Movie critics ( from leading papers none less ) who feel the need to quote Stanley Kubrik for Ek thi Daayan remind me of wannabe gourmets who eat dosa in a South Indian restaurant with a fork and knife. Usually the same type trash item numbers. What’s not to like about an item number? It’s biological, like a teenager with pimples. Pretending to be a gourmet doesn’t make you one. Just like trashing popular choices does not make you a critic.
Thus spake yours truly who writes novels you’ve probably never heard of, and who writes blogs that all of three people read. In defense I belong to a mutant species that believes that time spent selling books compromises my integrity as an author. Call it laziness, the excuse of a loser, whatever. I’ll still ask for the name of the painter after I like a painting and check the credit roll of a movie after I see it.
Never let a review decide what you should watch. Never read a book because of the hardness of its sales pitch. Listen to the lone voice, see the independent film, because it has something new to say. And if its not original at least its not just polished pretense.
Having said that, fame is hardly ever undeserved, at least initially. The box office gave good returns to both Aashiqui 2 and Ek thi Daayan, two films that made the critics cringe.
Aditya Roy and Shraddha Kapoor set the screen on fire as if it were a high school chem lab. So refreshing to see raw talent, and even if I doubt Aditya’s ever seen the underbelly of alcoholism and that Shraddha’s secretly admires Twilight star Kristen Stewart’s method of acting, the last time one saw this magic was QSQT. Yes the screenplay fumbled but if we can accept Tarantino blow off heads like watermelons in exactly the same way in every film why can’t we accept Lata Mangeshkar in a beer bar?
In the critic’s manual Mahesh Bhatt doesn’t know romance because he ‘is’ erotica. Just like Sunny Leone cannot act because she is a porn star. The same with Hashmi because he is a serial kisser.
In the critic’s manual Ek thi Daayan is equivalent to Ek thi saas bahu because Ekta Kapoor produced it. If Ek thi Daayan was called Ek thi Wiccan it would have got better reviews. Critics were enthralled till the interval of Ek thi Daayan because Vishal Bharadwaj supposedly understands Shakespeare and the ambiguity of juvenile hallucination filmed coheres with indoctrinated psychology theories and therefore justifies the Stanley Kubric quote. After the interval since the daayan’s feet defies all indoctrinated theories on opposable thumbs- of course its Ekta Kapoor’s fault .
Fact is, young people came out of Aashiqui 2 crying and holding hands, because the couple on screen were not just playing out the mating dance of seasonal frogs, but struck a chord of earnestness that stars usually give on their first big hit like Hrithik in Kaho na Pyar hai. And unlike the dubbed Hindi version of Urban Legends Ek thi Daayan is an original story of hum log where bhoot pret and jadu tona akkha India janta hai. It was brilliantly shot and had great music and I really don’t care that Hashmi is called Bobo the Baffler. Well, mostly, don’t care.
Fact is that if we tracked the evolution of
popular culture like Darwin we would notice that the breeding ground of creativity is always in the fringes, mainstream is where it bursts into the scene and eventually dies. Thus explaining the transience of fame.
Fact is Tarantino said.” I didn’t go to film school. I went to films.”
I’m quoting now, so sue me.