Ravi Mohan's Blog

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

A Tale Of Three Movies

The last few days saw me in the grip of a flu/fever/cough infection that drew my temperature up and enthusiasm down.

So the moment i showed some signs of living to fight another day, I thought i would go and see a movie to revive my spirits. So then I and a friend went off to see Master and Commander - The Far Side Of The World - apretty decent movie about British warship and its battles with a French enemy. More than the naval action though , the story is about the men who sail the ship and fight and die for her. So i was feeling fairly satisfied when I was persuaded to see one more movie and unluckily for me i chose Pooja Bhatt's latest movie called "Paap" (that's "Sin" for you non hindi speakers).

I would strongly urge foriegners who are looking to "understand India " to see this incredibly stupid film. For, in understanding Bollywood's inanities , you would get a glimpse into the hopelessly muddled psyche of the metro dwelling Indian.

First of all if the plot sound somewhat familair, it should be. The script is a rip off Of "Witness"(by Peter Weir, starring HArrison Ford). The hero John Abraham, looks suitably bewildered at various points in the film, but the heroine(Udita Goswami ) who is apparently trying to portray a "Virginal Yet Sensual Indian Woman Tempted By Forbidden Desire" falls flat.She apparently has some lama's trick whereby she can withstand the cold , because she is often shown jumping into freezing lakes with very little on. Jeez just make a soft porn film on something and just be done with it . If Pooja Bhatt wants some direction on how to do this in a "socially relevant" fashion , she should talk to Mira Nair. Spare us the horrendous pseudo philosphy.Mix in a lot of comical lamas and impropable dangling plot threads and you have some idea of what this hopeless movie is like . The best part of the whole experience was the audience , who were rolling in the aisles, laughing at the various "profound " moments in the film.

You know you'd better quit directing when you cook up a scene with "young girl quoting poetry to handsome hunk and hunk falling in love" and the audience is in splits and hooting at the nonsense on screen. As Stephen King once said " Horror and Comedy are the hardest genres to get right. Unless you do it right your horror becomes comedy and your comedy beomes horror". Well, in Pooja's hands Romance becomes rib ticking comedy and the "forbidden desire" motif looks like a couple suffering from simultaneous epilepsy.

Just to remove the bad taste, I put on a DVD of Sholay - a movie made in the 70's and arguably the best movie ever made in Hindi. After the horror of Paap, Sholay was pure bliss. A simple story well told .

A Pity Indian film makers never learn from their few successes.

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