Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Review : Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi

There is a sense of irony with Shahrukh Khan. You, as a director, can't let Shahrukh Khan be "Shahrukh Khan" if you want to extract performance from him. "Shahrukh Khan" can be all mushy. He can sulk for the whole movie if you want him to. He can flow through the role easily. and that's the Shahrukh people flood the theatres to watch, but that's the "Shahrukh" we are tired of watching, because practically there is no difference between Raj of DDLJ, Rahul of Dil to Pagal hai or Aman of Kal Ho Naa Ho. On the other hand, if you are adept at it, you can get Mohan Bhargava (Swades) or Amjad Ali Khan(Hey Ram) out of him, but with the exception of Chak De India that doesn't go to well with boxoffice. So Aditya Chopra, after 8 long years of deliberation, probably decided to have his cake and eat it too.

Surinder(Shahrukh Khan) is your typical first-bench-sitting, specs-wearing, dull topper, who is now working Punjab Power. You can't help but smirk when he picks up the phone to greet "Punjab Power. Lighting up your lives" where as a matter of fact, he himself could do with some light up himself or how suitable the headline of the newspaper "Living in the fear" applies to him. He knows affection for sure, but does not know what love is as he has not even talked to any "ladies" in his life. He works hard to make life easy for his reluctant wife Taani, who has been through series of accidents in no time. You feel for Surinder or Suri's sincerity and honesty, even his little gestures of affection. He is the underdog you want to win, but that's clearly not what his wife desires.

Enter Raj. He is combination of all the previous Shahrukh Khans you have seen in your life what with "Raj... naam to suna hoga" and all those hand-swooshing gestures. He is someone who is meant to sweep-the-girl-off-her-feet, but you fail to understand whether he is himself or parody of himself. As the movie unfolds, I found myself asking the same question which the little annoying girl next to me kept asking to her parents through out the movie, "kya ho gaya?" and by the end of the movie, you, as audience, have lost the sense of the purpose, you no longer know what you actually want to happen with mess that has been created or rather you no longer care. As most of the characters in the movie do, you leave rest of the things to the Rab(God) to solve.

You fail to go along with the character of Shahrukh Khan. He begins with good intension of just making her happy, but it's incomprehensible as to how he expects Taani to love her husband when in fact Raj is doing all the work. Also the ease with which Suri fits into the character of Raj leaves you wondering what would be the befitting word? Schizophrenic or alter-ego or masochistic? Parodying themselves seems to be the flavour of the season for YRF and SRK. First Om Shanti Om, then Dostana, now this. Sure it's funny when Raj hums the tune of Dhoom or Taani does a John Abraham, but they are on the verge of overdoing it. Although to the credit of Aditya Chopra no hariyale khet, sarson da saag, makke di roti for this one. Thanks for that!!

Shahrukh Khan proves he is, for good or for bad, as the cliche goes, "director's actor". Otherwise how do you explain a perfectly restrained and lovable portrayal of Surinder and at the same time straight-from-previous-movies, annoying, repetitive portrayal of Raj in the same movie? Anushka Sharma almost fits the mould of a YRF heroine. Vinay Pathak as Bobby Khosla is decent as over-the-top-fashion sidekick of Suri.

If this is what Aditya Chopra came out of exile for after eight years, he better go back to it again.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Guess who needs life?

Slashdot, recently published, a story based on a survey titled Unhappy People Watch More TV . The story says, quote:

A new study by sociologists at the University of Maryland concludes that unhappy people watch more TV, while people who describe themselves as 'very happy' spend more time reading and socializing.

Cause-Effect notwithstanding, it got me thinking. I tried to come up with the tv series, sitcoms, I watched in 2008. The results were astonishing. I surprised myself. Before I say anything else, here are the results:'*' indicates currently running series.
[1] Heroes is the only series I have decided to stop in between.

You do the math. Ok, I'll do it for you. That totals to 604 616 episodes. And I am not even counting almost daily dose of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and Friends revisit once in a while. That averages to almost 2 episodes PER DAY. Funnily enough, this story was published on my birthday. Guess, who needs life?