A lady in Hong Kong commented that she vastly preferred the Chinese New Year trees to the Western X'Mas trees. Do you agree???
This appeared in Bombay Times on monday......
It’s all about positioning…..
I expected ‘Patiala House’ to be another rowdy Balle Balle romp, featuring OTT NRIs breaking into a Bhangra every few minutes and doing some hard core ‘puttar’ talk between mouthfuls of rajma-chawal. Was I in for a pleasant surprise! It turned out to be a highly satisfying watch, as in – a movie that was refreshingly old-fashioned… almost like the old tv soaps (‘Buniyad’, Hum Log’), and as satisfying as comfort food – yes, the rajma chawal that Gattu ( Akshay Kumar, remarkably restrained and credible) consumes when he is feeling low and blue. Why on earth was the pre-release publicity pitched so absurdly in that case? Why were the garish posters and print ads designed to mislead audiences into thinking they’d be watching a sequel to ‘Yamla, Pagla…” or worse, ‘Singgh is Kinngg’ ? The slow start at the box office has a lot to do with the wonky way the film was positioned.Especially since, there was enough meat in it to hold audience attention, even without the mandatory item song. Of course, it isn’t ‘Lagaan’ , and doesn’t make any such claim. And it isn’t a ‘cricket film’ ( even if the timing is shrewdly calibrated to coincide with the World Cup). ‘Patiala House’ is essentially about the changing dynamics of the traditional desi extended family. It would have worked equally well had it been located in Ludhiana instead of London. The performances of the well-picked ensemble cast match those of the stars , and after a point one stops noticing the wattage of a Rishi Kapoor playing the tyrannical ‘Bauji’ or an Anoushka Sharma pulling off yet another saucy role of a spirited ‘ kuddi’ who talks too much ( a repeat of her ‘Band Baaja…’ persona). Despite the mis-match ( publicity versus content), the movie worked largely because of that potent tool – word of mouth.
Another film that is likely to fall victim to false claims is ‘Saat Khoon Maaf’. For some odd reason ( shoot the publicist!), it was projected as a light hearted comedy, which was meant to show case Priyanka Chopra’s impressive repertoire as a gifted actress capable of getting under the skin of her complex character(s). Nobody was pre-warned that the movie was dark, depressing and macabre. Besides being monotonous and dull ,after one has gotten over the novelty of a Black Widow, meticulously planning to bump off one spouse after another. The lighting is particularly harsh, unflattering, even cruel. Poor Priyanka, I’m sure she is thanking her stars for cutting short her promotional trip to Berlin, where, one hears, the film has run into serious hoots of derision from a discerning audience. Et tu, Bharadwaj? Khair, both films were like canapés before the banquet. The banquet being the World Cup, of course. It takes guts to launch movies when the nation is hooked, cooked and booked. So, hats off to Tanu and Manu for venturing into theatres at such an inopportune time… and good luck to the newly weds.
I have been feeling really, really sorry for all the fashionistas on Page 3 – from sexy starlets to swish socialites. Going by the barbs of reporters on the fashion beat, the worst crime any celeb can commit these days is to repeat a handbag, climb into the same pair of shoes ( or, more aptly, Choos), and horror of horrors, wear the same outfit twice! Since I am far too lazy to switch bags, and I tend to get inordinately attached to the same pair of comfortable sling backs… worse, I am also perfectly happy to keep wearing old favourites from my wardrobe, I worry about those ladies who agonise over their appearance each time they step out ( hell hath no fury like the fashion police ) . I asked a prominent socialite who’d recently posed for a glossy,inside her walk- in closet ( the size of an airport), what she did with her once-worn designer gear. Without batting an eyelid, she said, “ I give my clothes to poor people.” So, the next time you see a flower- seller at a traffic signal clad in a discarded Versace, you’ll know where that hot number come from! God bless the socialite’s kind heart…