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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Grand Masti - Where Will It Stand?

Film: Grand Masti
Critics' verdict: Grand Masti is most offensive and a must be avoided movie.
Viewers' verdict: Grand Masti a grand success, grosses rupees 50 crores in four days.

Though a big fan of Hindi films, I have not seen Grand Masti, this week's biggest blockbuster. And saved myself from a free fall – from Satyagraha to Grand Masti – as it seems from the near unanimous opinion of film critics. Otherwise too, I have long passed the time when I used to watch almost every important release of the week and never regretted watching it. I recollect the golden era of great movies when Dilip Kumar would be seen playing an antique piano while wooing his ladylove with lines, somewhat like, "Tu kahe agar to jivan bhar mein geet sunata jaoon". In movies then the proverbial tree proved safe bet in courting scenes to keep the lovers at decent distance from each other. Still safer, lovers in some movies remained separated in much of the footage of the film, content to call from long distance, "Awaz de kahan hei, dunia meri jawan hei". And yet the movies celebrated silver and golden jubilees. Then came along Raj Kapoor's 'Bobby', along with it the new trend of youthful romance, with plenty of hugs between the lead pairs. From then on there was no stopping, especially after the liberalization in the Censor Board policy, and singing and dancing "Choli ke piche kya hei" and the sexier numbers that followed, the films have reached a stage where lead actors compete in the smooch game on the silver screen. Why not, the youth today is far more liberal and fun loving than in the bygone era to which my youth belongs and looks for a free life style of unrestricted entertainment in films. Taking no risks or rather playing to popular demand, producers fill their films with bold scenes and daring songs and dance sequences.

As time passes on, it is for sure that Grand Masti will be included amongst the biggest runaway blockbusters of Hindi cinema. The term 'runaway hit' was initially used in music world to describe a 'single' which was not formally released but became a hit on its own. The cine-world adopted the term for films which hit bull's eye at the box office although they remain unrecognized by the industry while in the making. By and large, these are low-budget movies made by new comers or comparatively lesser known filmmakers, who are catapulted to the league of the highest ranking on release of the film. The runaway hit is the 'dark horse' amongst the movies that race to win at the box-office. But compared to the most avoidable Grand Masti, my memory of runaway hits is of a different class of films, which were lapped up and loved by family audiences – Lal Haveli (K.B.Lal – 1944), Ek Thi Ladki (Roop K. Shorey – 1949), Albela (Bhagwan – 1951), Nagin (Nandlal Jaswantlal – 1954), Dil Deke Dekho (Nasir Hussain – 1959), Love in Simla (R. K. Nayyar – 1960), Victoria No. 203 (Brij – 1972), Jai Santoshi Maa (Vijay Sharma – 1975), Love Story (Rajendra Kumar – 1981) and Maine Pyar Kiya (Sooraj R. Barjatiya – 1989) – to name top ten such movies of earlier times.

Some historians of Hindi Cinema may be inclined to include Grand Masti amongst biggest Bollywood comedies. Cinematic comedy can be considered the oldest film genre and one of the most prolific and popular. Comedy films are designed to elicit laughter from the audience. These are light-hearted screenplays crafted to amuse, entertain and provide enjoyment. Comedies observe the deficiencies, foibles and frustrations of life, providing merriment and a momentary escape from day-to-day drudgery of life. Here too, my conscience would outright reject Grand Masti, which can only boast of being called a big comedy because of its double meaning bold and obscene dialogues and gestures, and allow it pollute my memory of the most enjoyable, yet innocent comedies stored there in – to name top the top ten: Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (Satyen Bose – 1958), Johar Mehmood in Goa (I. S. Johar – 1965), Pyar Kiye Ja (C. V. Sridhar – 1966), Padosan (Jyoti Swaroop – 1968), Aaj Ki Taza Khabar (Rajendra Bhatia – 1973), Chupke Chupke (Hrishikesh Mukherjee – 1975), Golmal (Hrishikesh Mukherjee – 1979), Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro – 1983), Hera Pheri (Priya Darshan – 2000) and Munna Bhai M.B.B.S. (Raajkumar Hirani – 2003).

There is absolutely no doubt that the unexpected and unprecedented success of Grand Masti will give rise to the trend of making movies such as this or even with dirtier dialogues. Hopefully, this trend of sex overtones in screenplay, songs and dialogues in films will be only a passing phase, which will end when the audience gets fed up with too much sex in films. And it won't be too long a wait, as the super success of films like "Black" and “Satyagraha” shows.


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