Is ‘Kahaani’ the gamechanger?

23 Mar,2012

By Anil Thakraney


I watched Vidya Balan’s ‘Kahaani’ following all the brouhaha in the social media. As am sure many people did. It is also becoming increasingly clear that at least in the urban areas, Twitter and Facebook can, to a large extent, determine the fate of a film. This is the new word of mouth.


On the subject of the movie itself, while I did yawn a couple of times and found that the climax lacked gravitas, I walked out of the multiplex with a good feeling. Because, at last, here was a Hindi film that had a real hero (and no, that’s not Balan… any actress with reasonably good acting skills could have pulled this off). And that hero is: Story.


It is certainly refreshing to watch a desi film which doesn’t suffer from the Big Star disease that has infected Bollywood for a couple of decades now. Where movies are made and marketed solely on the basis of huge names like SRK, Salman, Aamir, Bachchan, Hrithik, etc. Where weak and often embarrassing stories are written with these demi-gods in mind. Where the audiences are expected to digest any drivel as long as the charismatic hero is in the frame. In fact, Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan have taken this nonsense to a ridiculous level… they not only act themselves in every film, they even gloat about it!


This does not happen in world cinema, not in any other nation. In Hollywood, big stars like Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Jack Nicholson sink into the roles they enact, they seldom play themselves. This trap which Bollywood has dug for itself has resulted in standards of cinema plummeting to new depths of mediocrity. It has also resulted in film writers being paid poorly and treated like ‘extras’. Bollywood is the only movie industry in the world where producers FIRST sign the male hero and THEN think about the story. This is unheard of anywhere else.


In that ridiculous scenario, ‘Kahaani’ comes as a breath of fresh air. One really hopes its success at the box office will make movie makers introspect and re-haul the current system. And go back to making the script the hero. Only when this happens will the rest of the world take Bollywood a bit more seriously. And we could dream of winning the elusive Oscar some day.



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Yes, ‘Kahaani’ gives me hope.




PS: Here’s a, well, interesting ad from The Singapore Tourism Board. I find the choice of words, ‘Get Lost’, quite offensive. Unless I am missing something out here, and the Aussies, to whom this ad is directed, like being abused. Methinks the advertiser has screwed up on this one.


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