Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Is KANK really so lank?

Well well, everyone's gone and panned KANK, so I must be contrary. Never thought I would say this, but it really turned out to be better than what I'd expected.

You can say clever things about having low expectations and you might be right. But the fact remains that in spite of having to clutch my head in agony at times, I still thought the film did get a few things right. And no, unlike this gentleman, I don't believe a film about infidelity in marriage has to be dark and sombre.

Yes, it was too picturesque. Rani Mukherjee got on my nerves too with her photogenic crying. Both heroines looked as if they'd had to spend the better part of the day putting on eye makeup. Rani's clothes were all wrong, magnificent though her bosom looks. Some of the attempts to make the film wholesome family entertainment, such as by including bits of a kiddie football match, are pathetic. Some of the humour is quite misplaced, as Jai has pointed out. As for SRK, we must all be inured to him by now and must not complain. On the contrary, I am tempted to forgive him for some of the funniest lines which I suspect came from him (like asking Rani in the last scene if she isn't a bit overdressed for the station).

And also, I still haven't figured out why the two lovers go off to make noble confessions to their respective spouses, after having decided to call their affair off. I mean, one of the partners might have such misguided honourable feelings but two people at the same time? That's stretching it a bit.

And yes, I am coming to the reasons why I liked the film. I loved the way Amitabh and Kiron Kher flirt outrageously, I like how Amitabh while dying doesn't hold Rani's hand and beg her to save her marriage, I liked Preity Zinta's character immensely (and that well-timed slap), I like the fact that even smaller characters like the kid Arjun are developed to some extent. Also, I like the way Rani and Shah Rukh delude themselves into believing they are meeting up to discuss their failing marriages, while their attraction towards each other become quite obvious.
Needless to say, people having extra marital affairs do need to have a high degree of ability and willingness to delude themselves , and I don't think it at all unnatural that they take their spouses out for dinner (though to the same restaurant is again silly and unlikely) and spend it staring at the each other.

Which brings me essentially to my main point. Which is that KANK is a majorly confused film made by a director who has a certain set of sensibilities, which he tries to sugar-coat for presentation to an audience that comprises (in a big way) of people with an entirely different understanding of such matters. Which then results in tedious and unnecessary explanations (like the one for Amitabh and Kirron Kher's friendship), several expository scenes (such as Shah Rukh and Rani finally taking the sexual plunge after she makes him jealous at the theatre) and lots and lots of contradictions and over-emphasising.

Clearly, Karan Johar needs to get out of the family entertainment trap before he can translate his 'modern' ideas into a really modern film.

And oh, I also wish he would quickly get tired of New York. I just cannot bear to see autumn leaves swishing around ever again or Shah Rukh Khan walking/shuffling/running with arms outstretched along a picturesque bridge.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Cinema hall rant

Why the 200 bucks multiplex ticket is worth it:

1. There are no rats in multiplexes.

At least, not where one can see them. At Rex while watching Omkara the other day, five minutes into the film I could hear scampering sounds and what sounded like rat calls. Two minutes later there was an extra-large rodent two inches from my toe-nail. Putting to shame the many rats I had skillfully exterminated during my brush with Zoology, I screamed and shifted two seats down the row (thankfully empty. This was definitely not the time to worry about the Indian movie-goers' lack of taste as proven by empty seats for Omkara).

2. People don't keep opening and closing the side doors.

3. You can actually hear the dialogue without placing your bum in the last two cms of space on your seat and almost putting your head on the shoulder of the person sitting in front.

Actually, even then you can't.

4. Blame it on extensive spoiling by multiplex viewings, but in a large theatre you just don't get that enclosed, intimate feeling -- the delicious feeling that there's nobody in the world except the screen and you (and the irritating stranger sitting next to you who refuses to share the armrest and the one on the other side who refuses to pass the popcorn).

Maybe I started off on a wrong footing here, but I was just very restless throughout the screening and irritatingly, intensely aware of everything around me, including a giggly couple at the back who got shouted at by me just after the interval. If you've got to giggle, go watch Shadi Kar Ke Phas Gaye, why come for Omkara for fucks' sake?

5. The film-watching experience is longer at a multiplex, thus making it worth the money.

At Rex, not only did they open the doors two minutes before the actual intermission came on, they didn't even let the final credits roll out before they just turned the screen blank and switched all the bloody overheard tubelights on. I mean, the final credits! I often stand and watch until the last person has left the theatre, in the vain hope perhaps that one day they will reward my dedication by revealing something special right at the end when the morons have filed out thinking it's over. Nope, not happened yet, but who knows?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I asked my good friend Samit Basu (you know, the celebrated author) a few months back why I was such a loser as a blogger (as opposed to a star candidate in everything else in life). He, probably not wishing to hurt my feelings by saying rude things, said it might be because I didn't blog often enough. Keep at it, he seemed to say, and one day you will have a blog to rival this and this and oh, maybe even this. (Reminds me of that story about a million monkeys on a million typewriters etc, but maybe that's not what Samit had in mind).

So anyway, I've been thinking about it (nah, I've not, just wanted to name-drop about the only celebrity I've been thrown out of Rodeo's for suspected under-ageness with) and so I've decided to blog more frequently.

Also, I've been going through old posts of mine and decided they're not half bad and that I can be pretty entertaining if I put my mind to it. So this, my loyal readers who still bother to check or are too lazy to delete my stub from Bloglines, is The Marauder's Map Redux (and of course I had to do it when blogspot seems to be blocked again. It's called perversity).

Anyway, so I shall leave you with a little anecdote from my scintillating life. Warning: autowallas feature.

R has been extremely uncooperative about buying a car, no matter how many frantic and tearful stories I tell him about how the autowallas in this city are treating me. So today when we were out together I wanted to show him how tough it is for a lady in this city who doesn't own a car. We were waiting at a crossing for an auto and I turned to him and said 'Now you just watch how painful this process is' . The next second, I'm not joking, an auto screeched to a stop two inches from my toe. Not to be daunted, I asked him most belligerently if he wanted to go to (the unfashionable end of most posh) Benson Town, turning towards R and saying with my eloquent eyes: 'Just watch this'.

And would you believe it? The bugger nodded his head and promptly started turning down the meter! That has not happened to me since I had a minor op for an ingrown toe-nail and asked the doctor for an extra-large bandage and kept it on for longer than necessary and looked at it most piteously when begging autowallas to take me home (mine not theirs).

R is of course convinced I make up all those sob stories about recalcitrant autowallas. There go my car buying plans for another year. If I didn't have Harry Potter 7 to look forward to I would just put my head in the oven and all.