I want my money back

I’d like to begin by blaming Dipta. I should have learnt long ago that no good can come of any plan that involves him, but clearly I’m a fool.  So I call up and say – “Let’s go for a movie, guys…” His voice drawls… “The only movie playing is Robot… ”  At exactly that point I should have hung up and ended the matter. But, I repeat, I am a fool.

Let the audience note that there were other films running. And there were plenty of other options like biryani at Karim’s or kebabs from Shamim. Or a walk down dusty mall road. Or simply lying on the floor and staring at the ceiling which might have been infinitely more fulfilling than what we ended up watching. His wife is a smarter woman than I because she begged off – Superstar Rajni is not her scene.

And as I’ve realised, not mine either. I quite enjoy the sunglasses flip and the finger pointing, mind it. I love the crazy stunts. But take away Rajni the hero and tell me that a robot is doing it and I really don’t care to see a man older than my father in inch thick make up, spewing silly lines like – Akal nahi, nickle hai. Rajni is meant to be Rajni. In sci-fi anything is possible so it is no great thrill if he runs alongside a speeding train and beats up 80 people with his left finger. It might as well have been Simbu, Madhavan, John Abraham or Tusshar Kapoor for all I care.

I have to admit I went there bubbling over with excitement, enthu cutlet that I am. The OA held on to my hand because I threatened to fall down the escalator in sheer eagerness. When the credits began I stood up and cheered as soon as his name rolled in. My four companions visibly blanched and tried to hunch down in their seats and disassociate themselves. When I entered I noticed that the foyer was full of people who spoke the four South Indian languages  and it seemed an evening full of promise and much celebration and noise. But sometime before Aishwarya entered and after the robot spoke, the joy decreased and the light in my eyes dimmed.  I also realised that the junta didn’t have as much enthu as they would have had in Chennai. No one screamed, no one threw money, no one launched themselves at the screen. Very disappointing. Eventually I gave up all pretense of enjoying the movie.  I’d only recommend it for the fancy sets for awe and the terrible costumes for a laugh.

A few thoughts

– Why did Ash do this movie – other than the money, that is. There can’t have been any creative satisfaction for her in the role she played. She fake smiled, fake cried and truly hammed. It was not her movie. It was not the role of a lifetime. She had to wear ridiculous costumes and dance to songs like Kilimanjaro and then go click click click, dedo bose… *shudder* How does she sleep at night and go out in public after this embarrassment? I’d be saving money for my kids’ therapy if I’d starred in the song. As for why Rajni did the film – I don’t claim to understand his choice in films, but if at 60 plus if I am still getting films designed for me (same goes for the Big B), I’d go along with any tomfoolery and not complain.

– Speaking of the songs. What was Rahman smoking? My ears have never been so assaulted. And to think I defended him even in the face of crap like Jai Ho (Yeah, I’m one of the few who doesn’t see what the deal with that song is). Will the real Rahman please stand up? The guy who did the music for Dilli 6 and Roja.  I’ve never understood why songs in translation are so stilted. Why can’t they just write new lyrics without stumbling over their tongues and killing poetry? Mohit, Mohit, Mohit.. why did you agree to sing that crappy Neutron Electron number and how did your accent change? I’m going to have to pretend this didn’t happen if we want this relationship to last. Just don’t do it again.

-In translation, the dialogues and humour suck. Wait, let me re-phrase that. I thought it sucked in general, but the Tamil gags lost all meaning to our group other than this guy and me. I am inclined to agree with Dipta. Humour is very different across the country and the audience that finds Golmaal funny will not be amused by TVs being plucked off the wall and flung to the floor. But then neither did the hajaar people sharing that hall with me.

– Again, to agree with a point Dipta made, there is some cultural baggage and perhaps my loss here is that I don’t have any association with Rajni. On the other hand I don’t have it with the Big B either. I’d really rather not watch 60% of the films he’s done in the last 10 years.

Sigh. I could go on. But I don’t believe the movie is worth my time and energy. Go read Dipta’s post instead. Let me end with a line Dipta threw at us as we walked out – After this movie, Shankar should be dismantled.

And oh, Dipta? To make up for this, you owe me dinner at Karim’s. Pay up right now.

Edited to add: Here’s another review I loved . And another related piece by Memsaab story.