Sometimes, some rare times, I don’t feel like watching a film on a Friday. The first time I felt this way was on the fateful Friday that Tashan was released on. I did not know what the feeling was. I was confused. Why do I not want to watch this movie? <Enter me-dramatically-screaming-NOOOOOO-while-the-camera-shoots-from-a-top-angle here>
I know what that feeling is now. It is intuition. One look at posters and trailers and I know which film is worth its salt. Yes, I have had my share of follies, but I am pretty intuitive, you know. And hence, when LHDD released, I didn’t bother. Even though it has one of my best friends in its supporting cast, I didn’t bother.
Finally, I bothered last night. I don’t know why. Maybe, I really wanted to give this film a chance.
Boy and girl are in love but they don’t know it – neither do they deny it (Jaane Tu…Ya Jaane Na). Girl’s dominating folks want to get her married (Saathiya). Girl gets drunk with boy at a café and they think they could get married and then, decide to elope (Too. Many. Films. To. Name). They elope, get married but then cannot adjust to married life (Saathiya). Marital problems (Saathiya). More marital problems (Saathiya). Boy dances with sexy tribal siren to make girl jealous (Saathiya). They apply for divorce and go into couple’s counseling (What Happens In Vegas and other Hollywood films). They fight with each other at the sessions (What Happens In Vegas). They finally get the divorce and THEN realize that they are in love with each other. Boy lands up at girl’s shaadi and dialogue maaroing-papa ko pataaoing-ladka ladki raazi toh kya karega ladki’s fiancé…the usual happily ever after stuff that happily ever after stuffs are stuffed with. Music by A. R. Rahman (Saathiya). Maoist sub-plot in Chattisgarh (Unnecessary).
Now, let’s get down to the people behind this film. The film is the directorial debut of Arif Ali, Imtiaz Ali’s brother. The film is the debut of Armaan Jain, Kareena Kapoor’s cousin. The film has been produced by Saif Ali Khan. It has music by A.R. Rahman. To start off, resources are definitely not an issue. And being a Kapoor-Khan-Ali-Rahman collaboration, publicity would not be a problem either. Then why, would these four outstanding and talented individuals choose to make and promote a film like this? Imtiaz, who honed Alia Bhatt in Highway is known to have faith in new talent. But surprisingly, with his brother’s film, he chose to play safe. Or is this the kind of cinema Arif Ali wants to make? Because, let’s get one thing clear – Arif Ali was not working with unknown producers whose tune he had to dance to, to ensure box office returns. That is the most common accusation debutant film makers make. He was on home turf (which is known for intelligent cinema in the first place) and still chose to make a film which lacks soul, heart, quality and content. A boring script that has no spark, a lead pair with questionable acting talent and film making that is below average.
That brings us to the film’s producers. Recently, I have begun questioning Saif Ali Khan’s choice of films. Why would he of the great Omkara and Parineeta and Being Cyrus and Ek Haseena Thi and Hum Tum choose Cocktail and Agent Vinod and Humshakals (what is the Nawab saab smoking these days?)? What scared him from taking risks with this film? Why did he not want to launch his cuz-in-law in a slightly different light? Because, let’s face it, Armaan does not do a Hrithik or a Ranveer. Then why bank on the stereotypical Bollywood debut format of singing-dancing-stripping-wooing? And does he really believe that format works today?
This is also an example of Kapoor’s incompetent mentoring skills. If she did mentor, that is. Because, if I were Armaan, I would want my older and much experienced sister to play a crucial role in my launch. Both Kareena and Saif have seen highs and lows and they know how much the audience have loved their de-glam and offbeat performances. As for Rahman, Imtiaz Ali is his new Mani Ratnam. He will make music for Ali. He does not promise quality though.
The film had everything going for the lead pair. There is no other prominent face in the film. The supporting cast has newbies and conveniently plays down talented veterans like Kumud Mishra and Varun Badola to minor roles. There is no one in the film who can steal the lead pair’s thunder. Well, they do not have as much as a fart anyway. Deeksha, with quite a bagful of Telugu movie experience, shows some promise but Armaan has a long way to go. He reminds one of Neil Nitin Mukesh. Is that a good thing?
So, this is what it all boils down to – successful Bollywood superstars, a talented film maker and a globally-acclaimed maestro produce the next generation of the Hindi movie industry and they choose to play safe, avoid risks and produce a half-baked forgettable film.
P.S. – Our sati savitri heroine won’t do the naughty shaadi se pehle. She’d rather play house with her pet doggy. Wow, now that’s being progressive.
Image courtesy: Google Images