For God’s sake, would somebody tell all the self-appointed keepers of morality that it was not Hrithik Roshan kissing Aishwarya Rai but Aryan kissing Sunheri, the characters in the movie?I am, to put it mildly, gobsmacked. For the following reasons:
- The over-used term “self-appointed keepers of morality”, which has exactly the same effect on me early in the morning as cricketing cliches such as “India’s much-vaunted batting lineup...” do.
- The assumption that those who have filed the obscenity case actually care a whit about the finer distinctions between the actors and the characters. What the self-appointed morality-keepers are objecting to, dear and earnest HT City, is the fact that a human male and a human female are locking lips on a big screen, and that the giant edifice of Indian Culture will quickly dissipate if enough people watch this. They don’t care whether it’s Hrithik and Ash up there, or Aryan and Sunheri, or Laloo and Rabri.
(Just by and by, technically speaking, it was Hrithik Roshan kissing Aishwarya Rai. Ask the Bachchans.)
- The silly controversy aside, and speaking purely as a movie-watcher, what I find most amusing about that sentence is the implication that Ms Rai and Mr Roshan have submerged themselves into their characters so fully that one can make a meaningful distinction between the portrayers and the portrayed. This is quite contrary to everything I’ve seen and heard about Dhoom 2 so far (I’ll make up my own mind if and when I see the full movie). By all accounts, most of the “acting” in this film is a chimera, jointly created by the cinematography, the editing, the background score and the costume design.
Films like Dhoom 2 are taking the cult of the Star Personality to its logical conclusion. For some time now, many mainstream Bollywood films have included at least one token scene that exists purely as homage, as self-reference. This is often in the form of a “friendly appearance” by a well-known actor, usually playing a beacon of hope for one of the film’s principals, and the impact of such a scene depends on the viewer’s knowledge of who this actor is. (Even Lagey Raho Munnabhai couldn’t resist bringing in Abhishek Bachchan for a two-minute climactic appearance where his character saves the day. The scene in question would make very little sense to a hypothetical viewer who had no idea who Abhishek Bachchan was.) I think the trend goes back to Salman Khan's role in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, though that now seems like a fully realised character compared to some of today's guest appearances.
Now at last we have an entire film that’s built on this principle. Here’s Hrithik, we’re supposed to gasp each time he shows up, and there’s Ash, and Abhishek, and Bipasha, and don’t they all look so bronzed and chiselled and gorgeous...and oh, there’s that Uday Chopra chappie. What’s he trying to act for? Why can’t he just walk towards us in slow-motion?
Given all this, why go on pretentiously about the difference between "actors" and the "characters" they are supposed to be playing?
P.S. I also loved the box with the story, about different types of smooches. Here, for instance, is the Forehead Kiss: Simply brush your lips lightly across the crown of head. (For those who don’t know what a forehead is, or have trouble locating it.)
And the Freeze Kiss, described exactly as it would be in an Instruction Manual: Put a small piece of ice in your mouth, then open mouth and kiss your partner, passing them the ice with your tongue.
That box will do a better job of putting people off kisses than any morality brigade possibly could.