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. 

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