Dumbing Down a Nation


10/09/2014 by Siddiqui Fayesal

A couple of days back I was having a conversation with a friend about how certain movie directors, actors, writers and lyricists in the Indian movie industry have taken upon themselves to ruin our great diverse nation.

While there are very few directors and creative geniuses who have the brilliance to be the real pioneers in the industry by making movies that one can watch without cringing, write songs that make you weep and see actors emulate characters with ease there are those who choose to go the other way and put up a fight against quality with mind numbing BS. While we have an Aamir Khan who (he’s going a little soft recently, I think) has awed the country with his ‘Taare Zameen Par’ and ‘Satyamev Jayate’ there are some, can’t call then actors for god’s sake, who make re-makes to just cash in.

Actually, re-making movies is all right. There are some real good movies in the South Indian industry that needs to be told to the Hindi speaking audience but the movies chosen usually are only for shock value or crass entertainment with cheesy lines and item numbers.

Item numbers!

They are the bane of our industry. Even well known directors whose opinion mattered have bit the dust now. For, I ask you, what is a movie without a semi naked woman gyrating to cheap lyrics? Is it worth the trouble to make a movie without having an impromptu ‘item number’ shoved in to ‘appeal’ the masses who, obviously, only watch a movie two look at deep cleavages, husky dialogues, long legs in short skirts (sometimes nonexistent skirts) and cheap lyrics?

It doesn’t take rocket science to know when the director is selling his movie and when he’s making a movie. I agree that everyone has to earn the big bucks. And sleaze sells better than a great story, solid performance and an impeccable execution. So what these guys do, and I don’t really blame them for this, they incorporate a cheap dance with cheaper lyrics inside an otherwise great movie.

I love the concept! I get a great movie and the idiots, who don’t care for the movie, get a cheap shot at whistling in the theatre.

But the problem is that when directors make a 3 hour long epic with nothing but crassy dialogues, cheap lyrics, lame jokes, dirty dances, hackneyed concepts, trite performance and over the top actors. The sad part is that such movies also make a lot of money.

They make a lot of money far more easily than a good movie. They break ‘records’ and the Box Office collections are always hitting the roof. The good movies are ignored and thrown out of the theatres to make way for these money spinners.

And at the end of the day, the guys who played insipidly created characters get away by calling themselves actors and creative artists.

I balk every time Salman Khan is called an actor. I stifle a rude laughter every time Tushar Kapoor comes on screen. Frankly, I feel sorry for Fardeen Khan and Aftab Shivdasani, but I still don’t want them on my screen. The bad actresses can always rake in the cash by donning a bikini and pouting sexual songs. At least it’s an option that has been exploited far too many times. What about the poor guys! I doubt it works if the men wear a spandex suit and emerge form a swimming pool.

I’m glad the female fans are not as stupid as their male counterparts.

Jokes apart. I sincerely feel that good times are coming. There are many good actors who are being given their due. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is one such name. From doing roles without dialogues to roles that ran a total span of a few minutes he has conquered the industry finally. I will allow him to do crappy movies to earn money, because frankly, the good ones don’t make a lot of it.

Anyway, the conversation I was having (see the first line for reference) centered on this guy who made the Golmaal series. I did laugh at it too. It was slapstick and it was fun in a weird way. But after seeing it, it made me sad when I thought about the level to which comedy had fallen. Rohit Shetty, please don’t wage war on quality and decency. Please don’t ruin the capacity of the millions in India by making such crap and calling it ‘comedy’. There’s a very interesting theory about lowering the level of intelligence and feeding them shit. I’ll have to write another post for that later.

I want to make a special mention of a few names who I respect. I don’t watch a lot of Hindi movies. But, if I am aware of a few names, it means that they’re really good.

There’s A.R Rehman who is one of the most accomplished music director in our country. He doesn’t sing a lot but when he does it gives you the feeling of a balmy day, with clouded skies and light rainfall.

There’s Anurag Kashyap; a director with true vision and an impeccable execution of it. He makes movies that weigh a ton and will make you return to it.

Imtiyaz Ali. Another director par excellence. He made me actually like Kareena Kapoor in Jab We Met.

Ranbir Kapoor. An actor so profound that he’s like a fresh breath in the family known for being dramatic. But, I’ve got to say this aloud; he’s ruining himself by being a more of a star rather than an actor. Well…

Aamir Khan. Enough said.

Vidya Balan. Never before an actress has charmed me like this one. A perfect 5 to her.

Prasoon Joshi. I’m hoping I can meet him one day after I am a published writer and ask him the ingredients that go into writing a good rhyme.

Amitabh Bhattacharya. Perhaps I’ll meet him too.

This is all that I can think of right now. I’m sure there are many whom I have missed out an haven’t mentioned. I can never actually make an exhaustive list to be honest. There are far too many good singers and good lyricists who haven’t been given their chance. In a country as populated as India it is more of a question of technicalities than abilities; more of a marketing fact rather than the art form. It is sad. Very sad indeed.

Anyway, I don’t want to sound mean and all but I hope Saif, Fardeen, Salman, Aftab, Tushar and the likes find another way to earn their bread and butter.

PS: I’m not here to hurt sentiments. I’m here to tell you I hate substandard movies and moronic actors. Nothing personal, just business.

Siddiqui F.

4 thoughts on “Dumbing Down a Nation

  1. Tejas Harad says:

    Go to any Litfest in Mumbai and you have 100% chance of meeting Prasoon Joshi. 😛

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