Thursday 22nd April 2004

I have done something out of character this week. I have watched two Bollywood movies. Regular readers of my blog will know that I am not the greatest fan of this movie genre. Actually if I am honest with myself, I detest them. You only need to look back at the 15th July 2003 to find out my views on the soundtrack to these movies and my utter disgust at their lack of originality. Firstly came Kal Ho Naa Ho. The literal English translation is Tomorrow May Never Come, which to a certain extent sets the theme for the movie, filmed beautifully in New York. One of the first movies to be shot entirely outside of India. If you thought Western cinema was blatantly predictable, then you have not experienced an Indian film. This is not to say I did not enjoy being entertained for some 3 hours. Parts of the film were extremely funny, mainly due to the script and of course the fact that it is an Indian film. (They have some creative licence, don’t you know?!) Some of the songs were quite catchy and got me through too, well apart from the barefaced shredding of the Roy Orbison classic, “Pretty Woman”. There was a point in the film which I felt was quite interesting. The main family own a restaurant in the city. They have embraced the American way of life and their culture, religion and way of life has taken a back seat (to the despair of the grandmother). The hero of the film, changes this. Calling him that is a bit disrespectful. He is given the status more of an angel, bringing happiness, and warming the hearts of the struggling characters. He is able to see that to bring success to the failing business they need to re-embrace their culture and use this as a USP. Before this entry turns into a marketing lesson, the crucial factor here is the removal of the Stars and Stripes from the window, to be replaced by the Indian Tricolour. This is where I begin to have an issue. I am a strongly patriotic person. But the love for my country is not for the biggest democracy in the world. Far from it. My views may shock some, may dismay others. I believe that your loyalties should lie with your country of birth. Therefore, India owes me nothing and I, as a citizen of Britain owe it nothing. It is my motherland. Respect is due for that fact. But would I drape myself in the Indian flag, nor support it’s great cricket team. I don’t want this to sound to negative and give the impression that I want nothing to do with the subcontinent and it’s people. That is not the case, I just want to clearly and concisely state my case. Knowing one’s history is important to me. I strongly believe that to be citizen of your country you should know it’s history and know it well. With a grasp of the country’s history you are able to truly feel a member of the country – a citizen. You may wonder why I have taken this dramatic fundamental view? In July 1997, I left for India. A surprised holiday organised by my father. This meant that I would be in the country for the 50th anniversary of Independence in August. Looking forward to what would be a momentous occasion for my relatives, for the Indian people. I was deeply disappointed and disheartened. As a country that only has a minor national day St. George’s, I feel a sense of great admiration for countries that have national holiday to celebrate the independence in a day of national unity. Was there any flag waving by my family on 15th August? No, there was not. I had to make do with some grainy black and white images of impressive processions, pomp and ceremony taking place in the capital New Delhi, on Doordarshan. This is the national public service broadcaster, much like our BBC, but far more slimed down and with no licence fee, that I am aware of! It was from this day, I decided that I should take more pride in my own country, than perhaps others. That is not to say I am completely against other countries. America continues to be a country, which has a special place in my heart. Even though I have only spent some short ten days there, it has left an impression on me, which is unmovable. Americans know how to rally around the flag, and not just on the 4th July. They also have arguably the great national anthem (or most easily identifiable!) in the world. Give them some credit for that at least. Particularly, as you find out the Star Spangled Banner was based on an old English drinking song! The second movie, which I saw this evening on B4U was more of a blast from the past than anything new. The date is of some dispute. The movie channel dated it some twenty years to 1984, which the Internet Movie Database note it to be released in 1987. Not sure exactly which to belief, but basing my assumption purely on the quality of the special effects and some of the more distinguished actors in some standard roles. I would bet in favour of the late 80s, rather than any earlier. However the date is not important. Even the name of the film is insignificant. Ironically the title links in perfectly with my discussion above, Mr. India gives the impression of song strong nationalistic film of pure propaganda pedigree. This could not be further from the truth. Although there are many stars in this movie, and ultimately the man on the street is seen as some kind of ‘invisible’ hero, that is not for me to discuss. The review given on Internet Movie Database is accurate enough to give the story justice. But there is something missing. Earlier in the week, I noticed my Mum, watching the movie Mard and I noticed one of my favourite villains. You see, even though I do detest Bollywood movies now, in my youth I just could not get enough. They were special because of the melodramatic twists but they were aimed more at my parents. I enjoyed the action sequences and the villains dyer attempts to defeat our lonesome hero. At times they were ingenious. Unlike Priety Zinta, in here recent column for BBC News Online, who feels that the 1980s were the ‘action era’ and the worst era for Indian cinema. I beg to disagree. How can this be the case when starts such as Bob Christo, bounced onto our screens with piercing voice for those engaging Hindi lines and aromatic laugh. Who is Bob? This was a question I was asking myself to. I thought that I would not be able to find out much about him and he would be someone with very few fans. I was proved wrong, to my disbelief. So for an alternative and more in depth review of Mr. India, you need to go here for a full and worthy explanation. You need to pay close attention to the character that clearly steals the show away from the stars. The Editor. Need I say anymore than, “Please To Understand My Problem!” Sure say it out loud, then say it to a few friends. Note their response and get back to me. So we find ourselves on one of the more less travels places on the Internet. It is a great shame because BollyBob is actually very very good. Well put together, detailed and you can clearly see the effort that the webmasters have put in. Shame that appears to have been abandoned for the past year and e-mails I have sent to the collective have appeared to go unanswered. If you know anything about Bob, please get in touch with me. You know the details by now! 🙂 One of my favourite songs is the rock anthem, “We Built This City” by Starship from 1985. It was to be one of the summer anthems once I passed my driving test in 1999. It still is a song I really enjoy and even have the music video, somewhere. You can therefore, forgive my discomfort to discover on Monday that is has been voted as worst record ever in a poll by Blender magazine. Okay, perhaps the message doesn’t come across very well, but the song itself is quite good and very radio friendly. Why oh why vote this song as number one, when there are far more severe acts of barbarity that have been released and at their peak achieved some undeserved commercial success? Arsenal news has been quite thin on the ground recently and with the Arseblogger having an extended Easter break last week, I have been left to my own devices with regards to finding news on the Reds. Luckily he is back and on good form. Back in Leicester on Saturday afternoon. To be honest not looking forward to it at all. The holidays have gone by far far too quickly and I have not made as much progress as I had hoped. Project and exams to go, this really is the final hurdle. Will I make it to that finish line?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.