I saw Three Idiots and laughed my guts out. I loved the movie. A super entertainer.
But if I have to vote for the fifty good movies I’ve ever seen, will I vote for it?
The answer is NO. As for that matter, I wouldn’t vote for Lagaan, or Tere Zameen Par. The latter would perhaps just about make it into the 100 best movies. But I’m not sure.
Why is it so, I asked myself. I never go by the critics review. For me a good movie is what I enjoy and what keeps coming back to my mind long after I have seen it – you know like the taste of a dish you have eaten, or is a regular part of your eating habit which you want to think of with longing?
Yes. Now I realize that’s what’s wrong with the Amir Khan movies I have mentioned. They are all forgettable movies. They have no lasting impact on me. Good while they last – and then - - well that’s it.
So I decided to look into my response to these films and find out why I feel this way, why I cannot wax eloquent about them. And these are my conclusions:
· These movies have greater commitment to the box office than to the art form. In the bargain, art suffers. Clichés, stereotypes, slapstick formulae, the usual formulaic fare that cater to the perceived demands of the audience (I always feels the directors underestimate the audience) take away from the internal consistency and the cogency of the theme of the movie which becomes heavily diluted, and sometimes run haywire. This also compels the director to resort to simplistic, shallow execution of the project, totally sidestepping the nuances and subtleties that cause a film experience to rankle in the brain. All the three movies in question here have great themes which could have been explored in an infinitely more sophisticated manner. But the makers decided to keep them basic, naïve and one dimensional. Of course, one cannot blame the film makers for focusing on the box office considering the mammoth investment. But that is no excuse to compromise the internal demands of an artistic piece.
· The second reason that I find these movies not up to my expectations is the obsession with Amir Khan. Again this supports the earlier point that I made. His market value has to be exploited – even at the cost of compromising a potential classic which explores the gray areas of an issue and gets closer to human reality. The movies revolve round the superhero Amir khan, and not the character he represents. The plots, episodes, the script and all – all made only for Amir Khan, the actor who can garner crores on account of his superstardom. Art is compromised to narcissism. Amir Khan is going the Dev Anand way. The latter became a very irritating actor- director ‘cos of his self love which made him impose himself on the audience irrespective of whether the role and the film demanded it.
How else would I have it? I told you these movies hardly impacted me, and so I cannot really recall details. No frame is etched permanently in my mind. Yet I remember thinking that in Lagaan, the strategies used to carve BHuvan into heroic proportions were silly. The final winning shot in the cricket match was most laughable. Perhaps if someone else had done it, it’s have been less comical and I’d have been more willing to accept it. The dyslexic background of Amir Khan (TZP)violently yanked into the film towards the end is most irritating. This probably was done to prevent the little boy from stealing the show - which he still did despite the production efforts. The attempt to blow up Amir Khan into superhuman proportion is so blatant, naive and inartistic. In Three idiots, all loose ends are neatly tied up. But the purpose is not to enhance the theme of a faulty educational system but to enlarge the Amir Khan cutout. The end result was that the blow up was so disproportionate that it spilt outside the screen space.
Amir Khan should show a greater willingness to share the screen space with the other actors, if the story demands it. To manipulate the script to revolve round only himself will bring huge profits to the investors, but will cause the movie to be reduced to just another bollywood bash. Classics are made of different material.
You might argue Ami Khan movies are terrific hits, and that’s what movies are all about – acceptance by the audience, entertainment for the audience. I suppose there is a lot of truth in this argument. But I am one of those who want the film to remain with me subliminally long after the laughter or tears subside at the end of the show. Flat characters, formulaic plots, total reluctance to plumb the depths of human experience – all these make Amir Khan movies a very forgettable experience for me. Fills me with a sense of terrific loss, of what might have been if if if - -