Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Why is Nolan's Batman trilogy important?

I do not want to be Christopher Nolan this week. No way!!  My fragile shoulder would wilt under the impossible, insane, humongous expectations around The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR).
The yearning for the return of the caped crusader started right after the brilliant and cerebral, The Dark Knight. It has been four years (8 years in TDKR) since Batman vanished into the night.

It is probably safe to say that, TDKR, is the most anticipated Hollywood release of the year. Yes, there were The Avengers, then there was Prometheus and then came the spidey reboot. These movies only acted as appetizers to the splendid meal awaiting us.

Whether or not the movie lives up to all possible expectations, Chris Nolan and the movie shall go down in history as one of the most cerebral, celebrated, successful and influential works ever in cinematic history. The trilogy shall be remembered for the technical brilliance, the sheer musical genius of Hans Zimmer, Heath Ledger's immoratalisation (If such a word exists) of Joker the audacity of Nolan is not bowing down to studio pressures and presenting our fav superhero in 2D.

We all know about all this, and appreciate the facts and the trivia, but why I really love this man is because of the way he injected sociopolitical themes with amazing clarity into a superhero movie. While, all the other comic book  superheros dealt with their foes, their struggles were one dimensional. their struggles were limited by the strength (or the lack of it) of the foe. What Nolan bought to the table was refreshing. He did something very special. He seeped in social sentiments like crime, law, pain, fear, oppression, ideals, hope and yearning for an Utopian world into a superhero movie script.
While Batman might fight his battles in Gotham, Nolan showcased the landscape of modern America. It was, as if, he was taking potshots at people in power. He insists that this is a world we live in.It is Nolan's way of asking us to choose between the the man without a face (Bruce) or the symbol of change, Batman. He creates Batman out of anger, the fury of a world gone wrong.

What began as a stark reflection of the times we live in, got reaffirmed in The Dark Knight. Batman believes that Gotham is not the best city to stay in, not the safest place to live in, but has certainly got better. He realizes that this is not only his doing. People who have rallied behind him, against crime are also responsible for the state of the city. Hence, the importance given to Harvey Dent, the white Knight of the city, the crusader without a mask.

Nolan's Gotham is not very different than the Mumbai we live in. we too need the dark and the white knights. We too need to be taken care of. People suffer from pain, anxiety, crime and fear. Ras Al Ghul, Scarecrow, Joker and Bane (TDKR villian) embody the above mentioned plight of our city. Nolan makes us believe that a knight will come, when the night is darkest to lead us to the dawn.

With just 2 days to go for the IMAX premier in India, I can hardly wait to watch the most badass superhero take on his most intimidating enemy. Will he prevail or will he falter and pass on the baton to a younger ideal?? Questions and more questions.
Move on Avengers. Move on Spidey, The Dark Knight is here. And a new dawn for cinema is imminent.
Cannot wait to write the movie review.

Hail Batman, Hail Nolan!!!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Jaago re... against shitty cinema.

Ever heard of this guy called Gus Van Sant? Those who have seen the Matt Damon & Robin William starrer, Good Will Hunting, might have. Why did he take 11 long years after 2000, to come out of hiding and make the universally acclaimed film, Milk??
Maybe or  I'm almost sure that he was ashamed to rub shoulders with his Hollywood mates after having made the ultimate mistake of remaking Mr. Alfred Hitchcock's classic, Psycho!! Yes, people make SUCH mistakes in life.

Why am I writing about some obscure Hollywood directer?? Because, our very own Rohit Shetty has committed a similar crime by remaking Hrishida's (Hrishikesh Mukherjee) timeless classic, Golmaal. It is bad enough that he thought of Golmaal as source material, but , it is whole different game to make such a despicable movie and attach Hrishida's name to it.
No, I have not seen the movie,will not watch it, and will try and stop others from watching it. The promos are enough to repel me.
This worrying trend started with the famous Ram Gopal Verma Ki Aag and it was just the tip of the iceberg. Then came Don, then Agnipath. Now we will have remakes, reboots, rehashes, rethinks and re-inventions of Zanzeer, Abhimaan, Aaradhana, Seeta aur Geeta, Chasme badoor.

It is easy to blame a "creative Vacuum" in the Hindi movie Industry, but ultimately it is the demand that shapes the commercial realities. Directors may innovate , but producers need to feel confident that public will welcome and like the product. It is just wishful thinking on my part, because, what I have mentioned above is only about the classics being remade, but, the other worrying, and more irksome trend is remaking  southern movies to make big monies in Bollywood.
Rowdy Rathore might have earned zillions in the box office,but help me find 3 people who have liked it. I do not think many people would like to take up that challenge. 

Okay, I may think that remakes should be banned. Obviously, Mr. Shetty and gang think otherwise. What about origininality, you ask? Well, let me refresh your memory. Take out Kahani, Ek mein aur ek tu, Paan Singh Tomar, Vicky Donner, Shanghai and Gangs of Wasseypur and what do you have? You have had an  absolutely delicious list of movies this year like Ghost (remember the Shiney Ahuja film?), Ek Diwana tha (Yet another south remake), Jodi Breakers (no one saw it) , Agent Vinod (Haha, some spy movie), Housefull 2 (Shut-up), Hate Story ( oh come on), Tezz ( Shit, it gets worse).... Hold on, let me present the big three... PLAYERS ( the godawful attempt at remaking a decent remake of a classic, yess), DEPARTMENT ( Ramu's latest headache - inducing take on the Mumbai underworld) and DANGEROUS ISHQ ( shitty storytelling, 3 times over)...

What is wrong with our industry? Where are we going wrong? where is the problem? Are we, the viewers, responsible? Are we somehow propagating these rank bad movies by paying up upwards of Rs. 200 /- per ticket? As I said, demand fuels everything.... 

I'm sad , very sad, as I write this, but the year ahead does not look bright either.
Just like The Dark Knight rises to save Gotham, we collectively need to rise and stop this phenomenon of propagating mind numbing cinema. Let us boycott movies made in bad taste, movies that are made purely to zillions at the box office, let us stop "keep your brains at home" argument. 
It is your hard earned money. Stop wasting it. If you have to spend 3 hours, get yourself a hobby instead.
We, the multiplex class should bring about this revolution.

An angry guy who is disappointed most of the Fridays.