But no matter. What I'm trying to get at is that just like outfits, films can have a similar or even identical theme or plot, but accessories such as picturizations, main actors, script and delivery make them so different. So this is my version of "Who Rocked It Best ", evidently, for Bollywood films, based on films I watched recently.
*** The parody that includes a film within a film
Tees Maar Khan, Farah Khan's latest outing is of course the first one that comes to mind. But as excited as I was for its release (despite Akshay Kumar being the hero, which hardly ever ends up well for me), I came out of the theatre almost depressed. What a great movie this could have been, if only it were funny. But it wasn't. And I usually love Farah Khan's sense of humour, God knows I laugh every time I watch her other two movies, and that's often by the way.
This other little movie called Dhoodte Reh Jaoge on the other hand, approaches the same theme: a garbage movie is being produced by the main characters with the twisted end goal of getting rich, and we get to witness the whole process of the movie being scripted and shot, plus we even see scenes and songs from the film. Just like in Tees Maar Khan. Heck, they even have a silly theme song that keeps getting played over and over and over until all you can hear is "dhoond-te reeeeh jaooge" in your head, long after the movie is over.
But DRJ pulls off the funny much better. Probably because they don't just rely on name dropping to create comedy, but rather on subtle (or not so subtle) send-ups to other films that get spoofed with gusto, but also without malice. Probably because there is an actual plot beside the making of the film (even if the plot is borrowed from the famous musical The Producers). Probably because the actors in it can actually act. Or who knows, maybe because I just didn't get the references in TMK. Bottom line is, DRJ rocks it!
Dolce, as the resident Farah Khan fangirl made a weak attempt to defend TMK, which went like this:
Dolce: There were parts of TMK when we laughed, no? Like the train robbery?
Namak: That's true, Akshaye Khanna did a good job with his role, he was the only thing funny about this film.
Dolce: And then there's Sheila Ki Jawani, that's gotta count for something! It's a rocking song!
Namak: Myees, agreed, Sheila is worth a look or two... But I'll see your Sheila and raise you a Kunal Khemu. Actually wait, I just remembered Sonu Sood also looks particularly fabulous in DRJ and he does an impression of Amitabh Bachchan, so... all in!
Dolce: Okie dokie... guess I can't beat that with my pair of aces.
*** The thriller-drama that offers a very critical look at people's superstitions and what happens if one gives in to them
Predictably, the first example: Delhi 6. A wonderful story about India and its fears and hopes seen through the eyes of an Indian who grew up elsewhere. A kaleidoscope of characters and images that will stay with you for months after seeing the film. And a set of performances that are worthy of heartfelt praise. Sadly Delhi 6 stumbles upon a threshold called "lack of subtlety" and trips into the open arms of the "House of Clunky". If only the last half hour had had the finesse and the elegance of the first hour and a half...
And how surprising, to find that elegance in a children's film like Makdee. Also a poignant expose of the damage that giving in to superstition causes, but handled, in a far less preachy way. And a more consistent style throughout. Of course, it is a Vishal Bhardwaj film after all. As predicted, Makdee rocks it.
*** The romantic idea of sacrificing your love for the happiness of your loved one
Yes, yes, no points for guessing my first example: Jab We Met. Brooding boy falls in love with bubbly outgoing girl, but she loves someone else, so he takes her back to him with unpredictable results. My love for this film probably has everyone nauseated by now, so I won't insist.
And here there are many other films with a similar theme, of which Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Anjaana Anjaani and Mujhse Dosti Karoge are just the first ones that come to mind. And I may have just spoiled all three of them for you, but a) heck, you should have seen them by now, not because they're good but because they're talked about and b) I already said the results are unpredictable, so there, not spoiled at all.
But the film that made me think about Jab We Met recently was Tanu Weds Manu, which is running in the theatres as we speak. Manu is the shy boy played by a perfectly cast Madhavan, while Tanu is the rebellious girl played with much enthusiasm by Kangana Ranaut. Some lovely songs, beautiful cinematography, great support characters. But sadly, the two main characters slip into caricature mode too often and their bond is not plausible as much as one is willing to give in to filmi conventions such as love at first sight. I appreciated Aditya's capacity to walk away (twice!) that much more after seeing Manu turned into a doormat in the same situation.
Well, at least it has good songs!
Do I even have to say it? Jab We Met still rocks it.
*** The Intertwining stories with multiple couples at different stages in their relationships
Salaam-e-Ishq and Life in a Metro.
This was a tough choice to make, and here's how the conversation went:
Dolce: Aah, SEI has Priyanka in a delightful role. Plus it has the best songs!
Namak: Errr... Yeah, whereas Metro has... Pritam. Yikes. But that said, the songs aren't bad.
Dolce: Not at all, the songs are ok, but the picturizations all belong on VH1, in a show called: "90s Metal - What in the Name of Thor Were They Thinking??". Whoever thought it a good idea to have Pritam and presumably his high school band actually appear in every picturization?
Namak: Heh, I'm afraid that's true. But still... SEI is so filmi!
Dolce: We like filmi! Filmi means wonderful and colourful and glamorous and...
Namak: ...And ridiculous!
Dolce: Ok, but so what?
Namak: At least Metro had some better developed stories, some more gripping situations, instead of Anil Kapoor chasing after some 16 year old.
Dolce: Yes, that was a bad song, I agree.
Namak: No, forget the songs, just imagine neither film had any songs, which one makes more sense?
Dolce: Ok, fine, Metro is the slightly better film, but come on, you can't have Bollywood without songs!!! And without filmi situations that would never happen in real life!
Namak: No, I suppose you can't.
So I guess it's a tie: if filminess makes you grin from one ear to the other, then Salaam-e-Ishq rocks it. If a more down to earth type of film with real people that could live next door is more your thing, then Metro it is. Just as long as you can deal with songs that all look like this:
And this concludes today's episode of Who Rocked It Best... not because I'm out of comparisons, but because the length of this post is already starting to rival my emails, and I am kind enough to only inflict those on a select few.