Sunday, October 19, 2008

'Hello', a review

Ok, I will start from the beginning. I clapped when Chetan Bhagat's name was the first on screen. The kid was scandalized and he tried to stop me. (I am going to have to send him to the Film Institute to learn to yell in a theater.) How nice, I thought, finally a writer gets his due.
And there the happiness ended.

Why is it always so painful, right from Gone with the wind, to Bridgett Jones Diary, to watch a film and have the story constantly conflicting with the audio visuals? Why cant I let go ? Or, why doesn't the book let go? In fact, it is the film maker inside who has a strong sense of good and bad. Who is alive, and kicking. So, good, kick away ma'am.

The book, One night at a call center, (on which this film is based), starts with Chetan himself, a successful writer who meets a beautiful woman on a train journey from Ahmedabad to New Delhi (or was it Mumbai?) and she tells him the entire story. Train, night journey, writer, meeting a stranger, all very cinematic, very romantic elements. All squashed.

Writer is a rock star, or is he a film star, or is he a film maker? Its Salman Khan, coming off a helicopter, and taking off his shirt (not again!) for the party number. And the meeting happens in front of a helicopter showroom, with four bodyguards guarding the hero. Dhat teri, Chetan! You wrote this script?

The rest of the film was okay, but my heart was elsewhere. My heart was in black and white cinema, where they take the couple on a boat with the moonlight and create an intensity stronger than color. I cried for today's generation who works in artificial lights instead of vitamin A (sunlight). I ached for some mountains and fresh air, at least on the screen. I craved for tall people, for handsome men, for a real fist fight. These guys on the screen were too much like us. They reminded me of my malnourished self, the one that goes to an office, or smiles at her boss, or throws things around when angry.

'Are we watching a TV serial? On a big screen?' Hubby asked me, during interval.

'If it was a TV serial, you wouldn't have needed to shut the kids eyes during the love making scene,' I told him.

The last straw came when God's voice was male. Now I am no feminist, but this was an element that had troubled me in the book. The book got away with being vague about God's sex, at least during the phone call. I was willing to bet it would be a female voice, because the writer is met by a woman on the train. Even in the film, Katrina Kaif is a woman, right? Chauvinist pigs, you Hello makers. What would have gone of your father, if for once you did something for your mother?

Of course, what God said didn't turn me on, either. No Advaita, only positive thinking, and encouragement. Sillier than the self help books.

And if you have the guts to show god in your film, why does the reaction to discovering that she is a god have to be so cool? Like, sure, Salmaan is so sexy that goddesses comes to tell him stories and then do the vanishing act once every fortnight. Or does he have a low blood count?

Anyway, here is the trailer.

And this is Chetan's response to the reviews of Hello.

9 comments:

Banno said...

So should I see it or not?

And yes, all films look like TV now, and most actors like ordinary people. No romance, no mystery, no GLAMOUR anymore.

Except of course for the bikini, size zero idea of glamour. Sigh.

Grasshopper said...

Only if you really liked the book.
Actually, I like the book less now.

And, Gustafi maaf, but my film, if it is ever made, will look like no film ever made, forget TV serials.

Banno said...

No, I didn't like the book all that much.

A big Yes to that. That is your film. And did you mean 'Gustakhi maaf' or is Gustafi some kind of a pun which I don't understand?

Grasshopper said...

Is it Gustafi or gustakhi? I have heard this phrase only in films, in songs, dialogues,...

Nirali said...

Oye topi - it's Gustakhi Maaf. Even a Gujju can figure out this much urdu - aur tu filmwalli nahin jaanti! Kya pakaati hai re :-)

Ashish said...

Please don't call Chetan Bhagat a writer... please call him anything but don't insult the rest of us writers by including Chetan Bhagat in that group.

grasshopper said...

Dear Ashish,

I know Chetan Bhagat as a writer, he is not my chaddi yaar.I have read his books.

Who are you? Never heard of you, as a writer or as anything for that matter. Insult? Give me a break, jinki koi izzat ho, unhiki beizzatti hoti hai.

Ashish said...

wow... that's a strange way of talking to people reading your blog... you seem to be taking pains to send people away... sorry about bothering you... entirely my mistake...

Grasshopper said...

Dear Ashish,
listen, I have written a novel. It was the most beautiful experience in the world. You might not like the novel, but that does not give you the right to say I am not a writer.
Even Hitler was a writer. Hell, we share humanity with all kinds, so why take pride in ourselves as being something special and disregard someone else just because he is not to our liking.
If you give such stupid comments on my blog, at least have the balls to take it back.