doordarshan in the airing of the televised version of the mythological epics, Mahabharat and Ramayana.Then onwards,there was no looking back.There was the best historical docu-dramas of all times Bharat..Ek..Khoj (based on Jawaharlal Nehru's work, Discovery of India) directed by Shyam Benegal.

To name a few mesmerising serials, viz: Buniyaad, Humlog (which went on to become the longest running T.V. series ever.) , Phir...Wohi Talaash, Farmaan, Kirdaar, Mitti Ke Rang, Fauji, Circus, Karamchand, Mungerilal ke haseen Sapne, Yeh Jo hai Zindagi, Neem Ka Ped(based on Munshi Prem Chand's stories),Nukkad, Byomkesh Bakshi etc. In the 1990's during P.V.Narasimha Rao's term alongwith the advent of Globalisation, Television Channels from oversas entered the scenario.

We also know that this was the time when highest  production costs were recorded on making of serials which exceeded filmaking.This was the time when We saw serials like The Sword Of Tipu Sultan ( based on Montreal writer,Bhagwan S. Gidwani's best selling historical fiction). It highlighted the sacrifice of 18th century India's most energetic and visionary rulers .

These shows have stood the test of time and will become models or yardsticks in  understanding the inticracies of human society from Historical, Sociological, Cultural, Religious, Political and Economic backgrounds.

We would all like to thank Doordarshan for making our mornings and Evenings memorable with the generations  having viewed these productions urging for repeat telecasts.

Let us ruminate the good old days!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Children's day?

Hello Brothers and sisters,

Salaam and Namaskar to all of you.

14th of Nov.2008 was Children's Day.It is the day which is singly dedicated to the future denizens of every nation . The icing on the cake is that it is also the Birthday of our statesman like Prime Minister,Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.I study in Niscort, a media training institute.I also felt elated on the ocassion because children are innocent in nature and they have their own peculiar role to play like the seasons of a year.It is our responsibility to give them their due in this world.  Letters to the Editor in dailies as the Asian Age and Hindustan Times had appeals to the present society and government to abolish Child-Labour.The media also has a potent role to play here. Take for instance Times of India's campaign, "Teach India".In the vicinity near our instiitute,we come across a higher secondary school which has a fete organised for the children studying there. There is nothing against issues of enjoyment, leisure, gregariousness of children.The one thing that I am not able to digest(Rather to put it bluntly!) is that they were allowing the students to dance around with raunchy Bollywood item numbers.These are what which are mocked at by contemporary media as "glossy cultural offerings".Let us not dwelve into other issues(there is enough time for them to be taken up specifically!) .What makes me surprised is that children have plastic-minds on which anything and everything can be impressed upon. As an counter to such trends, We can make them watch movies with Nationalistic themes. There are lot of children's movies being made by directors in India as well as abroad. We have evergreen classics like "Boot-Polish","Dosti" etc. I would like to suggest a personal favourite which is an Iranian production titled,"Children of Heaven".Worth mentioning is Satyajit Ray's "Goopi Gayen Baga Bayen" franchises. We the public of the world's greatest Democracy should do some soul searching and ask ourselves what legacy are we leaving for millions and millions of children to follow?