MASALA FILMS: SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS WHILE WATCHING KARMA

(While watching Karma  – a Hindi blockbuster movie by Subhash Ghai, starring Dilip Kumar, Nutan, Anil Kapoor, Naseeruddin Shah, Jackie Shroff, Anupam Kher, Sridevi and Poonam Dhillon)

Some of the Hindi blockbuster movies made by some of the biggest names in the industry – the A-league directors – and starring some of the biggest actors – contradict the ‘fact’ that cinema is a serious communication tool – though indeed it is.

It is, in fact, the most serious communication tool for ‘soft power’ projections, exploited exceedingly well by the United States of America.

We may not know what is Scotland Yard or RAW but we certainly know what is FBI or what is CIA. Even Israel has done well on that front. People the world over know what is Mossad. We may not know ISRO or ESA but we certainly know what is NASA.

Anyway, ‘masala’ is a tried and tasted genre of filmmaking in India – a melodrama of action, comedy and romance. Here, with this genre, that is an unspoken norm in films across India, filmmakers aim for an entertainment product that can give them handsome return. In doing so, they try to stuff every ‘hit’ formula in products (films), irrespective of the elements of logic, to pull the cinema-goers.

A big production house, a famed director, the ivy-league actors, a good music and now a days, an efficient marketing – any of these elements or a combination of these elements can ensure handsome return for a ‘masala’ movie – even if the elements of logic are largely or completely ignored.

A holistic treatment for a ‘masala’ movie, something that we see in the cult Hindi hit Sholay, is not found in most of the films. And that is the case with this movie also.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

TEAM PK THANKS VOLUNTEERS OF HINDU OUTFITS FOR THEIR TIMELY SUPPORT

Though it was a tough day, with important news developments like the court decision on discharge plea of Amit Shah, BJP’s national president, Narendra Modi’s Number 2, second most powerful figure of the political establishment running India now, from charges in Sohrabuddin and Tulsi Prajapati fake encounters; the ongoing India-Australia test match; and the ongoing developments in missing AirAsia flight incident, that was bound to take the airwaves time away, the team behind PK, the movie, expressed its gratitude to the round of much needed publicity that accrued to it in past few days.

Their spirit of recognizing self-motivated and selfless efforts remained undaunted, when, in the end, even the reduced coverage that was expected, didn’t come after the shocking news of unexpected resignation’ of Mahendra Singh Dhoni from test cricket swept the agenda of the day.

The Team PK sent praising notes of their heartfelt thanks to the top leadership and members of outfits like Hindu Yuva Vahini, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Mahasabha and many others who have been working relentlessly making outreach of PK even wider, when the movie was fading in appeal. Also, the team has sent specially packaged messages to express its feelings to Ramdev and Subramanian Swamy, the two stalwarts of the pack.

After all, because of their efforts, the movie is again in news, is registering more footfalls and is headed for more views.

Though PK, the movie, was an ‘inspired’ production with less of original elements, including the idea, the narrative was developed well around a subject of mass-importance and thus mass-appeal – religion and its quirky and ostentatious elements – and the Team PK hoped to cash on Aamir Khan’s star-power, Rajkumar Hirani’s track-record and a well-crafted marketing strategy to enter the big league, the super-blockbuster league of Indian Cinema, with earning ranging in hundreds of crores.

It worked well, initially, with the star-power, the narrative and the hype keeping the cash stacking up. But, being not the first time, with ample gyaan and slow pace in the 2nd half, it soon became clear that the narrative was not expected to get to the ‘super-blockbuster’ status – until the push to its 2nd life arrived.

As expected, after the days of hype and marketing influence were over, the cash inflow started flattening out and was well on the way to get into the stagnation zone.

And then, it happened. The 2nd life arrived, and in style, keeping the nation and the audiences hooked to the TV screens with intensely debated discourses on the movie.

The Good Samaritans, from the evergreen, overworking Hindu fundamentalist outfits, jumped in the fray, carefully picking elements from the movie to enlighten the nation, pushing more to watch the movie, to know about the elements they were highlighting. There are even the sort of viewers who had watched it earlier but are going to watch it again as they could not notice the element(s) in the context these ‘Good Samaritan publicists’ are presenting.

And there could not be a better timing. It is perfectly opportune, maximizing the resource utilization.

After all, had it coincided with the release, it would have wasted the resources used in marketing and promotion of the movie. Coming after the days that could be attributed to the ‘influence of marketers’, the well crafted, coordinated and increasingly synchronized move is a brilliant exercise in exercising the Public Relations tools.

After the first wave lost its appeal, fully exhausting its capacity levels, the second wave, that was voluntary in nature and had no official access and took time to research and study the finer elements of the PK content to be used as the central themes of their campaigns, had found the opportunity to chip in and they did it with full commitment, and too, without informing the production house and commercial stakeholders of the movie. Such exemplary selflessness is rare and is to be given due notice as has been happening.

Now, it is certainly debatable that how much the movie has earned so far, with differing figures putting the movie in different leagues – from Rs. 200 crore to over Rs. 400 crore clubs (hyped up box-office collections, that is again an increasingly used brilliant film marketing tool) – but it is clearly visible that its cash-pile is adding more stacks now, and at a handsome pace.

And the team that has produced a sensible cinema in PK, the movie, cannot be expected to act insensibly, by not saying thanks to these altruistic well-wishers.

And it also came with perfect timing. The ‘tomorrow’ could not have been better than the ‘today’ to say thanks as it was a frustrating day for the volunteers with Dhoni’s resignation stealing the show and the airwaves even if they worked harder and launched the campaign in many other cities.

The words of recognition, appreciation and gratitude by the Team PK will certainly lift their mood and morale up from today’s frustration and would recharge them for a more action-packed tomorrow.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey –https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHEN STEVEN SPIELBERG SOUGHT TO MEET ORSON WELLES

Steven Spielberg requested Orson Welles for an appointment.

Steven claimed to have solved the Rosebud riddle and wanted to share his finding (read discovery) personally with Welles.

Though unimpressed given the poor quality of understanding and research on Rosebud, Welles agreed to meet Steven given the latter’s commanding stature in world cinema and his proven mastery over the art of visual language, something that Welles was a sort of school of.

But….there was a catch.

Welles put a condition that Steven had to take the Stairway of Led Zeppelin only to reach Heaven.

Though never met or communicated, Steven had started getting some firsthand sense on what sort of a person Welles would have been during his trip to Earth that gave the world probably the best critically acclaimed movie ever made.

Though it was going to delay Steven’s trip to Heaven and so his much awaited brainteaser meeting with Welles, he took it positively.

Steven had always been a fighter, ever since he produced his first work with a handheld camera in his early teens.

His spirit to reveal the answer to one of the least understood n most frustrating riddles, weaved from the thread of the visual language of cinema, to its inventor only got more refined with the pre-condition, another riddle his way he needed to find the answer of that would lead to the path taking him to Welles.

And Steven was there, right on the job, working on to find if the Led Zeppelin folks had really bought the Stairway to Heaven (through her).

The quest is on….as Extant it was….

#OrsonWelles, #StevenSpielberg, #LedZeppelin, #StairwayToHeaven, #Rosebud

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/