New Shahrukh Interview! FINALLY!!! Full Text, Annotated With My Thoughts

Well, it’s been a long drought, but now with Zero on the horizon, and Suhana to protect, Shahrukh is finally coming out of his time of silence and has given us one little nice interview to talk over.

The original interview is on the Economic Times site, and I had to do some shenanigans to get it off there, which makes me think they really really don’t want it shared.  So please, click this link and give them the views before reading on.  REALLY!!!   DO IT!!!  BE A GOOD PERSON!!!!

 

Did you do it?  Can you now move on and read my take on things?  You can?  Oh good!

I’m gonna give an excerpt chunk by chunk, and then my comments.  The excerpts are in block quotes, so they should be easy to find.

Actor Shah Rukh Khan walks into Studio 8-C at Film City Complex in Goregaon, Mumbai, at 9 pm on the dot, belying the tardiness one associates with stardom. In a freewheeling interview with ET, he talks about the future of entertainment, the pay gap in Bollywood, the brands he endorses, the gizmos he loves, the books he is reading — and loneliness. The only question he ducks is on Me Too movement, as he claims his manager has forbidden him to hold forth on controversies. Edited excerpts:

I love the Economic Times.  No fawning here, no discussion of him as a great man or anything like that.  Just that he showed up on time and ducked a question.  It also sets the tone for the interview, they will be asking serious practical questions, to match his serious practical attitude, showing up on time at the agreed upon location, not a deep intimate interview taking place in his vanity van, but a professional one that they are both treating professionally.  Oh, and the full interview is available as a video, also at this link.

 

The business of entertainment is changing, with streaming media like Netflix. How will this unfold in India?

The world will change. There are many films that do not find a place in the theatre — not because they are not good enough. The quality of life is dependent on being able to do what one wants to, as and when one wishes to. It’s not about a big house or a big car or a big club that you are a member of. Film-watching should be as and when and how one wishes to. I can’t exclaim, ‘Arre phone pe meri picture dekh rahe ho (You are watching my movie on the phone)!’ If you like it that way, fair enough. If you like it bigger, put it on your television. If you like it even bigger, go to the theatre.
Netflix and all other platforms are here to stay. It gives an opportunity to a lot of youngsters who didn’t know where to take their small films. So my deal with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos is not just on paper. I’ll try and make stuff for you for which I can’t find a theatre and I am non-self-obsessed to know that certain films don’t need to be in the theatre. Theatres will also change. It will perhaps be more like Broadway where movies will play for six months. It will be a 360-degree experience, there will be 3D and holographic stuff and more interaction. It will be community viewing, like watching a game, like going to a theme park.

Good first question, setting this from the start as a serious interview on the future of the industry.  And good first answer, giving a thoughtful considered response, with a reference to his experience as a studio owner actively involved in content creation, not as a movie star.

As for the answer, I think Shahrukh is more mature than me.  I am still kicking and screaming and saying “you should watch films in the theater!”  He seems to have moved past that, accepted that it never works to try to control the trend of the market, just give the people what they want.

That’s also a different answer than his colleagues are giving, Ajay Devgn and Salman are both buying up single-screens with plans to refurbish them and bring back that market.  Shahrukh is saying that market is gone forever, it is time to move forward and create different content for different formats.

What I really like is that he is clear there are some films for theaters and some films for other sources.  Which means he is not rejecting theater films.  And also, perhaps, is a nod towards JHMS and its failure in theaters, when he acknowledges saying it as being “non-self-obsessed”.  Or perhaps I am just reading into that.

Your colleagues like Naseeruddin Shah, Irrfan Khan and Priyanka Chopra have acted in Hollywood films. Would you look at that as an option?

They have to look at me; I can’t look at them. I look at the moon every day but I don’t reach for it. It started with Om Puriji and now Priyanka, Irrfan and so many others are doing it. Nawazuddin Siddiqui is getting some films. Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) has done some, Anupam Kher too has and it’s wonderful. But I have never been offered an opportunity. I don’t even know if I am good enough to do it — I think my English is a little weak (smiles).

My own attempt is to make Indian films watched at that level. Again, not taking away from the greatness of anything that others have achieved, I’d like Tom Cruise to say one day that ‘I’ve been given a chance in a Hindi film’. Man, that will be wonderful. Christopher Nolan would say that there is a producer in India who wants him to make a film. Inshallah, that will happen.

Interesting response here.  On the one hand, being clear that he is open to a Hollywood offer but hasn’t received it.  And being very gracious and sure to list everyone who has worked overseas.  But on the other hand, indicating that he is not actively pursuing it, he is focused on something else.  He wants it, but he isn’t wasting his energy on it.

And again, his attitude is different from others.  He isn’t even talking about crossover films, he is talking about bigger and better films than Hollywood.  While everyone else is either looking at crossover artists, or films outsiders liked, he is saying “no, they should want us, we shouldn’t want them”.

Can China be an emerging market for Indian movies?

China is a big market not just for Indian movies, but for the world right now. Most of the Hollywood films that perhaps don’t do well in their domestic box office wait for the China release and some of them are saved by that. It’s wonderful what China has done in the last 8-10 years. If you have a market, you have to somehow create a platform for people. China has done it and it’s a model that India should look at in terms of theatres.

This is what was talked about in my film production class in grad school, the one taught by an actual real life Hollywood producer (not a super important one, but a semi-important one).  China is the biggest emerging market, the China rights are massive profits for Hollywood.  And China is building theaters at a stupendous rate, which is what makes the biggest difference.  That’s what Shahrukh is nodding towards, not the China market, but the China infrastructure investment in building more and more and more theaters for everyone in the country, at the same time that India is shutting them down and raising ticket taxes and generally trying to kill their market.  And it’s an issue that hasn’t really been brought up (at least that I have seen) in the Indian press. The India versus China film market isn’t just about quality of movies and so on, it’s about shear number of theaters.  And China is far outstripping Indian thanks to government investment and support.

 

How far are we from hitting $500 million or even a billion dollars at the box office?

Another five-six years or maybe 10. We will always have a language issue. Ours is not an internationally spoken language like English. Plus, we really need to utilise the technology we have in the country. Unless we make the technically big films maybe the market won’t grow. That will eventually get sorted out with actors and directors making forays into Hollywood; that interaction will perhaps hasten it. But it is still 5-10 years away.

Well, that’s a relaxed answer!  Clearly money doesn’t excite him that much.  One thing I thought he was going to point out with language is that language is not even a NATIONALLY spoken language.  The Indian film market will always struggle with attracting the full market, unless they get serious about dubbing.  There Shahrukh, I gave you some free advice.  Now go out and use it.

 

You have experimented as an actor. Will you be donning the director’s hat?

I’m lonely enough as an actor. The director’s job is the loneliest in filmmaking as they are the only ones who know what their film is speaking. So perhaps I’m not ready for that kind of loneliness as yet. If I am to direct, then I have to write as well, which will take me a couple of years. I’ve been trying to write a book for the last 20 years and I haven’t finished that. I’m a little lazy and it will be difficult to really (be a director), but in small ways, I do participate in designing the action. I don’t know how to say ‘okay’ to something. I always feel it can be better — I have trouble letting go. A director’s job of just saying okay and moving on stresses me; how does this person know it’s okay? I will keep on doing things and until I get to understand that it is okay to say okay, I’ll not be a director.

What an interesting view of directing!  First that directing means you must write the script and conceive the entire story.  Which, I think, is what directing is in Hindi film.  But is often not stated that directly, there is some kind of a nod to specialization in imitation of the west, pretending that the script is written by one person and directed by another and so on.

Also, this is the first dip in this interview into philosophy.  It’s an interesting response, instead of saying “I just love the fans too much” or “I want to spend time with my family”, he keeps it directed towards the philosophy of the work, what it truly means to be a director, to be the captain of the ship instead of the chief crew member.

Do you think female actors are getting their due in Bollywood?

It’s a male-dominated industry. You can’t shirk it away or ignore it. I would love it to be different. There should be no disparity. A male actor and a female actor should get the same fees — why is it different, I don’t know. But I would also add that no actor — male or female — should over-estimate their performance. No individual — be it director or actor — should burden the film’s expense by charging an amount that goes beyond the performance of the film’s opening weekend.

I love the opening.  He just flat out says, “this is what it is”.  There’s no “actresses should get the same pay” or anything simplistic like that.  And then the ending.  I think he is pointing towards the real problem without saying it outright.  So long as male stars hold films hostage by taking over-payment, then the actress’ rates can’t increase, and neither can their stature.  An Akshay Kumar film requires an Ileana D’Suza or Mouni Roy co-star, because they spent all their money on Akshay.

Or maybe I am reading it wrong.

 

You are associated with over 20 brands. How do you select them?

I believe a brand selects an ambassador, not the other way round. More often than not, I’ve been with companies that are internationally renowned. People take a decision to put my face on their product — it is a big decision. I don’t know how it works for them. I’d rather believe that it’s the success of my profession — although it is very volatile in terms of ups and downs. It also depends on the core values we possess.

This is a nice way to say “I sell well to NRIs”.  At least, that’s what I got.  Combined with “brands come to me as a measure of my success as an actor” and “I’ve built a very valuable public persona”.

You are associated with Byju’s and Big Basket. Do you believe in startups? Do you invest in them?

These are good companies, run by big people with bigger dreams. When I had my first conversations with them, I asked: do you really want to invest so much money in me? I spent a day dissuading them. I’ve been made to understand that they did not just come for the stardom. When I met Byju’s, they said there is a certain level of education that I bring to the table. For Big Basket, my team tells me that the housewives think I am trustworthy. That’s very nice. Working on a new film, especially an innovative film like Fan, is like venturing on a startup. It is the riskiest of businesses. I’d rather try something new and fail. I haven’t invested in a startup directly.

That’s a nice little glimpse into brand thinking.  Shahrukh is the educated star, and the star housewives trust.  Which I would agree with and I suppose the success of those campaigns will prove it.

Funny that he says he hasn’t invested in a startup, since Red Chillies could be considered a startup.  I guess he doesn’t consider that it qualifies since it isn’t changing the current market practices in a dramatic way.  He also doesn’t point out that he himself, Brand SRK, is a startup.  Which is certainly true, a new idea that found a gap in the market.

Your association with Hyundai has been going for two decades. How did this evolve?

When they came in the beginning, I was shooting with the late Srideviji. Though it was an international brand, one hadn’t heard of them. The whole team had flown down from South Korea but we didn’t even know how to pronounce Hyundai correctly. I come from an era of Fiats and Ambassadors. The concept of making a car for India from Korea seemed far-fetched. But there was this team who believed in bringing affordable cars to India, so I went for a ride, not knowing the enormity of what it can achieve for customers. Twenty years later, I am amazed at how it all began. Now it is one of the leading carmakers for India.

First, Army!  The movie everyone has forgotten!  Good for it to get a shout out.

Also interesting how this is positioned, Hyundai coming in is a sign of the future, and is a boon to the customers.  Shahrukh, capitalist to the bone.  Or else very good at understanding what should be said to a newspaper called “Economic Times”.

 

Do you enjoy driving?

I love to drive. Unfortunately, in Mumbai and more places than not, it’s a little difficult (for me) to drive. Maybe, I will drive back tonight in the rain and see how it goes.

This is a simple unexciting personal question and personal answer.  I wonder what kind of prep they gave the interviewer to make sure the questions stayed at this level?

You mentioned once that you invested in KidZania, because you like to play the games that children do.

My investments are in 3Cs: children, cinema and cricket — actually, sports, more than just cricket. These genuinely appeal to me. I love children, not just my own. I like doing things with kids and now, at 53 years, even a 20-year-old is a kid for me. I wanted to be a sportsman but I couldn’t. I like kids to have that opportunity, I like platforms where kids can do what I couldn’t. I was recently shooting in Orlando for about 50 days for my film. My son AbRam had come along and every day we were at Disney, at the water park. But I don’t do roller-coasters — I’m scared of them.

Huh, a flip of bringing in his sports teams as part of his kind of “fatherly” identity.  He’s not a youthful excited athlete and sports fans, he’s doing it for the kids and with the kids, just like his charity and his cute photos with AbRam.

To clarify, I also absolutely believe what he is saying.  It snapped into focus a lot of stuff about his interaction with his players and stuff.  But I also think it is a good shift in his public identity.

 

Are you saying that one should invest with one’s heart more than one’s mind?

Any investment done with the mind will be good in the short term, but if your work has to touch people’s life or make it more convenient, then you have to really care and it has to come from the heart. So I never dissuade people from getting into ventures and businesses. The whole concept of business management stems from the fact that if you organise it, you will succeed. But I’m completely disorganised and I have succeeded, too. So there must be something true about the fact that the heart works in businesses as well.

This is partly soft pleasant pablum that makes succeeding in business seem noble.  But it is also a logical end point of everything else he has said.  If you really want to succeed, you have to give people something they want.  And in order to know what they want, you have to think with your heart and not your mind.  Hyundai opened up a new market by seeing that there was a need for affordable cars in India.  Shahrukh has had success in his investments by only investing in things he was truly passionate about and therefore knew well.

 

What are your favourite gadgets?

A laptop, if I can call it a gadget. I also have an amazing manual camera, Leica. You have to focus and change lenses and everybody gets depressed when I take pictures with it because it takes hours, but I love it. I’m not much of a telephone person and I am not very socially communicative. So I don’t carry the phone.

I love that he uses a manual camera!  He is such a gadget guy, but the newer cameras aren’t really fun as gadgets, you know?  They do everything for you, you don’t get to play with them and find new options and so on.  I also love that he mentioned everybody getting depressed, just on a personal level, because my mother also has a manual camera that she loves and it also takes her hours to set it up (at least, it feels like hours, while everyone else is just pulling out their phones and taking pictures like a normal person).

What are you reading these days?

Lately, I haven’t read anything as I have been very busy shooting. Early on in the year, I was, again, reading the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. I am very intrigued and thought I should read a detailed version. I’ve now gone slow on that. I think I will start reading it again.

Let’s say this is a honest and true answer, in which case he is doing a smart thing in today’s climate.  Have an actual grounding in the texts and use them to defend yourself against those who are misusing them.

Or it’s a carefully crafted answer to please the public and get clicks.

 

Do you have any favourite authors?

My all-time favourite is Douglas Adams — of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I used to love Roald Dahl when I was younger, and James Hadley Chase and Harold Robbins when I was even younger. Now I think there’s one interesting writer — Eoin Colfer, author of Artemis Fowl, which I think is even more interesting than Harry Potter. I like Dan Brown; I actually liked his last book.

I love his “I actually liked [Dan Brown]’s last book”.  Shows how far poor Dan Brown has fallen.

More importantly, ARTEMIS FOWL!!!!  He is so right, Artemis Fowl is as good as Harry Potter.  I wouldn’t necessarily say better, but really really good.  And much more cinematic in how it is written than Harry is.  It is practically begging for an adaptation if they can every figure out the special effects.  Oh OH!!!!  That should be Red Chillies’ big project!  If they make a truly worldclass version of Artemis Fowl, and dub it in all languages (English, Mandarin, Tamil), it could be the big “I want to work in India now” breakthrough movie.

Also, Procrastinatrix is totally right, he would love Terry Pratchett.  I read Artemis Fowl years ago (while working at a children’s bookstore, I got introduced to so many great books back then), and completely fell in love with it.  And now I am reading Terry Pratchett for the first time and the influence is so clear.  If you like one, you will certainly like the other.

Interesting in the other choices.  I was going to make a joke about whether he liked Dahl’s famous children’s books, or his less well-known Adult-with-a-capital-A stuff.  But James Hadley Chase and Harold Robbins points to the Adult-with-a-Capital-A direction.

I’m going to assume this is just a straight-forward honest answer.  Partly because it is consistent with what he has always said, and partly because he is citing semi-obscure authors, which makes them useless in terms of presenting some kind of “message” to the public.

Oh, and I haven’t read James Hadley Chase or Harold Robbins, so I can’t speak to them, but Roald Dahl and Artemis Fowl and Hitchhikers Guide are all books that luxuriate in complex English language.  Which belies his humble “my English isn’t good enough for Hollywood” statement from before.  And matches with his very intelligent English language usage in interviews such as this one.

 

Your children are close to choosing a career. How do you protect them, as they come with a huge legacy of their father being a superstar?

I understand what you are saying “there is no way to protect them from who I am. I’m a good monster and only I can protect my children from who I am. By keeping a certain amount of dignity in the face of opinions, by keeping a certain amount of calm in the face of disarray, by keeping a certain amount of honesty and hard work in the face of nepotism. People’s perception of stardom could be, for example, “Star ka baccha hai, gaadi tez chalata hoga (He’s a star kid, his driving must be really rash).” The great happiness that I give them as a father, the love and education and teachings that I give them, and the fact that I work so hard as a father – it’s their responsibility now to live with it and figure it out.

That’s a nice mature response.  He’s not saying “leave my kids alone” or “they are the best kids ever”.  He’s saying “I did what I could, and this is the world and they are living in it.”

Also, to end this very thoughtful analysis with a petty note, is his choice of “driving” as an example a slam at Vikram’s son’s recent accident?  Or is it a coincidence?  I could go either way, because speeding through the city in a sports car and driving for pleasure instead of necessity is a very clear class definition, but on the other hand it is also a really specific example.

Advertisements

23 thoughts on “New Shahrukh Interview! FINALLY!!! Full Text, Annotated With My Thoughts

  1. I love SRK interviews. Some random thoughts…

    His answer about pay parity was put gently but I think it had an edge of sharpness. The main point was that a person, male or female, should get paid based on what kind of opening numbers they bring in. For example, you can’t use the gender/feminism argument to say Anushka Sharma should get the same amount of money as SRK since both are A-list actors. That is how simplified these kind of talks are usually to make everyone feel good without a good hard look at the business involved. If a female actor is guaranteeing a certain opening on par with top male actors (the way Madhuri or Sridevi did) then by all means their gender shouldn’t hold them back. Equality doesn’t mean falsely boosting up actresses’ pay if they can’t provide the same returns.

    Regarding Hollywood, everyone knows he was offered roles in movies like Slumdog Millionaire and some others. Even 20 years ago, there were interviews in old magazines (they used to be on ebay) where he had mentioned being offered a Bond movie and not being interested since someone else would be Bond. His reasoning was why should he roam around on set doing a useless role or play some brown villain? Nowadays he plays it more self-deprecating instead of pompous. Whatever offers obviously were not worthy enough to brag about nor would it help to deride them and make it look insulting for those Indian actors who actually are going to HW to play those small roles.

    ET put up a few audio clips that had more extensive answers. This interview is edited. In terms of women working, he did mention marriage and having to take time off for kids. He also said that it’s not a big deal because as a father it’s not too different for him either. He mentioned that people keep bothering him about his next film but you know what, he just wants to spend time with his kids and really doesn’t care to run to make the next one.

    There was more about driving as well and that for him, it was such a big thing learning to drive but today’s kids don’t seem interested. He was talking about telling his son how romantic it is and his son told him it requires too much concentration and takes away the romance. It speaks of their privilege because they have drivers to take them wherever they want so they still get the freedom without the work. For most people, learning to drive is still a big deal.

    Like

    • Your interpretation of the pay parity response makes much more sense than mine. And I also agree with that possible argument. He doesn’t take the next step, but the obvious solution to real pay parity is for there to be more female focused films so actresses can build up that kind of box office credential. And the real injustice would be something like Tanu Weds Manu counting towards increasing Madhavan’s rates but not Kangana’s. Or to look at it another way, Karwaan should be counted towards Irrfan, not Dulquer. The non-hero comic relief role had far more to do with opening the film than the official “lead”. I also suspect, in that situation, India might be much closer to pay parity than Hollywood. For instance, I assume Kajol got equal pay to Shahrukh in Dilwali, Kriti to Varun. And that Madhuri would have gotten equal pay to Anil Kapoor in Beta and more than Akshay in Mohabbat, Sridevi more than Rishi in Chandni, and so on and so on. I just can’t imagine the massive pay imbalance that was revealed with The Crown, so clearly literally about the heroine, with two equally well-known leads, happening in India. You would get a terrible reputation in the industry if word got out, and word would get out.

      He’s really saying the same thing as before about Hollywood roles, right? Only instead of taking the side of, “I was only offered small roles”, he is phrasing it as “No one is offering me big roles”. More or less, certainly if the interviewer had said “but what about Slumdog Millionaire”, he could have simply clarified that when he says he is not being offered anything, he means no one is offering him leading roles and if they did of course he would be interested. And things have changed now, the actors who took those small roles are now being offered larger and larger ones. So maybe that’s also part of Shahrukh’s answer changing, I still don’t think he would take something like Irrfan’s recent “lead in a small budget off beat slice of life drama” movie. But maybe he would take what Irrfan does next after that, if it leads to “father role in a mainstream hit” or something like that. That is, if he was offered it. Which is now increasingly likely as more Indian actors are getting bigger parts.

      You’ve got me curious to look up the driving answer! The other thing that occurs to me is that there is a lot more traffic on the road in 2018 Bombay than there was in 1980 Delhi.

      Like

  2. I hope Paul Coelho’s feelings aren’t hurt that he got left off this list. But I am glad he didn’t mention 50 Shades of Gray, like he once did. Dreadful book, horribly written. But Hitchhiker’s Guide!!! Shah Rukh as Zaphod!

    Like

    • Based on 50 Shades of Grey on the previous list and Artemis Fowl on this one, and based on what most parents I know did, I wonder if he is reading along with his kids? Not like checking up on them, but different books spinning into his awareness thanks to their interests. Artemis Fowl might be slightly old for AbRam, but could be something his older friends are reading or he has heard about. 50 Shades would be just about right for Suhana.

      And yes!!!! Shahrukh basically IS Zaphod already, so why not play him? And Irrfan as Ford Prefect (he always seems slightly off in how he delivers dialogue anyway). And Ayushmann as our everyman hero. And Kalki as Trillian. And Amitabh as Marvin (he has the perfect voice for it).

      On Mon, Aug 27, 2018 at 5:06 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  3. Artemis Fowl! I got to meet Eoin Colfer when he was in our town on book tour for one of the Artemis Fowl sequels some years back. Oh, that accent! It was a shockingly small crowd in the bookstore. My son wanted to go meet him, and what a story teller he was in person. He was a middle school teacher, and I imagine a great one.

    Like

    • Oh middle-school teacher makes so much sense! He had so much understanding for what kids like to read and so on, but also a clear idea of the dangers of that age, the over-confidence that’s hiding a soft little kid center.

      On Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 1:22 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

  4. Nice to see this unexpected interview, and the audio is icing on the cake. I really like it when people ask him about films/entertainment as an industry, and about his endorsements and other businesses. I think he is a bit less guarded in these areas so we get these fun, wide-ranging answers which go beyond business matters. The types of answers he used to give more often on any topic.

    So, here are some of my thoughts, including some reactions to your thoughts/reactions. When he started talking about how quality of life is no longer defined by a bigger house or car, but by control over one’s own time, I thought–wow, he really is a very rich and privileged person. So many people work their hearts and guts out for the basics of life–control over their time is a small concern if they can make a living and raise children from giving it up. I’m not mad about it. I’d rather he didn’t pretend he’s still one of us working stiffs when it’s very clear he isn’t and hasn’t been for a while.

    When he was talking about the future of entertainment I like that he acknowledged that what he was saying about the future of movie-going in theaters being more like broadway, etc is not an original idea to him. Just that natural care not to claim credit–to show by example that learning new ideas from others is a lifelong thing, in our current world that values fixed ideas and purposeful ignorance–is classy.

    My reaction to him talking about the types of brands who come to him for endorsements, and what factors contribute to a successful endorsement, is different from yours. His musing about why established brands seek him out was interesting, but I especially like that he highlighted the way endorsements are about building relationships for him, not a series of one off transactions. It’s the kind of approach lots of business leaders take–building relationships is an end in itself for businesses to prosper.

    I love your idea that “Brand SRK” IS a start-up. I hope he or someone on his team reads this, because I think he’d like the idea. Also–it occurred to me that something like “Shah Rukh says he doesn’t do start-ups–but Brand SRK is the ultimate start up!” would be a good hook for a social media post about this blog post. Speaking of which–did you end up getting a social media person to help you promote DCIB?

    Nice catch about his more “fatherly” interest in sports being a smart angle in re-positioning him, while also being true.

    I enjoyed his responses about books, because they are the answers of someone who reads to read, not someone who reads to impress other people. He is “loyal” to Adams and other authors who made an impression on him (either because of when he read them or because of the work itself), and he’s not afraid to say he enjoyed a book by Dan Brown, lol. I hadn’t heard him refer to Roald Dahl before. I bet he likes both the children’s books and the adult stories–they’re all dark, off-kilter, and funny.

    Finally, about Terry Pratchett–I know, right? I would dearly love to see him play Sam Vimes–have you met him at all yet? He has a great character arc across multiple books, and superb supporting characters. One day, I will find out if he has read them and, if so, which characters and books are his favorites. 🙂

    Like

    • I keep being interrupted by stupid work phone calls so it is taking me FOREVER to respond to this comment. Stupid work!

      Which leads me to your first comment! I agree about control of time being a privileged comment. But it’s also one that made me think about how Indian society in particular has shifted to wage based work in just the past few decades. A farmer or a small shopkeeper controls his own time, even a servant of the old standard (live in, always around) has more control. But the new army of office workers are discovering for the first time the idea of fully selling your time to someone and thereby making a living. Specifically as related to how content is consumed, there is now this in between space in time. I am at work right now, but I am also able to write this comment, or watch a trailer on mute. The same would be true if I were a domestic laborer, I could have one of those cheap Chinese made cell phones and play videos while I chopped vegetables or whatever else. It’s not exactly “my” time, but it is partly my time in a way it wouldn’t be before. And then there’s the flip of that, the ability to watch things on your phone (or TV), makes it less likely to be given time off to run to a movie theater. I know I am reading more into his comment than was there already, but you got me thinking!

      To jump off the idea of building relationships, it also makes a relationship in the minds of the consumer. Hyundai would be foolish to drop Shahrukh just because his films are failing because they have a long term relationship with him, and because the consumer has that connection between the two “Brands” built up over years.

      I do have a social media person, who is wonderful about retweeting tweets multiple times and adding trending hashtags. Which is more than I could ask for, for what I am able to pay But if you have a good idea of a way to retweet something I have written, please tweet it yourself! There is no advantage to my sending it over you, I’m not trying to build twitter followers just get people to follow a link to a post. If you tweet a clever quote and the post link it’s just as good as if I did it. That is, so long as it doesn’t interfere with the twitter identity you want to build for yourself.

      Now that I am thinking of it, the “I just want to help young people play sports” hook also works as a tie in to his new charitable rebranding. He’s not an arrogant movie star, or a calculating businessman, he just wants to help people be the best they can be.

      YES! I know EXACTLY what you mean! I read exclusively for pleasure, and I haven’t read a serious real interesting book in years. Heck, the Terry Pratchett are the first new-to-me books I have read in years. I reread childhood favorites or romance novels or other light things. Plus serious books on film, but that’s work-reading, not real-reading. My books are a random rambling list that goes from Jane Eyre to Betsy-Tacy. And if someone asked me “what is your favorite author” or “what book are you reading now”, I wouldn’t give the answers celebrities usually do, the impressive new bestselling novel or whatever, it would be something like “Heaven to Betsy, the high school book, she’s trying to decide who to take to the big dance”. Oh, and maybe Roald Dahl is another AbRam pick? He is the perfect age for Roald Dahl as a read aloud, so long as you stick with the happier ones. I think my first grade teacher read James and the Giant Peach to us during Quiet Time every day. And Dahl is definitely an author that a parent would start reading and enjoying on their own after their kid introduces them.

      My wonderful friend gave me the entire Witches series, I just finished it, and she followed it up with giving me the entire Guards series. I’m about 80 pages into the first book, Vines isn’t supposed to be the hero but I can already see that Pratchett is getting distracted and more interested in him than in the “hero” character. The same way he fell in love with Granny Weatherwax in the first witch book, that was supposed to be about two totally other people while she was just the sort of mentor/guide role. And (based on the 80 pages I have read), it would be perfect for Shahrukh. The guy who is too smart to be the “hero”, who will find a way around rushing into the fight if at all possible.

      On Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 1:19 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Like

      • Interesting about office work vs other types of work, and the in-between times. And now, for many of us, technology means the lines between “work time” and “leisure time” are blurrier than ever. But for farmers, shop keepers, housewives, those lines have never existed in the same way.

        Good point about me tweeting stuff. Didn’t even occur to me–even though you mention it as a good thing to do to support the blog. I’ll do it immediately. Glad you got a social media person and it’s working out. Yay!

        Oh, I’m so glad you have the Vimes books. Thank you, wonderful friend of Margaret’s! I love the way Pratchett grows these characters over time, while staying true to the fundamental personality traits like those you’ve already spotted in Vimes. Looking forward to casting Guards stories in the future!

        Like

        • One of the things I love about my boss is that he deeply believes in the work/not work time divide. He will apologize for keeping us one minute after 5pm, and he texts me an urgent work related question outside of work hours maybe twice a year. At some point he may realize that no one does that any more (especially in the tech field), but so far he hasn’t and it makes my whole life so much more pleasant, to feel like I am really fully “off” when I am off. And it’s the reason I can watch so many movies in theaters, I can look at my work schedule and the theater schedule and know it will match up. But if I didn’t have such a wonderful boss, if I couldn’t be sure when I would get off work, I would gravitate towards streaming much more than I do. But then, if there is a time that just absolutely does not work with my work schedule, it is out of the question. Whereas if I were a small shopkeeper, I would be able to say “oh heck, I’ll close 20 minutes early so I can make the early show”. The “time-shifting” and “space-shifting” aspects of new media are so twined up with new ways of working.

          I also really liked in the Witches series watching how Pratchett’s writing developed over time. The first books are a little rough and he is clearly working on an idea of what kind of story he wants to tell instead of letting the characters take the lead. And then in the middle section, it just flows along, he knows these characters and the story just falls into place. And then the end books, you can see him struggling to hold himself together and the characters kind of carry the story along, he can write for them even if the plot doesn’t hold together any more.

          On Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 4:26 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

          Like

          • Yes, good characterization of changes in his writing over time. And you are so right that he gets magnetically attracted to some characters. I read an interview with him where he said at some point the only way he could NOT involve Vimes in a book is to keep all the action outside of Ankh-Morpork, and even then he sometimes would show up. 🙂

            Like

          • I’ve noticed the same writing pattern in all long running authors, Agatha Christie and Rex Stout and Georgette Heyer. There’s that youthful sort of brashness, and then a mature experienced period, and then the last years where they are just sort of running on fumes. It’s going to be funny with Pratchett, reading his serieses one by one instead of the whole group chronologically, with the Witches I was so sad by the end watching him die. And now with the Guards books I have suddenly been thrown back to his youth and I get to start the whole creative journey over again.

            Wrenching this back to film, I also get the same feeling with directors. For instance Yash Chopra, I can watch Waqt and feel his youthful clumsiness and energy, and then Silsila where it all just flowed beautifully, DTPH when it was beginning to get a bit tired, and then JTHJ which was just sad. I can see why Shahrukh is pushing Adi to make more movies, to grasp that fruitful middle period while he can. But then on the other hand, perhaps taking it slower lets you harvest your energy better, like Raj Kapoor who made surprisingly few films in his career as a director, but there was no drop off in quality as he aged.

            On Tue, Aug 28, 2018 at 4:42 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

            >

            Like

  5. Here’s a new video interview. I think he’s been doing these interviews for Hyundai. He confirms he has no film yet after Zero. Also that Suhana has another 5 years to go before she can act and Aryan has 3 years but he wants to be a filmmaker.

    Like

    • Shoot, this post exhausted me, I don’t know if I have time to analyze a video too. But glad to hear he took the opportunity to confirm no film after Zero and no debut for Suhana. Those two stories bothered me so much, because they were so STUPID and I am sick of reading them. If there was a film after Zero, we would know! Like, there would be visible meetings and stuff. Obviously there isn’t, no matter what rumors might say. And same goes for Suhana and Aryan.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.