Let’s see if I have time to write this before I have to leave for work! But there are enough exciting things happening, I want to get it up and out there.
Padmavat Will Release, Padman Will Not
Two news stories came out, one on the heels of the other. First, the Supreme Court ordered states not to ban Padmavat but rather to provide the protection needed to ensure its smooth release. Partly because it has now received a censor certificate, thereby indicating that there is no public safety or morals or any other reason not to show it. Essentially, the Supreme Court is upholding the powers of the censor board to determine what should or should not play, rather than the power of mob rule terrifying the forces of law and order into banning it. This is all great and, once again, upholds my feeling that in this case the censor board has been the solution, not the problem. This is not always true, but in this one instance, the clear and careful censorship process has been the films best defense.
And then shortly after this was announced, the Padman team announced they were moving to February 9. No one is connecting the two stories, I assume because the connection is so obvious. With all the state bans, on the one hand it seemed like Padmavat might get delayed again, and on the other hand, even if it did come out, Padman would release without competition in soooooooooooooo many states. But now Padmavat will definitely release on the 25th, and release everywhere, so Padman had to stop waiting to make their decision and just move.
Generally, I think we can all agree, this is not a great development. For one thing, it means that Padmavat will be the only film to release in January. For comparison, last January we had OK Jaanu, Wazir, and Running Shaadi all coming out before Republic Day. They weren’t huge films, but they were mainstream Hindi films playing in most theaters. This year, Kaalakaandi barely got a release (and not at all overseas), and then there was 1921, the horror film, Mukkabaaz which also barely came out especially overseas, and this week Vodka Diaries. Nothing really mainstream, nothing for families to watch, nothing with a big name star (excepting Kaalakaandi which, again, didn’t get a release). And now, after theaters somehow struggling through with nothing to show for weeks and weeks, everything is riding on this one, very troubled, movie. Alllllllllll the way through to February 9th.
(I will use any excuse to post this song)
Plus it throws of Padman‘s release! Which was the perfect Republic Day release, patriotic in an easily digestible way, and a nice solid small film, not one that you want to release when the whole family will be together, or when people will have several days off work, but a nice solid film to watch on your day off and maybe come back to see in the evenings the next week. And it had a nice perfect carefully coordinated promotion campaign that was peaking this week. Now they need to keep people talking somehow for another 2 weeks, release without the patriotic fervor driving it, and lose the advantage of a day off work.
It’s just a very selfish and slipshod way to do things. Releasing in a way that practically begs for controversy, and then forcing everyone else to move around to make room for you, against their own interests.
Non-Padmavat Upcoming movie news
Salman in Prosthetics
Tiger is still in theaters and the promotion campaign is already in gear for Salman’s next, Bharat. Once again he is working with Ali Abbas Zafar, to which I say BOOOOOO. I think Ali is a solid competent director, but I don’t think he has shown himself to be able to pull a truly brilliant acting performance from Salman, and I am wanting another actual acting performance from him
The film is called “Bharat” and supposed Salman is playing a character who ages from 17-64. I’m delighted by the 64 part of that, but I hope the 17 part is very short. I’m much more interested in seeing Salman play a mature type than a young boy. The new news today is confirmation that he will be playing that young boy, despite the requirements of make up. Because of his nerve condition, wearing stuff on his face can be painful and medically dangerous for him, so he usually tries to avoid it, but he is making an exception in this case. Let us hope that his difficulties with prosthetic keep this section of the film short and sweet.
(It’s apparently a remake of a South Korean movie following a man who was separated from his father and sister during Korea’s partition as he goes through all the changes that happened in Korea over 50 years. I assume they change it to India’s partition and India’s 50 years of history, and keep the idea of the separated family)
Mahabharata in Hindi
Aamir’s Mahabharata keeps chugging along! There were vague questions about Rajamouli maybe planning his own Mahabharata, but Rajamouli had this very sane and reasonable response (from bollywoodhungama):
I don’t think I will be getting into the Mahabharat for a while, not right away anyway. It requires a whole lot of planning. I need to know which parts of the Mahabharat I want to film. It’s not something I can get into right away. If Aamir Khan is doing it I am sure a great deal of planning must have gone into it. I am sure he will do full justice to it…In Telugu cinema there have been some very successful big-screen adaptations of the Mahabharat. In Hindi, I am not aware of any significant adaptation of this Epic…The conflicts in the Mahabharat are more relevant today than ever before. It is the ultimate epic challenge for any filmmaker. I am looking forward to it.
Excellent points, all around. Aamir clearly already has an idea of what he wants to do, if he has reached the point of announcing it, so no reason for him to hold back and wait on Rajamouli. And really no reason for Rajamouli try to rush his process and ruin his film.
I also appreciate Rajamouli’s point that a Hindi Mahabharat is a totally different prospect than a Telugu one, seeing as it is bringing the Hindi audience a story that they have not seen on the big screen before and challenging the industry to tell a kind of story they are not used to. It’s a reminder that the two industries are truly not the same, and the audience is not the same, and they should not be set up as competitors in this way.
Arjun Reddy in Hindi
Speaking of industries being different, the rights for an Arjun Reddy remake were sold to Murad Khetani and Ashwin Varde of Cine1. Which is probably a bad idea for a lot of reasons.
First, again, Telugu films are not the same as Hindi, don’t have the same audience, and so on and so on. Arjun Reddy in Hindi was different a little because of the drugs and sex and so on, but fit within a dynamic of more realistic filming and characters that was a carry over from Tamil films, and had in a lowkey way been always there in Telugu as well.
Meanwhile, in Hindi, Arjun Reddy was no more shocking than Dev D, Delhi Belly, other movies that have had slightly smaller releases but still found an audience. But the kind of realistic filming style, that might be different. If it carries over to the remake. There are rumors they may bring in the same director, but I am keeping my hopes low, because of who is producing.
This group has previously produced Mickey Virus, The Shaukeens, Mubarakan, Boss, and Ragini MMS. Which aren’t exactly bad movies, but they also aren’t artistic breakthroughs. They were more kind of rethinking of successful formulas, Mickey Virus=Vicky Donar, The Shaukeens=Housefull, Mubarakan=Welcome, Boss=Khiladi, Ragini MMS=RGV/Bhatt horror. Which makes me think that what they want from an Arjun Reddy remake is taking a successful idea and watering it down a bit and releasing it to a new audience.
The only thing I find really exciting in this story is the rumor that Ranveer Singh or Arjun Kapoor are being considered as the lead. I think either of those actors would be FANTASTIC in the role, and it could be a total game changer for their career if they pull it off. But then, that’s a big “if”.
(Arjun Kapoor in the role is particularly exciting, the right kind of troubled and dark for his face)