Posts Tagged ‘Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told’

As far as my limited cinema knowledge goes, I think there is a big difference between a trailer and a montage. And as the trailer of Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told (Who thought about this title?) was out, it was a perfect #Facepalm (for lack of better expression) moment. It even forced Screeny to come out of his slumber and puke out this rambling post. Read on…

Respected Sir,

I’m a Big fan of Mr India, Masoom & Bandit Queen. Have been following your blog on and off. Untill today when I saw the trailer of the documentary which has been produced by you and co, and directed by the “acclaimed director” (have seen him at conferences and am sure he regards himself as one, for having gifted the people of this country THE seminal film – Rang De Basanti) Mr Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra.

Needless to say, I was thoroughly, thoroughly disappointed.

Why? Because the trailer (so is the film I’m sure) is- as usual- selling Bollywood exotica la-la land to the west. The incestous, celebratory, mutual admiration society which regards Aishwarya Rai and Katrina Kaif as ‘icons’ who will talk about Hindi Cinema to the “goras” and tell them in effect – “One billion people are enjoying this. See, this is so special. This is India! This is Indian Cinema! Come, Watch it. And fall in Love. NAMASTE. Achcha Lagta Hai.”

The first half is virtual showreel for the Bachchans, another attempt to sell Aishwarya to the west. The same song and dance routine which we are (in)famous for. The DDLJ clip, the rain, the matrix style shots, the same ghisa-pita bakwaas.

And of course, it contains generous footage from the magnum opus Rang De Basanti. After all Rakeysh (Is the spelling correct? Am a bit confused) Omprakash Mehra is the co-director & UTV is the producer. And the exact same clip when people land up at the India Gate with candles in their hands (the prophetic subtitle below is “This country will change. We will change it”). Yes sir, we will.

I wish you had produced a 2 hour documentary on Kerala or Goa Tourism instead.

Or helped produce any of the films from the “new wave” of Indian cinema, which I’m sure you must be more aware of than me.

At a time when Indian Cinema is taking baby steps towards maturity, and managing to gain a foothold in the international arena, slowly changing “their” perception of “our films” by coming up with IN COMPETITION FILMS like Udaan, Peepli Live, Dhobi Ghat, Harud, Gandu, Shor in the City, Gabhricha Paus, Aranya Kandam, Paruthiveeran, Subramanipuram, the new Wave Tamil & Marathi Cinema; this self congratulatory AV on Bollywood films actually is taking us two steps back, reinforcing the stereotypes. Forcing us to be still perceived as the audience which enjoys 3 hour long musicals embellished with the garangutan setpieces, laughable action sequences & antics, titillating item numbers and melodramatic rejoice.

I was hoping to find some echo in the comments section of this post but clearly, I’m the minority here.

http://shekharkapur.com/blog/2011/04/bollywood-the-greatest-love-story-ever-told-at-the-cannes-film-festival/

I shudder to think how I would react if I would ever meet a “gora” who sees this film and recognises by my skin tone, that I’m an Indian. Will he be overjoyed at what I’m embarassed at ? Will he be like the Japanese tourists from Munnabhai who only want to shoot “dirty, hungry, poor Indians” ? Will I be asked to dance at the Visa interview if (and when) I travel to Europe ?

My nightmarish thoughts aside, I request you to read a post written by you, Sir. Your blogpost on Black Friday and why it is the film which should have gone for Oscars submission instead of Paheli.

http://shekharkapur.com/blog/2005/10/oscar-hoo-haaa/

Yours disappointed,

Screeny

(PS1 –  Have you heard about a documentary film called Videokaaran? Watch it.)

(PS2 – Screeny forgot to mention that if the film turns out to be any good, he will be the first person to say it and will apologise for the post.)

(PS3 – Screeny’s previous posts can be read here, here and here. )

We don’t like Olive branches. Fest films don’t make money in India. We are still not sure about how to say it – is it Cann, Kans or Cannes? French people are rude. There are enough excuses for not making it to the official Cannes list. Or as Balki put it here, “There are no Cannes films in India! Ask why? The day one of those films will be enjoyed by us, our films will be enjoyed by them.” I wish Balki had seen the ruckus during the screening of Biutiful at MAMI last year. And  the organisers were forced to have  two more shows of the film. “Our” number might be less but that’s no reason to be so dumb and dismissive about it. Not that we ever had any doubts about Balki’s take on cinema (Kill a kid, let the lovers unite – Cheeni Kum/Paa), but this reason puts him in a different league all together.

What’s on the Cannes menu this year?

Well, Aishwarya Rai, Sonam Kapoor and Freida Pinto will walk the red carpet, not for any film but for L’Oreal Paris. This is the perfect combo – an almost has been actor who never earned any points for her acting skills, a daddy’s girl who was last seen in Anees Bazmee’s atrocious Thank You, and the third one whose middle name should be ladyluck. Apart from the brand that they are endorsing, there is only one common factor that all three share – lack of any acting talent. Imagine someone talking to Sonam Kapoor at the fest – So, what was your last release? That’s True Grit.

Blame it on the Fest too? They are all about stars, about sponsors, about big money, but they are also about cinema. About finding that independent and unique voice and putting it on the world cinema map. Even with all the goss and the glamour, you can’t deny that credit.

What else?

Mallika Sherawat has also been thereatening to make her presence felt like she did last year and the year before that. Peek a boo-b with some Hisss and you will always get some pics clicked. BTW, have you noticed her twitter handle – it’s MallikaLA. Conspiracy theorists believe that she is trying hard to belong “there” and detach from here. She even got a pic clicked with Barack Obama (Ssshhh..she has new film coming up called Politics Of Love. But it might go direct to dvd. Oops) Or is that just good ol’ photoshop? So MallikaLA, how about changing the handle to MallikaCannes?

Films in competition?

Someone please help me here. When was the last time a desi film made it to the competition section of Cannes? Ok, let’s make the base wider. Competition section of any of the top six (Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Sundance, Toronto, Locarno) film fests?

Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan was in Cannes Un Certain regard section last year. Bit of googling and you will know that all those countries which are so small that they are difficult to locate on a world map and with names which are difficult to pronounce, even they are  making that Cannes cut.  Why and how? Blame it all on our bollywood musical and melodrama? Or go back to Balki’s bolly-gyaan.

Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told?

And this isn’t helping much. If we can’t qualify, let’s make a film for them. According to official release….

Bollywood – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told, is the title of a feature film produced by Shekhar Kapoor exclusively for the Festival de Cannes. It will be screened out of competition during the 64th Festival that runs from the 11th to the 22nd of May.

 It all began with a conversation with ShekharKapoor, a member of the Cannes Jury in 2010. Why not make a film that brings together the most beautiful moments in the history of Indian musical films, with all their moving pageantry and dance? A few months later, there was Bollywood, The Greatest Love Story Ever Told. It is a swirling and poignant montage in which Shekhar Kapoor, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
 and
 Jeff Zimbalist pay tribute to this cinema genre that has contributed to establishing India’s identity in the eyes of the world and to making Mumbaione of the world capitals of film history.

 “We love it. We hate it. We see it as regressive. We see it as modern. We need to breathe it to feel alive. Some say it is the only culture that holds India together. Some say it gives identity and individuality to 25 million Indians that have left her shores and who’s third generations that are still addicted to it. That’s Bollywood!”

Direction Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
 et 
Jeff Zimbalist. Production : Shekhar Kapoor &
UTV Motion Pictures with Ronnie Screwvala and Trishya Screwvala. India, 2011, 81mn)

That’s Bollywood! Well, that’s the baggage too. At a time when filmmakers are trying to find their voice, trying new ideas, this montage/documentary/film will reinforce every cliche attached to the cinema of Bollylalaland.

Shekhar Kapoor has written a post about it on his blog – How it started, why and where. And i still can’t sense anything substantial in it except for some razzmatazz on the beats of dola re dola. The intention must be honest, but how about championing a film next time at the Cannes?

( PS – Dear Shekhar, have you seen Aaranya Kaandam?)