Friday, March 09, 2007

Eklavya: the royal bored

I’ve blogged before about my habit of drifting off into an alternate universe when a film becomes very dull – so that, even as the visuals continue to unfold before my glazed eyes, I impose my own mini-scripts on top of them. I’m no scriptwriter, but this little exercise is usually more purposeful than the original film could be.

This is what happened with Eklavya: The Royal Guard, a film that exists for little purpose other than to present a series of self-consciously beautiful images and more varieties of plump pigeons than you’d ever have thought could exist in Rajasthan. (As if to put the seal on his obsession with these birds, director Vidhu Vinod Chopra also shows us a pigeon-filled scene from one of his earlier films, Parinda.)

Anyway, I watched as one gloomy conversation followed another, as Boman Irani fumed and looked intense, Jackie Shroff snarled and looked intense and Amitabh’s eyes grew increasingly blood-shot and he looked intense. Then, midway through the film, Vidya Balan walked into a room with a large golden oval-shaped object protruding from her forehead. This was the moment I had been waiting for. “She’s wearing a microphone!” I exclaimed to my long-suffering girlfriend, “It’s a bug planted by the policeman so he can listen in on her conversations with Saif and solve all the murders.” I was very pleased by this development because the mystery angle of the film had been going nowhere.

The girlfriend tried to explain that the microphone was one of those tikka things that new brides wear, but this made no sense. Over the next several minutes I watched fascinated as the thing bobbed about menacingly, making Ms Balan look like a Star Trek alien with bad make-up. (The Boman Irani character was a Klingon anyway, so it fit the theme.) And in a powerful climax, Saif ran howling from the mansion, blood streaming from his head, after a kissing attempt was thwarted by the point at the end of the golden globe.

These developments changed the tone of Eklavya for me and made it much more tolerable than it might otherwise have been. “Nice film,” I said, as we emerged blinking into the sunlight outside the hall, “though I didn’t understand why Amitabh didn’t simply beam that evil Jackie Shroff back to his home planet.” It seemed the only question worth asking.

P.S. Apologies to all the little boys around the country who are besotted with Vidya Balan because “she’s the kind of girl you can take home to your mother” (what, your mother’s a lesbian with bad taste? I have to ask whenever I hear this phrase), but each of those pigeons has a wider gamut of facial expressions than this girl does.


  1. If Boman Irani is a klingon, who the hell is Jackie Shroff? Don't diss the 'stache man.

  2. just killed the whole film man...I have never read such a hilarious short lethal review. My expectations will be really low when I watch the DVD next week.

  3. If there ever was a review to put people off a movie. I am not a fan of Vidya Balan, but that pigeon scene in Parinda was good. I saw Parinda in a previous life time in a hall and remember it as a good movie.

  4. hahaha..awesome post! So many people I know liked this film, I was wondering if I'd missed I know what it was! :P

  5. Hey I was just waiting for someone to say something negative about vidya balan!! she is so "put-on" man..and i dont know why ppl go ga-ga over her acting (and beauty)..she is too self cons in front of the camera and is so artificial!!! hmmm..thnx

  6. But Jai, I *distinctly* a remember a post in which you almost swooned (or came as close to swooning as you are likely to) over Vidya Balan yourself!

    As I remember it went something like this:
    "The film is a self-conscious reworking of the traits of the noir genre as defined by such films...but that Vidya Balan...*sigh*"

    Or was that some other blog?

    I loved the Star Trek angle btw.

  7. Chronicus S: you're mistaken - that was some other blog. The only other time I've written about Ms Balan was at the end of this post. Thought she was good in Parineeta, but no swooning I'm afraid.

    [also, w.r.t. that sentence you quoted, which noir film has Vidya Balan ever been in?]

  8. Hi...been reading your blog for a while but am one of those lazy people who don't really get down to commenting...
    And thank you for putting down this pretentious recieved such high praise in general that I was beginning to feel quite embarassed about telling people I didn't care for the movie at all....:)

  9. "each of those pigeons has a wider gamut of facial expressions than this girl does"
    Yes, okay, but can they match her beak? Can they? Huh?

    Bolta hai !!


  10. Given that Bollywood is suddenly in as a parallel universe to H.Wood (the colour, the loudness, the melodrama,so Indian,such a delicious sensibility!!!) and you have reviewers calling VVC an "auteur" and being surprised that RDB didn't get an Oscar (even Oscar standards are not that low), its nice to have someone take panga with the stupid rubbish that eternally spews out of Bolywood and the lousy actors exalted to demi-god status. Good on ya. Please someone float an "Indians against Bollywood" party, I will be the first to join.

  11. JAP: it was you! YOU'RE the one who wrote that sentence Chronicus Skepticus mentioned! *points and laughs*

    Shama: I've taken panga with a specific film here, not with "Bollywood" as a composite entity. I can be just as much of a Bollywood-tom-tommer on occasion. So you'll have to find someone else to start that party!

  12. Et tu. Sigh, clearly have to start the party on my own....

  13. Well written..Was terribly bored while watching the movie and could not get myself to agree with Bardwaj Rangan's review of the movie and giving it a Hamlet comparison..VVC remains a strongly hyped up director with style ruling over substance entirely..

  14. Y'know I could've sworn I left a comment here last night.


    The jist of it was: Noir film reference = attempt at Jai-speak.

    No idea if Balan's ever been in one. Hell, just about know what noir film is. Just about.

    (I've *got* to stop admitting ignorance in public this way. Somebody, prise my fingers away from the keyboard. Please.)

  15. Skepticus: a bit miffed by that last comment. I hope your idea of "Jai-speak" isn't "the use of vague terms in the wrong context and without knowing what they mean" (which seems to be the case with the sentence you quoted in your first comment - I'm fairly sure Vidya B has never been in a film noir)

  16. Ack! Jai, NO!

    That's not what I meant at all.

    'Twas meant to be funny in a the-Jabberwock-has-spoken kind of way.

    (I *definitely* did not mean to imply that you don't know what you're talking about, or that you use terms out of context.)

    Umm...sorry if it sounded that way.

  17. Skeptic (why've you lost the Latin?): no problem. Besides, I do use vague terms in the wrong contexts, and was just afraid someone had discovered this...

  18. That is So bad..and absolutely delicious!

  19. “she’s the kind of girl you can take home to your mother” (what, your mother’s a lesbian with bad taste?"

    Lol ... priceless ...

  20. Like 300, Eklavya is all about the gorgeous visuals.

    Vidya Balan has turned out to be the female Aftab Shivdasani.

  21. Vidya Balan is just pointless. No one has less of a point than she does. Or at least she looks that way. Perfectly Pointless.

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  23. That was a nice review, I must say I did the same thing, I made my own script