Saturday, April 27, 2013

the utterly vanilla Bombay Talkies title song

I have been underwhelmed with everything associated with this movie except for the basic concept of the film itself, so let's discuss the similarly disappointing title song.

  • The idea of the song is great—who doesn't like a big cavalcade of stars sort of number—but overall I find this bland. Even the way each person's "themesong" was sampled in is unimaginative. But on the other hand, the whole song is very consistent. But on the other other hand, "consistency" is not what I personally look for in a Bombay talkie. Arre yaar, masala kahan hai?
  • I don't have a problem with no Big B since he's such a feature point in the film itself. 
  • Similarly, I would prefer Rani not to be in the song since she's in the main film. This kind of casting confuses things. It's like when Rajnikanth plays both himself and Chitti in Ra.One. You can't do that.
  • Dear Ranbir Kapoor: you seem to be everything I need in a hero—in an actor, even. Please, please, please be careful of your family's devastating problems with alcohol and keep yourself in acting condition for the next five decades. 
  • Hmm. Now that I think about it, could Ranbir have done this whole song on his own? I guess not, since an awards show already gobbled up his tribute to Kapoor lineage. 
  • I will say I'm intrigued they included "Jai Ho," and I'd love to know the reason: because it's Anil's most recent big hit? to nod to Slumdog as signifier of the influence of the foreign (whether as audiences or music or collaboration or filmmaking styles or whatever)? 
  • The only parent/child pairing they could come up with to honor the decades-old industry tradition of overemphasized family connections was Anil and Sonam? Oh wait, on second thought, that's perfect. Useless offspring zindabad!
  • The one feature I truly, un-snarkily love is the end. SRK is the right person to wind this down and of the people they included he's the right one to lead into the tear-jerk of the end, and he has the right popularity creds to be the finale (mega-popular, also somewhat of an elder statesman when the particular selection of stars in that song is considered). Ending with the actual audience member is the smartest thing the song does. The audience feeling a direct, personal, emotional, even unique connection to the world on screen is an essential ingredient of popular cinema (not just Hindi, not just Indian, but most, I'd argue, off the top of my head), and it is absolutely right for the song to celebrate that and splash it up on the big screen. 

(This seeds of this post were planted when Pulkit Datta posted the song on facebook and asked a few friends what we thought of it. Thanks for the prompt, Pulkit!)


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

< sarcasm > Oh bravo. < /sarcasm >

Filmfare has just tweeted the cover of their "100 Years of Cinema" issue.


There are no women depicted or named on this "collector's edition," "your ultimate guide to the 100 iconic Hindi films." And no one under 45, for that matter.

I don't know how much the cover of Filmfare really matters, but this is pathetic, especially after the films of 2012 that saw women making contributions and being depicted in some really interesting and, I think, important ways. I do know that whoever chose this is, whether willingly or not, just adding to, and reflecting, the concept that Hindi film culture is about heroes and very little else. And I do know that that makes me incredibly sad.