Sunday, November 25, 2012
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Ok, first things first. I was kinda sure that Student Of The Year would be a massive flop. Debut movie of two star kids (kids of David Dhawan and Mahesh Bhatt no less). The ingredients seemed perfect for a superdupermega flop. Think Saawariya. Think Sadiyaan. So when I found out that the movie was a big hit, I was curious. I also wanted to see what Karan Johar was upto, and whether his filmmaking style had changed at all. In all honesty, I had absolutely loved Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, and mostly liked Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (in spite of a very irritating Kajol) and Kal Ho Na Ho. It was only Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna which had shaken me to the core. How could KJ direct SUCH a terrible movie? I mean, when you go to watch a movie, you have to care for at least one of the characters, right? In KANK, I couldn't be bothered with any of the whiny lot (and I was shocked that SRK played such a whiny guy!), and I was kinda hoping everyone in the movie would die quickly so I could go home. My Name Is Khan didn't do much for me either. I felt sad.
The main reason why I had liked KKHH was that it had made me laugh and it had made me cry. I cried when little Anjali got the word 'ma' in her extempore competition and SRK saved the day and said, "Lekin hamaare paas Papa hain, aur woh bhi kaafi acchhe hain." I cried when a heartbroken Anjali sang "Tujhe yaad na meri aayi" in the rain. I cried at the last scene, when SRK mimed 'I love you' to Kajol in her bridal dress. Ok, I may have also also cried a little bit at how insanely handsome Salman Khan looked in the song 'Saajanji ghar aaye'. Anyway, my point is -- it is not easy to make the audience cry. Crying for/with a fictional character had made me feel human, feel real. If I could cry for a fictional character, I was not dead on the inside. Phew. And at times, when I feel myself getting too cynical, I crave to experience that feeling. But somehow watching KKHH on DVD is not the same as when I had watched it in the theatre. Maybe it's just a certain age and stage in your life that such movies move you the most.
It had been a while since my Bollywood buddy Starbreez and I had watched a movie together. So I took the holy name of KJ and convinced her to go with me. What about Xena, you ask? Viv and I have a new arrangement. He watches English movies, while I watch Xena, and I watch Hindi movies when he watches her. It works great, because if we really like something, we recommend it to each other and then find other friends to watch it with. I think it will be a while before he and I can watch a movie together.
Okay, first things first. The story. It was definitely weaker than KJ's usual stuff, and at one point just seemed like a day-to-day account of college. Even the competition, which is the central theme of the movie, kinda seemed silly with a kiddish treasure hunt, and boys and girls in the same swimming competition. Just when I tried to justify it as Bollywood fluff, it was addressed towards the end of the movie. That took me by surprise.
The actors. Okay, I SO did not see that coming. These kids can act. Well, they're not great actors, but I expected them to be really really bad. I was glad to be proven wrong, for all three have made confident debuts. Kudos to KJ for moving away from his bag of established stars and putting his faith in total newcomers (star kids of all actors!) for his directorial comeback.
I started off with a softer spot for Varun Dhawan over Sidharth Malhotra. Because you know, Varun is better looking. But as the movie progressed, Sid also grew on me, and by the end of the movie, I actually liked both of them equally. But I will still maintain one thing. Varun is better looking. And oh, he's a great dancer. Alia Bhatt is very very cute. Flawless skin, symmetric features, nice hair, cute dimples, beautiful smile. And boy, can she pull off red lipstick. By red, I mean RED. And just when you dismiss her as just a doll, you realise she's not too bad as an actress.
In several places, the movie reminded me of Dil Chahta Hai (friends falling out over girl issues, reminiscing and meeting in a hospital) and Jaane Tu (story related by a gang of friends).
The movie was light and breezy and funny in places. I remember laughing at a number of scenes in the movie, but strangely, I couldn't remember any of them by the time I came home. The only one I remembered was the next day, and it was "Bas bolna tha - Be Punjabi!"
I don't know why KJ likes to rope in Kajol for guest appearances in his movies. There she was, appearing out of nowhere in the Disco Deewane song. Frankly speaking, she looked fat, awkward and out of place. Kajol fans are now going to throw their hands up and close the browser. I'm sorry. I used to like her at one point. I really did.
I loved the songs a lot more after watching the movie. But, I still can't get over the idiotic lyrics in Ishq wala love. Oh, did anyone else mishear 'Waise wala love' as 'Paise wala love?' I really really wish it had nice dreamy lyrics that justified the Kashmir backdrop. Who takes the cast and crew to snowy mountains to shoot something called 'Ishq wala love'???
Bollywood has progressed so much, but one thing will never change. Songs shot in the snow will ALWAYS have the hero nicely bundled up in layers and layers of sweaters and scarves, but the heroine will always be in a translucent chiffon sari and sleeveless blouse, or a sleeveless short dress. Sigh. If you look carefully, at one point, you will see poor Alia literally shiver as she lip syncs the song.
Rishi Kapoor got a lot of rave reviews for his portrayal as the gay dean, but I thought he was ok. I was just glad they didn't make him over-the-top gay, like they do in a lot of movies.
Ram Kapoor. Ronit Roy. Gautami. What's with all the TV stars in the movie? KJ showing loyalty to his friend Ekta Kapoor? But they were all well suited to their roles, so no complaints.
Overall, the movie was watchable. I did not enjoy it as much as the two obnoxious teenagers sitting next to me and saying the dialogues ahead of time. Of course, I found it really silly that for someone who has obviously watched the movie, they put their hands together and fervently chanted "Come on, Abhi! Come on, Abhi!" during the race. Sheesh.
The best moment in the movie for me was the scene during Rohan's brother's wedding, with just instrumental music playing in the background as the characters interacted with one another without saying a single word. Beautifully done, and reminiscent of KJ's old signature style.
PS: I just realised that if I wasn't so mad at the chap who plagiarised my emoji posts, this would be my third consecutive post on Student Of The Year!
Friday, November 09, 2012
But not when the imitator puts his frickin' watermark on your work.
We got back from our US holiday on Tuesday, and I found several emails and messages from the bar's bewdas about content from my emoji pictionary posts (particularly this one) being spread on FB pages without any credit given.
Those who have followed and played the emoji posts would know that idea of using emoji icons to play pictionary came from my friend Pizzadude and I have since posted several such posts on my blog.
The first page I was informed about was the ROFLIndia Facebook page with the following post:
As you can see, ten songs have been featured using emoji icons and the post has 1,555 likes, 1,450 comments and 3,261 shares as of now. Hell, it even has a watermark. Great.
Here are the relevant posts from our blogs where the ten songs have been taken from.
Songs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 10 are from this post on my blog.
Songs 6 and 7 are from this post on my blog.
Songs 8 and 9 are from this post on Pizzadude's blog.
Over the last few days, it has been shared again and again on different FB pages. Here are just some which were sent to me by the bar's bewdas:
https://www.facebook.com/SocialKonnekt (link to post)
https://www.facebook.com/page4bollywood?fref=ts (link to post)
https://www.facebook.com/SrikanthGopisetty (link to post)
Each of these pages have hundreds of shares, likes and comments.
UPDATE (11 Nov 2012): Kanan has sent me yet another post on the ROFLIndia FB page!
Every single song featured in this has been lifted off this post on my blog.
I wrote to ROFLIndia.com to complain (since they seem to have an actual website in addition to an FB page), and to ask them to either give us credit, or remove the plagiarised post from their Facebook page. Of course, I have not received any response.
I have checked up Facebook's copyright infringement policy on this, and I don't think they will be able to verify page by page and remove the content. Some of you suggested that I should at least write a post on it and so I did.
Many thanks to all of the bewdas who took the time to write to me about it. Not only does it show that you care, it also affirms the fact that this is truly an infringement and not just my imagination. While I am not implying that no one else could have thought of the same idea of playing pictionary with emoji icons, I am sure you would agree that the fact that each of the songs in the Facebook post and the icons used to represent them are the same as those on our blogs is indeed remarkable. And so is the fact that there is not a single song on the Facebook post that has not appeared on our blogs. That's too much of a coincidence. What, they couldn't come up with even a single one themselves?
Of course, it's not like I was going to make a book out of my posts. The posts were written in fun, and were indeed meant to be shared and enjoyed by Bollywood fans. What bugs me is the fact that it was so shamelessly copied without any credit given to us.
Even if they didn't want to bother asking us for permission, how hard is it to put a little credit line at the bottom?
I probably can't blame the subsequent 'copiers' and 'sharers' as they probably didn't know it was stolen content, but to the first person who copied it off my blog (and is probably and hopefully reading this), I send you a thousand e-curses.