I don’t know about you but I don’t think I can take too much more of this multiplex vs film producers mahayudh (war). It’s been almost eight weeks since they forced us movie worshippers out from our dark temples dedicated to the God of First Day, First Shows into the blistering, blinding summer heat.
Terminator 4: We need some Christian Bale-style salvation.
Do theatre owners really believe we will now participate in their blatant desecration of our already battered temples? As movie worshippers in a country whose film industry believes in quantity over quality, we are used to putting up with more than our share of substandard releases—but heck, even we can’t survive on the dregs of alternate and mainstream Hindi cinema week after parched week.
Do they really expect us to waste our precious weekends watching duds such as Sanam Teri Kasam, a movie that takes us on a hair-raising journey back in time to an era when Kareena Kapoor would never have dreamt of dating Saif Ali Khan (was she even dating in the days when this movie was made?).
For the first time in my life, I feel sorry for film reviewers who must drag themselves to weekly previews to assign yet another one-star rating to B-movies starring Arshad Warsi or Hindi films whose English titles—Coffee House, School Days—give adequate warning of what lies ahead.
As I write this, there are signs that the strike might end. Even if it does, it’s time we like-minded folks joined forces to ensure a situation like this doesn’t repeat itself, say, on the eve of Vishal Bhardwaj’s new film Kaminey.
It’s reached a stage where I’m actually thinking that Race and Kidnap weren’t such awful movies after all—at least we got to gaze at Imran Khan in a ganji (vest) in the latter. These days I can’t stop thinking of that Diwali weekend in 2004 when I saw all four new releases—Naach, Veer Zaara, Mughal-e-Azam (in colour) and Aitraaz—back to back.
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And the less said about the Hollywood releases the better. I’ve sworn not to watch another film with the words Girlfriend or Boyfriend or My Friend in the title.
Television, that vast kingdom of predictable reruns, has hardly held our hands through this national crisis. Okay, so I’m better prepared to see Terminator Salvation now that I’ve seen Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines again (and again) over the past month—but that makes me even more desperate for a peek into life after Judgement Day.
And why in summer? How are people with children coping? As for the rest of us, the heat ensures that we can’t even spend the weekends playing a leisurely game of golf or think gloomy thoughts over the warm fire of an outdoor barbecue.
And oh, the pain of all that news from Cannes, where it was the year of the big director (even video piracy can’t keep pace with this slew of releases)—Quentin Tarantino, Lars von Trier, Francis Ford Coppola, Ken Loach, Pedro Almodóvar, Alain Resnais and, of course, Michael Haneke, winner of the Palme d’Or—that dratted award is the most recurring object in my dreams and nightmares these days.
Producers and multiplex owners be warned; it’s time to kiss and make up before we convince ourselves there’s more to life than going to the movies.
PS: Mint launched in Kolkata on Monday, and this is the city’s first look at Lounge. We hope you enjoy it!
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