Okay, I am going to try to catch up on every interesting news story over the past few days in one big post! Some of these will be pretty short updates. Also, be warned, I haven’t had breakfast and the Padmavati news is irritating me, so I am in a pretty bad mood about all of these stories with no time to be diplomatic about how I address them.
Abhishek and Aish Movie Rumors
I just can’t get over how many rumors there are about Abhishek movies, all of a sudden! And constantly changing too, just a few days ago it was all “he’s in the Bhansali produced Sahir Ludhianvi biopic and focusing totally on that!” Now it’s “he and Aish might be in a movie together again, with Amitabh there too!” It’s just “buzzed about”, not official yet. So, once again, Abhishek gets in the news in a good light, and if the movie falls apart, no one will judge him.
Oh, and I did watch his Lip Sing Battle episode! It was fine. Not noticeably different from any other episode, it’s all highly rehearsed and scripted and stuff. Abhishek seemed fine, smiled a lot and said his scripted jokes and all. Wore sunglasses a lot, but did take them off eventually. It didn’t completely convince me that nothing was going on with him, but it also wasn’t proof that something is going on with him.
Padman Produced/Released by Sony Pictures
Somehow this is being promoted as a big thing, but I don’t think it actually is? Padman is being produced by Twinkle Khanna’s production house, her first film. Also producing it is KriArj Entertainment, the ones who made Rustom and Toilet. And now Sony Pictures has come in and declared they will be distributing it internationally as well as producing it.
This is our new production reality. Back in the day, one person produced the film. The Twinkle Khanna equivalent. Funding was from your own money, or borrowed from the mob or elsewhere on your own name. Funding was also a heck of a lot cheaper. And then you sold the film to distributors and that was your profit.
Now, more and more little vultures are coming in to “help” produce. KriArj, those are professional producers, they take someone else’s idea and massage it and “develop” it. So Twinkle can’t just produce her film on her own, these guys have to come in too.
And then Sony, in the corporate money idiot role. There’s the guy with the idea, and then the middlemen, and the middlemen get the money. They sell the idea of the film to some massive corporation, get as much money as they can out of them, and then take off without worrying about if the film is a hit or not.
So, I don’t know why this is being reported as though it is hugely exciting for Sony to be involved? Maybe them distributing the film directly is different? But so what, the film was going to be distributed internationally anyway, is it really that exciting to have a non-Indian company doing it? Or is this just that odd thing where Indian press gets really really excited when they feel like some outsider is recognizing India as a real grown up country?
Sanjay Khan is Writing a Biography
Sanjay Khan is writing a biography! This is Zayed and Sussanne Khan’s father, Hrithik’s father-in-law. And back in the 70s and 80s, a bit of a heartthrob actor and a producer. And rumored to have had a hot affair with Zeenat Aman. So it is possible that this bio will have juicy gossip from the 70s through today. But more likely will just be about onset hijinks and his favorite film roles and stuff, I have been burned before by expecting scandal and getting nothing!
(Sanjay and Zeenat)
Shahid Kapoor and Comedy
After Padmavati (yes yes, story on that coming up), Shahid’s next film is going to be about electrical power scams. By the same people that made Toilet. Not KriArj, the actual talented creative people. It was originally going to be a serious take on the issue, but now they have decided to go more of a comic route.
Shahid’s never had the best luck with comedy, so I don’t know if this is a good idea for him. But I wonder if it is partly in response to Padmavati? Which looks very serious and blah blah blah. So maybe Shahid is looking to shake things up, make sure his next film is something totally different. Ranveer is doing the same, some quick little films after Padmavati. So it’s really only Dips that has everything riding on it, nothing firmly signed after, stuck with 100% focus on the promotions now, no time to try to line up something else. Poor Dips! Must be nerve-wracking having her whole career stuck on this one movie right now.
I’ve been ignoring this story because, frankly, I find it really boring! I did a close discussion of the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil issue a year ago, and there’ve been plenty of other movies with the same kind of issues over the years, and it’s just plain dull at this point. And besides being boring, I don’t want to in any way appear to be taking this story seriously. Because it doesn’t deserve to be taken seriously.
The Rajput branch of the reactionary idiot brigade has decided that Padmavati is insulting. Or has decided to pretend they think Padmavati is insulting. And they have convinced the usual group of hangers on and drama fiends that this is something they should care about using the usual “it’s our Indian/ethnic/manly identity under threat!” arguments. And these idiotic drama fiends range all the way from members of the censor board down to commentators on websites and the man on the street.
(Speaking of Dips movies, lets have a nice happy song as a refresher from all this stupidity)
What is really frustrating is that everyone is accepting the premise of the argument. That they are insulted because the film doesn’t follow the “real” story. Which is the same argument made about Jodha-Akbar. And, just like then, THERE IS NO REAL STORY!!!!!!!!!! This is historical legend and myth, not fact. The “real” is something they have made up in their own heads, it’s a lie just as much as the film being made now is a lie. You could just as easily say “I am upset because Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak does not follow the real story of Romeo and Juliet“.
That’s a legitimate argument, by the way. You can absolutely say “this is a legend that has been told and retold for years and I have a deep connection to the story that I have been told and I don’t like you thinking you can write it better”. But if you say that, it doesn’t get the people all riled up. If you say “it’s not based on the ‘true’ story”, it makes you sound wise and knowledgeable and better than other people and gives them an excuse for their feelings. Makes them want to be wise and superior too. Much better than having to acknowledge that they are in love with a story that is just a story and nothing more. Or try hard to make a legitimate argument about why the original version was a better narrative than this one. Not morally better, dramatically better (like, “I don’t like the way QSQT changed the Romeo and Juliet ending because it was more powerful having a misunderstanding cause it all, showing how ultimately immature the couple was”).
(Also had them run off together)
Bhansali always does this, this is his pattern. Okay, not the first two movies, so far as I know Khamoshi and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam were entirely original. But then he took Devdas and radically changed and Bhansali’d the story. He did the same with The Miracle Worker and Black, and Diving Bell and the Butterfly/The Sea Inside and Guzaarish. And then Romeo and Juliet and Ramleela, and finally the legend of Bajirao-Mastani and Bajirao. And now the legend of Padmavati. But saying “I find Black insulting to the memory of Helen Keller” isn’t going to get you headlines, or give people that sweet little righteous anger high, so he got by with those. It’s only when he stumbled across the fake history that has been peddled to the Indian masses and used to form a false identity for themselves, that’s when he gets in trouble.
Anyway, the film industry is doing what they do, standing up for themselves. And they are selling their own myth, that it is about “freedom of speech” and “art” and blah blah. Sure, maybe, somewhere that is in there. But it’s also about Padmavati being the best chance for a blockbuster hit this year and everyone really really needing it to come out. Not just the people actually involved in the film, but everyone. If Padmavati hits, it will keep theaters open, keep the audience coming out to the movies, and funnel money to the distributors who may then turn around and spend the money on other films.
Essentially, though, this is just really boring. Padmavati is too big not to come out, so it’s coming out no matter what. Maybe not in Rajasthan, but everyone there will just watch a pirated version on streaming instead. And anyway, Padmavati was always going to make most of its money overseas and in urban centers, just like Bajirao did (Dilwale ruled the heartland). So who cares if it isn’t released in Rajasthan. So all of this back and forth, this is just people going through the motions of what they have to do to get to the inevitable ending. Like I said, boring.