Minority Report- Khalida as usual

The Muslim Issue Is Taboo – Is this Hindi cinema’s new trade fatwa?

There would’ve been no Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge if Aditya Chopra had stuck to his original story about a young couple who meet in the midst of communal riots. The couple is unaware of each other’s faith.

There would have been no Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, in the way it finally emerged on the screen, if Karan Johar had stuck to his concept of making the character of Kajol a Muslim girl from the Chandni Chowk mohalla of purani Dilli.

Gee whiz! Evidently, after My Name Is Khan, the movie trade doesn’t want to touch subjects revolving around the Muslim identity – post 9/11 – anymore. What has to be said has been stated, which in effect means a heartbreakingly challenged Shah Rukh Khan bussed, trained, walked, hotfooted to Prez Obama. And so now peace prevails in the world.

Consider the underlying text of MNIK though and you’ll understand that it has as much understanding of the contemporary Muslim condition as Karan Johar has of rocket science.

In that mega-advertised cash-earner, the ostracism, the suspicion and the allegations targeted at the Muslim abroad became an excuse for incorporating such devices as a ghetto of cyclone-marooned blacks. And if you please, an intrepid mostly-NRI-Indian TV crew fetched up with emergency food and provisions.

That’s the blockbuster image you have left of a topic that has to be dealt with some maturity and seriousness. But no, enough is enough. Suggest a theme that hinges on Muslim characters now – and in India – and the potential financiers look the other way. No need to turn the camera on Islamic issues, no need to delve into the horror of terrorism. “Make a simple, fun, entertaining movie,” is the credo. Khan sold because of Khan, is the argument, and remember Qurbaan was an unqualified disaster.

Read the rest from here

12 Responses to “Minority Report- Khalida as usual”

  1. I read the article, and though I dont trust khaled’s reviews much, I dont much like what he has written there.. seems to be a more personal write-up. he’s talking like IBOS here.

    at the end of the day, a good movie is enjoyed by a good audience.. can he cite examples where a well made movie with a muslim protagonist has failed at the box office? in that respect, he has totally forgotten Chak de India, which was a blockbuster hit

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  2. The article started out well, but petered out into strange and unconnected accusations by the end.

    Is there any commercial film that deals in a realistic manner with any social problem? Is there any Hindi film that looks at intercaste marriages, let alone interreligious ones? Is there any commercial Hindi film that looks at any real social problem? Even the terrorist based movies focus primarily on romance, and have blanket statements about the terrorist having been “victimized,” but don’t get into any actual grievances. When Hindi films don’t pay attention to any other social reality or problem, why pick on just the Muslim issue? It’s symptomatic of a much wider problem.

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    • I didn’t bother reading the whole thing, even the first half irritated the crap outta me!

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    • I don’t think Hindi commercial cinema has ever warmed to the concept of “realism” in any sense. But that’s not a problem in my book. Your point is taken, but I personally think there have been interesting films that, even if not directly “about” a given social problem, have addressed the state of the nation in interesting ways. If not exactly realistic.

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      • By “realistic”, I simply meant, “acknowledging that certain conditions exist.” There will always be artistic license and a certain amount of exaggeration for dramatic purposes. An example of a “realistic” treatment in my view is the airport scene of Chalte Chalte (the SRK movie). SRK goes chasing after his wife who has left him. When he gets to the airport, I was thinking, now are they going to show him busting inside to meet her, when in reality, no one except passengers is allowed inside the gate? But no. I was very pleased to see that he in fact gets stopped at the door by the guard, and he argues in vain that he needs to see his wife before she leaves, but the guard won’t relent. Then a friend of his, who is a baggage handler, sees his plight, and tells him that he will smuggle him inside the airport, and thus he gets to see his wife and have the important dramatic conversation with her. In contrast, in the airport scene in Salaam-E-Ishq, Anil Kapoor is also desperately trying to meet his wife who has left him. The flight has already boarded and he is told that he cannot get on. (how did he even get to the boarding gate without a ticket? But that’s a minor point compared to what happens next). So, getting anxious that the plane would leave, Anil starts running madly down the exit gate and onto the plane, being chased by airport security. Question: why don’t they shoot him, which is what happened in a real case?

        These are minor points, but they add or detract from the verisimilitude of a film.

        As for larger social issues, whenever there is a pair of lovers who have to face parental objection, they never ask the first question parents invariably ask in these situations, namely, what is the other person’s caste? Ignoring such a large part of reality is absurd, but then films run in a kind of parallel universe, anyway, so we have to go along for the ride. In such a universe, why would there be any addressing of Muslim characters or their lives in a meaningful manner?

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        • Or how about Madhuri in Koyla being sold into a brothel, kept there for weeks or months, but still manages to remain a virgin? Or the countless “courtesan” characters and films, where it is portrayed that the character earns her livelihood by dancing, and not for other services? I really liked the Aishwarya Umrao Jaan for not glossing over this aspect of her life.

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        • I’m glad you added that those two examples were minor points because both instances to my mind are actually perfect examples of the kind of realism I find completely useless.

          By and large I suppose you’re right on the latter point.

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          • I think that came out crabbier than intended. What I mean is that in my experience, the kind of “realistic” gestures that some folks tend to appreciate usually either feels out of place to me or otherwise pointless given the rest of the film. So a film that might be otherwise bland and tedious (as CC was to its core, to my mind) doesn’t earn any bonuses for having made a nice effort at realism at a given plot point.

            This is of course subjective and emerges from a personal sense of narrative. I have had many instances where folks I know balk at the amount of latitude I’m willing to give a film that asks much in terms of suspending one’s logic.

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  3. I agree with Pranay — I think this is an irresponsible, even reckless, article.

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  4. What is the article trying to convey? I am confused. If it is reality he wants, then why Muslims? There are so many issues

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