Saturday, December 22, 2007

Khoya Khoya Chand- How a self assumed movie critic can screw up an accomplished work of art.

Watching KKC was quiet a demanding experience for me. I watch a good number of Hindi movies and especially make it a point to not miss any of the mainstream commercial movies backed by the moguls of the Indian film industry. I love the simplicity of the narration and syrupiness of emotions that these movies offer. These ‘super hit’ movies reinforce some of the fundamental moral science lessons that I learnt in childhood- Good always wins over evil, it’s always about loving your parents, adultery of any kind is a sin and many more which I can’t recall off hand.

So, when my friends suggested that we should watch KKC, I cautioned them-“you should be open to get surprised, it might not essentially be pleasant”. I tried explaining them that the guaranteed entertainers are only those that are directed and produced by the likes of Johars and Chopras. “With these guys like Sudhir- you never know what they might come up with each time. Their movies are so unpredictable. They are so indulgent that you have to keep guessing. I could get the story of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai just by looking at the trailer. Unlike, the Johars and Chopras, these other guys don’t know the pulse of the audience and their tastes. See that is the reason even the big super stars work only exclusively with established directors”.

But, my friends persisted- someone liked the music very much, one of my friends loves historic movies so he had to watch it and one of my female friends loved Shiney in Bhool Bhulaiya, so even she was very keen. Finally, I relented. How much I wanted to explain them that movie is like a work of art and they should enjoy it in totality, not in bits and pieces. As the say they – you should always see the ‘big picture’.

So as we walked out of the hall, they asked me the much obvious question. None of them liked it and now they wanted to know my opinion. As they respect my expertise on the subject they always await for special comments from me. Many a times they told me- “boss you see movie from a totally different angle”. Today, my opinion was not different from theirs. Only because I am sensitive viewer- I like giving reasons for my liking or disliking rather than applauding or dismissing something without giving any proper logic.

There were couple of reasons why I didn’t like KKC-

I started “Boss the fundamentals itself of the story were not clear. Every story needs to have a clearly defined bad guy and a good guy. That establishes the foundation for a good story. In this movie I could not figure out who is the Hero and who is the villain. Every character had some good qualities in him and at the same time bad qualities also. I didn’t know whom to support. Take an example- in ‘Krrish’ even before watching the movie you know whose side you are”.

My friend suddenly interrupted- “but come to think of it, in real life that is what holds true. Not everything is black and white; in fact most of it is grey. We have our own goodness’s and demons too”.
I excused his ignorance and corrected him- “dude that is real life you are talking about. In reel life this doesn’t work. You can’t risk a chance – that’s why they call it ‘Picture Perfect’. Even before you know Raj or Rahul, you fall in love with them”.

I thought I had put the discussion to rest, but, because they didn’t like the movie, they wanted to at least make this debate interesting. So came another wisecrack- “but I heard that as a story teller you need to look at the plot objectively. And some of the world’s acclaimed directors are celebrated because of their dispassionate and non- judgemental view of the subject. Isn’t it true that they are great because they restrain form any sort of emotional manipulation”.

I reasoned with him- “see don’t talk about west or arty stuff. India is a very sentimental country. As a story teller you should know how to make the audience’s emotions work for you. Remember how in ‘Kal Ho na ho’ when Shahrukh walks out of hospital with so much pain, we as audience could connect with his pain. That is the power of story telling- make the audience cry with you and laugh with you”

To reinforce my point I simplified further- “leave that, you know what the other biggest flaw of the movie is? There is no central theme for the movie. Is it about love, ambitions or complexities related to a particular profession? What is it about? He has tried to address many issues at one time and made a mess of it. I am sure you must have heard that too many cooks spoil the broth, similarly in case of movies- to many issues spoil the plot”

They were not ready to give up- “but…tell me, in practicality, how can one feeling be independent of other feelings. Like love might give rise to insecurities and ambitions may result in jealousies. Don’t we at any given point of time feel a mix of emotions and an attempt to show them as they are is an honest attempt than picking and choosing the one which is most convenient to show?”

I was ready with my reply “see I will tell you what works for us- if the hero loves someone- he should love her to death, if he wants to achieve something in life- come what may- he should not be distracted from his ultimate goal, and the heroine, if she loves the hero- then dare she sees other man, let alone touching him. This kind of absolute focus and dedication is needed to grip your audience”

They tried forcing a point again – “ok let’s talk about the most commonly showed emotion- love. But then love in itself is such a complicated emotion with varied manifestations. Don’t you think that the so called ‘hit’ movies make this far too ordinary?”

I retorted-“come on guys, the job of the director is to simplify the story. You should not trust the audience’s intelligence and leave anything for them to interpret. The mantra is to spoon feed the viewers” and with a strong intention to put an end to this debate, I concluded “and before you put forward any other doubt; let me use a quote from the film that describes best why this didn’t work. As some one tells Zafar- "waqt se aage rahna asaan hai, per use sehna mushkil hai”.

They finally surrendered “we thought you had objections with the length of the movie or the narrative inconsistencies or may be Soha’s inadequacy for the part but your issues are much more than these”

Victoriously I declared “there is much more than that meets the eye”

PS: For those who still don't get it- I am playing the role of a self assumed critic (Spoiled by the masala movies) and deciphering (interpreting in a wrong way ofcourse) KKC, which indeed is a work of art. I absolutely loved the movie.


naga ravikanth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
naga ravikanth said...

Guru you are really a guru you are very true on the view that this happy ending self explanatory stories are the only ones which is all needed to the viewers. But I think the only fact why this is a hit combination is that we actually do not want the cold reality of the life to screw up our entertainment and amusement time. At least the hit movies paints fictional situation where at least you can fantasize some happy moments.

What do you think ?

gurudev prasad said...

First things first- I am pleasantly surprised to see you here. Thanks for your time. Between- you are bang on about the insight that viewers want to escape the hard reality in that entertainment time...that's the reason we call it the escapist cinema.