Sunday, February 22, 2015

Will Be Back Soon

Still working on the draft. Will be back soon with reviews of Aankhon Dekhi, PK, and Roy. Follow me on Twitter where I keep posting some random trivia on films.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Roy — Of White Wrists and Selfishness

I love the songs of Roy. Each song of the film has something different about it. I listened to Chittiyaan Kalaiyaan and instantly, it became like a repeat song. It is not a great song but some songs have a quality that forces us to re-listen, like Baby Doll from Ragini MMS 2 or for that matter any Himesh Reshammiya song. In fact, the singer of this song and Baby Doll is the same, may be that is why. It made me think about the Indian fascination with white skin. India is one of the most racist countries in the world, there is no doubt about that. Our films provide a mirror to our society. From songs such as Hum Kaalein Hai Toh Kya Hua Dilwale Hai to Gore Gore Mukhre Pe Kala Kala Chashma to white only background dancers to this latest chartbuster from Roy, white skin is the ultimate prize. Where the nation's newest political party called the Aam Aadmi Party leads a mob to beat African women because of their color, where the nation's top-ranked star sells men's fairness cream, where the idea of humor in something called All India Bakchod roast is to make fun of a person's blackness, and where Meghna Mathur (Priyanka Chopra) in the national award winning film Fashion cleans herself after sleeping with a black man, it takes a much controversial singer Yo Yo Honey Singh to appreciate the beauty of 'brown rang'. Whatever other issues with his allegedly misogynistic lyrics, at least he is not obsessed with white skin. It is also worth mentioning that one of the few Hindi songs that has only black background dancers is from a film produced by a production house that is often accused of producing hackneyed films and that song is Chhaliya from Yashraj-produced Tashan. 

There is another great song in Roy that I like called Sooraj Dooba Hai. The song's first line struck me. It says matlabi, ho ja zara matlabi advising the listener to become selfish. It is a very rare song that openly says to become selfish. Our films glorify the principle of sacrifice. Of late, coming of age cinema always has a song or two about listening to your own heart. But a song that says to become selfish is very interesting. There might be others but I cannot recall anyone in particular. Two years ago, Kabira from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani blamed the protagonist's khudgarzi or selfishness as the cause of his misery by saying kaisi teri khudgarzi, na dhoop chune na chhaanv, which is why I feel the song from Roy is a fascinating one. It is a song for a new aspirational India.

Matlabi ho ja zara matlabi,
Duniya ki sunta hai kyun,
Khud ki bhi sun le kabhi.

Selfish, be a bit selfish, 
Why do you listen to the world, 
Sometime listen to yourself, too.

Kaisi teri khudgarzi,
Na dhoop chune na chhaanv,
Kaisi teri khudgarzi, 
Kisi thaur tike na paanv.

 How is this selfishness of yours, 
that you don't take the sun, nor take the shade,
how is this selfishness of yours, 
that your feet don't stay anywhere.

Dialogue of the Day:-
"Pata nahi yeh badal kab hatenge."
— Raj, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge

P.S. — Again a short post as have been writing on something else, though very slow. Wrote some more this weekend. Also, wanted to write a small post on Fashion, but will save it for the next time.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Dil Chahta Hai and Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge

I have not watched any new movies. Have been working on the draft. It is painfully slow. When I write a blog, I can write quickly but when it comes to writing properly, I suffer from a writer's block, just cannot get the right words. With much hesitation and trepidation, putting a page out of the ten pages written so far. It is only a draft and have to polish it further, but still want to share. Have written about Tara and Sid's relationship, Deepa, Aakash till now, and still working on other things. Writing is not easy, if only I was a talented writer. I know it is not good but have to improvise. The following is an excerpt on the similarities between Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge and Dil Chahta Hai.

19 October 1995. The day changed Hindi film industry forever. It was the day when Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge released. The story of Raj and Simran, played by Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, respectively, not only traveled far and wide but also transcended the barriers of time. It inspired a new generation of filmmakers and continues to do that. Almost twenty years later, the film is still being referred in our films, someway or the other. Last year’s Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhaniya was a repackaging and reinvention of the classic love story. A year before, Chennai Express and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani struck gold at the box office and had numerous references to DDLJ. There was a controversy when the film was released. It is alleged that Honey Irani, noted script writer and also Farhan’s mother, was not given credit for the film’s story by Aditya Chopra. The controversy even affected Farhan’s own relationship with his friend, Uday Chopra, brother of Aditya Chopra. Some media reports suggest that Dil Chahta Hai was inspired by real life events of Farhan Akhtar’s and Uday Chopra’s friendship. What I find interesting is that instead of the friendship angle, it seems that the story of Aakash and Shalini was inspired by Raj and Simran. If Honey Irani never got the credit of her work, Farhan, consciously or unconsciously, incorporates the elements of his mother's story in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge in his debut film. 

There are many similarities between the characters of Raj and Aakash. Both Raj and Aakash are the ultimate cool guys. They are rich, pampered, and aimless in life. They do not need to worry about working as their fathers have indulged them all their lives. They both are funny, flirtatious, and witty; Aakash is almost wicked. While Raj is never against the idea of love per se, Aakash does not believe in love, but it is clear that both of them are not exactly one-woman man as Aditya called himself in Jab We Met. They both are philanderers and have had many girl friends. In fact, the script of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge originally had the scene where Raj comes to bauji’s shop asking for a pack of condoms. And, we know Aakash’s affairs never lasted more than two weeks. On the other hand, there are similarities between Simran and Shalini, too. Simran and Shalini are docile and submissive. Simran was engaged to Kuljeet when she was young; she does not have the courage to say to her bauji that she does not want to get married to a guy that she has not even seen once. Like Simran, Shalini was engaged to Rohit, even though she does not truly like him. As she was raised by Rohit’s parents, she does not have the courage to stand up for her love for Aakash as she wanted to pay their debt off by getting married to Rohit. Kuljeet and Rohit also share some similar characteristics. They both are jerks, Kuljeet more than Rohit, and are not exactly the sort of guys that any girl would want to get married to. Raj and Simran did not hit it off immediately and had a shaky start to their relationship. It is only when they get to know each other during the end of the their trip in Europe, they start liking each other. Similarly, Aakash and Shalini had a disastrous first meeting. Aakash was punched by Rohit when he tried to flirt with Shalini in a bar. Shalini and Aakash get to know each better only when they are in Australia, like Raj and Simran did in Europe. Simran’s bauji wants her to get married to Kuljeet, but later he relents his opposition to Raj and asks her to spend her life with Raj. “Ja Simran ja, jee le apni zindagi,” said bauji to Simran. In almost similar and dramatic circumstances, Rohit’s father who has brought up Shalini asks her to marry Aakash. “Agar tum in karzon ko chukana chahti ho, khush dekhna chahti ho humein, toh Aakash se shaadi karlo,” said Rohit’s father to Shalini. There are similar contours between the father-son relationship of Raj and his ‘Pops’, and Aakash and his ‘Dad’. Raj and Aakash openly discuss their love life with their fathers and are advised the same by their fathers to get the girl they love. The fact that both Raj and Aakash come to disrupt the wedding ceremony of Simran and Shalini, respectively, adds one more similarity between the two films.