Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ocean haiku

Lovest thou the sea?
But must thou make land thy home?
Island's an option.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Almost Idiotic

Well, if there is going to be an Amir Khan movie, I am going to watch it. What made me watch Three Idiots earlier was the the controversy. I guess publicity stunts do work. I had read reports about Chetan Bhagat crying foul on his blog, and had seen news reports of the press conference where Vinod Chopra said Shut Up. I believed Chetan Bhagat's version, and thought ok, Amir Khan has finally done something wrong, accusing Chetan Bhagat of 'seeking cheap publicity'. I went to the theatre expecting to find that Chetan Bhagat was right.

Very soon into the movie I was convinced that Chetan Bhagat's claim that the movie is 70% of the book was false. Maybe 10 to 20%. But of course these things are subjective.

The movie is funny. But full of cliches. Too much unbelievable melodrama. Too preachy. And much too senti and tearful. The pencil not pen in space one, I had read that ten years ago. The 'Chamatkar' replaced with 'Balatkar' stuff that seemed familiar too - was still badly done and overdone, if you ask me. And there were some more that I don't remember. The chest hair in the chappati was too unnecessarily gross.

Amir Khan belives he can do anything on screen these days - that his character can, that is. Ghajini was too fantastic. And in Three Idiots, he manages to conduct a succesful delivery - the power conveniently goes off so he can demonstrate his car battery inverter invention - and the soon to be mother temporarily stops having labour pains while the whole inverter-vaccum-cleaner setup is up. Uff!

Amir Khan does not look like a college goer. In Rang De Basanti, they made him a repeater who keeps flunking so he can stay in college where he's the star. In this one they decided to give up the pretence. Someone write some good 'old' roles for Amir!

Another thing, if Amir Khan cries on screen, it some how manages to get me all teary too. I was embarassedly in tears watching Taare Zameen Par - I watched it with my wife; I was married just two months or so then. In Three Idiots too the place where his two friends are settled in life thanks to him, and he goes boo-hoo, again made me cry. I don't think it is just the story upto the point that made me cry. I would like to think the film makers actually wanted to make me cry. And they put all their film-making skills, their understanding of audio and video and of human psychology, plus the knowledge that the audience have been sitting in the hall, watching their tedious movie, for close to an hour. They put all these things into making me cry. And I resent it. Amjad Khan as Wajid Ali Shah in Satyajit Ray's Shatranj Ke Khiladi says to his tearful minister that 'Sirf Shayari aur Mausiki ek Mard ki aankhon mein aansoo laa sakti hai' (And he adds, perhaps not indending the joke, 'Kya hua? Resident sahab ne koi apni Ghazal suna di kya?'). I agree with him. I very much resent it if anything more than the aesthetics of a movie make me cry.

It's surprising really. Amir Khan for all his talent and his years in the industry, has'nt still made as true a movie as DevD.

I could write more bad stuff about Three Idiots, but let me stop. The book was only ok-ok. The movie, inspite of its laughs, is worse.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Watch it for the 3D

There is a lot of India about 'Avatar'. The word Avatar ofcourse, and some of the cultural traits of the Na'vi - the spiritual chanting, the prayers etc. But more than that. The humans on Pandora are from a private business corporation backed by a state army out to do trade with the Na'vi - to get 'unobtainium' a substance not found on Earth... The earthlings making friends with the Na'vi and mixing with them, teaching them English etc... The 'tropical' forests of Pandora filled with strange vegetation, ferocious wild beasts, and tribes armed with poison-tipped arrows... All this seemed similar to the beginnings of British trade and rule in India.

'Avatar' scores a lot of points for the semi-novelty of the plot - the beginnings of human presence on other planet, the excellent special effects, the cinematography, and ofcourse, the 3D. But it disappoints in depth of the characters, the acting and the believability of the story, and the story-telling itself (Total Recall and the Terminator series immediately comes to the mind).

Oflate a lot of Bollywood seems to have crept into Hollywood - especially, sudden unlikely possibilities opening up by the power of prayer. And also starting with The Matrix, there have been too many oracle predicting too many TheOne-s. Our Science Fiction is certainly taking a few steps backwards. Or is that the direction our science is heading?