Super filmi week: Mera Wala Shah Rukh

From ‘Mera Wala Shah Rukh‘ to Salman’s Being Hygienic ways, my super filmi week has a lot on its mind.

Monday

Shah Rukh Khan in Yes Boss
Shah Rukh Khan in Yes Boss
My day begins on a bittersweet note.

One of the worst feelings followed by one of the greatest reliefs is to wake up from a harrowing nightmare and discover none of it actually happened.

Various films have interpreted this situation, but a tender vignette from Yes Boss has stayed with me the longest.

In Aziz Mirza’s perky rom-com, a resourceful assistant (Shah Rukh Khan) covers up his shady employer’s (Aditya Pancholi) tracks by posing as the husband of the woman he’s trifling with (Juhi Chawla) so that the woman he’s married to (Kashmira Shah) doesn’t find out.

What worries SRK most is some day his frail mother (Reema Lagoo) will discover his lie and react badly. This niggling fear manifests itself into a bad, unwieldy dream wherein Pancholi tells on SRK for getting extra pally with his girlfriend while traumatized mommy nearly collapses before showing Juhi the door.

Understandably, SRK wakes up with a start only to catch a glimpse of his two favourite women warmly bonding over midnight conversations in the living room.

Free of dialogues or eye contact, I love the tenderness of this moment and the actor’s ‘it’s all good’ expression as he finds solace in the imagery playing out in front of him. The dream he saw with his eyes shut may not be real, but the one he’s looking at with his eyes wide open could be.

Few can bring such energy or aspiration on screen as, or what I like to call, ‘Mera Wala Shah Rukh,’ in roles that make his nightmares as identifiable as his dreams.

Tuesday

A scene from Film, Film, Film
A scene from Film, Film, Film
Apart from Disney and Studio Ghibli, I am a huge fan of the Russian animation studio, Soyuzmultfilm.

Before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Soyuzmultfilm produced some of its most definitive work under artists driven by vision, not profit.

Unfortunately, their extensive database is neither easily accessible nor properly translated, leaving the finer nuances or subtext for the viewer to figure.

Watching Film, Film, Film — a brilliant 1968 short on the frustrating process of filmmaking by the revered animator Fyodor Khitruk — I find little to complain since there are barely any lines.

There are lots of fine movies on making movies, but in less than 20 minutes Khitruk conveys the long and short of it with more quirk, ingenuity and depth than a feature length.

Struggle of locking the perfect script? Check. Approval of hard-to-please studio sharks? Check. Filming through various delays caused by climate, actors and props? Check. Ballooned budgets? Check. Reshooting the depressing climax into a happy (read commercially viable) one? Check. Spruce, snip, sparkle — the magic of post-production? Check. Waiting for audience reaction with bated breath? Check.

Applause?

Well, I certainly am after watching Khitruk’s terrific on point gem chronicling the crazy scramble of a screenwriter, director, cinematographer, production designer, composer, etc, behind the scenes.

Wednesday

Marc Zuber and Parveen Babi in Yeh Nazdeekiyan
Marc Zuber and Parveen Babi in Yeh Nazdeekiyan
Vinod Pande’s tale of adultery, Yeh Nazdeekiyan features a lot of bold scenes. But the one to catch my eye is a shot of Marc Zuber smoking next to co-passenger Parveen Babi inside an aircraft.

This was long before the government wasn’t squeamish about such things and gruesome anti-tobacco warnings made their way into a movie screening.

Mostly because up until 1982 when Yeh Nazdeekiyan released, till a few years afterwards, inflight smoking was permitted.

How’s that for Wednesday wisdom?

Thursday

Salman Khan in Andaz Apna Apna
Salman Khan in Andaz Apna Apna
Bring out ’em Being Hygienic t-shirts, Salman Khan appointed face of anti-open defecating campaign by BMC (Brihanmumbai Muncipal Corporation).

But, of course, the first image to pop in my head is from Andaz Apna Apna.

Friday

A still from Moana
A still from Moana
At the first day, first show of Disney’s gorgeous new offering Moana, I am gladdened by my mother’s reaction to this vibrant 3D animation, akin to the unbridled glee of a child.

I feel quite the same. Moana is a treat for the whole family bursting in colour and song, hope and humour.

At a time when the general mood all around is demoralising and anxious, Moana is just the trip for you. Like I wrote in my review, “It doesn’t take you to places you don’t know, but ones you actually like.”

Saturday

A still from Last Tango in Paris
A still from Last Tango in Paris
What a sicko!

Reading about filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci’s admission concerning the ‘not consensual’ rape scene between Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider in Last Tango in Paris and I am nauseous with hate.

Schneider wasn’t informed about the disturbing details because Bertolucci wanted the reaction to come from a ‘girl’ and ‘not an actress.’

Brando ‘the great’ complied.

This reminds me of an episode of exploitation closer home. In the film Anjana Safar, Biswajeet, apparently prompted by director Raja Nawathe, kissed newcomer Rekha against her wishes. Said scene was so ‘significant’ to the film it never got past the censors.

It cannot be art if it encourages such vile methods and disregards common decency in the name of authenticity or perfectionism.

Sunday


‘You’re a failure and baboon.’ Pretty harsh, huh?

But Parineeti Chopra enjoys ‘I can playfully insult Aditya Roy Kapoor on Koffee With Karan camaraderie with her Dawaat-E-Ishq co-star.

Despite the liberties she’s allowed, the episode is a bit of a snooze. As hard as Karan Johar tries, he cannot get anything exciting out of Roy Kapoor’s laidback energy, PC Jr’s schoolgirl enthusiasm or whatever that ‘Dear Buddy’ equation is.

The only curious bit is when they gossip about Katrina Kaif’s schoolmarm aura and health Nazi ways.

Hopefully, K Jo will quiz the Dhoom 3 star about this when she and Anushka Sharma make an appearance later this season.

This column was first published on rediff.com.

Previously:
Ranbir-Ranveer, sigh sigh!
When Tabu struggled with a 500 rupee note
Of post-festival blues and toilet titles!
Finding links of life in Dhoni’s Ranchi and Madhuri’s Mujrim!
Inside Dharmendra-Hema’s intensely private world
Power of Pink
The irrepressible cuteness of Pooja Bhatt
Indradhanush was our Stranger Things
When Saif Ali Khan wore Rishi Kapoor’s sweater
Getting nostalgic about the 1980s, Winona Ryder & Kishore Kumar
Rediscovering Gulzar’s Ghalib & finding Free Love
Applauding NTR’s Superman on screen!
Tripping on A R Rahman
A millipede and Kimi Katkar’s monsoon romance
Udta Punjab, worst casting decisions, and naheeee…!
Of warring Khan bhakts and meeting Mogambo!
Ranbir’s forgotten romance in Bachna Ae Haseeno
Funnier than Aishwarya’s lips
Clashing superheroes and crying Khans
OCDing on Neetu Singh’s LPs!
Garam Dharam, Mantrik Origins, Rockstar Cruise

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