I just got back from a movie. And I feel good. Movies totally charge me up. Unless I’ve watched something like Monster, that is. Talking of which, hmmm… Monster, though depressing, really had me totally engaged, inspite of an ugly looking Charlize Theron. Remember, she won an Oscar for it last year. Well, you can read my review of that here.
I was in splits for the first half of the movie. And then slowly, somewhere along the movie, the smile just kept fading away. I mean, its great to take potshots at Bollywood, don’t we all just love to do it? But, 50 jokes alone don’t make a movie. King of Bollywood is a one-sided argument. It is just a caricature that makes fun of Bollywood conventions and cliches in the most cliched way, that after a point it’s not funny at all.
A good scriptwriter should know where to stop. This movie just goes on and on and on, poking fun, exaggerating stuff, big time. Apart from Om Puri and his right hand Ratnesh, nobody else seems to have any soul or appears real. Sophie Dahl, especially, is just a pretty doll.
Surely, this lady with seemingly great potential required more depth in her character, here she just ends up being as a victim of the very system she pokes fun at. Though her character Crystal is supposed to be in total awe of Bollywood, the tone she uses in making the film is very ‘Tehelka’. It’s more like a smart ass sting operation, trying to blow the lid of Bollywood and expose the scams. Surely, the scriptwriters ought to have cracked that for themselves first. Is she an enthusiastic Bollywood/Karan Kapoor fan or just a snoopy smart Alecky undercover documentary filmmaker? What about those hidden spy cameras? Does she see the footage at all or they are just an idea of her cameraman we don’t see in the movie? Awrite, I’ll accept her falling in love with that dude, but why would she agree to act in a Bollywood film after getting a ringside view of things herself? Lets say maybe because she always wanted to be an actress, but when Om Puri asks her that, she says “No,” looking really amused. Because “she is in love,” is ridiculous!
Though the film does give you considerable insight into everyday Bollywood affairs, it does not do any justice whatsoever, to explain Bollywood’s take on things.
Which is why I think Bollywood Calling was a much better film, a very classy, balanced one. It spoofed Bollywood, but it wasn’t just an exaggeration. It was real, it did not insult the hard-work and sincerity put in by the technicians. Behind the satire on Bollywood, the movie had a soul. The inanities of Bollywood was only a backdrop for the protagonist to find himself and discover Bollywood, the way it is, as it is… Not lopsided at all, a more detailed insight, more like the documentary Crystal should have made if she really was a good filmmaker.
Instead, Crystal spends her time making a film ridden with cliches — casting couches, old heroes playing college kids, astrologers and underworld dons calling the shots! Surely, King of Bollywood is ten years late to the party.
But then, Bollywood Calling was made by a more seasoned filmmaker, Nagesh Kukunoor. So there.
Having said all this, I must add that King of Bollywood is surely worth watching. Total timepass.