Friday, August 17, 2007

Incident at PVR ticket counter

Friday evening. Long queue. Your blogger host finds himself behind a very animated girl, chatting away with her friends; the way they go on, you’d be forgiven for thinking they had already decided what film they were going to watch. But no. After all the time in the world (okay, 10 minutes) to make up their minds, these princesses wait until they are actually at the ticket window before pulling out a schedule and perusing it with the instantly identifiable wide-eyed, moving-lipped slowness of people who have never had occasion to read anything in their entire lives. Then our heroine pulls out her cellphone, dials lackadaisically, speaks thus:

"Hiiii, listen, what should we watch, Chak De or Partner?"

(Pause)

"Okay-dokey, byeee!" (Turns to friends) "He’s saying to watch Chak De because it got four stars and Partner only got three-and-a-half stars."

As a onetime/sometime film reviewer, maybe I should be glad about this demonstration that a review can influence viewing decisions. But I’m just depressed.

27 comments:

  1. okay dokey, i wish you guys would do book reviews the star way. simply great.

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  2. So maybe this is kind of going off-topic, but what movie were YOU going to see? And can we have a review of it please. I am being forced to watch a bollywood movie with my family - specifically Chak De, and I am the only person left in India who feels Shahrukh Khan is a fraud of the first order. (Everybody knows Uday Chopra is the real deal). So anyway, if you actually stooped to watching Chak De, I was wondering if you could give me a one line review (number of stars will suffice) as I trust your judgment...
    what say you?

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  3. You'd be surprised how many people do that. I was considering watching rush hour 3 today, my first movie at a theater in over two years, and a friend of mine was fairly adamant that it would be pathetic as it was only rated two-and-a-half stars. I was left depressed enough to swing around the nescafe next to the ticket counter and get some horrid microwave maggi.

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  4. Hi, please add your blog to our new directory of Indian Blogs, thanks!

    http://www.indiblogger.in

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  5. Renovatio: no bad words about microwave maggi please!

    Phoenix: saw Chak De a few days ago, loved it. But the "I trust your judgement" line always sends shivers down my spine: at any rate, it should be completely irrelevant to one's movie-viewing decisions, because it's possible to trust/respect a critic's judgement while at the same time hating a film he loved (or vice-versa).

    For the record, I'm a big Shah Rukh fan too. But relax, you're definitely not the only person left in India who dislikes him. (Just surf the blogosphere a bit and you'll see.)

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  6. Some people just don't look beyond the stars.

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  7. Nikhil: it's easy to understand why. Beyond the stars there is naught but oblivion.

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  8. Hello, Jab! Please do us a favour and post a review of Chak De! Please!!! Your reviews are the best ones on the internet.

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  9. If a critique writes review which caters to mass opinion it is pseudo. And if its not of public appeal then who is gonna read it! its sort of vicious circle. All reviews are fake if written with such base intent.

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  10. Movie freak: will try to write something about it when I have the time - not a full-fledged review though, more like notes.

    (And Jab for Jabberwock is okay too - I thought you meant it that way.)

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  11. Jai! You're big SRK fan? Thankfully, I join your gang. But I am really surprised not to see any hatemails here accusing you of being a gay. I don't know how many times I have been called a gay/bi for expressing my admiration for SRK's acting (at the Rediff message boards). There at Rediff, you can be straight only when you support all the misdeeds (farmer, tax etc.) of Amitabh. You are gay otherwise!!

    :)

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  12. Anon: it was fine till you admitted you are an SRK fan...then you went ahead and added that you are a fan of his acting!!!

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  13. What's wrong in being a fan of his acting? And why does this bother to anyone? That's my liking. It's the same attitude I get in Rediff.com message boards. Anyways, if you look through Jai's other posts, he's also been a fan of his acting and actually preferred SRK in Don (06) to the actor of the older one. And Jai is not a bad blogger, I believe! I have grown my admiration for SRK's acting post Chak De India. There's no question of SRK overacting/ hamming if you watch CDI. He's done a good work before. I believe he acted brilliantly in Swades, Paheli, DDLJ etc. He was good even in KANK, I go on to record. Obviously, I agree he hammed in comical portions of KANK. Even Jai praised him but not the comical parts.

    Anyway, I find this attitude not very impressive to pull down others based on their point of view. Jai has also been a victim of this POLITICS. If you don't like SRK keep your point of view with yourself. Please don't insult others!! Please!! Don't shower personal attacks anymore!!

    And my FAVOURITE actor is Marlon Brando!!

    No more hatemails!! Please!!

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  14. There is no point in getting drawn in a debate over Shah Rukh. Whether he is a good actor or bad is not going to alter the economic or fiscal deficit of the country.

    As far as the movie Chak De is concerned , I think it was a good movie , though certainly not great. I must be dreaming cause the movie was produced by Yash Raj films , who along with the Johars are the ones behind serving candyfloss rubbish for a long time in Indian Cinema. So at least some redemption there.

    Shah Rukh was OK in this movie, there were some parts where he got struck in his Hamming but played the whole part individually OK. I have not read 'Jai' actually praising SRK and demeaning Amitabh. Anonymous said that he prefered the new Don to the old one, well! if he did I never read it. I don't think getting into this debate is worthwhile , SRK for all his antics can never be recognised as an actor of substance , there is something of a functional element to his acting. It can never satisfy you as a viewer , meanwhile Amitabh has this ability to capture and burn the screen with his potrayals at times.

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  15. Shwet: that's a very revealing comment. After saying "there's no point" getting into this debate (which is a concept I don't understand anyway: is there "a point" getting into a debate about anything, even the country's fiscal deficit?), you go on to do precisely that, with the statement "SRK for all his antics can never be recognised as an actor of substance". It certainly seems to me you're setting up a debate there! And when you say "It [Shah Rukh's acting] can never satisfy you as a viewer", I assume what you mean is "It can never satisfy me as a viewer". Because it's certainly satisfied me on lots of occasions.

    But yes, Anonymous does misquote me when he says I preferred Shah Rukh's Don to Amitabh. What I said (in this post) was that I thought the character of Vijay in the original was not fully realised (which was more a problem with the script and the conceptualisation than with AB's performance).

    Of course, on the whole, I'm much crazier about Amitabh (or what he used to be) than SRK - but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate both.

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  16. Ok! I agree with you and accept defeat. However my whole purpose to contradict myself was to show the futility of this debate.Somehow I have never found SRK very appealing as an actor. (I admire the man for his guts and sheer audacity though).

    I could be wrong and respect your viewpoint , the problem arises when people do not respect others views and sometimes indulge in Mud Spattering on anybody in general.

    An honest debate about someone's acting ability without critically analysing his strengths and weaknesses is a futile exercise. I find SRK notoriously inconsistent in his performances e.g KANK,Swades,DDLJ,DON etc. each ranging from horrible to acceptable.I do not find this happening with some of my favourite actors like Alan Rickman, George C Scott,Tom Hanks and Robert De Niro.

    I am not saying that one should always mark the above said actors as a Benchmark, but when the outspoken and gutsy 'Pathan' of our films says things like "I am the best" than of course comparisons are not odious.

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  17. Shwet: it wasn't my intention to make you agree with me and "accept defeat" (a good debate should, by its very nature, be impossible to end or resolve!), but yes, I think we're on the same wavelength about the mud-splattering etc.

    Also, just my two paise, but I think it would be a mistake to take Shah Rukh's "I am the best" statements completely at face value - there's usually an element of tongue-in-cheekness in there. At the very least, it has to be seen in light of his other statements, like the interview where he admitted to being very embarrassed about his performance in KANK and a couple of other high-profile movies.

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  18. Jabberwock. I am not the same anonymous. But, I feel the previous anon did not misquote you much. See what you said:

    In fact, the reason I guessed the final twist was that it seemed obvious that Shah Rukh was still playing the genuinely menacing, cocksure Don (rather than a meek character impersonating Don) even in the second half - watch how dangerous and animal-like he becomes in the fight scene in the airplane. With due respect to Bachchan (whom I worship), that distinction was never too clear in the original film.

    I guess, not only the script but also the performance could make that distinction.

    I am not taking any sides, so please don't make me a part of it.

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  19. Jabberwock. I am not the same anonymous. But, I feel the previous anon did not misquote you much. See what you said:

    In fact, the reason I guessed the final twist was that it seemed obvious that Shah Rukh was still playing the genuinely menacing, cocksure Don (rather than a meek character impersonating Don) even in the second half - watch how dangerous and animal-like he becomes in the fight scene in the airplane. With due respect to Bachchan (whom I worship), that distinction was never too clear in the original film.

    I guess, not only the script but also the performance could make that distinction.

    I am not taking any sides, so please don't make me a part of it.

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  20. Anon: what I wrote in that passage is a commentary on a single aspect of the two performances, and it's a bit much to extrapolate that into "Jai actually preferred SRK in Don (06) to the actor of the older one". For a holistic assessment of the two performances, I'd probably have to write a full-fledged thesis on the subject.

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  21. Remember I said much? Obviously he/ she did misquoted you, but not that much. That was to an extent correct, as you have correctly stated.

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  22. My God! I meant "did misquote".

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  23. I hope we have two categories here in relativistic terms:

    Category 1 where we compare and rate the best among mediocre actors (this is where SRK could get a honorable mention) and Category 2, where we compare and rate great actors (where Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Balraj Sahni et all can reside.

    I sincerely hope the above distinction is true because otherwise we might be tempted to say that SRK is a better actor than Sanjeev Kumar! ;)

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  24. Shan: heh, you still haven't got over our last comments exchange, have you? Well, you know my thoughts on Sanjeev Kumar - I wouldn't "be tempted" to say SRK is a better actor, I'd shout it from the rooftops (or at least blog it from the rooftops).

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