Tag Archives: Salman Khan

salman-khan-sultan-820

‘Sultan’ is Shawshank Redemption for poor people

While drafting this piece, I spent considerable time working on the title. Should I use the word ‘poor’?

I’d initially gone for ‘Dumb’, but that’s a broad generalisation. Who am I to determine if those watching the film are dumb? May be they’ve grown up with sad friends, or difficult circumstances. Maybe they got dragged along grudgingly with their friends.

I am not a rich man myself. It’s not Rober Vadra, typing away on a jet while three Congress Pradesh Committee members polish my shoes. But the word ‘poor’ is more encompassing than ‘dumb’. One be financially poor, or even aesthetically.

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In Sultan, we see Bhai as the Robin Hood of cinematic aesthetics. Stealing from the riches of the West, only to distribute it to the poor here in India. For, how can a youngster in India have access to cinematic gems like Shawshank Redemption?

How does one take time out from gymming to watch sporting wonders like Raging Bull? How can one expect them to watch Rocky – 4, when life throws you Zayed Khan’s Rocky – The Rebel?

Not for sale in Netherlands cos their govt. didn't want citizens to suffer brain damage en masse.

Not for sale in Netherlands cos their govt. didn’t want citizens to suffer brain damage en masse.

How does one take time out from shopping for Being Human T-shirts, when one is merely Lucky – No Time for Love – to survive in today’s times? One needs to carry one’s Garv – Pride and Honour – where’s the time or resources to watch Shawshank Redemption? Or even read the book by Stephen King? By the time one finishes shopping for blue bracelets, one has become Baaghi – A Rebel for Love.

Bhai understands all this.

Precisely why Bhai brought all those films, thrashed them to pulp, squeezed the metal handle of the juicer with his enormous arms, and handed it to his fans.

Which is why the film shows Bhai as a 30 year-old-vagabond who decides to learn wrestling to impress a girl. In a month, he has won the District Wrestling Championship. In a few months, he has won Gold at Asian Games, followed by the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, and (please don’t hold your breath), the London 2012 Olympics. By this time, Bhai is so tired of winning Gold that he actually bites the medal and waves at his fans. I wonder how wrestlers feel about that.

As I watched the scenes and heard the hoots and applause, I felt strangely benevolent. Let them enjoy this, the poor people, I thought, feeling like a kurta-wearing History major from Jadavpur University. Let them enjoy the monsoons, I thought, for they have no access to hot showers and jacuzzis.

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Irrespective of what I think of the film, Sultan firmly establishes the fact that Salman Khan is truly the biggest superstar in Hindi cinema. When every scene, every line, every shot is created to elicit whistles and applause, it is futile to analyse the film.

We’ve seen this earlier with Rajini Kanth and Chiranjeevi films, but never in Hindi cinema. Bhai is present in each and every scene, his star-status towering over the story, script, director, and the whole point of the film. This can only mean two things.

1. The next few years will be a golden run for Bhai as the biggest superstar. His films will mock film critics to the faces, and run to packed houses irrespective of cinematic techniques.

2. Every film, however, will truly suck. There’s no other way to put it. If one looks at Rajinikanth’s films, they’re all huge hits, but when observed objectively, they’re well and truly shitty films, that do nothing but further elevate a god-man into a god.

Salman Khan is the Dharmendra of our generation. Many years down the line, our children will watch Salman Khan’s films on Zee Cinema, which I have no doubt, will continue to exist. Zee Cinema is the cockroach among Indian TV channels.

Our next generation will wait for us to leave the house, light up joints, watch Sultan win the Olympic Gold, and giggle.

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sallu bhai

Why are we pissed off with Salman Khan’s statement?

Why does Salman Khan’s statement piss us off?

More than the statement, I am surprised that people are outraging over the man. I mean, he’s uneducated, has killed people, is known to have a violent streak, and destroy people who don’t lick his ass. For decades now, the guy has been getting away with actual crimes – killing animals, threatening them, beating up people – and we are shocked that he made a stray comment about feeling like a rape victim.

What did you expect anyway? A lecture on the Palestinian crisis? A detail thesis to deal with the Venezuelan agricultural crisis? A three-part treatise on the Bhagwad Gita? He’s Salman Khan, for fuck’s sake. The guy would flunk the 7th standard exam if he sat for them!

I don’t mean to sound pompous, but I have never dated a Salman Khan fan. Of course, it’s no sign of greatness, nor am I Ali Zafar. It probably doesn’t make any difference to the eternal bachelor. A bhai who is so bhai that he can’t find a behen to get married to. I’ve always nurtured a rather terrible opinion of Salman Khan and his films. And most Salman Khan fans are like the man himself – slightly less educated, crude, morons who wouldn’t be on Twitter if there was an eligibility test.

And why should Salman give a shit? Honestly, the man has spent his entire life in an industry that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about women. Go through the history of Hindi films, and you’ll find a handful of filmmakers who actually write meaningful roles for women. So gender-skewed are our films, that actresses who have equal dialogues as the heroes in a film are labelled ‘Intelligent’/parallel/arthouse actors.

If Salman Khan’s statement shocked you, I daresay Balakrishna’s statement a few months back wouldn’t make you bat an eyelid. Balakrishna is a bull who has confused screaming and slapping his thighs as acting for more than two decades now.

balakrishna-o

 

Or the statement by Mulayalam Singh Yadav. Or by any other religious guru, be it Hindu or Muslim, when he talks about women. Asaram Bapu, the pedophile Baba wanted women to call their rapists ‘Bhaiyya’. And if it’s insensitive statements that we are worried about, we need to look no further than our Prime Minister. The shining beacon of light and hope and energy and goodness and everything soft and fluffy in the world. Not too long ago, he called out to Sunanda Pushkar, a businesswoman in her own right, as a ‘50 crore ki girlfriend’.

The fact is, we as a nation have a long history of rape culture. Look at our mythology – most of our leading women in mythological stories are either suspected of adultery, or banished, or stripped, or their noses chopped off for expressing love. Gomata has more of our trust that Sita mata ever did.

We are a nation where politicians openly condone rapes as ‘mistakes boys commit’. Every political party fields candidates who have a history of crimes against women. On Twitter, fans of our Prime Minister openly challenge women journalists to statements, followed by threats to rape them.

Those with good hearts use women as shields in an argument. ‘How would you feel if it were your mother and sister?’. That one statement knocks sense into all our heads because, let’s face it, how else can one explain an analogy without bringing in imaginary mothers and sisters? We have sexualised every single woman in mainstream consciousness.

Sportswomen, IAS Officers, police officers, politicians, just about anybody. Search Sania Mirza on the web and you’ll find a genius who records her videos, converts them into 3X slow-motion so he can see her boobs jiggle. Saina Nehwal? Her too. In fact, on the day Tendulkar retired, I remember going to a cafe nearby to rewatch his video, and the first comment that popped up was this – His daughter is hot. She was barely a teenager back then.

The fact is that we have been objectifying women for a long time in our country. And don’t forget, a few years ago, Aamir Khan, our beacon of wisdom, featured an extended balaatkaar joke. Everybody laughed, and went back home happy.

We need to stop expecting our film stars to refrain from making sensible statements. Most of them haven’t really gone to college, read books, participated in discussions. Some of them are certified criminals too.

Arnab Goswami will scream about it tonight. A few articles will feature on PoopScoop, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, we’ll be fussing over Princess Charlotte’s upskirt pictures.

Go home, folks! We live in the age of one-day outrage.

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Why Arijit Singh needs to apologise to Salman Khan

While Tanmay was becoming the Bhat of all jokes, another incident stuck its head out of the muck yesterday. Turns out Salman Khan hasn’t allowed Arijit Singh’s song in the soundtrack for Sultan.

In case you don’t follow the Times of India, or have a life in general, you should have heard of the news. Turns out Salman Khan was at an awards show three years ago, and someone said something and Bhai wasn’t pleased, so he banned the singer from singing songs for himself.

Of course it should come as no surprise, as we are used to film industries where the actor is bigger than the writer, the director, the script, the film, even the sun; if he eats a lot of biriyani on that day. It baffles me how a star can take creative decisions on a film, when he’s not involved in the production in any way.

But that’s India, and that’s how things have run for the longest time. When actors have temples built for them, a singer is but a twig. However, this isn’t the first time Bhai chose to do what he wants. There have been the minor incidents of him shooting animals because he took his role in Suryavanshi – a desi Kannan the Barbarian – too seriously. He has also driven over people on footpaths – Being Drunk.

But among the biggest victories of Bhai, is the single-handed destruction of a certain Vivek Oberoi. Sometime in the mid-2000s, Vivek Oberoi must have woken up everyday feeling like the middle of an LSD trip. A relative newcomer, he had chalked up a body of work that included Ram Gopal Verma, Vishal Bharadwaj, Mani Ratnam, and Subhash Ghai. He was also endorsing Coca-Cola, and happened to date Aishwarya Rai. Which didn’t go down too well with Bhai.

Today, Vivek Oberoi endorses Babool Toothpaste, Kayam Churan and Polio drops. His co-stars are Aftab Shivdasani, his films have the budget of Bhai’s underwears. Every time he appears in an award function, he grovels and bows down to Bhai like we are in the 1780s and Zamindari is the prevalent system. Even today, under a song from Saathiya, you’ll find a comment – ‘He was a nice guy, shouldn’t have messed with Bhai’.

vivek

Of course, Bhai does what he wants. People who are close to him, irrespective of IQ or talent will be promoted. Like one-time National Pain in the Ass Himesh Reshammiya, and Sooraj Pancholi. Bhai will do what he wants, because fuck the world!

It’s strange how someone with neither talent nor goodwill, has risen to become the biggest star in the country. The common logic provided is ‘Bhai dil ka achha hai’. Which, if you think about it, is the logic used to justify chutiyas. If someone is nice, they’re nice. Yeh dil ka achha hona kya hota hai?

 

hitler dil ka achha heartranjan

 

I am perennially baffled by the fact that he’s today’s biggest superstar. Our parents had Amitabh Bachchan as their icon. For most of the 90s, your social standing could be decided on your preference between Shah Rukh Khan and Govinda. But what sort of a coked-up nation do we have to be, that Bhai is our biggest star. At most, I’d assumed Salman Khan would be Dharmender of our generation – beefed up, refusing to act his age, and generally off-kilter in the head.

But the answer isn’t too far away. Salman Khan today is a classic case of tremendous PR work. There have been enfante-terribles in Bollywood earlier. There were also actors who went to jail and got embroiled in legal battles. And yet, the metamorphosis of Bhai has been breathtaking. A few ramp-shows, a line of unusually tight T-shirts in malls, and suddenly Bhai has transformed into a ‘Dil ka achha Bhai’.

Maine Pyar Kiya Heartranjan final

It’s no wonder that Hindi films have generally begun to suck donkey balls. Look at the biggest hits of the last few years, and you’ll find at least two films a year that make you want to slit your wrist and spray the blood over the audience’s faces. With Bhai in both of them. Today, Bhai does Dholi Taro Dhol Baaje with Prime Minster Modi and speaks to reporters about eradicating illiteracy in the nation.

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And yet, I wonder why Arijit Singh has to apologise to Salman Khan? How honest-to-its-efforts can a film be, if your actor can take calls based on grudges from years back. It’s like the teacher failing you in 10th standard because you peed in the class in 3rd Standard.

And yet, it will happen. The comments have already begun to flow in – Aye, don’t mess with Bhai. Bhai is the greatest <3 <3 <3 Love from Syria.

Arijit Singh, a singer who worked his way to the top by hard work and credible hits, has to plead with Bhai to include a song in the soundtrack. I sometimes wonder if Malayalam and Tamil directors are reading such tripe and laughing at us. Or may be they aren’t, because they have work to do, like writing scripts and dialogues.

So, of course Arijit Singh needs to apologise to Bhai! How else will he get to sing in Housefull 27, and other path-breaking cinematic ventures like Saawan – The Mating Season. 

If anything, I fail to understand why Arijit Singh needs to write a letter of apology to Salman Khan. It is futile.

Cos Bhai dil ka achha hai. But I doubt he knows how to read.

premratan6

A very late review of ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’

I often think of myself as a timid man. One without the guts to go watch some of the movies that get released in our country. I know what most people say – ‘It’s just entertainment, leave your brains/kidney/urinary tract at home and watch them’ .  But I often back out of such ventures, my pusillanimous sense of aesthetics afraid to venture further than my comfort zone.

But last night, as I was waiting for sleep to seduce me, I discovered the film on Hotstar. Perhaps some things are destined. May be I was supposed to watch the film on a Sunday night, after two good joints and a day of fulfilling work.

Here is a very late review of ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. If you have watched the film, good for you. If you haven’t, don’t fucking bother. It’s only interesting if you like Trash movies.

And Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is top quality trash. Top draw, big budget, operatic trash that you can sit back and relish after a good dinner and some sweets. If you don’t like Trash, you might feel like cutting your stomach open and eating your liver.

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When the iconic 21st Century Fox logo flashes with its iconic tune and trumpets, you realise Bhai is going to piss over all the childhood memories attached to it.

In the Opening Credits, you realise who the film is going to be about. One frame in the Credits reads: ‘Salman Khan’s Costume – XYZ, Salman Khan’s Legal Counsel – XYZ, Salman Khan’s Service Tax Counsel – XYZ’.

Within 5 minutes, our man is dancing with men dressed as women in a song called Prem Leela. I turned around on my bed to lie down on my front, and pulled up my blanket, this was going to be a Trashfest of glorious proportions!
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Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is vintage Salman Khan.

It is Salman Khan not giving a fuck about you, himself, the cosmos, and Einstein’s Gravitational Waves.

This is Salman Khan in and as Salman KhanWhether it is waltzing from bone-crunching action to a song named

‘Meena ho Rajjo ho, ya ho Sheela…

(wait for it) …Prem Leela…Prem Leela

Or dancing in the middle of a dialogue, sending you back to painful memories of Hello Brother and Yeh Hai Jalwa. Or using random English words in the middle of a sentence even though he plays a village simpleton.

And in a glorious bit of Troll-casting, Bhai is joined by none other than Sonam Kapoor. That woman with such an enigmatic voice that when she talks, you’re unsure if she’s saying something/asking you a question/suffering due to a scarcity of Hajmola.

Sonam Kapoor and Salman Khan share the same initials, and acting abilities. In this film, Sonam Kapoor runs an NGO, flies in a chopper, and does ‘nice’ stuff, like distributing clothes and food to poor children. Salman Khan wants to thank her for her good nature and begins to behave like an 8 year old on cocaine – making faces at the camera, smiling, twitching, doing Prabhudeva steps in the middle of a monologue. Uski marzi.

After a while, the entire enterprise seems like a school’s Annual Day drama, where the Principal’s son is the hero, and the rest of the school is playing along. You think you are set for a regular Salman Khan film.

BUT
(Dhan Dhan Dhan…)
There is another Salman Khan. A sophisticated prince who speaks English.

In order to pull off the highly complex task of portraying another character, the makers resort to the classic Bollywood trick – giving the ‘other guy’ a moustache. This other Salman Khan is calm and composed. For eg, after a fencing match with Neil Nitin Mukesh, he says, ‘That was close, Ajay. Good job’.

This prince uses words like ‘Ranjishein’, and visits people on a horse drawn carriage, fully aware of man’s developments in the domain of automobile cars. Because, Salman Khan.

What follows is a classic case of dual identity, with Salman Khan playing both the roles with such nuance that you can’t tell who’s who. You can’t even tell who you are, after a point. In an effortless performance, Salman Khan skilfully walks the middle line between four lines of coke and six lines of coke.

There are other actors thrown in so that Prem doesn’t feel lonely on the sets.
There is Anupam Kher playing a desi Alfred, offering sagely advice to Batman Khan. I wasn’t surprised to see Anupam Kher essay the role, because honestly, I have only seen Anupam Kher essay ridiculously asinine characters all my life.

And it is surprising that he won a Padma recently even though there are SO many actors who have achieved much more. You’d think that only Congress and Communists did stuff like this – rewarding their Yes-men with rewards. And giving Anupam Kher a Padma doesn’t stink of sycophancy at all.

But let us not besmirch a Salman Khan film by looking at it through a socio-political lens.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is more than that. Watching the film reminded me of the time I had gone to a circus for the first time. I had never been to a circus, but I had read stories, and watched Mera Naam Joker across its runtime of four centuries, so I was excited. I wasn’t a kid or anything – must’ve been around 23, and there was this girl who I thought was cute, and she for some reason wanted to go watch the circus, so I tagged along.

It was a very self-aware experience. I was amazed that they still do stuff like that – elephants balancing on cycles, and clowns whose pants slip off and dwarfs on unicycles on ropes. After a little while, I was transfixed. I had let go of my self-aware, I’mGoingToBlogAboutThis avatar, and enjoyed the entire show.

Watching Prem Ratan Dhan Payo is a bit like that.

At one level, it is a film that has Salman Khan in it. But at a deeper subliminal level, it is also Salman Khan educating the nation about the various varied effects of psychotropic substances. When he is listening to other people talk, for example, it is the perfect expression of a person who has smoked one too many of Shiva’s Regals. When he is fighting, it is a perfect demonstration of coke-rage. When he is singing songs, it is to display the wonderful effects of Ecstasy. When he is being romantic, he smiles with the glee of a sublime blot of Amsterdam acid. It’s a layered performance in the truest sense.

Bhai is showing us as a nation how to handle life’s complexities. He has chosen the largest mass-medium in the country to spread the message.

Bhai is, after all, being human.

A very high human.

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Who the fuck is Sooraj Pancholi?

The last two weeks were proof of what’s wrong with Hindi cinema.

People with too much money investing in useless star sons because of their jeans genes.

There was Imran Khan’s Katti Batti (Read review here), which made Aamir Khan shed tears again.

Picture Courtesy: Wirally.com

Picture Courtesy: Wirally.com

But perhaps more painful was the remake of Hero, starring Chhota Bhai, who was ‘introduced’ by Bhai.

Now, I think I have not been subtle about my appreciation for Jackie Shroff. Jackie Shroff is cool.

Jackie Shroff cannot watch The Big Lebowski because it reminds him of himself too much.

Shobaa De

Intellectual Jackie

Jackie Cats Meow

Honestly, you don’t expect too much acting from someone who was launched by Salman Khan, the Indian God of Not Giving a Fuck.

But this guy was just terrible. I was enraged why they couldn’t find someone better to replace Jackie Shroff. I mean, Jackie Shroff was the bomb.

He literally came off the slums.

He used to spend his days hanging out, when someone told him to get a few pictures taken. That’s how Brother got into modeling, and then he was noticed by Dev Anand who gave him a small role in Swami  Dada.

But it was when Subhash Ghai noticed him, changed his name from Jaikishan to Jackie, and directed him in Hero, things changed forever.

Jackie Shroff began to live his dream. He went on to star in over 200 films, and pick up three Filmfare awards. Somewhere down the line, dream and reality got muddled, with films like Naksha – a film that was written sometime in September, the month when you get the worst pot in the year.

Hey, it's on Wikipedia. Must be true!

Hey, it’s on Wikipedia. Must be true!

Jackie Shroff epitomized the Indian fantasy. A man from the ghetto making it into the big, bad world of success. In fact, that was what made Jackie Shroff stand out from the rest of the stars of the time. Compared to the Kumars and the Kapoors, Jackie possessed that one defining quality of the Indian middle class back then. Poverty.

Jackie Shroff was thin, scruffy, and had none of the suave politeness of other heroes.

But this Pancholi fellow looks like any other guy. Rippling muscles, tattoos with his own name, fire beer in the belly.

Sooraj Coke

But no matter how much you criticize the taste of the Indian audiences, there’s a limit to how much they are willing to take. They saw through the farce. They will go watch a fuck-all film like Ready starring Bhai. But won’t fall for the photoshopped , glitzy marketing of chhota bhai.

In a way, I am glad the film tanked. Fuck Sooraj Pancholi.

If I were a Bangladeshi, I’d have released a hate video in support of Jackie Shroff and say hateful things.

But I know Brother won’t like it, so I am letting the matter go. Brother is a non-violent sort of guy.

Life lemons maushicigand

Peace.