Sunday, January 08, 2006

Demanding Answers

One day, my cousin Manita pointed out to me how one of the ‘extras’ falls while she is dancing to a song of the Paresh Rawal hit ‘Hungama’. Both of us just couldn’t stop laughing at how funny it looked…of course, it went well with the mood of the film. The editors either didn’t notice that little mistake [which is quite unlikely] or were hoping the viewers wouldn’t notice it. It’s amusing to find these flaws with films…like how did the bandage shift form the left to the right hand or how did he change his jacket from this action scene to the next etc etc.

What I am about to write are not mistakes of carelessness…in fact, I am not sure I can call them mistakes at all. It is just something I found disturbing in two recent films I saw.

One is Bunty aur Babli…a load of crap I say! I didn’t like the movie at all. There is this one song that has become hugely popular called ‘Kajra re’. It’s quite a catchy number and has Big B, Baby B and the most beautiful woman in the world [Ha! Ha! What a joke!] Aishwarya Rai dancing to it. It’s a regular item number.

But, what I would like to ask the Maharashtra Government is how is it that they are allowing the song to be telecast on television screens in the state. It looks like a dance bar…I mean….there is a bar and Aishwarya is dancing in it. Now how is it that the song doesn’t prick our pure conscience? Isn’t it spoiling the youth and destroying men’s families anymore? Or is it okay to see it on a television screen but not in a bar? Or is everything forgiven because after all, it has the Big B shaking a leg and the lovely [?] Aishwarya doing her oh-so-decent dance moves? How come this doesn’t challenge Maharashtra’s culture now?

What’s the use of protesting? Even if the song is taken off air, Aishwarya is not going to lose her source of livelihood. It’s not going to affect her at all! But I wonder what will happen of those thousands of dance bar girls who probably have no means to earn now. Funny how those girls danced to the very songs performed by big names in Bollywood. Strange how item numbers became big hits but dance bars didn’t. Ironical how our conscience filters out those unknown faces and raves about film stars…even if both of them do more or less the same thing…dance for money!

Another thing I noticed some months back was in the movie Page 3. Before I go on to thrash a part of it, let me say that the movie was a good attempt at showing life as it is in the ‘real’ world. People are mean and everyone works for his/her own interests. Also, the movie has been bold enough in showing what our ‘ethical’ minds know exists but are too uncomfortable to accept it. Infidelity, homosexuality, corruption, power-wielding…you name it…it’s there! But there was one thing about the movie that just didn’t work for me…

I must first congratulate the director, Madhur Bhandarkar, for bringing to the forefront a serious issue like Child Sexual Abuse [CSA]. Unfortunately, it is rampant everywhere in the world. It is one of the most heinous crimes mankind is capable of. The movie shows Konkona Sen-Sharma revealing a huge CSA scandal involving big names in the business world. During the movie, I knew what was going on behind closed doors. The climax makes it sufficiently clear. But I was definitely not expecting to be shown how it’s done. That scene was just too shocking to digest! What I object to is not the depiction of the crime but to the fact that child actors were subjected to it. There are a few questions I would like to ask Madhur Bhandarkar…

How did he explain to those children what they were supposed to do? Even if they are young, children are aware of their private parts. I am sure they found it strange to be asked to sit in the laps of grown up men who were not dressed decently or rather sufficiently . And if I remember correctly, there was alcohol being consumed. In addition to that, the scene shows the police barging in and a social activist hurriedly escorting the children away. So how did Bhandarkar arrange the whole shoot? Were the children counselled by a psychologist to tell them that what they were doing was only make-believe, not real? I sincerely hope so as such things tend to leave an imprint on children’s minds. Adults know the difference between real and reel but I think children need to be told of that difference.

I am surprised no one questioned how the scene was shot. I did try to look on the net for some way to contact Bhandarkar and ask him how he shot it. He must have taken all precautions…but I would just be at ease if he assured me of that.

By the way, the Jackie Chan starrer, The Myth, which has our very own Mallika Sherawat [who made very famous appearances at international film festivals and film premiers as well as on the film posters], has been released with ‘U’ rating. This means even little children can go watch the movie. After seeing the way she has been posing on the posters, I wonder how the ‘U’ rating came about…


Anonymous antoinetta said...

good post. your observations in these cases, and especially your concern regarding the filming of the csne in Page 3 is particularly touching. it's so true how we never think of the awkwardness that might exist during the shooting of a film, but create havoc so that an "explicit" film cannot be shown. Of course, the definition of "explicit" is very very very flexible.
anways, enjoyed reading this post. and good photographs in the previous one!

9:40 PM  
Blogger Jemima said...

thnx antoinetta...the CSA scene has been bothering ever since I first saw the movie...I am hoping this post will help me to get Bhandarkar's number or email address so that I can ask him how he went about shooting the scene.
thnx n keep visiting...

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Ashish Thakare said...

You have made a very valid point about the song Kajra Re, and agree with you that it smacks of double standards on the part of the ruling elite.
Regarding your comment on Myth getting a U certificate, but the posters suggesting something else. I think the posters are purposely carrying the pictures of Mallika Sherawat to draw audience.
Coming to the crucial argument you make about blatant depiction of children in Page 3 in the CSA scene. I agree with you that Madhur Bhandarkar should be made answer on the techniques he used to shoot the scene.
Great post.

7:12 AM  
Blogger Sameer said...

good post..
you dont seem to think much of Aishwarya Rai :) and 'baby' B?? LOL !

1:34 AM  
Anonymous arunima said...

its always rather difficult to comment on your posts. u seem to write each of your sentences with so much sincerity and passion; so rather tough for me to dispute any point u make. but i amazed at the lucidity with which u wrote about the hypocrisy thats rampant in our society of which the administrative machinery is a part and parcel.but this very vortex called culture is full of that. wat do u say?

6:21 AM  
Anonymous SuperMario said...

I wonder how the song in question could spoil young minds (if that's what you mean), and even more how it could drive the dancers out of existence. There is nothing so politically incorrect about the song video, unless you belong to the era of Victorian prudery. Also, it doesn't take such a video to contaminate the kids - internet, porn and internet-porn does it quite effectively.

Besides, your phrasing is rather obscure throughout the post. Is it some implicit attempt at humor that I'm missing out on? There are places in the article where I don't see any point you're trying to make (if you're trying to make any).

Hoping to find Bhandarkar's contact number or email address through the internet... why not his debit/credit card number + secret code and other intimate details as well? Leaving traces of such personal details of film-makers (and most other celebrities) is not done (out of common sense) - especially on the internet. (Or, you're joking about wanting to contact him ?)

8:01 AM  
Blogger Jemima said...

Dear Supermario,
I have nothing against the song...if you read my post careflly, you will see that it's the maharashtra government and its hypocrisy that I don't like...they ban dance bars because they supposedly spoil men and their families...then why show a dance bar on television? How come that isn't against our culture?
And why should I joke about wanting to contact Bhandarkar? I am a journalist...it's my job to get in touch with people and ask them questions.
These are just 2 examples of ways to contact celebrities available on the net...surf more to find out.

2:35 AM  
Anonymous Wolfpac said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Michael Rohekar said...

I agree as well, i have just seen the movie page 3 and I found the scene absolutely shocking. I also observed that the film dealt with too many issues at the same time without properly analysing a few of them. Overall it was a film better than most of the faltu stuff thats coming out. Again I would like to stress that subtelty in getting your message across is a skill which all of our directors should learn and use to good effect.
Good blog and keep on the work coming.
Regarding wolfpac's comment they are utterly useless and not worth making any comment on.

1:17 PM  
Anonymous Michael Rohekar said...

Another thing which I forgot to post .. All media politicians etc... should be grilled in the same manner as Jeremy Paxman does in his interviews. These people earn money and are responsible for the future of the public and are totally responsible and have a moral obligation to answer any questions put to them.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Censorship said...

Comment Deleted

This post has been removed by the blog administrator.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:49 AM  
Blogger Prasad Dudhgaonkar said...

I agree with most of your points. You have spelt the issues by and large correctly. But some where I felt that I should express what I feel about your comment on Govt of Maharashtra and the item song in B&B. The ban on dance bars has many reasons. The reason : a place where many unethical and unlawful and criminal activities included. With all respect to the bar girls who see them selves as serious artistes and the spectators who see themselve as supporters of art, it must be admitted that what goes on there is more that just dance.

When it comes to the song in B&B, just by watching the song one does not get any opportunity or temptation of entering the dance bar. So govt objecting to this item number is out of question. Anyway this post is no effort to promote the song or the movie. I see this song nothing more than a good and modern presentation of folk song.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Jemima said...

hey prasad,
Thanks for ur comment.

'a place where many unethical and unlawful and criminal activities included'

it is this part of your comment that i find most problematic.
Unlawful and criminal activities...a lot of crimes, or probably even more crimes are happening outside dance bars. but the state chooses instead to snatch jobs away from thousands of women.

and 'unethical'...What are ethics, prasad? how have we defined them? and which part of the community do they comfortably suit?

10:45 PM  
Blogger Sammy(Israel) said...

I personally don't see anything wrong with the song either. Maharashtra Govt. is simply taking its time to come to terms with this revolutionary cultural change. About the Movie Page 3(yes they got it here to Israel too), why don't you accept the fact that times are changing, and we are truely into the era of Westernisation. This is definitely not the last time we'll be seeing such pictures.

11:50 AM  
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This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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