Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Calling Bollywood. May day. May day.

All of us owe a huge debt of gratitude to Hindi mainstream cinema. Or, what we middle-class urban desis (MUDs) with our umbilical cords firmly rooted in the Land of Milk and Honey, the home of Hollywood, insist on calling Bollywood. We ought to be grateful to it for the great heroines it gave us (Nargis, Madhubala, Geeta Bali, Waheeda Rehman, Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, Madhuri Dixit, Kajol, Kareena – forget Meena Kumari, there was something amiss there). And, for the world’s coolest villains who could double without exception – and with panache – as accomplished comedians. The Indian hero pantheon – barring all of Ashok Kumar, Guru Dutt, Balraj Sahani, Amol Palekar, Naseeruddin Shah and Sanjeev Kumar and some of the early Dilip Kumar – didn’t amount to much in my eyes in spite of male-oriented scripts. We ought also to be grateful for the great songs that age well and sound as good remixed. And, for dances that look like vintage Ken Ghosh in their Jurassic Age incarnation. And, oh! Such wonderful entertainment, too. And, such fun-filled opening weekend film reviews. (By the way, a while back, I noticed that a film reviewer had awarded the new but not remade Andaaz a ‘*½’ in his rating scale of ‘*****’= ‘Excellent’ to ‘*’ = ‘Poor’. Was he telling us it was ‘barely above the poverty line’?) Well, even the critics who pan Hindi mainstream cinema ought to be grateful to it. And, all those television folks who do Bollywood-based talent shows and quiz shows and gossip shows. And, all those cinema-centric rags – er, mags. And, the FM stations and the record (CD, DVD) companies. And, the crazy first-day-first-show fans. And, so on and so forth… because, pray tell, where would they all be sans Bollywood? [P.S.: I have it on good authority – read Aditi in New Jersey – that a certain one-hit (okay, maybe, two-hit) star in Bollywood records ‘Many happy returns’ greetings for his fans in his spare time. Others on the other hand are giving their respective best shots – in a beysharam and/or beyreham vein – to promote colas, fridges and cars seeking the much-needed push off the shelves. If that sounds like vintage Star Dust, Meow! As they say in Cannes, c’est la vie, ma cherie! Oo-la-la!] Stop Press: One more thing before I sign off. Aditi in NJ who will be here today to attend the premier of Kunal Kohli’s Fanna had a bone to pick with me. According to her, the one-movie (sorry, two-movie) wonder star did not send her a recorded message on her birthday but “it was an actual call from him... original… not a recorded message he even spoke to mom.” Those are her original words, punctuation included. I hope that kinda absolves me of tinkering with the truth or whatever you suspected me of attempting, eh, Aditi?

No comments: