Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Come on... let's twist again!"

Madonna flashed her breasts - again! At least she doesn't pretend it's a wardrobe malfunction....

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This appeared in The Week....

Madonna’s W./E. - Chick Flick?

Even as I key this in, Madonna is somewhere in the region, doing what she does best – entertaining swooning fans. I know several die hard desi devotees of the Empress of Pop , who booked tickets to concerts in Abu Dhabi and Dubai as soon as they went on sale , determined to attend the Material Girl’s electrifying performances since chances of her coming to India in the near future are remote at this point . Personally,having been a Madonna worshipper for decades, it’s interesting to note how effortlessly she has won over two generations of music lovers. From senior citizens to teenagers, we all know - Madonna is the one. You can keep your Lady Gaga.

Having established my pro-Madonna position so emphatically, it won’t come as a shock if I confess I actually liked her ambitious directorial film W./.E. which didn’t impress critics(even though it did win awards for costumes and music), nor did it win her additional fans. But, what it did prove is that Madonna is no quitter. This is a passionate film about Wallis Simpson, a woman who has been consistently despised world-wide for seducing Prince Edward, the adored King of England, and compelling him to give up the Empire for her. The twice divorced Wallis Simpson has been the subject of several books , but it took a Madonna to give her a fresh spin and present this historic love story in an entirely different light. Madonna’s Wally is not just a scheming, conniving, crafty social climber. If anything, she is something of a victim, trapped in a situation from which there is really no escape. I ended up feeling sorry for poor Wally and what she gave up, rather than sympathising with that whining wimp of a king.... and what he gave up. It was only a kingdom, right?Of course, Wally is hugely ambitious. But so is Madonna! This movie is as much about Madonna as it is about the Duchess of Windsor, who describes herself in the movie as ‘the most despised woman on earth.” That sentiment is not too far from Madonna’s own controversial reputation. Perhaps it is Madonna’s close identification with Wally , that propelled her to make the film. Look at the parallels – W./E. explores the life of an American divorcee ( Wallis-Madonna) who falls in love with a posh Brit ( Prince Edward- Guy Ritchie) and tries in vain to win the hearts of class-conscious Britishers ,invoking scorn,rejection and contempt in the bargain. There is also an annoying contemporary track which I found most distracting . It’s about a woman named Wally, married to a shrink called Edward.... and... oh, never mind. It’s tedious and complicated. The fact that Madonna chose to write, direct and produce W./E. shows her tenacity and commitment. Not for nothing is she known as an extreme control freak! Several stars she approached for W./E. walked out of the project unable to deal with her demands. Despite all the odds, she went right ahead with the expensive project, using her personal standing to get jewels from Cartier’s and clothes from Dior, Chanel and other designers. She also raided her own house and used pieces of furniture, crockery and drapes to create the right ambience. But at the end of it all, there was the inescapable feeling that the Mighty Madonna was actually in search of vindication for herself. By presenting one of Britain’s most reviled women in a sympathetic light, it appeared as if Madonna was pleading her own case! This was a bit surprising – why bother? By aggressively getting into her ex-husband’s territory ( film direction), Madonna’s fiercely competitive spirit was once again on parade . By projecting the modern-day Edward as a cruel, sadistic, jealous husband, maybe Madonna wanted to demolish the myth about Guy being the good chap who was wronged by sweet ,ole her!Whatever Madonna’s motivations, it’s a film worth watching because of its perspectives. By ‘softening’Wallis and humanising her, Madonna took a huge risk of antagonising her critics – most of whom slammed her for taking liberties with historical details. But like the character of Mohammed al Fayed says in the movie, “History is all about interpretation.” This is in the context of letters he possesses, written by Wallis to and about her husband – the sulking ex-King in exile, licking his wounds in the South of France and behaving like a petulant school-boy.When he is dying, he asks Wally to dance for him, as he lies in bed, a sick and broken man. It is Wallis who emerges as the far stronger person, when she dutifully does the Twist to Chubby Checker’s classic, “Come on, let’s twist agäin...” It is the single most telling scene not just about Wallis, but about women. Countless women ,cornered and caught in tragic circumstances that are rarely discussed because women foolishly wait “for situations to work out.” Of course, they never do! But do we learn? Madonna should know!

2 comments:

Munawar Shah said...

When I read the heading I thought that you're about to talk about Madonna's latest "Boob Flash" controversy, but when I went on reading, I started knowing that the track is changing. Being a very very very big fan of M, I'm happy to read a blog by a famous Indian like you. As you said, she's an artist of three decades. Born in america but the asset of the whole world...

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Madonna always finds a way to stay in limelight. She is an icon for no reason.
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