Aamir Ko Darr Kyon Lagta Hai ?

Posted: November 20, 2010 by moifightclub in bollywood, cinema, Special
Tags: , , ,

And so Raja Sen, the movie critic with Rediff, wrote this column for Mumbai Mirror last wednesday. Some of us liked it, thought it made sense, but ButtUpSajid (the self-proclaimed alter-ego of the biggest fartmaker of our time Sajid Khan) felt otherwise and since we believe in giving space to every fart that matters, here is ButtUpSajid’s take on Raja Sen’s column, his debut post. The piece is in two pfarts, smell the first one, he is busy cooking the second one.

Mujhe yeh dar lagta hai ki Dhobi Ghat shaayad audiences ko — matlab jo masses hai — unko pasand nahin aayegi. Kyonki yeh bahut hi fine film hai. Matlab jin logon ko cinema ki samajh hai, jo log sensitive hai, dil se jo jazbaati log hain, unke liye ye film hai.

“I fear that maybe audiences — the masses — won’t like Dhobi Ghat. Because it’s a very fine film. I mean people who have knowledge of cinema, who are sensitive, who think from the heart and are emotional, this film is for them.”

An innocuous quote, which generally wouldn’t make much difference to anyone. But this statement comes from Aamir Khan, so I guess it must be fussed over, eh? Clearly, our friend Raja Sen thought so, in his column in this week’s Mumbai Mirror.

A thoroughly silly piece focusing more on indulgent wordplay than logic, the column seriously pissed me off. I guess it was meant to elicit some reaction, considering how it played to the gallery, but what was appalling was not its hare-brained logic, but how much it stank of pure hypocrisy at every level. More on that later.

Let’s look at what Aamir actually said first. Granted, it wasn’t say, the smartest choice of words. He struggled to put across what he wanted to say, especially in Hindi: that Dhobi Ghat is not remotely mainstream stuff, its not even the kind of stuff we generally tag as ‘offbeat’ cinema: which encompasses everything from Taare Zameen Par to A Wednesday to (gulp) even a My Name Is Khan sometimes- all pretty mainstream for my money. Its format and treatment- from what one hears of it, and from what one sees in the lovely, just-released trailer- is clearly not mainstream ‘entertainment’- at least not in the Bollywood sense. By her own admission, Kiran Rao’s style is more attuned to art-house world cinema, and that shows in the first look of the film- a low-key feel, grainy, intimate visuals, a quaint, tender approach- and I’m glad to note: a distinct (woman’s) touch.

It’s a low-budget film that would normally have been finding a hard time creating buzz back home, getting a little publicity through fest-coverage perhaps. What’s made all the difference is one man: Aamir Khan, who hasn’t just produced Dhobi Ghat, but also features in it as a major character. The problem is rare: that of too much buzz, more than the makers actually want. It’s a legitimate concern, and that explains the nervousness on Aamir’s part, considering his matinee-idol status. For the first time, the widely acknowledged marketing whiz has to actually under-sell a film. Simply because- as I heard him say a few months back- ‘It’s not (a film) for everyone’.

Brand Aamir is a fascinating thing, an image cultivated with smart, calculated risk-taking, admirable foresight and a commendable consistency in churning out films with a certain amount of substance to them. Aamir has- in most of his films- maintained a certain standard of quality throughout his body of work, especially post the epoch-making Lagaan, which he courageously backed and produced, creating a watershed moment in Bollywood cinema. In the process, he also developed this image of an ‘intellectual’, thinking actor, or as they call him- the ‘perfectionist’. This could be attributed to his playing ‘hard-to-get’ with his audience by being super-selective with his work and also perhaps through his involvement with a cinema that has some social relevance- or at least seems to. (While it may seem otherwise, we really are an audience that loves being preached to.)

To be honest, of the Khans- Aamir doesn’t come close to say, a Shah Rukh or Salman when it comes to charisma or ‘star quality’- and Shah Rukh comes across as way more articulate and well read- I can’t imagine him, for example- making a statement as clumsy as the one quoted above. But where Aamir has stolen a march over them is in his superb choice of films. None of his films have been particularly risky. (Except, perhaps Lagaan, considering the time when it released- though then again- wasn’t it, after all- a formulaic, classic feel-good Hindi film?)

But Aamir’s had the smarts to recognize potential in films like Rang De Basanti and Taare Zameen Par– films that our other top heroes would consider dicey- and back them with gusto. At the same time, he’s also shrewdly thrown in a Fanaa and Ghajini in the mix. Even as a producer, he never jumped on the ‘big-movie’ bandwagon after Lagaan and launched say, a couple of monster-budgeted biggies featuring himself. Contrast this with Shah Rukh Khan, who, for all his shrewdness couldn’t resist starring in even a Billu, a small film turned into a mangled mess of set-pieces and item-songs.

Aamir Khan stands for consistency, because his steady body of work defines his stardom more than his persona. The average viewer walks into an Aamir Khan film (produced by/ starring him), knowing for sure that he/she’ll get ‘sensible’, quality entertainment. That belief is so strong that a shamelessly crowd-pleasing 3 Idiots or even a crude potboiler like Ghajini – is often passed off by a large number of people as serious, ‘cerebral’ cinema. It’s the Aamir stamp at work. He has miraculously managed to condition his audience to take his films seriously. We’ll still buy a forty-plus actor as a college student without much fuss-… because it’s Aamir. And there’s nothing that Ghajini-kant do, right?

(I’ll get back to where I started- the column. And Dhobi Ghat. To be continued.)

————————————————————————————————————————————————

Well, this part was more about Brand Aamir and his cinema, ButtUpSajid has promised that the next one will be on Raja’s column. ButtUpSajid ke fart ki kasam!

Comments
  1. thedailytamasha says:

    Great! Bang on ButtupSajid.

    Taking a moral-high-stand on Amir’s statement (which Raja Sen is clearly taking) is like promising to never look in the mirror again.

    I think, we all use the same language, sometimes much worse (“Aam janta chootiya hai…”) and feel good about saying that. (I am sure I can find similar lingo in some of Raja Sen’s columns…) So why the fuss?

    Waiting for more, ButtupSajid. Totally with you!

  2. aj says:

    Very well written, ButtupSajid!

  3. Aseem Behl says:

    Absolutely concur with ButtUp. Also empathize with Aamir, the guy is giving an honest message out regarding the content of the film, and not falsely marketing as another “Aamir Khan blockbuster”.

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