Hit formula, flop collection: Bollywood, what’s going wrong?
With much hullabaloo, Sidharth Malhotra and Katrina Kaif starrer time travel romance ‘Baar Baar Dekho’ was released this Friday, and to our utmost surprise, did not create the magic that we expected it to, on its first day and weekend. The movie had everything that one could dream of in a beautiful romantic comedy; picturesque locales, two gorgeous looking people, talented supporting cast, and chartbuster music. Not only this, but the lead pair left no stone unturned as they travelled from city to city, giving interviews at a stretch, as the relentlessly promoted their movie. Even after that, if a movie which was awaited with much ardour, fails to perform well financially, it’s time to introspect a little. Where are we, the fans going wrong as a viewer, or where are the makers going wrong, as presenters of a concept?
Not too long back, something similar happened with the Tiger Shroff and Jacqueline Fernandez starrer superhero flick, ‘A Flying Jatt’. The movie had everything working in its favour and the makers and actors had created a terrific buzz with ‘Beat Pe Booty’ challenge, and also amongst the kids who were really looking forward to watching a Jatt superhero with all his adorable gimmicks. Sadly, the movie failed to take off and the superhero fell flat on his face. What was amiss, when everything seemed to be going in the favour of makers?
One thing which we think might be ‘word of mouth’. Like it works well in case of lesser-known movies, the reverse is true in case of big-budget movies too. These flicks take the expectations of viewers rocket high, and when those are not met, gradually a negative ‘word of mouth’ spreads, bringing down the collections. At least that’s what has transpired in case of ‘Baar Baar Dekho’ where critics and audience both have extremely mixed reactions. While some have loved the movie, others have hated it. Mind you, this is not a difference of mass and class audience. While people have loved the concept, they have bashed the execution. What exactly went wrong here, well the makers will have to point that out themselves. Similarly, in case of ‘A Flying Jatt’, flying expectations were what took this superhero down. Had there been a decent buzz, maybe people would have actually liked it.
There are many such examples of the past, where movies had everything going into their favour, from the trailer, to songs, to the good looks of the lead, and the anticipation of the audience. Still, they tanked. However, in case of these movies, while the makers and actors poured in their heart and soul from scratch to finish, the audience discarded them. Aishwarya Rai-Randeep Hooda starrer ‘Sarbjit’ and Ranbir Kapoor– Deepika Padukone starrer ‘Tamasha’ are perfect examples. While ‘Sarbjit’ had viewers hooked from the trailer itself, and had the promotions going the right way, with a heart-wrenching story to tell, ‘Tamasha’ was a beautiful story woven by Imtiaz Ali, with tracks that are crooned till now, and performances that touched our heart. But alas, we feel that here, we as audience failed these two masterpieces as we were more engrossed in making the masala movies a blockbuster.
Anyway, ‘Baar Baar Dekho’ still has a long way to go before any verdict can be put on that, and we really hope that it garners at least a per cent of expected collection, if not all. ‘M.S.Dhoni: The Untold Story’, ‘Shivaay’, ‘Ae Dil Hai Mushkil’ are just some of the many movies that are coming this year, where expectations are not just huge, they are humongous enough to blow the lids off! We really hope that the movies turn out to be as good as the buzz that has been created around them. At the same time, we also hope that this time we as audience would give preference to performances and screenplay, rather than just good looks and star power, which mints money on box office, while the hard work of many talented film-makers goes wasted.
Kapoor & Sons: Caught the plight of homosexuals tenderly and yet made 'coming out' look doable
Kapoor & Sons – Since 1921. The house proudly flaunted that to the world, nestled in the greens of Coonoor. No one knew the darkness that was inside, the demons that were individually dealt with. But then, isn’t every family like that?
Two years have passed by since this Shakun Batra-directorial, story of a dysfunctional family had come to our lives. However, amongst the various themes that tore apart the family and eventually brought it together, one that truly had the power to transform, was that of homosexuality.
Not many know, that the role played by Fawad Khan, that of family’s elder son, a successful author, was actually offered to many A-listers, who turned it down, eventually leading him to step into the shoes of Rahul. And it was, indeed, a very big step on his part. He was venturing out of his territory, a man who has such a huge female-fan following, and comes from a country with religion as its main running philosophy. He did the role and brought such conviction to it that we were forced to stand up and applaud, his courage, and the beauty with which his character was carved.
Since times immemorial, all our memories of gay characters on screen have been that of carelessly effeminate and unimportant roles, which are just there to add a comic element. The stereotype has been high to an extent that often the champions of the same channelise it and promote it, for it is wrapped in the shiny paper of presentation. The biggest example of this was ‘Dostana’, which was an amazing story of friendship, still used homosexuality as humour, as its backdrop. Ironically, it came from the same production house, though nearly eight years before that.
But ‘Kapoor & Sons’ begged to differ here. The character here was real, someone who was hiding himself, for the society, his family. There was surreality to the theme of homosexuality here, which had the power to jar us inside out; and that, it did.
Two scenes from the movie specifically hit me. First one is when Sunita (Ratna Patak Shah) finds out that her ideal elder son, whom she adores and is proud of, is not straight. The aftereffects of the same jolt you, because the reaction is just what an Indian mother gives, in any situation that is beyond her control; uncontrollable anger at the offspring, and then uncontrollable guilt, of blaming herself and her upbringing. The scene is filmed so beautifully, that your eyes sting. The way Fawad’s facade falls and his fear is marked across his face, which is then replaced by the anger of hiding himself for all those years, and mother’s dilemma and hurt, it all comes out in a naked and real manner.
Another sequence is when Rahul (Fawad Khan) comes back home after the showdown with his mother and the death of his father totally uproots whatever sanity his family possessed. He sits with his mother, with whom his last encounter was one of his coming out, and she asks, hesitatingly, about his partner. A subtle way of expressing acceptance, the way they hold hands, without saying anything, it stays with you.
It may not be one masterpiece, but ‘Kapoor & Sons’ will forever remain a favourite for finally breaking the mainstream stereotype of a gay man, in Bollywood. And for that, no matter how many bans, I will forever be waiting for Fawad Khan to come back, and give us more performances; with dare and conviction.
An ode to Sridevi, the queen who inspired the queers long before it became mainstream
“I am a kid from the 90s but still can’t forget those days when, me-myself was not out and proud about my preferences. And inside my own sweet world would dance in front of the mirror on many songs, but majorly on ‘Hawa Hawai’ and ‘Main Teri Dushman, Dushman Tu Mera’. These songs were just not tunes for me, it made me feel exactly what I was; a QUEERby birth”.
The news of the legendary diva Sridevi being no more with us is still hard to believe, as she was part of my and every queer’s childhood memories. While in the late 90s my bunch of friends would idolise a star from the West as their gay icon, me being a full-fledged Bollywood fanatic was in love with Sridevi and she was a diva I used to worship (and will forever). Her golden costume and perfectly done makeup in ‘Hawa Hawai’ made me feel, “Yes! There is someone like me out there who loves bling and all things loud.” Her feather headgear in one of the songs from ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja’, touched my drag Queen‘s soul. One of the lines from her song ‘Hawa Hawai’ which is ‘Soorat Hi Maine Aisi Paayi’ transported me into a world where I thought that there is someone narcissist just like me. Sridevi’s charm was on my mind and the feminine side in me just wanted to be a replica of her.
The gone actress has not only given a lot to the Indian cinema, but her sass and talent of naturally moulding herself into any character gave her an upper hand in whatever she used to do. When many gay men were struggling and were confused about their sexual orientation they found a connection to their on-going pain in Sridevi’s roles. Whether it was Sridevi as a meek Anju and ferocious Manju fighting for everything wrong in ‘ChaalBaaz’ (1989), Pooja’s mutiny against the everlasting societal conditions in ‘Lamhe’ (1991), Seema’s confidence-filled and fearless dance in the ‘Mr. India’ (1987) song ‘Hawa Hawaai’ or her role of a naagin (snake) coming out to the world about her dual identity in ‘Nagina’ (1986), Sri’s roles had a deep connection and were etched in every GAY man’s mind.
And how can one miss ‘Kate Nahin Kat Te’ song of Sridevi from ‘Mr. India’, where she owned the song and made every gay guy’s dream to dance on it once with his man. This particular song was wild, seductive and equal parts bold. Sridevi draped in a sky-blue coloured saree with a matching bindi and of course adding fuel to the fire was her dancing moves. Even at the end of the song, a fully wet in rainwater, Sridevi stretching herself on a pile of hay – ‘Tumne jo li angdayi hai’ – where the diva nibbles on straws with a drenched fire in her eyes, leaving Mr. Kapoor to chivalrously lie on a distant haystack.
While mostly when the film fraternity was in a zone where feminine men were used as a tool to add fun elements on the silver screen, Sridevi was a ray of hope for the LGBTQ community. She was like a powerful symbol for the QUEERS. Her role resonated each and every gays struggle, and also echoed their dysphoria into her characters. And with her, all the queer children surpassed the narrow-minded stereotypes which they were labelled with. Lastly, she might be gone, but the colourful rainbow universe she opened for all the fellow LGBTQ people remains there intact..
Hail the QUEEN! RIP Sridevi.