If I were Aamir Khan, I don’t know if I would have released a trailer for another movie today. On the one hand, it gave a little extra buzz around the name “Aamir Khan”, so that’s good for the Dangal release. But on the other hand, the buzz isn’t about Dangal, it is about something else. A risk! Oh, and also a trailer for Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy House. That’s the one that’s looking to the past, Aamir’s trailer is super cool and modern.
I vaguely knew that Aamir was doing a friendly appearance in something called Secret Superstar, but I didn’t realize he was producing it as well! It looks like a fun little movie, based on this one trailer. I like the focus on a teenage girl who is allowed to be a teenage girl (not dying for love or anything, just dreaming about being famous). I like how modern it is with her using youtube to get famous.
I really like how the burka is used. At first I saw that image and thought “This looks like some strange extremist video” or “She’s going to get famous for being a conservative Muslim girl who sings, when in reality she doesn’t seem that conservative in her day to day life.” But, I think, it is picking up a different burka tradition. The way movie actresses used to wear it to go around unnoticed on the street. Or the way teenagers use it to sneak in and out of their houses. It’s just a handy simple disguise that no one notices, it doesn’t necessarily have to have any greater meaning than that. And using it in a youtube video could just be about bringing this common disguise from the streets of India to the internet.
Oh, and of course Aamir gets completely into his portrayal of a too cool music producer type at the end.
And then there’s the film that looks to the past. Not because it is historical, but because it is booooooooooring! Yet another costume drama with people making dramatic pronouncements and talking about how “everything is changing”. Big state dinners, upstairs/downstairs story telling, dramatic introductions of historic figures we recognize, blah blah blah. Where’s the Edwina Mountbatten/Nehru affair?!?!? That’s the only reason wanted to watch this thing, and I am seeing NOTHING.
I’m complaining not just because I really wanted to see Edwina and Nehru have an affair, but because it is a true part of history, and important for these two people (even if you debate the historic significance) and telling this story without including it is turning them from real messy people to perfect fiction. I HATE that! It’s returning to the “Great Man” theory of history, where these powerful perfect figures strode around the world controlling destiny. Instead of believing that everyone is human, everyone has flaws, everyone has mess.
I mean, look at this! Do you see any mess here? Or do you just see perfect little angels? I mean, come on, the response to “do you think India is ready to rule itself?” is “we learned from the best”?!?!?!? Not “you bozo, we were ruling ourselves just fine until you guys showed up. And we’ve been ruling ourselves since then, doing all the day to day work of the country while you’ve just been swanning in at the highest levels and taking all our money.”