Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Haven't we moved yet?

Trust me when i say this. I did not know there was a movie called Baghban. No i am no ABCD like Mr Nene/Dixit who did not know (apparently) Hindi cinema exists. I am very much into Hindi movies. Yet i somehow missed this. I missed the fact - Baghban existed.


I got a glimpse of this Baghban thingy at a friend's place last weekend. It was running on his cable while i visited him. The movie was already done half way by then.I must have watched the movie for about 10 minutes or so and got the entire picture. It was about the relationship of parents with their grown up kids. This is an oft-repeated theme of Indian movies. I remember an old Rajesh Khanna / Shabana Azmi movie with same theme some years back. I think it was in mid-80s. It's almost a formula film. And in Indian context, a winning one. Because Baghban, i am told was a hit !!! (I need to pinch my self hard..wait)

So haven't we yet moved on? I thought the mushy-mushy senti stuff was a thing of past. What's with this whole, over-the-top sentimentality in Indian relations? Whether its bhayya-bahena or bhayya-bhayya-tyaag or even dost-dost thing. We just have to bring out the ham in us. The we-will-do-anything-for-each-other stuff. We Indians just take it a bit too far. I mean showing that infinite love for each other thing. Need some subtlety folks!!

Sentimentality is a multi-billion dollar industry in India. Ask Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the year awarded Ms Ekta Kapoor. She created an industry out of tears. The more tear jerker, the more TRP she got. Baghban some how is an extension of that whole emotional thing. So was all time hit Hum Aapke Hai Kaun. A case of tyaag (sacrifice) taken too far.

Sometimes i need to know, where are all these mega families? Where are these bhayyas and well decked bhabhis? Are they only a figment of Ekta Kapoor's and Suraj Barjatiyas imagination? Or they do exist in some remote farm houses of Delhi's elite?

Which is why i appreciated Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding. It was real world (to some extent). It was very north indian, joint family, Delhi elite stuff. Yet it managed to contain it's indian-ness without having to go over the top. But who am i kidding? Comparing Mira Nair with these folks.

Having said that, Mira Nair and Ravi Chopra (Baghban's Director) were of course targeting different audiences. Both meant business. Baghban's audience was large, middle class India. The wannabe rich, joint, family-walas. Mira Nair on the other hand was looking to impress her alma mater at NYU. Both succeeded in reaching out to their respective niches. To that extent Baghban makes perfect business sense. It is an ensemble of beautiful people, with tons of time and money at their disposal, having a luxury of crying 24X7. Which middle class indian lady wouldn't want to be a part of this mushy mushy dream roller coaster?

I guess in the end it is fair to say, we haven't moved on. A large population of India is still looking for that next tear-jerker. And as long as middle-India craves for that pastel pink sentimentality, Ekta Kapoor and Suraj Barjatiya will have a field day every time they start a new production.

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