Satyam’s piece on PK

thanks to all those who expressed an interest in this piece but especially Rajen who made sure I produced it! I am therefore keeping the title he chose for this post


I initially thought of writing a different sort of piece on this film. More of a ‘review’. But I think this film might be better served by not being submitted to such ‘standard’ treatment. In any case this kind of exercise does not interest me very much at this point. Some of the controversy this film has generated (rather late in the day!) could also justify a polemical essay. But this too is not my aim here even if I am never less than this on just about any subject. This is partly a strategic decision because this isn’t the sort of work that asks to be placed on one side or the other in such over-determined ideological battles. In fact, Hirani’s characteristically fluid narrative is gently subversive throughout, sometimes even deceptively so, but it is never in the business of making a more profound statement on its subject, and hence to use this film as an example to pick up larger ideological cudgels is hasty and this on either side of the equation.

Something about PK lingers in the mind. I cannot argue that on pure narrative grounds Hirani is any less successful here than in his previous outings but relative to the possibilities of the subject it is disappointing that he chose not to take his wry commentary and even more generally his remarkable skills as a storyteller further. In other words PK is a much more interesting subject than any of its predecessors in the director’s work but it is also the least fully-realized. The difficulty here is that even conceding this one is left with a very good film that is still miles ahead of most of the competition in most contemporary years. And even with what I consider problematic in the film in important ways I still like it more than 3 Idiots. I couldn’t state the same with respect to the Munnabhai films but PK does not necessarily interest me less than those two.

Hirani’s first half more or less does everything right. Some of his most inspired comic sequences also occur in this portion of the film. I am thinking especially of the sequences that involve PK’s first appearance at the temple and then later the Shiva street-theater episode. It is also a half that promises greater things. One knows there will be a crisis somewhere in the story and one eagerly waits for it as one gets through this superbly entertaining half that admittedly takes a bit of time to truly get off the ground. Even more successful than the half is Aamir Khan in possibly the role of a career, at least if one were to correlate his skills, even essence as a star-actor with the results he’s achieved so far. I have liked him almost everywhere in this ‘later’ stage of his career, his sincerity has convinced more often than not but in PK he finds a comic space and a quirky resonance that are especially keyed to his acting instincts. More than anywhere else in Hirani the film depends on the plausibility of the central character and even when the format becomes less inspired at points Aamir more or less pulls it through.

Despite everything being in place Hirani disappoints with the story’s central crisis. It is in a sense too tame. The film begs for greater heights. This does not mean that it ought to have become a different sort of work. To an extent this criticism could be extended towards each of the director’s previous films. One might think of this as the ‘Hrishikesh Mukherjee problem’. Much as I admire the gentle subversions of each the strongest works of each director are still largely exercises in brilliant comedy fully integrated with narrative and punctuated occasionally with sharp commentary as opposed to films that are ever likely to push further in the direction of something edgier. My point here is not to be unfair to Hirani much less the redoubtable Hrishikesh Mukherjee but to highlight that such expectations are generated precisely within the frames these directors create. Interesting as these works are they could be much more so. Certainly in PK where although the second half is still very absorbing, even surprising at a key moment, and where the resolution is nonetheless involving, it is also in a way flattens out the greater energy of the first portion. The first Munnabhai was a relatively modest affair that unexpectedly became about ‘clinicality’ (in a sense the comatose patient here is fused with the Munnabhai character to create PK..). The second installment then went more epic with the Gandhian ghost-delusion imparting a certain ambiguity to the film’s commentary. Finally, an ultimate ‘New Indian’ campus comedy where the hero is as much of a misfit as the earlier gangster and who eventually succeeds by keeping himself outside the fold (literal geographical alienation here!) of this aspirational economy. The film is even structured as a journey toward that liminal space. So even as these films too were not ambitious attempts at socio-political commentary Hirani often upgraded them in provocative ways. In PK pretty much the same happens in the first half but the second one settles down into much easier terrain. I might have conceded that Hirani had largely exhausted his format except for the fact that he had his richest subject (so far) in PK. Once again the difficulty lies in making this point even as one also allows the seemingly contradictory one that the second half is by any other standard a very engaging, wholly satisfying one.

But PK isn’t an ‘anti-Hindu’ film by any stretch. It is not even especially concerned with religion as such much less launching invectives against the same. The film really concerns itself with religiosity in the most universal sense. Perhaps even more than this it is about the madly commercial dimensions the same acquires in a totally consumerist age. If anything ‘faith’ itself emerges completely untouched from the film (as it did in the considerably less interesting Oh My God before it). A deeper work would perhaps explore how the dividing line between the notion of a pure faith and its ‘hyper’ manifestations in religiosity is not an easy one to conceive of or certainly police. This is why the audience is always left in a comfortable space in such an exercise. It is true that PK after briefly touching upon all major Indian denominations in both halves really busies itself with ‘Hinduism’. But this is again only incidentally inasmuch as the latter is the site of majoritarian belief in India and hence more far-reaching in its consequences (one might critique Evangelical Christianity in an American context or the various Islamisms in different parts of the world). To connect this point with my larger argument I’d reiterate that at certain moments in PK there are glimpses of that deeper provocation but Hirani is instinctively not suited for this sharper polemical sting, at least not in sustained fashion. And PK with all its considerable strengths and valiant aims suffers more for this reason than anything else in the director’s oeuvre. But it is still a film to be applauded. The director’s and the lead star’s careers are still rendered more interesting for this collaboration, not less.

** I should add an an aside (because I couldn’t fit this point into the piece) that the whole Pakistani angle seemed a bit forced in the film and even if it made for an effective climax was also a bit more mechanical in this sense.

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150 Responses to “Satyam’s piece on PK”

  1. Ha! In some parts of the world it’s already 2015…so are we waiting for the Americans? 😉

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  2. LOL, it will appear today! will also be watching it again in a couple of days.

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  3. Treat for 2015.

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  4. Wouldn’t feel it’s late..matter of fact hoping against all hope to appear it here after second viewing.

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  5. Happy New Year Satyam, Rocky, Di and all here 🙂

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  6. Satyam too short and NO mention of Aamir’s acting / witty one liners.
    Please do a redux after watching it again in 2015 and post 350 crores..lol

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    • aamir’s acting has been mentioned.. read again! half a para on him..

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      • oops missed it….still too short
        Aside- the main argument people are putting forth is that would Bollywood have the balls to make fun of other religion the same way as it makes fun of Hinduism …
        The answer everyone knows is NO. But that is the point , I am proud that Hinduism is a tolerant religion, does not believe in conversion etc. , Let’s leave it like that.
        Forget Bollywood , the left leaning media and commies are a bigger threat to Hinduism than Hirani and Aamir.

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        • “the main argument people are putting forth is that would Bollywood have the balls to make fun of other religion the same way as it makes fun of Hinduism …”

          but I’d again say no one is making fun of Hinduism. Is this religiosity connected with this religion the target of most of the film’s satire? Yes. But that’s an incidental detail, not a necessary one. In other words when Bill Maher made Religulous the point wasn’t that Christian fundamentalists are the only sort. He was just making the film in the US! On the minority stuff it’s also true that in general liberal institutions are a bit more sensitive to the depiction of minorities. But I’m not sure that’s a bad thing for certain reasons. More than this if say Islamic religiosity were the target of PK it just wouldn’t connect as universally for the simple reason that the vast majority of its audience isn’t Muslim. It’s different to show a lot of religious ritual in a film that isn’t ‘about’ religion and quite another to do the opposite. Because the latter scenario requires greater experiential investment by the audience. It’s simply a commercial decision. No one in the US makes commercial films about Jewish religiosity! By the same token why are 99% of characters in any Indian film Hindus? Why are 99% Christians in the US? So it’s mostly a commercial logic behind this. In fact if Hirani were anti-Hindu in the sense you mean why would he even have those segments with Christians or Muslims or Sikhs? Nothing forces him to be ‘fair’. Having said that I’d love for someone to make a similar thing on Christians or Muslims (though as a pragmatic matter this is the riskiest because the fringe groups here tend to really mean business in terms of carrying out those threats! now before anyone gets offended here I mean that in today’s world these are the groups most inclined to carry out certain kinds of acts when they perceive their religion to have been attacked). And here there’s been a shrinking of the imagination. In the 70s it was common to see all kinds of stereotypical minority representations. Sometimes films had mostly Christian characters or mostly Muslim ones. In fact the minorities then were always represented a bit atypically, as a collection of fetishes if you will, but on the whole it was ok because this was done with affection and moreover the minorities were at least represented.

          The one point I’d make in connection with this is that Hirani does show a terrorist attack. And you know that something important happens because of this. The godman too tries to introduce the Muslim angle cynically. So Hirani does get on both sides at certain key points.

          I think it’s unfortunate that everything is seen through the prism of religious identity these days. Specially so for a filmmaker like Hirani who’s clearly in a certain humanistic 70s tradition in these matters. I wonder sometimes what would happen today if Deewar were made. Here’s a nominal Hindu who has his quarrel with his god (he’s not an atheist) but meanwhile believes in the talismanic significance of the 786 and this after the religious significance of this has been explained to him. I can only imagine what the response to this very charged structure would be! We live in a very polarized age in this sense (not only in India).

          Lastly I’d say that it’s a bit odd to keep asserting that one belongs to a very tolerant or the most tolerant faith and yet take offense at the drop of a hat. Either one believes in the tolerance or not. If one does one cannot embrace it defensively or grudgingly. If one really believes that films could not be made on minority religions in quite the same way in India (and I see your point at least partially here but again I understand it differently.. though for those who ask such questions one wonders why they don’t ask similar questions when other kinds of imbalances occur.. so for instance why were Muslims gangsters or terrorists 99% of the time in 90s cinema? one cannot ask these questions selectively) one should be celebrating one’s faith even more!

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  7. PK is a fine film. Its not against any religion but even though it has its heart in the right place, it’s substance value diminishes considerably post interval.

    On the same level, OMG Oh My God worked much more brilliantly. It had more substance than the PK fans would want to admit.

    In OMG’s climax, when Kanji picks up God’s locket as if some tangible form of god, he (and in essence the audience) gets reminded of the same mistake that he was about to commit that he was against, during the whole movie. This is the best possible application of a socially applicable message and shows how earnestly the makers wanted to deliver it. This is where PK fails and it goes into a weird unnecessary Indo-Pak angle with Hindu-muslim lovers and all that jazz.. It takes the easy way while OMG took the highway.

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    • I found it vastly superior to OMG. Not that I have a problem with the latter. It was quite an entertaining film (if stagey at some points). But it’s value has been grossly exaggerated by some including yourself.

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      • And I think that PK’s merit has been far too exaggerated by the likes of yourself.

        P.S. I do think PK is a really good film and its first half is far more entertaining than OMG but its more to do with comedic elements than the core philosophy of the subject itself. Also, I haven’t brought up this OMG superiority to downplay PK… I have been a fan of OMG since the day it released and I do think its a classic.

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  8. Enjoyed reading your views. If Hirani took Ranbir instead of aamir, this controversy would not have happened.
    Whats in a name but it seems Kapoor is safer than Khan when you want to poke fun in these sensitive times.

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    • to be honest I don’t agree with that. For some fringe elements Aamir’s name might be an issue but by and large there’s a larger culture of intolerance which doesn’t appreciate some of these subjects or wants to police them. The JA controversies for example. And in this paradigm the liberal Hindu is every bit as guilty as the minority. We see a version of this in the US too where liberal Hollywood supposedly propagates things that deconstruct American family values and in turn weaken the nation. Incidentally Advani liked the film, think he was thanked as well. The irony here is that virtually 100% of the film’s audience likes or loves the film but doesn’t think it really reflects on their own religiosity or at least is not likely to change those patterns anytime soon. Put differently in a consumerist age, in a certain late capitalist age religiosity also becomes an ultimate spectacle. Again we see this in the US for example with all the megachurches and what not.

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  9. Thanks for your critique.
    I think you have captured the essence here.
    I was not at all convinced from the promos and the initial reviews that Inwas going to enjoy it. But, I was thoroughly entertained.
    Saw it with family and had warned my daughters not to expect usual BW stuff and that it may not resonate with them. It is to Hirani’s credit that they thoroughly enjoyed it.
    On the other hand, I do agree with GF and you that it does play it safe. But, then I would never expect Hirani or Aamir to make a different kind of film in this format. The risk that they took and it is a risk was In choosing the subject. It is hard to imagine anyone else making such a hugely entertaining film with
    The subject at hand. Not that it is a bold subject but in other hands would have a limited appeal.
    Aamir really surprised here with his energy and the gusto with which he played PK. Along with Rangeela, this is his best performance.
    The comparusion with OMG is to be expected but is silly beyond a point. OMG was fine but hardly as entertaining. Some of the championing of OMG is just churlish.
    Yes, one can say now that Hirani’s moviemaking is formulaic to a point but it is a great formula- like the one for the pasta passed down by an Italian grandmother. It works and works very well. No need to mess with it.

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    • I don’t know if you meant my championing of OMG was rude, but if you did – I’d like to say that I have already said PK is more entertaining than OMG but OMG was superior in its subject matter.

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    • No mention of Anushka😄. She is a case of cosmetic surgery gone horribly, horribly wrong. I used to like her but she looks just strange and unattractive.

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      • yes that’s true.. I remember seeing her on Saregama a couple of years ago and was shocked. Didn’t like her in the film at all. And the look was atrocious too.

        On another note even the godman was somewhat cuddly. Usually they tend to be far more repulsive (Amul Gupte in Singham 2 recently). Here the most one could say about him is that he’s a conman. Which is in a way much more in keeping with the film’s tone (you couldn’t have had a truly disturbing type here). I enjoyed watching Saurabh Shukla though.

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    • Rajen :

      “Along with Rangeela, this is his best performance.”

      You are first person besides myself who thinks Rangeela was aamir’s best so far, folks pick Sarfarosh, Lagaan and JJWS.

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      • Bliss, I too would put Rangeela at the top for him, along with Mangal Pandey…

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        • Well said Qalandar.I absolutely loved Aamir’s Munna in Rangeela, to me one of the best films of 1995. And I am one of the minority who found his Mangal Pandey to be a noble film, plus liked Aamir’s performance. Have also liked him a lot in JJWS, Ghulam, Sarfarosh, 1947Earth.

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          • I will put Ghulam above Rangeela – esp. for those last 20 min – super-mind blowing stuff

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          • No “Raakh” in the mention anywhere? For a second movie it was mind blowing performance by Aamir and i don’t think he has come close to that since.

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          • I think Raakh was a good performance but not superior than his others like Earth, Lagaan, Sarfarosh and Mangal Pandey/

            I think he was a bit immature for a role like Raakh and it showed in his performance. It was a good performance nonetheless.

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      • myselfaamir Says:

        Aamir oeuvre is so diverse and vast, so it’s more of a personal choice than THE BEST per say. He has done almost everything from romace to comedy, negative to rebel, Tapori to urbane, playing his own age to 18 year old, Police officer to a street urchin, teacher to disciple, 8 packs to a normal with panache. So people pick their own favourite based on their inclination.

        So for me his PK towers above every thing he has portrayed in his illustrious career yet. He enacts PK so effortlessly with combination of gullibility, humour, helplessness that it’s very hard not to empathise and adore PK. His command over Bhojpuri is another spectacular facet adding charm to his character, had he faltered in this aspect, PK would not be half as good as it is. Other favourites are in no order Aakash of DCH as his was a dual role as he was flamboyant in the 1st half, but subdued in the 2nd half. DJ of RDB for repeating the same feat, Munna for his naivety in Rangeela, Amar for showing his impeccable comic timing in AAA, ACP Rathore for blending toughness with warmth in Sarfarosh, Candy walla for being cold blooded, wicked without getting violent in 1947 Earth, Inspector Shekhawat for being brittle, laden with guilt yet remaining sensitive in Talaash.

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      • You have company… Rangeela is my favourite Aamir performance too.. if only the prostitute in PK had a tapori dialect rather than Bhojpuri 😀

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  10. “To connect this point with my larger argument I’d reiterate that at certain moments in PK there are glimpses of that deeper provocation but Hirani is instinctively not suited for this sharper polemical sting, at least not in sustained fashion. And PK with all its considerable strengths and valiant aims suffers more for this reason than anything else in the director’s oeuvre. But it is still a film to be applauded.”

    Hit the nail on the head everywhere but this specifically spoke to my own experience of the film. A treat to read this as always.

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  11. Thanks for your reflection on PK Satyam! I agree…like you mentioned in the piece that this was Hirani’s most intriguing subject yet his least exploited one. As an entertainer…it is one of the best I’ve seen since Lagaan…as a film…it loses steam in the second half. And yes the Pakistani angle seemed a bit forced but I guess it fit with the overall theme of the movie.

    Also I thought Hirani can go further with the same subject in a PK sequel with either Aamir or Ranbir or both. But I guess that would turn out to be a little more similar to the Munna Bhai series. I wouldn’t rule out a sequel though.

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    • that’s actually not a bad idea.. the sequel.. having said that I think he’s losing just a bit of oxygen for this format. He perhaps needs more of a change. Having said that I am not persuaded that the Dutt biopic is the right idea.

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      • I think if he does go through with the Dutt biopic…we will find out just how diverse his directing skills are. I think Speilberg is probably the most diverse director…you can point to any genre and he has excelled in it.

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        • although he might well be able to find a similar format in this film as well.. Dutt’s always been a fun loving guy, greatly loved by everyone.. the dark bits could punctuate an other ‘light’ film. If Hirani did a true dramatic biopic here it would be a bit surprising though certainly a departure. Having said that I don’t think that Dutt’s life really warrants that sort of attention but that’s another matter.

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  12. Good review.. pretty much expected. I never expected Satyam will love the 2nd half inspite of reading comments thats he loved the movie. The 2nd half is problematic as it doesn’t add anything to the point it raises in 1st half and thats why the disappointment for me. I also mentioned about Indo-Pak angle not working but I know many of them just don’t care as long as they are entertained by some means. This time everything looked like a formula and extended scenes from LRM.

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  13. great read satyam – yeah RH didn’t explore the theme which asked for more and hirani chose to play very safe in 2nd half although i didn’t like the whole shiva-chase as it is very stale and looked out of place.

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  14. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    Satyam, I loved both the original piece, and the other long rejoinder why Hirani is not showing any bias or lack of courage in critiquing mainly Hindu religiosity. The logic is pretty obvious: 1. It is a Hindu majority country comprising Hindu-majority audience. 2. If an alien landed in India he is more likely to encounter situations pertaining to Hindu religiosity, and 3. He has dealt nominally with the problematic aspects of religiosity with Islam and Christianity ( including terrorism), so he certainly could not be holding a brief for other kinds of religiosity over Hindu religiosity. Incidentally OMG too does not look at other religions. Dealing with all religions in one film, giving them all equal space, is not aesthetically tenable. I had the same defence of Haider. The police officer does talk about innocents being killed by terrorist attacks , as also of the 2 lakh Kashmiri pandits who have been displaced and in a sens wee ‘ missing persons’ too. But giving more space to these strands does not jell with the perspective ( from the PoV of Haider) and would be equally untenable aesthetically. But the ‘ obvious’ is something which many in this forum and many outside it in present-day India, refuse to see. I think you have brought out this aspect quite well. And though 3 Idiots remains my favourite Hirani film, strange though it may sound, I also can say I don’t like any of his other films including PK any less.

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  15. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    A snapshot of overall assessment of quality and commercial performance of PK.

    PK will be the first Hindi film to net 300 cr, an all-time blockbuster and an imdb rating of 8.8 from 20,000+ voters right now. PL also has an average critics ratings of 73%, second only to Queen with 76% ( imdb: 8.5) . Other best average critics rating this year: Haider : 72% ( 8.7) , Katiyabaz: 72% ( 7.8) , Ugly : 71% ( 8.3), Filmistan: 70% ( 7.3) , Dedh Isqiya: 68% ( 7.4) , Ankho Dekhi: 68% ( 8.3), Filmistan: 64% ( 7.3). Even when looking at past years, the only films above it are: Ship of Theseus: 78% ( 8.3), The Lunchbox : 77% ( 7.8) and Shaihd : 75% ( 8.4) . As you can see all the other filsm are small films, without a Top 10 hero ( barring Haider which has Sahid) . Look at the quality of the rest of the Top 5 heroes. Jai Ho: 45% ( 5.8), Holiday: 45% ( 7.3) , Singham Returns : 52% ( 5.9), It’s Entertainment : 36% ( 4.9) , Bang Bang : 39% ( 5.5), Kick: 47% ( 5.8) , Happy New Year: 47% ( 6.1) Action Jackson: 27% ( 3.5) .

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  16. Wishing everyone here a very happy 2015. Good insightful piece. Opinion , I think is uniform on the second half. Was Sanjay Dutt’s sentencing and the change of govt the possible cause for the change in tone? I have a feeling Dutt may have had a bigger role initially and would have played Circuit here -may have made for a much more entertaining second half.

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  17. My Commentary on PK -part 1

    Finally saw PK a few days ago–have been preoccupied & the process of ‘explaining’ stuff needs time (which can be difficult) unless I get ‘inspired’.
    Amidst a sea of mediocrity and default conformism-Satyam has come up with one of his best pieces ever and a welcome change. The lack of ‘length’ shouldn’t be held against this ‘condensed’ piece by Satyam!
    Btw As usual I am against the common tendencies of ‘groupism’ & (default) favouritism & antagonism (that’s different from being ‘fans’ of ‘haters’ and so on)

    The box office of PK carries ZILCH surprise element for me and is following expected lines of this solo release in holiday season with no opposition. For eg

    satyamshot.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/pk-trailer/#comment-288230

    https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/pk-trailer/#comment-288445

    IF a ‘Well liked’ film can go on in a limitless manner of ‘trending’, there’s no reason this sort of mega release with the makers/actors involved should fall below 400 cr net domestic as I’ve maintained!

    But let’s not confuse box office with quality or any reasonable critique on the ‘film-making’ here.
    Out of the few films I’ve seen & liked from Bollywood this year–The way I approach a hirani -aamir film like PK is not the same as a Sid anands gang bang or saif’s happy ending or Imtiaz alis highway. Coming ‘down or up’ to the level of the premise and material is a key prerequisite. But just because of the assumed/presumed ‘quality’ of these projects won’t alter my overall assessment.
    As for hiranis PK–I loved and enjoyed it esp Aamirs role of PK.

    Will come to hirani and PK later (maybe) but here again Satyam shows his calibre and he raises his game from the pervasive standards.
    But even Satyam misses some key points in my honest opinion (though he is heads n shoulders above the other posts I saw about PK). But for a structured piece written after much deliberation & care one ought to have gone into more detail about the things that are actually wrong about PK!

    Btw one point -it’s not only the ‘sharper’ polemical sting but also the ‘deeper’ & ‘persistent’ one. In a way, hirani is content with the casual flirtation rather than a more substantial analysis or an ‘invasive’ interaction. But maybe it’s this skirtation and lacing with ‘humour’ that imparts the enhanced box office and universal public acceptance? But it’s more likely a case of lack of ability than a matter of choice on hiranis part and fortunately (for him) this falls on the ‘right’ side of the ‘popular tastes’ and box office front.

    Let me handle just two or three v obvious issues being discussed —

    I don’t have major issues with the ‘religious angle’ here but inspite of the “blink and u miss it” references to “other faiths”, there’s not even an attempt towards “equal opportunity-ism”. Let’s not forget that hirani is acutely aware of who all canNOT be angered for the survival of the film (& himself). C’mon let’s be real ..there’s no doubt that hirani takes the easy route soft target approach both in terms of his politics as well as the film making choices!

    The other point is the “PK is atleast better than the other junk being made” trope!!
    It’s like going gaga over a spinner who can ‘spin’ and a ‘fast bowler’ who can bowl faster than military medium!! To heck with it guys –isn’t a spinner SUPPOSED to spin the ball and a pacer SUPPOSED to smack it hard and FAST?? What’s the big deal about being just slightly better than the muck bull crap ? I felt hirani would deliver more.

    The preachiness and forced lecturing gets to you beyond a point. The sugary nice folks in the Pakistan embassy made me cringe and reminded me of the MY NAME IS KHAN ‘floods scenario’ wherein folks broke into a collective song courtesy kjo!!

    Anyhow will stop there and won’t ‘spoil’ the incredible experience and box office journey this film is currently enjoying which is certainly well deserved (more so for the lead actor than the director!).
    Hidden behind and beneath the flesh of bones of PK was a much superior product & I could sense it right from the promos. Throughout the film, I felt uncomfortable many times at the MISSED opportunities
    My psyche even made some ‘tweaks’ to iron this out
    But perhaps we should let the paying public get their ‘heavenly experience’ and ‘messages’ (along with some semi-juvenile entertainment …)

    SPOOF–
    And it takes no guesses who always takes the lead role in my spoofs lol –yours truly obviously …
    Not to ‘discourage’ Satyam (since this remains a brilliant piece) I award Satyam a role in my PK spoof –that of Sanjay dutts bhairon Singh – a role I loved (after Aamirs). Loved this track though I felt I could have easily bettered it!(not joking)

    This is a film that gave me in equal measure –enjoyment & disappointment
    Just like hiranis handling of the film in general & the class act -tharki chhokro…May elaborate on this later perhaps

    Ironically it was just like —
    Ek boond tak nahi pi thi usne, par naam tha PK..

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  18. Excellent piece Satyam. I don’t think anyone has been able to surmise the problem with PK as well as you. You’re right that PK is Hirani’s most inventive subject, and had tremendous scope. He probably didn’t explore it as much as he could have. And you’re right that there wasn’t enough plot/crisis points. Let’s take Mr India, a film that was equally fresh in theme. It had several little crisis points and it all added up towards a really epic climax. Those aspects were underwhelming in PK (the Anushka-Boman irani scenes, even the ‘wrong number’ idea’)

    The film is not a perfect 10 or even 9, but I think in terms of character (Aamir’s role), satire and imagination, I think PK is way above every other film I’ve seen in the recent past, and certainly it is Hirani’s most ambitious film .

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  19. I thought Q said he had something to say about the movie!

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  20. This is a good writeup Mr. Satyam…this year was a level playing field for everyone…Salman got his Eid, SRK got his Diwali and Aamir got his Christmas. The boxoffice results speaks for themselves. There’s no stopping for others to do a great content driven movie…its just that the directors like Farah Khan, Sajid Khan, Siddharth Anand etc doesnt fit the bill to do any thing worthwhile.

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    • very interesting and lucid piece.. Rangan is really the only Indian critic who ‘thinks’. Specially like the contrast he draws using Ghai. Also glad to find another Talaash fan! It’s possibly my favorite Aamir movie in this entire period, certainly near the top.

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  21. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    But by trying to think too hard and think too different, he misses the wood for the trees. I think he totally misses the essence of Hirani. What is this about formula? Why only Ghai? Even Manmohan Desai had his formula. The one’s where people like Ghai or Desai broke from the formula are not worth talking about, or at least that’s not what they are about. He talks about the ‘ problems’ he has with Hirani or Nolan. Now one can have problems with Dostoevsky as well- genuine problems…cliched characters and relationships ( murderer and prostitute), too didactic and preachy ( the grand inquisition.) , etc etc.But one comes to them after talking about the genius of Dostoevsky, his philosophical essence; and not before. And one can as well say Dostoevsky had a formula , Picasso had a formula, Woody Allen has a formula, The Beatles had a formula. It would be true. But that is not the most intelligent thing to say about any of these artistes.

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    • The distinction he’s drawing is between a film maker who relies on various configurations of ‘formula’ to get the job done, somehow making each repetition seem fresh within those parameters and another who does not make his format seem like formula and hence when the latter gets formulaic it ‘shows’ more. I certainly understand what he’s saying. So Desai for example traded in formula in the fullest sense of the word but one didn’t expect otherwise. Being true to a genre or a set of concerns is not at all the same as formula. For Rangan Hirani isn’t formulaic so that when he does formula it shows more. Again just expanding on Rangan, not necessarily taking a position on it except to say a) I understand it perfectly b) I don’t agree with you that it’s either all formula or nothing is.

      Like

  22. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    I can show you the formula in a Beatles album, in a Rahman album, in a Dostoevsky novel, or in a woody Allen film which is evident very clearly. A formula is nothing but a signature. With some artistes the formula or the signature may not be that prominent. But so what? If the work is interesting I would rather talk of a hundred other things than the formula. The subversiveness that the Tehelka article has pointed at for example. I can write a tome about the nature of Hirani’s humour. There is the firmula. Yes. But PK is a totally different film from 3 Idiots, as was 3 Idiots from Lage Raho Munnabhai. That is how a true auteur works. A Bergman film can be made out from miles as a Bergman film. A Frank Capra film will have the same plot device again and again. A Woody Allen film will have the same character. But if the end product is interesting, i would rather talk about that. Frankly I wouldnt have minded at all if Hirani went on making comedies all his life instead of the Sunju biopic. Do we remember Chaplin for Modern Times, The Great Dictator, and Limelight, or The Countess from Hong Kong? But yes, if the formula does not work in a piece, that is another matter.

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  23. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    A formula unique to a creator is a signature.

    Like

    • The two are completely different.. will get into this another time.

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      • I’ll expand on this now.. signature (which every artist does not have incidentally.. in the strong sense of the word) is about whatever formulation, whatever set of concerns, whatever aesthetic choices, in short whatever constitutes the ‘style’ of an artist. The writer or filmmaker or whatever might keep returning to that set of choices to configure it differently each time. A classic example here might be Ozu’s cinema where you almost always get the very same elements. The gangster films of RGV keep returning to a certain space and the director then tries to go about things a bit differently each time. This is very different from Desai’s ‘formula’. How? Because Desai essentially starts with stock elements but he proceeds to put them together in singular ways which is why his masala can never be mistaken for one of the inferior kinds that abounded all over the place in those days. At least not until he was off-peak and made some poor films. for that matter RGV himself on a weak day is formulaic with respect to his own work but the point is that the principle he starts out with is very different from the one that animates Desai’s work. This is why Desai is weakly read by many as not doing anything special. they think it’s the same masala universe one finds elsewhere. It is and it isn’t. formula is about the ‘pieces’ that make up the narrative. A good director will pick up those instantly recognizable pieces but arrange them in interesting ways. A poor director will merely put them together. One kind of film is a true narrative, the other kind isn’t. So even within formula one has to allow for these distinctions precisely because formula is a way of doing things and not an automatic category that implies a better or worse film.

        Signature on the other hand is not formulaic because it is once again about a set of elements that belong in more restricted ways to one sensibility or at the most a group that shares those basic assumptions. No one really makes films like Hirani today. I find the Hrishikesh Mukherjee model most useful in understanding him even though there are profound differences. Because there is a certain fluidity to the narratives which combined with the tonal choices of each director suggests a kind of commonality to me. But I can’t go beyond this precisely because neither one is doing formula. Whereas if it’s Desai it’s very easy for me to name a 100 directors doing formula masala and just place him at the top. But by the same token even those like Mukherjee or Hirani can in their weaker moments seem a bit formulaic. Not because they suddenly start looking for formula pieces but for the reason that they engage in a certain repetition of their signature without animating it in new ways. Scorsese makes a number of interesting films, a number of films that are alright but then there are some (and these might fall into either camp) that offer this sort of repetition. where precisely the signature is replicated without adding much to it.

        either way these are two different constellations. Doing formula does’t make a filmmaker poor by any means nor does being more individual make another one greater. In each case it’s about a spectrum and where a director might fall at either end. woody Allen again has signature though again on a weak day he might be formulaic (which once more isn’t the same as indulging in formula). So on and so forth..

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  24. My commentary on PK-part 2

    Contd from
    https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/satyams-piece-on-pk/#comment-292178

    A lot has already been said by Satyams & Rangans but will try to add what they didn’t mention (or couldn’t!)-with due respect

    There’s a sequence in PK wherein Aamir virtually PLEADS to God to help him. The EARNESTNESS & ANGST is so real n honest. THIS is COMMITTMENT to a goddamm role !!
    This coupled with the song ‘Mere Bhagwaan’ signifies what’s so strong & special about the power of cinema
    One sees an actor completely on top of the game and being complimented by perhaps one of the best singers in india sonu nigam and the best supporting team (director & script writer)

    This signified one of the PINNACLE of Mainstream Bollywood cinema. This reminded me of the best dev anand film Guide. It took dev anand an entire career to get that film and scene
    Aamir with his superb script sense and selection gets these chances much more than other actors (but this is just like u won’t get bible in a whorehouse deal–it’s not a matter of accident or luck these come to aamir repeatedly)

    But inavertently , the superfluous and ‘light/ comedic’ compulsions of hirani played spoilsport on both occasions! Why the heck did hirani get the interval after this juncture!? Humour and melancholy is a difficult mix –& hirani showed he’s v good but not that good enough to carry it off.
    At one point of time, one felt that aamir was fighting single handedly trying to safe the film. I’m being too harsh on hirani but I felt he TRIVIALISED & DILUTED the Premise
    In a way –hirani could NOT RISE to the occasion (the way the ironically ‘short’ aamir did!)

    Humour has a place and a flavour. This might get hirani universal acclaim and a boost in box office circles but denied him the possible chance of sitting with the likes of guru dutt, bimal Roy etc.

    Having said that when u have so many people liking something, I have a tendency to respect the majority –so the above is my personal opinion…(& this is all relative)

    Some individual cases/commentators–the few I could register and skimmed thru (others were meh–I don’t care bout sidekicks et al anyways!)

    @ utkal uncle–it’s a bit strange to see u deteriorating like this like other fanboys/girls. Where are ur original views boss? Why is your ‘brilliance’ becoming dependent to seeing skin and legs ?
    U r joining the likes of cases like “aamirsfan” & “myself aamir” and other ‘worshippers’ like this posting celebratory links

    @ jayshah-Not to mention those like “jayshah” who seems to have become the ‘personal chartered accountant’ of aamir khan (albeit in an unpaid & unrecognised capacity) keeping a track of when aamir is joining which club, which film and such minutiae..wth

    @sandyi–there’s a brilliant writer and commentator within u provided u get ‘braver’ and less politically correct & less ‘just’
    Ditto for “Satyam –life’s not ‘just’

    @ Rangan -It’s uncanny n reassuring to see Rangan shedding his ‘bad habits’ just like he talked about the bad habits of Nolan & hirani. Be it fanny, or interstellar, Rangan has been coming around my viewpoint slowly.
    So much so that just like me, Rangan has started talking about the desire of filming a scene in a certain way–as I said these are ‘stages’ –he’s on his way & this maybe coincidental since don’t think Rangan will be readin my comments

    This is a ‘disease’ I’ve got now wherein the (superior) film maker within myself cringes seeing cinematic ‘mistakes’ (lol) and the ‘correction’ keeps irritating oneself –anyhow..let me stop there before i strip everyone …

    Hai suna ye poori dharti tu chalata hai
    Meri bhi sun le araj mujhe ghar bulata hai

    Like

    • Just love this song, its words, the sequence…can’t understand how people find this film anti- Hindu and all. At points it is so spiritual and sublime( folowed by humour).

      Like

  25. When one agrees wholeheartedly writeups seem excellent.
    This is excellent satyam 🙂
    Jokes aside it is really well written. Personally I really had no problems with the film.

    In the west christianity is bashed thoroughly not hinduism, being the majority religion.

    Did anyone notice that Anushka had a very Barkha Duttish hair style? Was she the inspiration behind Anushkas character?
    LOL

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  26. Don’t have any objections to the movie as such. It is kali yuga and dharma is on one leg. Godmen (in any religion, in any country) are just symtoms. A good (Hirani) movie would have been not so much on symptom but the cause. Instead of making a movie on malaria, it would be more effective to make movie on dirty dumps, drug/pharm companies refusal to make vaccine as it affects mostly the poor who cannot afford drugs etc.
    I think it was cheeky of Hirani to include Sri Sri in the beginning of the movie after having ‘used’ Sri Sri’s google hangout for research for his movie 😉

    Like

  27. My commentary on PK-part 3

    Contd from
    https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/satyams-piece-on-pk/#comment-292567

    The other point is the adherence & emphasis on certain ‘principles’ & absence of ‘opportunism’
    Hirani/vvc could’ve got anybody but don’t leave Sanjay dutt from the project
    And nor does hirani leave his mentor vvc and try to create his own team

    The contribution of VVC in this team has always been underestimated imo
    The guy giving a break to the like of bhansali to hirani of vidya balan to SEL can’t be underestimated
    Heck even the likes of 3I sidekicks like sharman & madhawans solo projects have been backed

    The other unexpected surprise was PKs music–
    I feel this is the BEST ever in a hirani film

    It’s a matter of destiny that the out- of-work and out of circulation sonu nigam was called back to give two crucial songs -bhaste of time & mere Bhagwan
    And a little known (for Bollywood) singer was used to give perhaps one of the best songs of recent years–tharki chhokro

    It was a pleasurable sight to see PK himself breaking into the dance steps towards the end of tharki chhokro …(& aamir did that brilliantly)

    Ps:SPOOF news–
    btw two more additions to the spoof cast–who totally fit the role

    The socalled wannabe THEKEDAARs of box office & other crap

    For the role of the thug who stole PKs locket –Jayshah
    For saurabh shuklas role–rajen
    Congrats to these chaps-enjoy

    Arey na to kisi se lena-dena
    Na koi sar pe udhaar…

    Like

  28. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    Jai Arjun on PK

    “My problem wasn’t with the implausibility or lack of “realism”: the nitpicking questions like “how could they do all this on a Live show, shifting the cameras to Jaggu and bringing her romantic past into it?” Because it’s understood that the film is now in a symbolic, courtroom-like space where everyone gets involved, positions and counter-positions are furiously debated, and souls may be at stake. (Of all things, the framework reminded me of the climactic scene – the trial in Heaven – in Powell-Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death.) But the sequence is astonishingly static, has no regard for storytelling economy – there are far too many flashbacks and reaction shots – and invests too much time and dramatic energy in the supposed suspense around what really happened when Jaggu and her boyfriend were supposed to get married. Watching it, I keep wondering how an overwritten, over-performed scene like this even made it out of the editing room in this form, at a level where people like Hirani, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and “Mr Perfectionist” himself were involved. How could no one notice that the scene was sucking the life out of the movie? Even knowing that the film was trying to simplify a delicate subject for a mass audience (with the Parikshit Sahni character being a stand-in for the gullible Godman-junkie whose eyes need to be prised open), it could have been so much sharper. ”

    http://jaiarjun.blogspot.in/

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    • This is a strong excerpt that I pretty much agree with completely. Found the climax clunky and inert. Actually Singh’s whole piece on PK is pretty useful, for both the Bawarchi reference and as an uncommonly fair (and interesting) critique on Aamir.

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      • I am sorry but don’t think this has ANYTHING in common with Bawarchi.
        The end sequence was somewhat pedestrian, I agree but was just a matter of bringing things to an end,
        Tying up loose ends and not ruffling anymore feathers. Wasn’t particularly bold but didn’t bother me as much.
        Once, it was clear what the boundaries that the wriiters/ director had established for themselves ( and this was evident very early in the movie and actually should have been evident before stepping in to the cinema hall given Hirani’s history) , all that was there for me was to enjoy Hirani’s fantastic story telling and Aamir’s bravura performance.

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        • I think the link made there between Bawarchi and PK is interesting, but wouldn’t take the comparison too far.

          Honestly it wasn’t ballsiness that I thought was lacking in that last scene, just found it graceless and a bit stale. My main problem with PK is really more about how much less of a solid script it is compared to Hirani’s previous efforts, especially the Munnabhai films. Simply didn’t find this one nearly as funny or well-constructed.

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          • I heard a rumor that Sanjay Dutt’s character had to be abruptly written out because of his jail sentence; don’t know if that is true, but there is a rushed quality to his exit — when he first makes his appearance one gets the impression he is going to play a major role here. Perhaps he originally had a part to play in the finale…

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          • Interesting. He’d certainly have added some bounce to that scene. Although it might have played out exactly like the climax of LRM where Shukla was again the conman-godman.

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    • “My problem wasn’t with the implausibility or lack of “realism”

      Then why complain?

      The film has an unreal beginning and unreal ending. The thing that got eyeballs was the in between incidents and commentaries.

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      • In some ways, PK is an extremely safe film to criticize. I don’t mean GF as I know how much of a Hirani admirer he is. But for critics and some Aamir haters, it is really a great plum picking.

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        • I am referring to Jai Arjun. His arguments are shaky because of his first sentence.

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          • Sanjana, could you clarify what you found shaky in that argument? In the excerpt quoted here, I clearly said that 1) I wasn’t objecting to the allegorical nature of the scene (or the film as a whole, for that matter) and 2) I found the scene pedestrian and amateurish – the unnecessary stretching out of details like “what really happened on the wedding day”, the tedious reaction shots. The argument was far more about form than about content in this case.

            The film having an “unreal beginning” and an “unreal ending” (I assume you mean that an alien showing up with his remote control is “unrealistic”) has nothing to do with my issues with the TV-show sequence.

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          • Surprised that you have noticed my comment.
            I feel the film itself is like a fairy tale and somewhat larger than life.With the exception of certain incidents. A film like 3 Idiots deserve this type of analysing, not PK in which a journalist lives in such a posh apartment and a journalist who acts like a kid than a responsible journalist. Her decision to get intimate, her decision to marry, her decision to run away without waiting etc. etc. A very fairytale thing.

            My 2 cents.
            Hirani tried to tell 2 stories. That hindu godmen are generally fraudulent and Pakistanis and muslims are trustworthy. Though I dont have a problem with it, I feel it was unwise to bring these two stories together which is rather provocative in these troubled times. Hirani unwittingly threw Aamir Khan to the wolves and lions which I will not forgive him for.

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          • Sanjana: noticed your comment because there was a trackback link (since my blog had been linked to). You still haven’t got what I was trying to say – that I was talking about the FORM of that scene, the poor filmmaking and so on, not getting into the larger issues. And I very clearly spelled out that I did not have a problem with the issues of logic, sjuch as “How can they do all this on Live TV?” I love fairytales, and fantasy, and science-fiction, and all kinds of “non-realistic” things, but that is beside the point here.
            Anyway, if this is going to turn into a “poor Aamir” discussion, I’ll gracefully bow out now.

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          • Poor little rich aamir! Haha!

            Thats not the main issue. I am coming to it.

            The studio scene where every thing is explained rather clumsily.
            I think the director wanted to keep the so called suspense element and thats why he crammed so much into one scene. Going back and forth. I agree that scene was a bit too long with so many things coming together and that expected whistling by the father. A conflict between logic and dramatics! But I enjoyed it as I was relieved that the heroine ended up with Sarfaraj instead of that alien. Imagine if the alien took her to his planet and if she was forced to follow their dress code!

            I respect your insight and I understand what you wanted to say.

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      • One of the things with the PK reception is that two different kinds of criticism have been jumbled up:

        1)the film makes fun of religion but it really only focuses on the ‘Hindu’ sign.

        2)make a film on Muslims or christians and then we’ll see how much people laugh!

        These are two different claims not necessarily connected. Of course note how this fantasy structure keeps popping up. In psychoanalytic terms it’s the other who enjoys all those things that one cannot. ‘The Muslim can have multiple wives, why not us?’! The arguments are structured around fairness but again it’s this fantasy that’s operative in a certain sense. In terms of the debate over censorship and PK and so on there’s an analogy. I was noticing on TV how the responses by many on the Right to the Paris incident were actually far more measured than to PK! It’s crazy but true. How is this possible? Suddenly with the Paris attacks even some govt hawks were trying to speak a much more nuanced language. With PK on the other hand everything is black and white. Here again the fantasy. one secretly admires the others who can get his (or her) films easily censored, who kills people at the drop of a hat when offended in the same religious terms, so on and so forth. One secretly longs for that kind of ‘freedom’. Now it’s true that typically sensitivities tend to be greater when it’s a question of minorities. This is not in itself exceptional. In the US your career can be ended if you say the wrong thing about Jewish people or blacks or women. No such risk if you say the same about white Christian men! Now as a matter of fact I think it’s wrong to pander to the minorities in these matters but the point is that those upset about it aren’t for greater liberty! They just want ‘Muslim’ privileges! And this is where the entire objection collapses (and we see for example with all the pressures applied on certain books and the publishers concerned.. no one wants more democracy here.. they just want more authoritarianism). You cannot be for a certain value conditionally. Similarly with PK if you’re offended by religious satire you shouldn’t add that ‘they would never show the Muslims this way’. Is one ok if they did? Similarly to the extent that Islamists in various contexts around the world tend to terrorize people who write certain kinds of books or draw cartoons or whatever and create this psychosis of fear does not mean that should try and emulate the example. ‘See they kill people while we just vandalize theaters and they’re [read: vast conspiracy of liberal Hindus, minorities] still so mean to us’!

        Of course who is even offended by PK except for some shrieking minorities (within the majority)? Presumably a film that offended the vast majority of Hindus wouldn’t be racing to 350 crores?! But again it is true that even people who are not offended by PK might have a problem with say that film in Kerala (on Christians) being held up for two years. Or might be sympathetic to the idea that there are double standards. And there of course are sometimes. But again not uniquely to India (consider all the affirmative action debates in the US) and even if one concedes the point one must be certain about the honesty of the objection. Which I’m not in most cases and for many of the reasons I’ve pointed out in this comment and in the earlier one elsewhere today.

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        • Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, is defending his decision not to reprint any Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting Mohammad with an argument that might confuse Times readers. Today he told Politico: “We don’t run things that are designed to gratuitously offend.”

          This dictum is confusing because it’s false: On many occasions the paper of record has printed images that are “designed to gratuitously offend.” Here are 7 examples; there are surely more.

          http://gawker.com/7-offensive-images-the-new-york-times-wasn-t-afraid-to-1678338658

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        • “They just want ‘Muslim’ privileges! And this is where the entire objection collapses (and we see for example with all the pressures applied on certain books and the publishers concerned.. no one wants more democracy here.. they just want more authoritarianism).”

          Bang on! This is exactly the hypocrisy/dishonesty of the Hindutva pathology. The BJP/VHP/RSS, etc. types are forever extolling/contrasting the supposedly adaptive, inclusive, undogmatic nature of Hinduism with the prescriptive and exclusionary Abrahamic religions while simultaneously and relentlessly working to convert Hinduism to the Abrahamic model! I’ve always thought that the people who should object the most to the aims and tactics of the Hindutva brigade would be Hindus. I know I do.

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          • that’s an excellent comment Shalini. agreed completely. and clearly enough many do! People dislike it when I keep bringing it up but the vast majority of Hindus did not vote for the Hindutva crowd the last time around in this great ‘wave’ election. Even taking into the past patterns of great victories in the Lok Sabha where no one got much more than 55%-60% on even the most historic occasions this ‘wave’ was still a very long way off from that. And we see of course in the box office collections of PK how most people simply don’t have a problem with this. Yes if a similar film were made on Muslim religiosity a lot more people within the same social classes would have an issue with it. This is of course because of the very different notions of religion in each case and what is deemed legitimate or otherwise. But nonetheless the majority ‘Hindu’ response when it comes to PK is something to be celebrated. One should hardly get jealous about greater intolerance in these matters elsewhere! Even as a larger matter we can criticize the intolerance of others but we shouldn’t use it to excuse our own.

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          • So much hatred Shalini.

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          • Bang On—- so Shalini and Satyam -expect , support and hope that Hindus should like before should get get” Banged ON” and put their other cheek to Bang On…. wow what logic !!
            India and Hindus badal rahe hain……..Commies achici tarah samajh lein yeh baat !!!

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          • let’s ‘read’ both logics..

            1)I am saying everyone should be more tolerant, less violent and so forth. If there are certain groups that are closer to this model for whatever historical reasons, or at least so in the present, they should adhere to these models and hope for a better day when others are also this way.

            2)You are saying that the more tolerant group should suddenly become intolerant like the ones it opposes and then once it has reacted to violence with a similar kind of violence, then it can suddenly go back to being peaceful and tolerant.

            What’s the greater fantasy here?! But hey have it your way. I am pretty confident I know how these histories end (and badly) in every single context. One simply becomes what one pretends to despise. Which has always been the aim all along.

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          • I am atleast not suggesting to be intolerant – but be watchful…what’s wrong in that !!
            specially when left loonies ( latest being Shalini ) try their best to club/ compare protests against PK with the Terror attacks in Paris …

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          • Vandalizing theaters is a rather ‘special’ form of protest I would think… and one doesn’t have to rise to the monstrous levels of the Paris attacks to indulge in the unacceptable. I’d say more on all this but I don’t want another thread monopolized by a political debate. I’d just say this — one has no standing to object to the excesses of others, none whatsoever, irrespective of the excuse provided, if one is going to condone all sorts of excesses on one’s side or be blind to them.

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          • PK earning most shouldn’t be used as yard stick(it gives a hint). In any case the most any movie is seen by 2-3 crore people which constitutes less than 3%.

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          • true.. but inasmuch as that movie’s audience represents a sample of the larger population the ‘majority’ of this sample doesn’t seem to be offended. And as you know this is an audience from all parts of the country, every kind of multiplex audience in very part of the country and a fair bit in other centers too. Otherwise even in the politics sense you only get half the nation or something like that voting. More than 1 bn people never vote.

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  29. Many missed some good arguments put forth by the godman. Like the hypocrisy of governments and how elected governments play double games. How godmen are doing what a shrink does. Offering solace and comfort. How the alien misses these things and concentrates on exposing only godmen.
    Hirani’s own double standards in taking the help of a good godman(Shri shri Ravi Shankar) to expose other godmen.
    Who is Hirani to decide who is good godman and who is bad godman? If godmen come between man and god, why favour some godmen at all?

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    • Excellent observation Sanjana(quite easily my fav on SS). Infact…we need to put a post of this and make all of us to comment. Hirani clearly missed out an important opportunity here, something which OMG touched upon but again could have completed the arc…but defenitely did far better than PK.

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  30. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    Sanjana:
    1. Why do you think anyone missed the good points put forth by the godman? Hirani put them forward through the godman so you can get them. The godman also asked if not this form of god, then what? That is something for the viewers to think about.
    2. The shrink does what he says he does. There is nothing to expose..unlike the godmen.
    3. Ravishankar does not claim to be a godman, nor do his followers.
    4. Obviously there are good spiritual leaders and fake or fraudulent or incompetent spiritual leaders. There is a difference between Raman Maharishi and Dalai Lama and Nityananda and Asharam.
    5. Who is Hirani to tell who is a good godman and who is a bad godman.? It is his film. He decides what he wants to say, how he wants to say.

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    • My point is that Hirani could have shown a good godman so that people could distinguish how each work. A confrontation between a good godman and a fake one.

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  31. Satyam (and others )who are very quick to pounce on certain “Excellent comments” conveniently ignore this gem and the follow-ups to it-

    sanjana Says:

    January 8, 2015 at 9:36 AM

    Aamir acted in Sarfarosh too in which he openly criticised Pakistan and the villain was a pakistani. And he acted as Mangal Pandey, the epitome of patriotism.

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    • Yes Rocky I can’t be like you and appreciate all kinds of comments..! Or be like you and represent all kinds of opinion when I put up links here!

      Jokes aside I like Sarfarosh a lot, saw it in the theater twice at the time. But no I don’t find it necessary to respond to every single comment. Whether I agree or disagree. since I have nothing to prove! But yes Aamir has maintained a certain consistency in terms of the kind of ‘nationalist’ he’s been. From Sarfarosh to PK I think it’s clear where he stands! I don’t see a contradiction anywhere. Sarfarosh and MP come out of the same space.

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  32. The attacks proved the power of satire and they proved its risks. They also are revealing, through the responses of millions, a global commitment to free expression. The global outcry of support– “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie) — may well be the best way to attack the mind-set of those who use bullets to disagree with artists.

    Sophia A. McClennen is Professor of International Affairs and Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University. She writes on the intersections between culture, politics, and society. Her latest book, co-authored with Remy M. Maisel, is, Is Satire Saving Our Nation? Mockery and American Politics.

    http://www.salon.com/2015/01/09/theyll_come_for_jon_stewart_next_why_satirists_always_threaten_fundamentalists/

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  33. Utkal Mohanty Says:

    Sanjana: “My point is that Hirani could have shown a good godman so that people could distinguish how each work. A confrontation between a good godman and a fake one.” That would have been soooo boring, schoolboyish, and predictable. Thank God, Hirani si not like that. One of the big reason I enjoy his films is because though in the Hrishikesh Mukherjee mode, he is not a a goody=goody politically correct schoolboy like Mukherjee. Hirani is fun because he is more whimsical and adventurous. He takes risks.

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    • It’s a bit much to dismiss Mukherjee as a “politically correct schoolboy”; he had a subtle edge to him as is evident from films like Bawarchi, chupke chupke and others…

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      • Mukherjee had more than a subversive edge though it was always gently embedded in his films. In his very best moments Hirani is also the same kind of sensibility and we see it in some of the PK moments too. The Malayalam comedies of the 80s in this vein often took Mukherjee further.

        Bawarchi incidentally is I think one of the weaker Mukherjee films though I’ve heard great things about the Bengali original here.

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    • I enjoy Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films anyday. They are little simple but sparkling gems. While Hirani’s films are more complicated and more thought provoking. I think he spends lots of time on his scripts. Their films are definitely not one time watch. One can watch them any number of times. Hrishikesh Mukherjee could not have handled a 3 Idiots or a PK.

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      • I wouldn’t compare Hirani with Mukherjee in any more direct sense. The latter is vastly superior. At least based on Hirani’s work so far. Fine as Hirani often is he could be truly great if he pushed himself more in certain directions.

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  34. ya but talk of town is fudged box office collection of this money and how black money is being converted to white…..

    http://www.financialexpress.com/article/lifestyle/showbiz/aamir-khans-pk-box-office-collections-hit-rs-300-cr-were-they-powered-by-ghosts/26495/#.VKyvyJ8F41s.twitter

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  35. https://twitter.com/hashtag/PKMystery?src=hash

    a pic aamir won’t be proud of

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  36. Like

    • yeah Swamy has begun this campaign against PK and Aamir. for people like yourself. Lotsa luck! Wake me up when something happens.

      I was not convinced by the religious angle earlier on but the Right has unfortunately introduced Aamir’s identity into the equation. This whole ‘terrorist financing’ stuff is an obvious dog whistle. Disgusting but par for the course for someone like Swamy and those who follow him.

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      • Swamy Sathiya (lack of better word) gaya hai. All because the movie is perceived to be anti-Hindu. Aamir Hajj picture, CBFC members objection and what not is dug out for confirmation bias.
        I would also say that the movie with Muslim background (instead of Hindu background) would have invited more threats compared to now. But all this brouhaha is unnecessary if you see the intention of filmmakers (unlike say Deepa Mehta who deliberately chose Sita and Radha as lesbian which is based on Urdu novel).

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    • Rockstar when Amit Shah can be cornered into endorsing the book of that moron Rajdeep, kuch bhee ho sakta hai,
      This is same logic which Keju was applying to say about Modi and Ambani- kee sab miley hue hain !! then all of us had ridiculed him for that !!!

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      • got your point rocky but ya mr aamir is forever ready to take autograph and take blessing from same person its not me but pakistani media said that..chalo chod diya

        btw isn’t ambani one of producer here to and so called right opposing it..to kaisi setting

        http://www.dnaindia.com/entertainment/report-reliance-industries-limited-buys-58000-tickets-of-aamir-khan-s-pk-2045359

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        • So the Pakistani media is your authority now?

          on the rest.. whatever!

          I have nothing more to add to everything I’ve already said. But yeah in a galaxy far far away maybe PK isn’t doing superbly but here on this earth and from India to the US I’m afraid there’s no such luck for folks like yourself. This is my last word on this.

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          • its not authority but never denied as well

            why it should be luck to me or to you as well …people will curiously watch to where money are going

            what is your authority btw..

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          • coolguy3318 Says:

            I watched in a housefull theatre with family. In fact really struggled for tickets. And later parking because of which I was 15 mins late 😦

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          • coolguy3318 Says:

            But that was first week of course.

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          • I watched it on 2nd January and 5th January and it was housefull in Mysore. Can’t imagine empty houses. There are evil forces at work in India these days who can make noise about any news they want to make and spread, and hide any news they want.

            I’m not an Amir Fan but this is all nonsense.

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          • Photoshopping is a great weapon being used by these evil forces.

            Like

          • The heading of the piece of news is;
            चुनाव में बीजेपी के साथ काम कर चुका है संदिग्ध आतंकवादी!

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          • so was it verified…. india has intelligence and security agencies and time and again they choked out real evil elements badly

            its a news published by indian,pakistani and gulf media…as much for loose canon wnen aamir himself won’t deny

            quie funny

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          • coolguy3318 Says:

            Like that most stars once had pix with that famous don who is in Pak now hiding. Many times people come and request pics with stars. For them they are just fans. And still not sure if its true anyways. Photoshop.. who knows.

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          • I believe the Afridi photo is from when Aamir took his mother (unaccompanied women aren’t allowed, hence Aamir went with his mother) to the Hajj pilgrimage — half the world is at those! The notion that this kind of shot shows anything nefarious is the height of paranoia. [The notion that Aamir is shilling for terrorists is so absurd as to be laughable! Sad that we have come to such a pass that this needs to be said.]

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          • There is uniformality between every major source. It’s highly unlikely in such a scenario that something fishing is going on. One cannot categorically say the numbers are fine…that is the case with every film. But most of the biggies today have had a large spread…eg. bang bang between 140-180 cr or Krrish 175-240 crore odd or Chennai Express or Happy New Year or Kick. PK ‘s spread is 319-321 crore!
            This is all noise but it’s par the course. One chooses to believe it or not. A person working with their eyes can see the reviews, the feedback and go to the cinema to see how many shows the film has in week 4.

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          • Jayshah: in the real world out here in Bombay, no-one seems to be reacting to PK as anything other than a colossal hit — including in the vast majority of media coverage. There’s really no other story here — but those who believe the film has offended tons of people obviously need to explain the fact that the film has made money hand over fist and that the public has liked it; hence the notion that “it is all a scam”. You NEED that notion, else one is in the uncomfortable position of having to explain how come a film that is supposedly offensive to Hindus is being loved by a primarily Hindu audience — the uncomfortable position, that is, of being a distinct ideological minority. It’s not the first time this move has been made, nor is this the first group to do so, of course — but that doesn’t help credibility…

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          • coolguy3318 Says:

            Pata nahin Aamir ne kiska kya bigada hai jo uspe har movie je baad log tooth padte hain jaise paida hi ye kaam ke liye hue hain. Competition not able to catch up?? Hatred being spread by fans and well wishers of competition. Instead of using time, money and energy on such wasteful things if anyone can just come up with a good movie and that is discussed then life will be so much better.
            I mean if srk/sallu/anyone did lagaan, sarfarosh, RDB, 3i, TZP, PK we will be their fans too. Why do we have to watch crap and fight on who collected more. Just bring in some quality entertainment guys.

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        • “that the public has liked it; hence the notion that “it is all a scam”.”

          I am not saying that it is not hit or big hit. All I am saying is that final number could be wee bit fudged. Not just by pk but other movies like HNY, Kick etc too.
          Somehow I refuse to believe these all are harishchandra ki aulad! If they increased ticket prices for pk, then kuch bhi ho sakta hai.

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          • Re: “All I am saying is that final number could be wee bit fudged. Not just by pk but other movies like HNY, Kick etc too.”

            That I don’t disagree with. [Aside: in recent times I felt the biggest scam was pulled for Krrish3, and in prior years, for SRK films, where the likes of BOI would inflate the totals and later on quietly dial them back.]

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        • Reliance is not involved in distribution or production of this movie.

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    • I don’t think that guy is terrorist. He is a Muslim Godman.

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      • fake godman or real one?
        ROFLOL

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        • AamirsFan Says:

          who knows today…personally I wouldn’t “follow” anyone who is on TV or even on social media. but yeah i don’t think there has been any “terrorist” link up to him unless one believes any Pakistani is a terrorist…then that’s whole other story.

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  37. satyam i have always said to you try to learn…

    ts not by swamy but a famous pic on net by a user further this guy jamil was criticised by even zakir naik in india and liberal pakistanis on various front

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  38. My commentary on PK- part 4

    Contd from above this link
    https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/satyams-piece-on-pk/#comment-292907

    The other interesting points about PK were-

    The subtle ‘HANDOVER’

    In the Sanjay dutt in a way ‘hands over’ the best franchise/team of his career to Aamir in ‘Tharki chhokro’
    And in a way aamir (after milking it in three idiots and PK) hands over this team to Ranbir towards the end

    The MISSED OPPORTUNITIES & EASY TARGETS/choices characterise the entire film but perhaps that’s what makes it more ‘accessible’ to the ‘masses’as well as the (pseudo) intellectual gushing over this flick

    The BARKHA DUTT HAIRSTYLE
    has been ripped apart by many heroines playing a journalist be it preity zinta in Lakshya or Anushka Sharma here. Don’t think anybody picked this up.
    In the latter, the significance seems deeper and though I don’t know the background, affairs and marital details of barkha dutt, I won’t be suprised if barkha dutt also has similar ‘history’ –maybe someone can confirm & enlighten ..

    The folkish vocals and music track ‘tharki chhokro’ drenched amidst centuries of tradition remained one of the highlights. Loved it when PK himself broke into those traditional steps towards the end..

    Achha hai jo kho gayi yaadein
    Jhagda na takraar..
    Arey na to kisi se lena-dena
    Na koi sar pe udhaar

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  39. no lot of people have notice it especially anushka’s character

    barkha’s third husband is haseeb drabu the man who once drafted charter for kashmir’s freedom and separatist

    Like

    • Re: “barkha’s third husband is haseeb drabu the man who once drafted charter for kashmir’s freedom and separatist…”

      Even if true, so what? Tavleen Singh (who supports the BJP) had a child with the late Pakistani politician Salman Taseer, but why should that lead one to insinuate anything about her (or his) views?

      Like

      • Hmm so I was right about barkha dutt!
        Btw for a person in the forefront of mainstream journalism surprisingly little is known about her personal live(s)..
        Which again is not a problem in a normal scenario… Just that in the situation of ‘privilege’ & ‘access’ & inherent ‘influence’ that journalists like her can attain, it maybe of more than academic interest (perhaps)
        we r talking about someone who is apparently known to take sides in a debate even when she should be a ‘neutral moderator’..
        Btw can anyone shed light on her first two ‘marriages’ -jus a bit curious now ..

        Like

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