Sunday, January 27, 2008

And You Said The Directors Are Not Helpful

Right now, the net is abuzz with movie critics thanking Himmesh Reshmmia for reducing their work by adding the review to the title of his latest movie, "Karzzz1" (comic fans would recognize the ubiquitous “sound” at the end). It seems he has continued the tradition he started when he added "eee" (and not "oo" as odds suggested) to his first movie title, "Aap ka Surroor - The Moviee".

But before you all The Nose fans go around saying that He Who Sings Through Raised Mike has done something new and impressive (and I am not referring to the Decapped look), think again. Why do you think so many movie critics feel so “grateful” (read "beholden") to so many directors?

Don't agree with me? Let me give you a brief glimpse of my upcoming thesis on the topic:

  • Oops! - Can you think of a better reaction you might have after watching this movie? Indeed, there's a rumour this was what the director said when he saw the final cut.

  • Home delivery – This is one movie which people would only watch if they get it delivered right at home. Preferably free on cable.

  • Men Not Allowed – The director thought that he would cash in on the rebellious nature so ingrained in all the viewers. After all, how many times do you remember doing something your parents expressly forbid you to do? The problem was, people took the title a bit too literally.

  • Darna Mana Hai2, and Darna Zaroori Hai 3 – Ram Gopal Varma also found out the tendency of people to take the title literally after his first movie of the series. After much thought (the astute director that he is), he decided to take advantage of the fact. Unfortunately, that came out as a request (or a plea) at best, and at worst, many wondered whether he had left out a question mark at the end.

  • Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna4 – Once again, a humble director requested a favour from his viewers. This time round, they listened, albeit very few were happy about it.

  • Phir Milenge 4 – This was the case when a good movie was burdened with unfortunate title. From what I have heard (I missed watching this movie), the viewers said the same to the director.

Some directors, not content with giving meaningful title (or forced to give different title than they intended), help critics by adding bylines to the actual title.

  • Daag - The Fire – Perhaps the best example of my whole point in this thesis. Although just the title”daag” would have sufficed, there's an additional layer of meaning added with “The Fire”. Now, it's a long-standing question whether that referred to the hot Mahima (as perhaps the director intended) or to the feeling viewers got after watching the movie (refer “Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag” for more discussion on this topic).

  • Meenaxi - The Tale of 3 Cities – Controversies (and maybe some acting) apart, the byline tells us how many places the movie was shown, almost to the last digit.

Now, lest you think that only bad/failed movies do this thing, here are two examples to the contrary from across the ages.

  • Chalti ka Naam Gaadi 6 – I am not sure exactly what happened when the movie was originally released, but from all accounts ye film achhi chali.

  • Dil Chahta Hai 7 – There's a rare man who came out of the hall not saying that same thing about the movie.

The complete thesis will be up shortly. Got any films which you want to add to the list?

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

Glossary (most of the meaning are literal):
1. Karz : a loan. Karzzz: a sub-prime loan?
2. Darna mana hai: "(You're) not allowed to be afraid". (darna = to be afraid, mana = not allowed)
3. Darna zaroori hai: "(You) Must get frightened". Consensus is that the title refers to the storyline(s) of the movie, and not the production values of the movie itself. (zaroori = necessary)
4. Kabhi alvida na kehna : "Don't ever say goodbye". (kabhi = ever, alvida = goodbye, na = don't, kehna = say)
5. Phir Milenge : "(we'll) meet again", used as "see you later". (phir = again, milenge = we'll meet)
6. Chalti ka naam gaadi - "that which moves is called car". (naam = name, gaadi = car, chalti = the form of verb "chalna" meaning to move/to walk. "movie chali" also means that "the movie worked at the box office")
7. Dil chahta hai = the heart wants.