Saturday, December 15, 2007
Madhuri's Day out
I haven't still given up on Bollywood movies. I still go out to see the odd Dhooms and Swadeses. Although i see Bollywood movies few and far (in the theater i mean), last weekend was special. Both me and my wife are Madhuri Dixit fans. We belong to a generation that has seen Madam Dixit in her prime; when she had a spell over the masses and to some extent the classes. (Although the snooty classes won't agree to liking the Ghati, Dadar babe)
Point is she was the reigning queen of bollywood who royally displaced Sridevi from the pedestal and held her own against so called competition for quite a while. This was long before Manish-Malhotra-Ritu-Beri tailor-made cosmetic and plastic model-actresses, became a bollywood norm. Madhuri ruled Bollywood when Bollywood was still an un-professional messy self (Some will argue it still is).
It is ironical that even though i claim to be a Madhuri fan i actually disliked two of her greatest hits - "Hum aapke..." and "Dil to pagal hai". In fact i could not sit through both these movies. "Hum aapke.." i saw only 10 years too late.
So i am not sure what Madhuri movie really struck the chord for me. I will leave it for later and not bother figuring out now. I am not a great fan of dancer-actresses either. And that Mrs Nene has dance all over her resume and yet she appeals me is strange. She was the worst dressed women in the industry during that time as far as i remember reading. And with a little ghati accent some might say she wasn't the most polished of 'em all.
So let's regroup - We are talking of the worst dressed women, non-polished,non-north indian (meaning non-Kapoor,Oberoi,Khanna etc), supposedly good dancer, whose biggest hits i considered embarrassment to my common sense? Am I for real? How could I even like her, leave aside being a fan !!!
What appealed to me probably and to most others i guess was, what i would call the "Dil Se" factor. Dixit had that. Dixit did everything "Dil Se", because of the honesty she had to her self. You can easily make out a fake from a real. And that "Dil Se" thingy i have never seen in lets say an Aishwarya Rai or a Sushmita Sen. If left to herself she could lighten the entire stadium. Her expressions came from inside. She did not hold her self back. She just "DID IT".
And that probably what appealed to most people. Her total commitment to her moment. Whatever moment she chose. Whether to make titillatingly silly expressions while dancing or just appealing to the saas bahu audience of "Hum Aap ke..." She did everything "Dil Se".
And last weekend i went to see Aaja Nachle to find if she still "had it" in her. I did not go to see and analyze if this could be her comeback. Frankly I don't believe "come back" is even a valid notion. Barring Dimple Kapadia i am not sure if we have seen come backs as such. And who is she going to compete with? Aishwarya Rai? Zinta and Ranis of this world? I thought she was one or two generations ahead.Doesn't make sense. I don't think she was even looking to do that.
Meaningful cinema was never Bollywood’s forte. One can argue that since Dixit has already achieved a lot and is way beyond competition and rat race she should have selected a role of “substance”. That's a fair comment. And it’s not that she has not done such efforts earlier. But where is the motivation to do such stuff at least in India? She (from what it seems) was going to come to India, shoot some frames and go back to her cozy life in the Americas.
Point is, she would have to wait for another decade to have that meaty role come her way. That’s how sad Bollywood’s scene is. You got to face the reality.
And “Nachle” wasn’t all that unreal, looking at the abysmal standards of “reality” set by Bollywood, it was as believable as say a Bunty-Babli.
Dixit had fun.And that’s what she came for. And that’s what came out on the screen too. Dance, sing and have fun and take a sabbatical from her homemaker routine. It almost feels like the Chopra camp and Dixit got together and came up with this fun/picnic idea. If along the way they could ask her loyal fans to join her, all the better.
Madhuri surely loves dancing and singing and going over-the-top on the stage performance. And Aditya Chopra provided her with that perfect platform in Nachle.I guess we can grant her that after all the years. She has a right to her own fun without caring for box-office outcome. I am of the view that since her aim was not to make a comeback and make a “Mother India” it’s only fair that she does the way she enjoys.
And I think we all enjoyed. All - as in all those who were sitting in that deserted theater. No one left the movie half way or even before the end. Till the last credits were shown people were still waiting. Considering the kind of movies fished out these days that was quite an achievement. For Madhuri fans that was good enough.
In the end it was Madhuri’s day out. And I’ll tell you what – at least one fan wasn’t complaining.
P.S : Another review from Outlook