Sunday, September 12, 2010
Dabangg: Live from Chandan Talkies!
Let me start by telling the K Jos and A Chos what they have been missing in their movies and why does a Dabanng come and leave them with a feeling of powerlessness. So much so that K Jo had to release his movie one week earlier. Sample this: Dharma productions, the production house of Karan Johar is coming with stuff like: Agneepath's remake, I Hate Love Stories (a trashy remix of its own cliched rom-com movies), Dostana 2 ( a sequel to an already dim-witted original), We are Family (remake of Stepmom), Cootchi Cootchi Hota Hai (animation remake of their earlier hit Kuch Kuch Hota hai) - now take that: how many times did you read the word 'remake'.
Can anyone get more original than this? Are you done with your stories? If you do not have the ability to tell a story, please dont keep making movies, just because you have a production house to run and some fashion designer's nephew and some heroine's brother waiting/wanting to test their directorial skills.
Same goes for priya Aditya Chopra sir, the other day I was watching DDLJ on Set Max and it made me think, what a genius of man to have made this movie. It's like The godfather of bollywood, the one that set trends for the decade and more...for movies to come. Its almost like cause of that one film - bollywood survived the next decade; by making its remakes and adaptations and other loosely-inspired to the blatantly copying forms. The problem that happened later is that people even started loosing respect for DDLJ which was a genuinely made great film. But look at this year: your titles suggest that could you have lost the plot?: 'Lafangey Parindey, Badmaash Company: hangovers of a Kaminey. 'Yaar tum logon se nahi hota toh rehne do na'
Now lets come back to the topic: Abhinav Singh Kashyap, the man on the fringes of bollywood comes up with this absolutely winning formula called Dabangg. If someone has seen Spike Jonze's brilliant film Adaptation with Nicholas Cage in double role then thats whats happening in the case of the Kashyap Duo. The brainy Charlie Kauffman like screenwriter is making movies that are completely anti-bollywood (but within the realm of bollywood) and his twin brother Donald Kauffman in this case Abhinav Singh Kashyap comes up with this stylized trashy potbolier and with all the winning collections at the box office. Anurag Kashyap tweets that Dabangg's first 2 days of collection is equal to the collection of all his movies combined till date. Take that: The curry western music in background, the guitars free flowing and from the sunset comes a silhouetteish figure of Abhinav Kashyap and stands tall, takes out his gun and clicks the trigger and we hear the gun shots ring in the air! dhiskiyaaon! Of course Donald Kauffman is a result of imagination but its come true in the case of these two Kashyap brothers.
Essentially what makes Dabangg special is the way it remains true to the nature of bollywood: The audience goes inside the dark hall not to feel cheated but to get entertained. And entertain toh bahut kiya Dabanng ne! Its a movie that people in Mumbai will tell you: 'It has to be seen inside a Chandan or a Gaiety/Galaxy to know its true value. I went to Chandan, Juhu - one of the last 'action heroes' cinema hall left in suburban Mumbai.
Chandan cinema is the pulse of a nation like us, stuck between development and its third world nature. The seats in Chandan are all plush, it gets all the big movies on day 1 and yet when it comes to the crowd and ticket-price: Iska dil abhi bhi hindustani hai. Salman Khan's entry into the movie gets such a huge roar that it would have been wonderful if the screen would have frozen for a good 20 seconds and the camera could revolve inside a theatre doing a bullet-point photography and get the slow motion reactions of the people in frenzy. Popcorns being thrown in the air, whistles, catcalls, cheering, jeering - all happening in slow motion -As all of this was happening around us, for a moment I thought: 'Hey we are back to the wonderful days of Housefull boards, the madness and the magic of cinema. You go to a cinema to sit with a thousand people and watch the movie, together. The multiplex movies have not given us those moments.
If you gauge the situation of the previous two Super Hit movies then the secret of their winning formula remains: the content has to be re-hashed from bollywood's own repository of revenge stories, but the stylized packaging has to be unique to get the product moving inside the market. 'Once upon a time in Mumbai' was exactly that. Ajay Devgan's character was very well written and so were his dialogues. You can read them here. But Dabangg didnt have many such dialogues, but it had Salman Khan coming on a Eid Mubarak day. 'Dialogue se yaad aaya...' The writer is back in bollywood, so what if right now 'clever dialogues' are the need of the hour. But great writing is being paid off. And great writing while being honest to the cliched content of the movie. Don't try to be too clever, else the audience will reject you. Be clever in the realm of the content-of their context. Just take this case in point: Mr. Stephen Chow. highly highly creative films packaged with amazingly stylized content. That brings me to one more secret formula that we have (and Mr. Chow doesn't have). Songs! We love our songs: 'Tere Mast Mast do nain" led to amazing lunacy levels inside Chandan talkies. The crowd was whistling in rhythm of the song! And when Mr. Chulbul Pandey came on the terrace top in Munni Badnaam hui, it was chaotic rhetoric, I thought the theatre would break into a happy joyous riot-like situation.
So the conclusion remains: Watch Dabangg inside a single screen cinema hall and you will know where these mind-boggling figures of opening collections come from. Inorbit multiplex ki Rs. 280/- ki ticket mei woh power kahaan jo Rs. 60 ki ticket ko Rs. 200/- ko black mei bechne se hai...
p.s: Once the junta is done with this Dabangg mania there is a very interesting film coming up at a theatre near you. please dont miss it. For Real by Sona Jain. I will be writing more about the film. but for now here's the theatrical trailer of a very very fine and sensitive film.
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