The race that never was…
Last night I made the grave mistake of watching Bodyguard. It was like an epiphany. Like divine intervention wherein 3 absolute truths of life were whispered into my ear:
1) The world is round.
2) We are all going to die.
3) Bodyguard shouldn’t have been made.
Although, I have moral issues with Salman Khan (a discussion for another day, perhaps), it is unfair to deny his inimitable on-screen charm. He makes pink pants look cool. And while he gyrates and makes those robotic moves on the big screen, more than half of the country is already aping the ‘bad boy’ image.
I’m an exception.
Recently, I read a piece on the Guardian website on how movies like Pirates of the Carribean 3 or the Transformers lineage was all a sham. The article explained how millions of dollars were spent on the films which had a huge star line-up but no recall value. The piece quoted that “…sadly movies are being made for an apocalyptic audience.”
A similar show runs here. Bollywood is only making films to cater to the masses. The industry is creatively crippled. Hence, it has learnt a new lesson: follow the formulae. It can only see and follow suit. It cannot make its own path. So when Dabangg marked the return of Salman Khan as the ‘action’ hero, we had Ready and Bodyguard limping closely behind the same path. These are mostly inane films which cater strictly to the commercial, brainless cinema fare.
Well-renowed critic Mark Kermode posed a very important question to the American audience. “Why be Michael Bay, when you could be Christopher Nolan?” he asked. Both Transformers and Inception were big-budget films; high octave action, CGI and special effects all inclusive. However, Bay spent his moolah on showing mammoth robots beat the shit out of each other for reasons which may not exist. While Nolan’s expensive maze was multiple shots of creative orgasm that challenged the audience without insulting their intelligence. Both were summer blockbusters but the ‘maze’ managed to make (much) more money than the ‘robots.’
Back home it’s all about big films and small films. Bodyguard had the biggest stars and a bigger bank balance to get those stars, but for me it still remains the worst film that has come out this year. It made Chandni Chowk To China look like Citizen Kane. But there is one small film silently and patiently waiting in the fray, for it’s turn to come. I’m talking about Anurag Kashyap’s That Girl In Yellow Boots. It releases tomorrow in the wake of the monster which is known as Bodyguard.
Between TGYIB and Bodyguard there is no shred of doubt about which one would demolish Box-Office records. Trade reports of Bodyguard estimate close to 18cr collection within two days of the films release. That’s close to the budget of nine TGYIB’s and counting. That means even before it releases tomorrow TGYIB has lost the race. So who else but Anurag would have the balls to release his film on such an occasion? I don’t see any hands.
But I have seen TGYIB and hence can guarantee two things; one it will get greater and much better reception than Bodyguard will. Not in terms of money but in terms of respect. And two – it will be remembered. Respect it shall garner for its fearlessness. For a director who, time and again, makes a point and wishes to bring a change in this industry but most people failing to get his brand of cinema term it as arrogance. He will still try. Tomorrow he releases a 4cr film that competes with a 40cr film which has already made close to 18cr in 2 days.
Sudhir Mishra said, “There are good films, there are bad films and then there are films made by Anurag Kashyap.” TGYIB is definitely not an Udaan. It has its own flaws. But every film can’t be a classic. We are then restricting creativity and setting sky high expectations from our own filmmakers. Instead of doing that, we should stop supporting asinine cinema like Bodyguard which has no imagination whatsoever. Take Salman out of the film and you have a torn drum not even fit for the roadside monkey to earn his pennies from.
Films like Bodyguard are testament to the kind of violence I harbor. At the post-interval stage while I was hoping the end credits would miraculously appear after each passing scene, there were people who laughed at dialogues and hooted every time they saw Salman bash up the bad guy. I wanted to beat them up. Ok, a lot more than that. But I did not. Simply because I’m not ready for jail yet.
Also, I wish to live. To watch another That Girl In Yellow Boots when Bodyguard 2 will be back in theatres.