Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Fraternity of Awards

According to Wikipedia, Fraternal twins usually occur when two fertilized eggs are implanted in the uterus wall at the same time. When two eggs are independently fertilized by two different
sperm cells, fraternal twins result. Bullshit.

This post is an aftertaste of the recently held Academy Award Ceremony 2012 which hauled the attention of al
most every single person in the world, or at least, what we call the world of cinema.
However, it was a bit different this time around. The Oscar Awards, enshrined as the ultimate achievement for anyone with a prestidigitation in cinema, fell prey to a lot of irreverence, and may I say, were ridiculed by a lot of critics or just movie makers/lovers around the globe. Even Seth Rogen's humor underscored the Oscars playing to the gallery and lobbying to their favorite studios with unsung blithe. Wow, this would be a good opportunity to be prophetically cantankerous and masquerade the Oscars for their follies, just to look cool because you are one of the few who denounce the decisions of the most stilted academy for cinema and apparently have reasons for it. It would be even more cool to renege the Indian award shows by pitting them against Oscars or just ridiculing their sumptuous buffoonery. But thats not what I wanna do, sorry.

Agreed, the Osc
ars proved to be somewhat crotchety this time around. Incredulously, War Horse, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close were preferred for nominations over peachy products like 50/50, Shame, We Need To Talk About Kevin and many other convivial earnest efforts. You can read more about it here, as Mihir Fadnavis cribs about the appalling and incendiary nominations for this year. Many out there berated them for favoring The Artist, as opposed to Hugo, in the top awards when it was not given any technical awards, and vice versa. There were many allegations, vocal dislikes and teething scowls surfacing out of Oscars supposedly trying to make everyone happy and not awarding real cinematic achievements. The  results have left a lot of us brooding too but I am drawn to consider a scrawny possibility of the two industries finally spiraling down to the same disheveled imagery of award ceremonies. Indian award ceremonies have been defiantly chided for ages and now Oscars joins the club. That makes Hollywood and Bollywood fraternal twins. Different, yet same in some ways. 

For a very long time now, Bollywood or the Indian Film Industry, as I would like to call it, has been condescendingly pinned down as a evil shoddy version of its able counterpart, Hollywood, both by Indians and non-Indians. However, this derision has proven to be more or less attributed to the many films that we shamelessly copied from them without any facepalm moments. Mahesh Bhatt is known to have directed his movies by unapologetically copying Hollywood movies scene by scene by running their DVDs at his shoot location. Bollywood moved on surreptitiously over the years lagging behind the overseas products continuously and they still do. Hollywood has had the contributions of an eclectic variety of formidably diverse talents from across the globe. Let alone the skill and passion, they had the bespoke technology, buttressing money and the inherent structure to do it differently. The United States is a developed country and India has never been one. Still, our award shows are run by media houses and not by cinema academies, forcing them to succumb to their commercial interests. Still, being a star in India is ingloriously preferred over being an actor. Still, choosing cinema as a profession is regarded as frisky in our culture. We are still developing and so are our people, the ones we cater to, in our movies and even the award shows. Its only now that we somehow seem to be molding a distinctive identity for ourselves, which does not seem to be borrowed from Hollywood, thanks to our new age cinema. We are not twins, and we can never be.

ever, apart from award shows being profane, there are a few disturbing similarities there. If you look at the highest grossing Hollywood films ever, there is barely a major overlap with the Oscars awarded to them, or for that matter, any other prestigious awards. Barring Titanic and LOTR in the Top 20, most of the other movies were not lauded and awarded as much when compared to the turgid collections they made on the Box Office. In Indian films, the top grossers rarely do get the top honors any year, 3 Idiots being the only standout exception in the recent past. The trifle point to muse here is that the audience never goes for cinematic achievements. Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ghost Rider and their likes would be a spectacle to watch most definitely, but dont qualify as excellence in storytelling. Independent films and documentaries positively get larger support from studios in Hollywood, as compared to Bollywood, but they are mere tripe for an average cinegoer. I think we share a common problem there. What is a real cinematic achievement? Box Office numbers or the awards. 

The qu
est continues to get a Hugo or The Descendants or the Midnight in Paris or Shor in the City or Stanley ka Dabba or Dev D to show up in these lists. We have to wait and watch if this fraternity outgrows itself and engulfs the likes of its audience. I choose to be hopeful till that day, or as people say, desperate

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Goodluck > Goodbye

Rahul Dravid recently said in an interview that no one should tell Sachin Tendulkar when to retire, he knows it himself pretty well!

If you are reading ahead, let me assure you that this column is a response to Rituparna Chatterjee's latest article "Goodbye Shahrukh Khan, thanks for the memories" published by IBN Live yesterday. You must read the article here, before you read my response.

I am not a troll and I am not writing this to vent my anger against the original. And I am not gonna compare SRK with Sachin, before all you cricket fanatics pounce on me. I am too inconspicuous a person to do so. But since the original was hemmed by a predilection against him, this one should be penned by a reversely-biased head.

I'll be completely honest. I found the article to be shockingly low brow
, perennially confused and badly reasoned. Here's why. To begin with, Rituparna came across as blatantly hypocritical in writing this article. For someone who is responsible for a live tweet review of SRK's latest release, Don 2, and suitably terming it as "slick and action packed"; for someone who did a story called "Ra.One kicks off the festival season" labeling it as a "giant leap for Bollywood technology"'; and for someone who also did a piece like "SRK: A legacy of sweat and blood" calling him an almost kick-starter of method acting, this one is bound to be bemusedly appalling, to say the least. Why would you do this? This garbled mix of astray thoughts comes across as more of a conniving deploy to attract eyeballs and why not, it is totally an acceptable trend to bash a star, glorify his infirmities and bask in the fire lit by you. No complaints there, just that it resonates an oxymoron when you change sides so quickly. The article is unable to assert if the writer hates SRK or loves him, not to mention that it never occurred to the writer to big goodbye to the likes of Sanjay Dutt or Ajay Devgn who did Rascals and a lot of other crap. Also, this whimsical side of the esteemed columnist waited 2 months after Don 2 release and a month after the infamous slapgate to let out out its scowling at SRK. I have no personal vendetta against the writer but humbly accepting him as a "single most important face a billion people the world over identify Indian cinema with" and bidding him a needless goodbye in the same breath could have taken a break.

But screw that, I cant be irrevocably lost in adulation too long to give you just a fan's opinion, shamelessly accepting that I would have loved to give you a "laundry list" of his accolades. Alas, It wont count as reasoning then, let alone me risking this piece to be classified comfortably as a troll's rant. True, Ra.One was not worth the pomposity it erected around itself. Accepted that Don 2 was palpable but not the exact flavor we were looking for. I am not rooting for them making the money they did as you can witness my displeasure at the 100 Crore race here. But what the heck, a flaw is not unapologetically terminal to hold him against a garrote. I have cringed at his hyperbolic act in KANK and I have stared in disbelief as he rescued an entire fake village from an equally fake hurricane in My Name is Khan, though I would still watch an edited version of that movie any day. For years, Shah Rukh Khan has been pummeled for not stepping outside his comfort zone and sticking to his stock characters of Raj and Rahul. It has been said that SRK can only play SRK, the romantic hero with his arms wide open and twitching face. When he does dare to step out of his comfort zone, when he does try to experiment, he is ripped apart for his efforts. And then his critics wonder why he chooses to do Karan Johar and Yash Raj type of films over and over again. Why then do we loath and abuse SRK? Because he fails to deliver to (some of) our sky-high expectations? 
He was not good in Swades and Chak De India because the ensemble cast was good, the applause emerged from his portrayal of the character.

The article sneers at his grotesque acts of slapping Shirish Kunder or dressing as drag queen or continuously producing puerile toilet humor on tv shows and award ceremonies or his larger-than-life imagery in all his films. We are a Bollywood crazy nation. Even if you dont want, you run after money because others are doing s
o and you dont want to be left behind. Even if you dont want, you make mistakes. Mangal Pandey by Aamir was an easily forgivable mistake too and the list of Salman's mistakes is endless. SRK has always maintained that he is an entertainer, and rightly so, as he is one of the wittiest in the clout out there, be it at award shows, tv shows or interviews. His brand of entertainment is still savored by many and you cannot call all of them SRKtards or hopeless fanatics (Read this, if you still doubt it). He hams, if you say so, to entertain, he is bigger than any role he does because the audience always wanted to see him like that. What if they are not liking it now? It does not allow us to tell him to leave just because of our indulgent sophism. He is clever enough to laugh off his follies and his fantastical success, as he did at Filmfare this year. Agreed, he is entrapped in his stardom, but he is also entrapped at the junction of a fast-paced economical industry and an expecting audience. Its not always that easy to live with what you have earned.

If I like his imperfect pigeon chested body in Maya Memsaab, I would believe in the actor inside him more than th
e star. I would want the lost superhero to discover his roots back but not ask him to leave. I would go for criticism, more than sensationalism. Mostly, when I reek of hypocrisy myself. 

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Will Bollywood ever get over love stories?

Ever since its inception, the Indian Film Industry has had the strongest relationship with love stories. Its our biggest obsession and our biggest identity. In fact in 2010, some of the greatest directors from across the globe produced a feature called, Bollywood: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told. The film went unnoticed but it clearly emblazoned what we are best known for, even for people who dont follow Indian cinema across the globe. For a long time and almost till now, we have been hailed and hammered for producing song-dance sequences circling around a love story in almost all our attempts. The industry has undergone a definitive change in the past few years and started to move out of this chagrined imagery of our creative expanse. But to be honest, it has definitely helped us over the years to reach out to a wider audience across the globe. Many out there loved us for what we did along with many who distrustfully stereotyped us. We quietly tuck in a love story in almost 80-90% of the films even today while most of them are shamelessly centered around them. Yet, there are a few filmmakers who get them right anyway. According to a report, almost 83% of the films releases flopped in 2011, and thats almost the disastrous fable every year. The point is, will we ever preternaturally get over love stories? 

The answer is NO and its not even that enormous a gaffe to me. Exploring the different sides of love is solemnly the easiest thing to do yet one of the hardest thing to make it work in a plethora of profane attempts. Indian cinema started at its highest point where icons like Satyajit Ray, Raj Kapoor and V. Shantaram unabashedly mastered the art of telling universally acclaimed stories. Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand created legendary characters that buys them irreplaceable reverence even today. The 1960's was an era of radically social movies where topical issues surpassed stories of love without a whim and it continued pretty much into 1970's until Amitabh Bachchan introduced the concept of an 'angry young man'. The trajectory conveniently discoursed into action films where the hero had to jump off a building and fight a set of goons to evoke response from its ordinary audience. During the mid 1980's and upto mid 1990's, movies started taking the shield of masala and banality took over. Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt and Sunny Deol were the new leads who barely induced the audience with their histrionics. This could be called the worst phase of Indian cinema when cacophonous songs, melodramatic sleaze and embarrassing action was the order of the day. All through this era, there was a random Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron, Arth, Ardh Satya, Sparsh, Chashme Baddoor, Tamas, Drohkaal, Saaransh that managed to grow and reach out, carefully treading to avoid getting weeded out by the appalling, unreasonable mob of the ordinary and the overdone. They are classics for us today, but they often recovered any money then, and the actors barely ever got paid for a lot of those films, even when they did not associate themselves with infirm sophistry of the script. The drudgery of the hero's family, the minimalism of the actress's role and the overwhelming villainy of the anti-hero were constant ingredients, almost every week. 

This sneer-worthy lurch of Indian cinema ended with the advent of new films such as Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, which pretty much set the ball rolling for new directors to step up and alter the norms. The lead was no longer a hero, instead he was a more vulnerable character who could fail, who didnt need to fight and was always in love with a deep fervor. Shahrukh Khan emerged as an anti-hero but gradually nudged into being the most loved romantic hero owing to his spree with DDLJ, Pardes, DTPH, KKHH and Mohabbatein. Cinema came up with a new language where shoddy became glossy, action was replaced by emotions and formula became fresh. There was suddenly a higher focus on the treatment of the script and the detailing of production techniques until this became monotonous too. During the 2000's the filmmakers were unpretentiously struggling to lay out love stories while at the same time incessantly trying to break barriers to come up with something refreshing. Its only since 2009 or so that you finally seeing some change happening and their efforts reaching a notable outcome. The last decade was a confused phase for Indian cinema where the cantankerous critics were increasingly bashing the hackneyed formula and an emerging lot was trying to invent and infuse a new language into Indian cinema through their diverse school of thoughts. Nevertheless, we told many love stories, some innovative, some repetitive and some like old wine in a new bottle. 

The surprising piece in this story is that even new filmmakers are coming up with new ways to tell the love stories, minus the song dance sequences. Their approach is less trite or mechanical and explores the more unconventional domains of this genre. A lot of times, it tugs more on the irony of love, the flaws of it and the shit that comes with the sugar. All other times, it still juices out the happy and the sappy with meticulous care. Good Night Good Morning, a venture by an indie filmmaker Sudhish Kamath, recreates love through a simple conversation and lovingly details the wistful side of it. Recently produced short film, Gulcharrey modestly pens a love letter to the simplicity of love stories in the odd 10 minutes it runs for. 

The bottomline here is that love stories havent been annihilated and why should they be, as long as people find new ways to tell them. As long as we can deliver a Rockstar in 2011, we are still digging up newer paths. And we should not be ashamed to do so. Even Hollywood churns out love stories in the garb of rom-coms almost every second week. They have a smaller audience for this genre but we have an entire nation ready to watch a love story every week. Yet, some of their love stories stand out, predominantly because of their comedy, and less because of their emotional depth. We have an edge there, our audience is more voraciously open to shedding tears, the movie has to just tangibly ask for it without falling into the clutches of the ordinary. Personally, for me, the most notable love stories over the last 15 years or so have been DDLJ, KKHH, Veer-Zaara, Jab We Met and Rockstar. DDLJ and KKHH were good for their era, where they unfolded their stories with a lot of ease. Veer-Zaara fell into the domain of epic sagas, loaded with hamming but still true to its skin. Jab We Met rewrote the rules of the way love stories are told, empowering the female lead above anything else. Rockstar exemplifies the brooding of an unexplained love in a domain where two people connect with just each other, and no one else in the world, nor do they care about them. There could be many others here which I fail to bring up, but its not about berating myself for that but discovering the irresistible power of love stories. Its not that hard to dispense with the cliches if one focuses on the story he wants to tell. 

Cinema is an empty canvas, its up to you how you paint it but the color of love is sure to quietly sneak and blend in most likely in most of your attempts, and its acceptable if your final painting is still lauded!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu comes with a rare, unexpected and charming subtlety

A few days ago, I did a story on Karan Johar and his production house on how it has constantly done something good for cinema amidst all the hate that is bestowed upon him and his company. You can check out the post here. Today, almost two weeks later, I stand vindicated, ridiculously confident and shamelessly smirked. Agneepath pretty much nailed the point I was trying to make in the post. And how about this one, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu? Although most unexpectedly, EMAET is like a fine dinner outing at an upscale restaurant, with good landscape views and good food in the odd 1 hour 50 mins it runs for, yet manages to avoid serving the syrupy sugar, considering the beaten and battered genre its trying to make work. Despair not, hope is still alive in romantic comedies and believe it or not, an Indian filmmaker gets it right possibly after Jab We Met, barring the imperfect ones in between which almost made it there at times.

Let me make it clear on the onset. EMAET is NOT What Happens in Vegas. Period.

When the trailer of EMAET was released, I had conveniently concluded that Imran and KJo would follow from the lines of I Hate Luv Storys which was regressive and moronic and deliver another rom-com, a beaten to death genre. I also believe that Imran Khan is sporadically amazing where he gave an IHLS but also a Delhi Belly. Never know what hes gonna deliver. But I got intrigued when the reviews started pouring in for this one, and the most cynical of critics started lauding it which made me go watch it asap. Pinning my hopes on the mammoth monster Agneepath, I had safely deluded myself from this little film that has come out barely two weeks after the former. A brave move by KJo, again. But EMAET is nothing like Agneepath. If raw defines the latter, its subtlety thats engraved upon each frame of EMAET. You dont miss the commotion, the hoopla or the thrill because you get the more persistent flavor of this one as it breezes past you.

EMAET is almost like a conversation movie where the two leads, Imran and Kareena, have to be on screen for pretty much all the time and it barely relies on any of its other characters, yet it manages to engage you all through, owing to its taut screenplay by Ayesha DeVitre and Shakun Batra. They made sure to keep some laughs going all through and cut the length short so that you hardly get time to snooze or sulk in the melodrama. But what really makes a difference in this film is the treatment the first time director Shakun Batra lends to this non-schmaltzy, non-grim and non-traditional fare. He steadfastly appeases your senses with relatable character sketches and provides an 'indie' feel to the movie. EMAET avoids mush, but avoids originality too, sadly. They shove in ideas from everywhere and dabble with a much-overdone genre wading through with a new approach. Even if they did succeed, not many people might be willing to witness the success story. Going along with one of the philosophies expressed in the movie, its okay to be average if you are perfectly average. The movie does not over or under whelm you, its just in right amount with a lasting fervor. Its the modesty and calmness that wins you over, despite it being nothing innovative.

Music of the film, by the genius Amit Trivedi, is incisive and very well integrated with the script at each instant. The background score by Clinton Cerejo is on point. Editing by Ali Asif Shaikh is notches above Agneepath, he should have been taken there too. Cinematography is topical and captures Vegas in the most charming but non-tacky way. The Production Design is amazing like all KJo movies, lots of rich people wearing black, lots of classy parties and dinners, and everything else that comes with the richest class of Indians. Dialogues are okay.

Imran Khan sinks his teeth deep into this one and plays an unapologetic mama's boy with striking brilliance. He makes sure he does not sleep walk through this one as he has a changed dialogue delivery, expressions and even a silence. Even when he is so uptight about everything, his subtlety is infectiously heartwarming. Kareena reprises her role from Jab We Met and delivers another stellar performance. This might not add another movie to her Rs 100Cr movie list but she still makes the character come to life and you know that you have met a girl like that. Both of them together make the the film what it is, with their genteel sense of detailed prescience. Boman Irani, Ratna Pathak Shah are well suited. The guy who plays Kareena's dad is the best cameo ever. None of the other supporting characters stick out like a sore thumb and thats the good part.

EMAET is not extraordinary, but it has a certain depth in its treatment that will leave you charmed. The fun and frolic is there too. Kudos to Shakun Batra for handling a rom com with a flair of Woody Allen films and squeezing good performances from his lead cast. The hype around the film has been subdued due to the Karan Johar cliche but the guy has been supporting new talents for ages. Go watch it for him!

Rating - 3/5

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The 100 Crore Club: Virtue or Vice?

Do you really follow the trade of the Indian Film Industry? If you watch all the movies purely for entertainment and know which one worked or not, OR if you meekly follow the trade analysis of the movies of your favorite stars, reading ahead might be deemed preposterous for you. If you do not care about either of the things mentioned above, save yourself from this blasphemy. However, if trade analysis and trends in the industry make sense to you, I merely posit this article as an invite to voraciously discover the sugar and salt that comes with newly acclaimed 100 Crore Club in the Indian Film Industry.

The 100Cr Club is a continuously successful (well, until now), devouring yet charming black hole formed by a bourgeois lot of superstars aka actors that extract unprecedented collections for their movies leaving a lot of trade analysts aghast. Really, how big is the Indian movie market if a movie goes onto earn up to a 100 crores in a week? Where were all these people before? Were they not watching movies ever? Have a lot more people started watching movies now? Or is it just the movies of these stars? Is it a good or a bad trend for the industry? For the quality of cinema? What do critics say? Why do the 'supposedly' intelligent crew of journalists and filmmakers guffaw and grind this club more often than not? Why do a lot of people tear it apart as a droll syndrome continuously promoting banality in films?

There have only been a few films till now that have entered this club when it comes to collections based out of Indian Box Office purely, as ‘trade analyst’ (barely a critic) Komal Nahta points out here. The top 10 out of them are, in ascending order of the number of days it took them to enter the club post their release, Bodyguard, 3 Idiots, Ra.One, Dabangg, Agneepath, Ready, Don 2, Ghajini, Golmaal 3 and Singham. Shahrukh, Aamir, Ajay, Salman and now Hrithik are the only members of this club with their success rate being 2/4, 2/3, 2/15, 3/4 and 1/5 respectively. Succinctly, its the 3 Khans who have been calling the shots, if we consider a period of 2008-2011 disregarding Devgn because of his lower success rate. Saif Ali Khan and Akshay Kumar are the only two stars of the older generation who haven’t made an entry into this club, while Hrithik Roshan made an early entry than any of his counterparts (for instance, Abhishek Bachchan). The newer stars like Ranbir and Imran are yet to disrupt the flight of this unfettered lot. Joginder Tuteja points out here how its upto Saif and Akshay to enter the club this upcoming year with their upcoming projects and predicts that no one else would be able to enter it yet due to the audience's predilection towards the present members. Honestly, the article is demonstratively low reasoned and staggeringly perpetuates the star system in the industry.

While a lot of trade analysts can rest in their smugness in the never-fail-formula of the top stars, there are many others who continuously deride this club and its members, pummel their movies and anything that associates themselves with this bandwagon. The main reason for their despise is that movies with minimal content are entering this club just by milking out the market value of their stars. I agree with them, to a larger extent. After much contemplation, serious comparisons and fighting denial, I could only pick 3 Idiots to have entered any sort of elite club, if there existed one for decently good movies. I enjoyed watching Don 2, Agneepath and Singham but they still did not deserve to be in the club. And I am saying this based on their overall cinematic value for me, which consists of at least some author-backed entertainment and its treatment without too many glitches. All other movies mentioned here are prosaic and positively enclosed in what is superfluous. There could be many other movies that I would have wanted to see make it to this list but that’s not how it works in the industry. Many actresses would have hoped to have a heroine driven script to be here to but no, we are a sexist audience. The closest contender actress has been Vidya Balan who has been allowed to reach Rs 80Cr with The Dirty Picture. The hatred against this club stems from the continuous success of bad films, the audience's continuous affection for them and the everlasting wistfulness for one great film to make it to this club. Even the ones I picked are not the greatest.

But is the audience really in love with these films or is it just the stars that draw the crowds? As of now, it has become a race, a race where the horses are not trained to play on their strengths and leave it on fate, but they are obsessed with their perpetual entitlement to a spotlight which can only be achieved by outdoing each other or just yourself, at times. As Aniruddha Chatterjee points out in his very relevant article here, only 3 films in the last four years have earned at least twice as much as their first week's collection, when their lifetime collections were taken into account. We strictly do not have a repeat audience, so its definitely not the quality of films that produce these results. There is nothing like a word of mouth for a movie. The last movie that worked on word of mouth was Band Baaja Baraat and yet it does not have any milestone tag attached to itself. The theatrical run has been limited to the first week which pretty much decides a movie’s lifetime collections and it rests in its entirety on star power, a system that has plagued the industry since its inception and is almost impossible to get rid of. It is rooted deep beneath the rigorously burgeoning markets of Indian movies and the big numbers that are pouring in. Even the overseas markets have expanded unprecedentedly and churn out numbers which have never been seen before, though the order of collections may not be the same as mentioned above. 

How fair is this system, if it goes on? Numbers fetched by Bodyguard in the first week explicitly show that the market has definitely expanded and but do more people really watch the movies now and more so in the first week itself? A well-reasoned musing over the Indian cinema market reveals that the market has expanded because of the large number prints released for all big movies and the luscious hiked ticket prices associated with them in the multiplexes. A 2nd tier city before used to get the print in 3rd or 4th week but now even in a remote village a Bodyguard gets a release on Day 1. Multiplexes run more than 10 shows a day in most places for all major releases with bewildering ticket prices. Both factors, once multiplied ensure that the opening day or weekend garners huge figures. A lot of times the collections are misattributed to more number of people watching these movies. As a matter of fact, 4crore people saw Maine Pyaar Kiya, 3crore saw Gadar but 3 Idiots was seen by only 1.5crore people in theaters and it is still the highest grossing film in Indian history. The nauseating publicity associated with every big movie creates a sense of emergency that deludes the audience to flock the theatres as soon as its release, within the first week itself.

Honestly, the audience does not seem to care, leaving a lot of people shockingly bemused. Behind this overwhelming side of the industry, there are thousands of upcoming directors, screenwriters, technicians, journalists and bloggers who are struggling day in and out to insert meaning into cinema, some to do the formulas their way and some to create new ones. But it does not matter to a common cine-goer if they ever get out of this routine rigmarole of battling the demands of studios, barely financing their dreams and producing content that changes the blinding course of this system. It is futile to underscore here that a rising number of people in our cinema going audience is only besotted by puerile entertainment, as can be seen from Golmaal 3 collecting those amounts. A lot of them want to savor their favorite star as he does the undoable. The more publicized movie is enshrined as a better movie, completely ostracizing the strength of the script or the lack of it. Some of them want to see a movie to chide and berate it by ludicrously pitting it against any Hollywood movie. Will such an audience care about a rare film produced from the searing passion of an independent filmmaker or a Stanley Ka Dabba which even got a mainstream release?

So what happens now? We revel in the exhilaration of the collections and gape at the numbers or we wait slyly and run it down on all social platforms hoping that this bubble would burst someday? The point is we cannot aspire a devastation of the star system with the way this industry and our audiences are structured, unless of course the world ends in 2012. A Salman or a Shahrukh release gets manifold the number of prints a film like Stanley will get. With the increasing profits, it provides a bespoke chance to the studios and production houses to be pluck. It is only when the big production houses stop lobbying to the stars or the uni-dimensional factor of movie economics, and start caring about the creative side of each film, that they will risk half a shot with a more earnest and innovative film. This, by no way means a compromise on the entertainment quotient provided by them because I still feel that cinema is meant to entertain primarily and enlighten secondly. More prints for better films will ensure that they market it more too, irresistibly in the greed to get fancy returns for their investment. There will be a few hiccups but the strategy but the higher flow of money should allow them to do so as they meticulously model the strategy by through lingering on trial and error and a little nuance to the audiences brought in by different city tiers. However, the trash films will still make it to the elite clubs of Box Office collections due to their star value, glaring marketing strategies and ridiculous number of prints, but I guess it will still be fairer than what we have now. The trends are changing, albeit slowly. Getting an independent film to reach out to the audience is easier than it was before. Many production houses and multiplex chains are coming up with smaller focused divisions to cater to all kinds of cinema and get them a release. Yet, the race does not seem to end. Maybe we will stop brooding and find solace in this perennial race too, with time, when a film with no stars is allowed to compete as an equal too. Until the dawn strikes, we will have to wait for Salman Khan’s next release!