Shahrukh is not being very considerate to me! I have this bonkers week (my family is staying about an hour and a half outside of the city, so I am commuting back and forth and they are keeping me up all night with family stuff and then I have to drive drive drive to work the next day), and I get up this morning thinking maybe I will have a little time to, like, brush my hair, but no! Shahrukh has just posted a 5 minute video that I have to watch instead. Oh, and also Siddharth has a trailer, but it’s not as long and I don’t have to watch as closely. And neither of them used subtitles, because they hate me because I am disgusting and live in a car and never wash my hair.
Right, Shahrukh first! So many things to think about with this video!
First, the promotional idea of Shahrukh doing a bunch of “in character” bits. It’s interesting. Most often, Shahrukh (and other Hindi stars) do promotions in which they play “themselves” but highlight the parts of their personal journey which relate to the character. So, like, Ranbir talking about his difficult childhood while promoting Rockstar. So we can kind of go in ready to think of him as an angry troubled person.
For Shahrukh, it meant 20 years of talking about how much he loves his wife. And then we all kind of connected that to his characters. Occasionally he would also talk about his depression, or how he always wanted to be an action hero, or whatever. But it was always just talking about himself, not the character.
Now, for this film, he is doing more and more things as the character. I guess he did the same thing for Dear Zindagi, now that I think about it, but that character was a little closer to Shahrukh himself so it wasn’t as noticeable. Anyway, I wonder if it is because in the new social media age he is feeling more protective of his privacy and preferring to “act” even in public appearances? Or that as he ages the kind of characters he is asked to play have less and less in common with his real life as a family man with two grown children?
The other thing adding a complication on to it is that, if I am following this correctly (no subtitles because he hates me), Shahrukh is in character as Harry (sexy outfit and hair, trying to be a singer), but is sitting in on a music sitting just like Shahrukh-the-movie-star would. Which is kind of mind-blowing and makes your head hurt.
And also assumes that we are all familiar with the concept of a music sitting! That the star would be there to represent his character, and the director, and the composer, and the singer. That songs for films are, ideally, collaborative endeavors between all these artists (as discussed in my Hindi Film 101 here).
Final thing! I like the song, the sound of it I mean. But I am still worried about the visualization of it. The way they did this video, with just quick cuts of the film, makes me worried that it is going to be yet another chopped up montage style song. Instead of a full real song sequence. BOOOOO! I want my song sequences!
Oh, and then there’s a trailer for the new Siddharth/Jacqueline movie. I kind of like it! It’s not going to be groundbreaking or my favorite film ever (probably, I didn’t have high hopes for Bang Bang and then I fell in love with it). But it looks like a silly fun ride which has no pretense of being anything else.
What gives me really high hopes for it, strangely, is that they give away so much of the plot in the trailer! Which says, to me, that they have enough faith in the fun of the film that they don’t feel the need to bring the audience in with tricks. Unlike, say, Baar Baar Dekho where they tried so hard to keep us guessing about what it would be about and all of that. And then the film itself turned out to be little more than a serious of plot tricks, with no fun parts.
But this one, they give us most of the twists straight out. Gaurav/Siddharth is a nice but kind of boring office worker. He is dating Jacqueline who loves him but also wishes he was a little more exciting. Rishi/Siddharth is an international action hero spy type. The two men are constantly mistaken for each other causing difficulties in Rishi/Siddharth’s spy mission, and Guarav/Siddharth’s attempts to get engaged to Jacqueline.
The trailer isn’t selling “what will happen next!”, the trailer is selling “Funny/exciting action sequences, bouncy songs, Jacqueline and Siddharth both look hot, this movie is a good time!” It could still be terrible of course, they could have put all the best parts into the trailer and it turns out that the other 100 some minutes of the film are deadly dull. But I have more faith in it than if they had tried to promote it merely on “Siddharth is an office worker with a gun. What’s the twist??????”
Oh, and I am also still not convinced there is no twist. Decent chance the twist is that Siddharth has multiple personalities, or was actually Rishi the whole time and just lying to everyone, or Jacqueline is really Rishi’s girlfriend and was setting Gaurav up, or any one of a million other possibilities. But at least the basic premise of the film is being shared, it’s not that they feel like they have to keep even that a secret in order to sucker people into theaters.