Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I feel vindicated. I met Ram Gopal Varma. And I had decided that I would discuss my blog on his film Naach and share what I thought about the film with him. I especially carried a print out of the blog, and then, at the last minute changed notepads, leaving the print out at home. Taking it to be an omen, I ditched the idea, but somehow the thought nagged me. It's not like I'm one of those journalists who uses the access to constantly criticise and offer feedback to filmmakers and TV directors and producers, knowing they have to politely listen to it, though I know of people who do, but this time was different. Maybe because my point of view was just so different from what I'd read in any of the reviews or maybe because no one else seemed to think in that direction and maybe because in some of RGV's interviews I got the feeling that he was hinting towards something which I had understood in his film. Almost everyone hated the film. It was a miserable flop and Antara Mali's contorted body positions inspired several spoofs on TV. There were a few who liked it but I could never figure if they said that only because they felt it would differentiate them from the collective opinion and make the person listening to them cock an eyebrow and think 'ok, how could s/he like the film? They must be thinking something else'. I even told RGV this, that his film had somehow become one of those benchmarks to separate the smarties or pretending smarties from the rest. I have had two people ask me 'what movies have you seen recently?'. Fairly innocuous question. And then, 'Did you like Naach?'
So while we were talking and I found him to be pretty intelligent and open to discussion, I brought it up. And guess, what? He said I was bang on. Except I thought he was Antara Mali, as in, she represented his struggles, his turmoils and his passions. But RGV told me that if he had remained like Mali, stubborn, he wouldn't have reached where he has today. So he is actually Abhishek Bachchan's character and trying to be Mali's. He said Mali was his take on the central character in The Fountainhead, Howard Rock. Someone who doesn't want to change anything about himself and is not apologetic about him. The day he starts to feel bad, he's a hero no more.
It was really exciting and gratifying. He even told me how he shouldn't have added a few elements and how he would like to remake it at some point and where he possibly went wrong. He then asked me what I thought of Kaal, and I could have kicked myself for not having seen it. The reason he asked me, I thought, was because he obviously felt I had understood something of his work (I have seen almost all his films) and also he asked about Kaal because Soham, who has directed the film, was once his assistant. And because the film is supposed to ba tribute to RGV's style of filmmaking by both Soham and the produer of the film, Karan Johar.
I walked out of there with a smile so broad, my dentists would have been proud.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

incidentally i liked Naach....a lot infact. reviewed it on my blog. loved it cause most of us are Abhisheks in this world, since we don't have the balls to be the Antaras.


28 May, 2005  
Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...

The path of least resistance is much easier... and strategic advisors say that conventional "success" must precede creative experiments for them to get even half a chance (and even then, they could face RESISTANCE).

In the Indian cinema market, "formula films" of the Johar-Chopra-Bhansali sort are typically tagged by the English media as conventional fare(paradoxical though this may sound), and global-appeal films, a refreshing new segment.

Yet, filmmakers who have found their way into mass-market Indian heart-space are perhaps more likely to get success with global-appeal films. But that's just a guess.

All said, Indian cinema is an institution of national and potentially even global importance now. And like any institution that has lived on a free mind as much as a pretty face for over a century, should be left to do its own thing.

28 May, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cinema is art. some get it, some do not.

talking about cinema is also an art. some get across to those who get it, and some do not.

that is what is so interesting about Bollywood, which is smart to some and silly to some

06 June, 2005  
Blogger writer-in-egg-style said...

Smile... hmmmm.

It has played creative stimulus in the past (da vinci's La G painting better known by its pop name, some pachydermous eggy-order stuff, a McCann ad for a tooth whitener, and much else), and will continue to do so.

That in itself is good news.

06 June, 2005  

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