Views | Ra.One: no hope, no succour, no escape

Views | Ra.One: no hope, no succour, no escape

Much of my youth was misspent, sitting in the dark in urban or mofussil cinema halls watching any and every Hindi film that held a gun to the projectionist’s head. Today, a quarter century later, I average about one Hindi film a year in a hall, and about two on DVD. But after this SRK onslaught (and if I, an accidental tourist, found him omnipresent, regular viewers must have been tsunami-ed by him), I decided to find out what the hell was going on. One must keep up with the world.

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Film Review: Ra.One | A confused game

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OK, but I don’t want to keep up with the world so closely that I want to spend hours researching Ra.One, so I limited myself to the Wikipedia entry. And I soon found my head spinning with all the numbers and deals and tie-ups and alliances and brand extensions and franchise options, that came charging at me. I had seen one of the Ra.One trailers, which seemed to be full of supermen in tights lobbing SUVs at each other and taking kilometre-long leaps, and just reading about the marketing juggernaut that the Khan has unleashed made me feel like waving a white flag: I plead unconditional surrender, now can I just go back to watching Alfred Hitchcock Presents?

Of course, they are claiming that it’s the most expensive Hindi film ever made, which is fine—an ubiquitous part of marketing Big Hindi Films nowadays is claiming, before release, that they’ve spent more gazillions of rupees on this film than anyone else ever, and then claiming, on the Monday after release, that they’ve collected more gazillions in the last three days than anyone else ever. How they manage to tabulate all the box office collections from all over India—and possibly the world (do not mention time zones)—till the last show on Sunday and make the information available for the Monday papers is of course a mystery, but what the hell, it seems to work.

So I totted up all the numbers mentioned in the wiki (which I suspect is watched and managed vigilantly by the Khan’s henchmen, may they all strut around in tights some day and chuck MUVs at columnists), and I concluded that they don’t even need to release the damn thing! They can just keep marketing it, and making money, and it doesn’t matter at all whether anyone goes and watches it. OK, that may be too extreme, let’s say that it doesn’t at all matter whether anyone likes the movie or not. The hype gets you to breakeven, and everything beyond that is, well, the personal stuff that public personalities need, need like a fix—and the scale and the hunger keeps rising.

Rajinikanth, I am informed, has done a special appearance in Ra.One. This is a man who never pretends that he is actually anything other than a dark bald guy in a veshti, but, as they say, the apple that fell on Newton was thrown by him. May Ra.One get a whiff of Newton’s apple burp.

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