Qalandar on Masala and DABANGG (Hindi; 2010)

EXCERPT:

“Abhinav Kashyap attempts to answer my questions. Acting like it’s 1983 won’t do, but neither will spoofing all the way to a gag-fest — leaving everything else aside, masala-as-slapfest just isn’t funny. Nor does the tongue in cheek cleverness, or rather, the cinematic presentation of cleverness (a la Bluffmaster!), sit comfortably with a mode the very lifeblood of which is “as if”: masala cinema takes the absolute significance of the story and characters that it is presenting for granted. What’s left, then? In a word, the world of Robert Rodriguez (something like Desperado), the exaggerated gesturality of which, combined with the complete seriousness of purpose, makes clear that this world must be taken seriously, even if it seems a bit like kabuki, sending us missives in a language that is no longer completely retrievable, evoking a mode that can only be viewed through a screen. Kashyap must walk a tightrope: self-consciousness — the curse of recent attempts to resurrect masala, and unknown to the Southern remakes — cannot simply be wished (or willed) away, but too much of an emphasis on mode can itself betray that one is at a wake, with the films focusing almost exclusively on the hero’s gesturality, to the exclusion of everything else (this is, precisely, the shape of the Tamil and Telugu masala ruts). To the extent Kashyap has to come down on one side, he does so on the latter, but not before maintaining his balance for longer than most others on this terrain.

Dabangg, in short, is good fun: in an old-school way, it takes its narrative seriously, evoking the traditional tropes of mother, paternity, and dispossession; while its representation of a cheerfully corrupt, amoral hero, looking out above all else for himself, is of more modern vintage. Bridging the gap between the two, the one who holds it all up, is Salman Khan, whose Lalgunj Inspector Chulbul Pandey is cleverly drawn by Kashyap to give full rein to the audience’s skepticism — if we succumb to this film’s charms, Pandey’s own antics will stand for and sum up everything that can’t be happening on screen. Leaving us to imbibe the rest of the film as is, freed as it were. Sure, we can never feel for Chulbul Pandey — that isn’t his function. Instead, Salman is asked to function as a medium for the ghosts of a certain kind of hero; by making the character’s –and the actor’s — oddity explicit, Kashyap enables us to stop asking the question.”

Read the complete piece HERE.

78 Responses to “Qalandar on Masala and DABANGG (Hindi; 2010)”

  1. hmm..I got bored watching the movie. I think there was continuity problem. Scene transitions were not smooth. Of the last three Salman movies, I preferred Veer.

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  2. I’m glad you also thought the SFX in the action scenes were not good. I kept feeling that, with surprise, given what Vijayan was able to accomplish in Wanted/Pokiri, and all his interviews about how he pushed things “beyond Wanted” here. Frankly, I thought a lot of them were just not good enough, and I got quickly tired of the stop in mid-action then resume sequences, which also served to minimize the impact of the acition. Plus, it was so clearly visible when they must have been using wires (or ropes, as seen in the “making of” videos); that is to say, the actors did not make their movements look realistic, even though they are doing unrealistic things.

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  3. So, Q Bhai liked it, Cool.

    Weekend will be 45+ cr.

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  4. Since people are talking about Veer, I confess that’s where I got acquainted with Salman, and liked him (I had seen him long ago in HAHK; and forgotten about him, and hindi films, err.. not because of the film or him :-)).

    I appreciated Veer a lot for its theme (of western classical music) and the setting of Vienna, and I love a couple of songs from there.
    Showing a ‘foreign’ setting here was not the usual..skyscrapers, glass/steel buildings/drinking coffee from paper mugs(and considering it cool)/eating burgers etc, but the very traditional scenery of Austria with its lovely houses in the countryside which added to its charms.

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  5. Marvellous, when i read it i feel like magic, agreement disagreement not any, simply astounding piece Q bhai.

    the thing about u and gf and satyam is Man u speak with experience and history with current times, ur pieces are not about movie, rather on hostory providing a cultural comment, ur reviews leave behind the traditional review, and more so are thesis, and they can be loved and adored.

    also in a sense they are more that just Q on dabanng, they are words of Wisdom. i guess. i know u might find the praise excessive, but its simply amazing to read it.

    ps- wheres gfs piece? soon please.

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  6. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    YEs, bro You have nailed it. Salman and Abhinay have got the chracetrization and the tone right. Only the moral core is missing. Otherwise it would have been a real blockbuster that was immensely loved.

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  7. Simply fantastic writing here Qalandar.. you have a larger narrative here of what masala has come to mean in contemporary times that is most compelling and enlightening. And your discussion on Dabangg is very well embedded in this narrative. Great stuff!

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  8. glad you liked it Q, I am very happy for Salman.
    here is a report from Moradabad-

    ईद पर दबंग की दबंगई देखने दर्शक सुबह से ही टूटी भीड़ की शक्ल में नजर आए। सुबह 10.30 बजे वेव में पहले शो से दबंग के लिए दर्शकों को जो सिलसिला बना वो रात तक जारी रहा। इन दर्शकों ने एक दिन पहले ही 40 फीसदी टिकटों की बुकिंग करा ली थी। मल्टीप्लेक्स वेव ने भीड़ का रुख देख दो थियेटर में दबंग का प्रदर्शन किया। वेव के जीएम भूपेंद्र वाली ने आने वाले तीन दिन दबंग पर ईद की खुशियों का पूरा दबाव कायम रहने और इस फिल्म से आने वाले दिनों में भी अच्छे बिजनेस की उम्मीद जताई है।

    इसके अलावा पारंपरिक सिनेमा हाल मिगलानी व चड्ढा में भी दबंग के सारे शो भीड़ से घिरे रहे। मिगलानी सिनेमा के शिखर मिगलानी ने बताया कि ईद पर दबंग के सारे शो हाउस फुल रहने

    http://in.jagran.yahoo.com/news/local/uttarpradesh/4_1_6716821.html

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  9. Fab stuff, Q.
    Am glad you liked it enough to motivate you to write this piece.And, it is great to see you tie it in with the other ongoing discussions about Bollywood here.

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  10. Many times it is found that user of creations seem to be more creative, more analytical and more intelligent than original creators and I am sure this review is a perfect example of that.
    I am quite sure that this review is far better than movie itself. It is indeed insightful narrative with fluid language. Though I’ll be content with just reading the review and save a trip to cinema hall!

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    • Bhalo_Manush Says:

      “Many times it is found that user of creations seem to be more creative, more analytical and more intelligent than original creators and I am sure this review is a perfect example of that.”

      lol so true…classic statement…

      seeing movies like JBJ, Tashan etc in this review as Masala movies …I think i m now totally confused about meaning of Masala movies…..

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      • Bhalo Manush: I think any reading of this piece (which, I admit, is not a review; hence the title) makes absolutely clear (and early on) that films like Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Tashan are NOT straight up masala films, they are IMO attempts to revive, re-vivify, masala as something else (although Tashan’s second half was pretty “straight”; in fact that film’s two souls didn’t really gel).

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        • Bhalo_Manush Says:

          “that films like Jhoom Barabar Jhoom and Tashan are NOT straight up masala films, they are IMO attempts to revive, ”

          How could u explain??? i would like to know ur definition of Masala cinema and how these movies tried to REVIVE masala…

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          • The first paragraph itself points to the difference: “Looking back, it is not difficult to see why all of the films named (barring the first) failed miserably at the box office. Although I liked more than one of these, their attempt to resurrect masala cinema itself testified to the corpse in our midst: these films typically began with the premise that there was something drastically wrong with, not just masala films as the tradition degenerated over the course of the 1980s and 1990s into cliched set-pieces and moldiness; but the masala mode itself. That is, even the directors who purported to love the old masala cinema saw that way of approaching films — rooted in the mythic; and other to both the neo-realist rhythms of the Hollywood-inspired fare as well as the greeting card cheesiness of the NRI romances, that had swept all before them in the Hindi film industry from the late 1990s-onward — as irremediably past. The specter of masala, it seemed, could only be summoned if the medium was funny, held at a distance by irony, or rendered homage by spoof…”

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  11. The interesting thing here is that a lot of people who might not necessarily have been Salman fans (I include myself.. in fact for the longest time I couldn’t stand him on screen in that whole Dhawan mode) but who also felt shut out by most of the choices available on the ‘Bollywood’ menu have I think been won over by some of Salman’s recent choices! And so like many others I find myself cheering this film all the way. I wouldn’t mind seeing it break any record for that matter. I am still hardly a Salman fan though I think he’s enjoyable in this sort of avatar. But more importantly I am responding to the ideological choices he’s been making. Some of us have often talked about how Salman was pushed into a corner with the lack of multiplex support over the years (either his films were not acceptable or he wasn’t able to star in the films that were) but he’s finally boxed himself out of this situation and converted his ‘weakness’ into a box office virtue. I think he could go on for a while with this sort of film once a year. And this might not be the wrong time for him to also get into the comedy business again.

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  12. Bhalo_Manush Says:

    Qalandar: I went through that piece …not convinced how a bunty bubli aur JBJ are remotely even considered as Masala…I will rather consider a MHN as a masala movie that came before these movies….about JBJ i could not understand what the director was making?? whether it was musical or comedy?? what ever certainly not masala…

    It seems like heavy inflow of NRI love stories has left u in a bad mood or it is just ur hatred towards those kind of movies that u r blindly supporting a genre which again will not take bollywood to any where …that happened with Gadar some years ago…now it might again happen after Dabangg…

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    • Bhalo_Manush Says:

      ya one more thing…was not JBJ a story about NRI ppl????

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    • We’re going around in circles: films like JBJ and Tashan are not masala — but they are an attempt by filmmakers who apparently owe something to or like masala to pay homage to/whatever the genre; just as I do not consider Om Shanti Om a masala film per se, but it evokes the genre by means of spoof. I don’t know how much clearer I can be than I have been.

      Re: NRIs: firstly JBJ ought not to have been an NRI-film; as originally envisioned, it was a small-town film and should have remained so. Second, where did I say that NRI-set films are bad per se? In this piece I specifically refer to ” candyfloss films set in NRIstan for no good reason: — there is a distinction.

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      • What’s ‘candyfloss’, according to you, Qalandar?

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        • Too many to come up with an exhaustive list, but something like Pyar Impossible would be a recent example; going further back, perhaps a Salaam Namaste or, one of the originals, Dil To Paagal Hai.

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          • Thanks.
            I haven’t seen any of these so the meaning still doesn’t come through.
            I do know about Salaam Namaste though.
            -shot abroad 😉 (so that’s one point)
            -a very western theme I believe, about pregnaqncy etc
            – a relationship going awry because of this pregnancy
            -the woman wants the baby, man doesn’t
            -in the end all want the baby and things end happily.

            hmm. I still can’t get it.

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          • Re: “hmm. I still can’t get it.”

            Fair enough. I do not think what we have here is a communication gap; I think our ways of viewing the films are so different that I don’t think I can explain what I mean if I haven’t been able to thus far (i.e. even beyond this piece; I mean given all the months we’ve been on the same blog, etc.)

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          • On a different note, I am surprised you haven’t seen Dil To Pagal Hai; why on earth not?

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          • Re: Dil to pagal Hai

            I haven’t watched many films before 2007.

            >if I haven’t been able to thus far (i.e. even beyond this piece; I mean given all the months we’ve been on the same blog, etc.)

            I think I do understand the kind of films you appreciate. Maybe I don’t, that’s why i thought if you spelt it out it might help.

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      • Bhalo_Manush Says:

        Om shanti Om on story level was a masala movie…they made it look like a spoof due to its screen play…..so i consider it as masala+spoof…not a true masala film…

        ” In this piece I specifically refer to ” candyfloss films set in NRIstan for no good reason”

        again i don’t see an issue if they put the candy floss genre in NRistan if the story is good..there should not be some specific reason to shoot abroad….it is probably due to misconception of bollywood that ppl like movies based outside…it’s ok if producers want take the unit abroad on his expense 🙂

        Now take the example of dabangg…what was the need to base the movie in UP? they could have based it in mumbai also…i also did not find any reason..i can understand a movie like gangajal or apaharan or upcoming aakrosh based in up Bihar but what was reason in dabangg??? only for the title?

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      • Tashan is not a failure.It would have been a success if released in multiplexes.Yes,the second half is pretty straight.

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  13. The other serious point to be made about some of these contemporary masala elements lacking the cathartic element is that there is an ideological element to it as well. It is not just that masala is always better served by greater emotional connection and engagement but also that in the absence of such it becomes a game of gesturality without the ‘soul’. So audiences otherwise addicted to certain plastic multiplex genres might be more easily persuaded by a masala resurgence that does not ask them to invest too much more as viewers. I think GF suggested in his piece that Kashyap tries to keep things as light as possible until the very end so as not to scare his viewers! After what we’ve been through with Yashraj/Dharma one would take any kind of masala over the alternative so I’m not knocking Kashyap here but highlighting once again that unlike Ghajini these other films still seem to shy away from that kind of catharsis. Now it might also be the case that most of these directors are not just compromising, that they access the older tradition in the same way. In other words it’s possible to read all masala as simply ‘comedy’ a la the works of Desai. And then put more intense Salim-Javed works in a different box. Put differently the ‘masala is fun’ paradigm has its limitations. And in this sense I think a certain ‘heartbeat’ of masala is always missed. Masala has to be taken very seriously, certainly those involved with that 70s tradition did, and in the South today you have both brands — the tongue-in-cheek one but also the straight up kind. even in the greatest Desai works which can from one perspective be defined as ‘comedies’ are nonetheless never short on those larger than life, ‘epic’ dramatic moments (AAA though is an exception). But even in such older ‘comedies’, and to continue themes Qalandar and GF have introduced, ‘amorality’ was never part of the equation. The stakes were always clear. Here again we see how this sort of contemporary choice works very well with multiplex dispensations. On the single screen side the audiences (like myself!) are happy to get anything on this terrain! Not that I mean to be overly critical of this move, just that I don’t want masala to be reinvigorated without the proper stakes. The skeleton should get some flesh at some point! If masala has been repressed for so long, if it has represented a certain ‘horror’ for multiplex audiences, then it is only fitting that the monster be resurrected in its fully terrifying form! And not simply as Caspar the friendly ghost. If there has to be compromise, a temporary one hopefully, I prefer the Ghajini one where the Hollywood vehicle (Memento) enables the cathartic element. This other compromise I must confess I’m a little more dubious about. All of this of course does not stop me from celebrating Dabangg’s extraordinary success.

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    • Very well put. I would only add that, in the case of Dabangg, even if the “monster” is not in its most “terrifying form”, at least the star at its core makes up for some of the lack. i.e., with Ghajini the vehicle was more old-school, but at least the multiplexes had Aamir’s credibility; here, Dabangg might be less old-school for the multiplexes, BUT Salman himself is “unredeemed”, bad-ass, old-school, authentic, however you want to spin it. So in the final analysis I am not sure that the ultimate EFFECT will add up to more or less in one instance than in another…

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      • yes but the Salman persona includes a certain element of parody (or self-parody) that goes very well with the tone favored by contemporary filmmakers on this terrain. In Ghajini there was none of this in any sense.

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  14. There seems to be an unspoken assumption that “masala” has to include action, to a greater or lesser extent. But my understanding of the term is that it really refers to a finely balanced mix of different elements, really mirroring different emotions. Unlike western films (not just Hollywood), which tend to have one predominant emotional tone for the entire film, a masala film would comprise not just drama but romance, comedy, perhaps action, and some social/political message. Depending on how good the “cook” was, the final product was more or less tasty. Another prime ingredient of at least the old time masala films was melodrama, which sometimes became excessive. Now, if this is the correct definition, in what sense are films like DDLJ or K3G not masala? They have all the ingredients, romance, comedy, drama — DDLJ even had action via the final fight. And of course a happy ending. K3G had all these elements except action, but it certainly had melodrama in spades.

    I have read that KKHH started the trend of films without a villain, but didn’t that really start with HAHK? There were no bad guys that led to the central conflict, but just circumstances, or, in the case of KKHH, the characters’ own limitations. Does the absence of a villain make these films non-masala?

    I believe that one of the central characteristics of a “masala” film, beside the multiple emotional tones, which give it a greater emotional texture when done right (and turn it into a laughable emotional hodge-podge when done badly) is the clear moral questions that are addressed. I think the the “masala lite” aspect you are referring to in its current avatar is not so much that people don’t want to engage with the genre, but that they no longer think in terms of moral absolutes, or indeed in terms of morality at all. If that is true, I think this is a reflection of what is going on Indian society — nay, has been going on now for a few decades — where morality itself is treated as a joke. So how can a morality based film succeed? The earlier upright heroes and heroines of films were direct descendants of the “nayaks” and “nayakis” of the great Indian epics, and indeed, the story outlines of most such films can be found in these same epics. But how can such characters resonate to the present populace, for whom corruption is not just a fact of life but almost a duty? That is why you cannot have an Inspector Vijay in Dabangg, but only Inspector Chulbul Pandey, who himself is almost too moral for these times, despite his “corrupt” activities. I haven’t seen Ghajini, but in Wanted/Pokiri, the moral question is again blurred very much. True, you have a hero who is finally revealed to have been on an honorable mission all along, but he has been neither honorable nor moral in achieving his ends. In this moral ambiguity he is closer to the film noir type of policeman, except that there is a sense of celebration at the end of these films, which there wouldn’t be at the end of a film noir.

    I don’t think the reluctance to embrace an earlier version of masala is due to a conspiracy by YRF/Dharma or a fascination for foreign locales and goods, but more due to the general reluctance to do any hard thinking on any question. This was my big objection to 3 Idiots. Its publicity claimed it to be addressing a serious social issue, but the film itself treated it with an extremely light touch throughout, with a sudden blurted out lecture on “the message” in the final 15 minutes. But that is as much as the audience can take, because to really address, understand and deal with the issue requires too much work, since it requires the revamping of an entire system. For all the films with terrorist characters or terrorism based themes, how many have actually addressed the issue in a serious way?

    So perhaps all these films that you think approach masala in a lighthearted or comedic way are really only trying to find a place to fit such a moralistic genre into an amoral era. These efforts would then represent a genuine evolution, not fumbling.

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    • Don’t have the time to get into this at length now, but I will return to this. For the moment, however, suffice it to say that Dilwaale Dulhaniya Le Jaayenge (from 1995; and hence a rather early film) has IMO a far better claim than the plastic Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (it definitely pays lip service to various traditional tropes, but in a fake way — it summons them, but drains them of their significance or meaning, leaving a shell that is filled with something else; that isn’t true of DDLJ). Second, I have never said nor suggested a “conspiracy” by YRF or Dharma — where ideology reigns (this way OR that), one needs no nefarious conspiracy to explain things. Stated differently, my problem is with a certain ideology (actually, not even so much a certain ideology as the dominance of that ideology such that other voices get drowned out or marginalized), not with some malicious intent expressed as a conspiracy.

      This is a thoughtful comment, though, and much to chew on, even if I don’t really agree that the audience has necessarily changed all that much — i.e. we don’t know if it has or if its need isn’t being met (the success of various films can be cited to prove opposing viewpoints)…

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    • Re: “There seems to be an unspoken assumption that “masala” has to include action, to a greater or lesser extent.”

      That isn’t my assumption, but as the type of the film that is beyond the pale for many contemporary B’wood audiences, the action-er is It (partly because this drives home the “unrealistic” aspects of masala cinema in a way the family drama of a Trishul does not). Stated differently, a masla film need not be an action-er — but nothing embarrasses the proponents of “new” Bollywood more than an action-er.

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    • I’ve said so much on masala (!) I don’t want to get into a long response here but traditionally masala has almost always included elements of action. But there is also an epic register or framework that is very important. The mixture of elements for sure but also this epic element. The Yashraj romances are not masala. Because genre is always quite stable in these films. Much as it was in 60s Shammi Kapoor or Rajendra Kumar movies. A variation in ‘mood’ is not the same as a mixture of seemingly disparate elements. Masala though can switch genre quite frequently from epic drama to the picaresque to bourgeois comedy and so on. Similarly the stylistic features, the narrative codes can also include a dizzying variety of film registers from the local to the foreign. In other words masala is the genre of genres if you will. It encapsulates everything else with the proviso that things are usually pitched at a scale above and beyond what one would get in any other sort of commercial film.

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  15. The masala films seem to have different interpretations by different individuals, so I decided to mention what ‘masala’ means to me.

    Comedians like Mehmood, Rajendernath, Johny Walker, Mohan choti, and so many others seem to have quite disappeared today.
    -To me a comedian was a necessary ingredient of a masala. The hero could indulge in it too, but a comedian was necessary, like Jagdeep in Sholay.
    -Family relationships was another important ingredient. There had to be a bhai-behen, bhai.bhai, bhabi-devar,didi-choti behen etc
    -Lots of Romance
    -Lots of songs..romantic, sad, dancing songs, qwallis, dance drama on stage with the heroine performing
    -moral in the story, usually good triumphing over evil.
    -plenty of emotion, melodrama, passion

    -Later on, in addition to the above, ‘fights’ became a part of masala.

    So I don’t understand all this talk of thinking Ghajani ushered in this era, or even Lagaan (as it says in the write up) or bunty aur babli (the only films mentioned that I have seen).
    Ghajani had those fights, some romance, no family, etc
    It was just a violent/fighting sort of film.
    Bunty aur Babli was throughout not really talking of morality even if in the end they become helpers of the police force.
    Family was a hindrance, there was no comedian.
    Lagaan was a focussed film, going in one direction without much masala.

    Well, that’s what ‘masala’ means to me.

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    • Re: “So I don’t understand all this talk of thinking Ghajani ushered in this era, or even Lagaan (as it says in the write up) or bunty aur babli (the only films mentioned that I have seen).”

      That is not what my piece says — I talk about these films as running against the dominant paradigm of the B’wood of their day; I certainly did not say that these sorts of films ushered in the era of masala. The whole darn point of this Dabangg piece is that we are NOT in that era.

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      • Perhaps I misunderstood the following.

        >Films like Lagaan (2001), seeking to incarnate masala in a more urbane and globalizable, yet also perhaps more bland, garb, promised new paths, but the film was too good for its own good: the message the industry seems to have taken to heart was that serious masala could work only if the film were as good as Lagaan.

        I took this to mean it was ‘sort’ of a masala film.
        OT
        I’m sorry, but I really got tuned off from there onwards, because I really don’t get this immense praise for the movie, which was very good, but to go on about it as though it was some sort of masterpiece turns me off. Oscar is no measuring yard. Did you think Slumdog M was a super film?

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        • Re: “I’m sorry, but I really got tuned off from there onwards, because I really don’t get this immense praise for the movie, which was very good, but to go on about it as though it was some sort of masterpiece turns me off. Oscar is no measuring yard. Did you think Slumdog M was a super film?”

          I did also mention that it was “perhaps more bland” than other masala films. But on the whole, certainly, Lagaan was and is better than most mainstream Hindi films; and is IMO one of the best Hindi films of the last decade. To bring Oscars and Slumdog into it is a cheap shot — what have I ever said that would lead you to believe I think films are good if they are Oscar-nominated?

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        • Re: “…but I really got tuned off from there onwards”

          You should have stuck to the excerpt I pasted in my post here 🙂

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          • >To bring Oscars and Slumdog into it is a cheap shot — what have I ever said that would lead you to believe I think films are good if they are Oscar-nominated?

            Yes I agree, it *was* a cheap shot 😦
            But let me explain.
            A couple of months ago there was a similar discussion about Lagaan, with similar comments, and I was told that it wasn’t for nothing it was nominated for the oscar.
            I didn’t respond then…can’t remember why, but it remained in my head and I broughrt it out here…wrong place..I know.

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          • Re: “A couple of months ago there was a similar discussion about Lagaan, with similar comments, and I was told that it wasn’t for nothing it was nominated for the oscar.”

            It isn’t a question of wrong PLACE, but wrong PERSON — since I had never said that.

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          • LOL! Aren’t you fussy?

            Place = reply to *Qalandar’s* comment.

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          • It isn’t a question of “fuss[iness” — your statement would have led any reader to believe that I had made such comments re: oscars. And that is most unfair: Not only had I NOT made such comments, but they are completely opposed to my view of the world. The fact that YOU had these issues and with OTHER people simply has no bearing on what I said about Lagaan.

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  16. Great review q!

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  17. just brief words on d move—-i have not watxhed many slaman movies but have watched all of his hits or so-called best performances.
    have never taken him seriously as an actor and infact wqill suffice to say that hated him and his offscreen persona, till v recently.
    however he nails it in dabang.
    he may have had better films in the past—-
    to me his best performance till now

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  18. The myth that Aamir is No1 is dispelled by Dabangg.

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  19. I do not like Dabangg type of movies but still I am happy to see its performance at BO.
    IMO, the movies should have entertainment value, we watch out movies for entertainment. If its carrying a message, it should be with entertainment like 3I, not like mnik.
    Dabangg recalls me the 80″s era when such type of masala movies were public’s favourite. I can recall my school days when I saw Dharmendra’s Hukumat. If any body can recall, in the climax, Dharam paji shoot dozens of villains with his staingun from an open jeep. I along with my friends kept on talking about this for weeks. I love the typical masala movies in which good wins over bad in the end, hero does the seemingly impossible task of knocking out dozens of bad guys. These films does not make sense but provide us entertainment which is expected from movies.
    And these senseless action flicks are found in Hollywood too. Watch out any arny or stallone movie, you will find the action to be un realistic. Here we go for double standards, we praise hollywood movies for their action but blast on such movies made in bollywood.

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  20. This thread and discussion is just fascinating- a complete paisa vasool! Kudos or rather Dabangg to Satyam & all others.

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  21. I’ll second Pradip’s comment. Just got to this piece now and it’s really a treat to read as it’s more than about the film…the comments testify to this. Fine stuff, Q.

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  22. i always considered salman khan a waste of time—infact never took him seriously as an actor or star inspite of his blockbuster hits…
    However, for the first time, i am feeling happy for his suxess.
    as i sad earlier, HE MAY HAVE HAD BETTER FILMS IN THE PAST, BUT THIS IS HIS BEST PERFORMANCE TILL DATE….
    And i am willing to be persuaded if anyone tells me which other perfoirmance was better than this…
    Difficult to pinpoint the exact reason for this inexplicable reaction for me—dont know myself—but somehow liked the dabang persona ie chulbul persona a lot–infact have a personal resonance to this sort of behaviour—infact think that salman played this paert better than anyone—-it suited his personal attributes a lot..
    i repeat—– i am willing to be “educated” if anyone tells me which other perfoirmance was better than this…
    tere naam,HAHK, AAA?—-naah—except tere naam (partly) found this creature intolerable in most of his other films.
    but here he takes the bull by the horns…………..

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  23. The proof that Salman Khan is the true rockstar of bollywood is the fact that the recent controversy is not affecting his or the movie’s standing at all.
    everyone is willing to overlook/ forgive him for his foolish remarks which if true are more damaging than SRK’s.

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    • I think it is also that with Salman people are much more likely to say “oh he’s a doofus, he just said it, thoughtlessly etc.”, whereas SRK or Aamir or Hrithik would never be able to get away with it. Sanju is the only other chap about whom the public is so forgiving…

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      • Yes, I find the “doofus” argument annoying, but it is certainly there in the public’s perception. But more than this line of thinking, though, is the fact that he and his family have been consistently known for respecting all religions through the years, and the fact that he himself became the target of fatwas for it, that might help in preventing this issue from taking off (though, with the kind of comments that I have read at some news sites, I don’t know how far that is true). And perhaps the fact that Dabangg has nothing to do with “Muslim” issues is another reason why its box office isn’t being affected, Shobha De notwithstanding.

        With SRK, there was a history of him constantly emphasizing the fact of his being a Muslim, and trying to position himself as the face of the “educated” Muslim, as well as the fact that MNIK itself was a very “Muslim oriented” issue film, that all helped to fuel the controversy about his remarks.

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        • Agree with SM,
          The following is my opinion-
          SRK wore his religion on his sleeve , which probably went against him, Salman on the other hand is kind of like common man who – no matter what he says , no one doubts his Intentions or his love for India. Agree however -yahan Sallu bhai kuch jyada bol gaye par chalta hai.
          Personally for me – speaking in favor of muslims is not the same as speaking in favor of pakistan.
          No one for example doubts Javed saab’s intentions or Aamir Khan’s intentions.
          SRK, somehow the timing was wrong.

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      • Thanks Munna , I can finally see the actual video, will see/read the comments and come back here later.

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        • Just realized when I read munna’s comment that this wasn’t the same thread as the one I was on yesterday (and hence, that Rocky hadn’t read mine, ted’s, munna’s and SM’s comments). Would be interested to hear your thoughts on this Rocky when you get a chance…

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          • I had missed that thread. I put my thoughts above Q bhai. aankho mein aansoo aa gaye yeh jaan kar kee aapko hamare thoughts kee fikar hai ….

            BTW – did you read my update on Dabang’s Moradabad Box office in Hindi ?

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    • Ya and also the fact that no one doubts his intentions aside- it is kind of like Advani in pakistan moment ( where he praised Jinnah as the most secular) except in his case his career was over by thaht one single remark.
      sometimes in order to be nice/polite to these journalists you try not to criticize their country.

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      • Yes, but while there was an element of Salman being nice to the journalist and her country (mainly in terms of talking about visiting his cousins there when a teenager), he was not particularly trying to curry favor with her, merely saying what he thinks. As I have discussed on the Beautiful People thread, the context is all important to understand that one sentence fragment (which is all that the fuss is about), and, unfortunately, it was taken completely out of context and replayed endlessly.

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      • Well a politician can never (or ought never) to be able to live something like that down, especially one with a reputation for cleverness like Advani.

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