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.