I have recently been very disappointed with the general Indian movie audience.
I watched “Omkara” and was swept off my feet. It is what an adaptation is, in the true sense of the word. To lift a story from 16th century Venice about the Venecian Senate and to fit it in exactly into 21st century rural UP can only be achieved by a genius. And the story has been adapted so smoothly that it seems very realistic throughout. Every minutest detail was tended to. Kareena Kapoor had stubbily cut nails on her right hand and longish nails with chipped nail-polish on her left hand, exactly as most Indian women who have to work at home do. And the acting i cannot even begin to comment on. Saif Ali Khan was so convincing as a villain that he positively scares you. And you could see Ajay Devgan emote through his eyes even with shades on. Kareena Kapoor is so natural; her innocence, her complete devotedness to Omkara have come across so beautifully that you wonder if Rani Mukherjee or Kajol are wearing Kareena masks (really, anyone who understands anything about acting will not have held any cordial feeling towards Kareena Kapoor before this movie!)
The cinematography is brilliant- Saif breaking the mirror n smearing himself with blood, the last scene where Kareena’s dead body swings over Ajay’s shot-dead self, Konkona’s protrayal as Kali to mention a few. When Ajay Devgan is stifling Kareena with the pillow, I swear I was getting choked.
And such a movie was dismissed by the Indian audience…because it used swear words. It was an “A” rated movie, so who told them to take their children along, those who complained about it not being a ‘family movie’!? And those swear words were necesarry to create local colour. In UP women use “chutia” as a word of endearment to their husbands.
But what was the Indian audience looking forward to? “KANK” and for those of you who are gonna go like “What the hell is Kank?” like I did the first time I heard the abbreviation…its the latest Karan Johar multi-starrer. It was terrible, as was most likely. But the audiences are still flocking to the theatres. Not for the story or the drama…NO! That has been established as bogus from the day it was released. But for the grand sets, Shahrukh Khan, Rani Mukherjee, songs and dances, Manish Malhotra lehengas.
Really, after more than a century of Indian cinema, it’s time for the movie audience to grow up. It is time for them to stop making cinema a way to avoid reality. That’s why people are watching KANK- to forget their own ordinariness and for 3 hours to create an illusion that life is all pomp and glamour and there are always happy endings. “Life is not all cakes and ale” (in the words of Shakespeare, “Twelfth Night”) and there is no point building such illusions around our lives. The masses have to wake up to reality- the reality of Langda Tyagi’s destructive ambition, the fickle nature of love, the dirt in politics and that more often than not one dead body lies swinging on top of the other…no! everyone does not get married to whom they love and there are no such things as ‘happily ever after.’ I’m not a chronic depressive claiming there’s no happiness in this world…there is Dolly’s pure love and Konkona’s loving concern and Kesu Firangi’s innocence, but there is no ‘happily ever after,’ all who live know this. Cinema should be a medium to help people get close to reality, not escape it.