News Round-Up: Patriarchy is Patriarchal, Writer Disputes, Omkara Hangover

A good old-fashioned news round-up!  Instead of the complete focus on #MeToo stories.  Although one of them is kind of a MeToo story, but mostly a “Ha!  I was right!” story, which always cheers me up (even if no one else cares).

Patriarchs Patriarch

Do you remember several months ago Mallika Dua, or rather Mallika Dua’s FATHER, accused Akshay Kumar of “sexual harassment” because he made a wordplay about “ringing” her in the context of her hitting a gong on their game show.  In case you forgot, let me put up excerpts from my original post:

Akshay is one of the hosts of a TV show, the “Great Indian Laughter Challenge”.  On a recent episode, one of the female judges reached up to ring the bell that is part of the show set, and Akshay joked “Mallika ji, aap bell bajao, main aapko bajata hoon”.  Which I think loosely translates to “Mallika ji, you ring the bell, I’ll ring you”. Which I guess could be slang for all sorts of things.

In response, Mallika Dua, the judge, said nothing.  But her father released a video in which he said “I am going to screw this cretin Akshay Kumar for telling his co-worker Mallika Dua that ‘aap bell bajao main aap ko bajata hun’ at 5:26. This is his sense of humor and language. Star Plus..wake up..”

…………

Most of all, it’s not Mallika’s father’s place to comment on this.  His opinion is meaningless.  This is between Mallika and Akshay, if she is okay with it than there is no problem.  If she is not okay with it, than she can speak for herself.  Her father’s assumption that her “virtue” is his to defend, that Akshay’s comment is somehow an attack on him (not Mallika) and on the general Indian audience, that is a lot more dangerous.  Because that opens up the idea that, if the general Indian audience and her father were okay with anything Akshay (or any other man) did to her, then it would not be a problem.  Even if Mallika was not okay with it.

Now, are you ready to be shocked SHOCKED?  Turns out, the same man who feels the need to leap in and make abusive public comments about his daughter’s “virtue” and how it is threatened, who seemed to have no concept of what sexual harassment on the job actually is, is in fact himself a harasser (link here: https://thewire.in/women/filmmaker-accuses-vinod-dua-of-sexually-harassing-stalking-her-in-1989-incident)

He explained the job and asked me what my expectations were and I quoted an amount that most graduates were getting at the time – 5,000 rupees. He looked at me and said, ‘Tumhari aukat kya hai?’ I dont know what had hit me. I was stunned. What was this about? I had faced sexual harassment early in life but this sort of humiliation was a new experience.

………..

One night as I came down to the parking, he was there…He wanted to talk to me and asked me to enter his car… Assuming that he wanted to apologise for his behaviour, I entered the car but before I could even settle down he began slobbering all over my face. I managed to get out and get into my office car and leave.

I don’t know about you, but this surprises me Not. One. Bit.  First, the same man who thinks he has a right to speak out on behalf of his daughter about what she experienced at work, is a man who sees his female employee as his possession.

And second that the same man who sees a slightly off-color joke made one time in public while cameras are rolling as offending virtue, would not consider it attacking a woman in her car as harassment.  After all, it’s not in public, he isn’t embarrassing her family, is he?  So what’s wrong with it?

Just in case you weren’t sure, here is an example of how the patriarchal paternal attitude which sees sexual harassment as a matter of protecting a woman’s honor and therefore the honor of society, is directly related to the same kind of man who will see nothing wrong in treating a woman he sees as somehow outside of society (a working woman, a woman who has dated, a woman who is not part of his family) in any way he pleases.

But mostly, ha!  I was right!  My initial reaction of “what the heck is up with this man and why is he so weird about women?” was correct.

(This is for me, not Dua, he’s terrible but I am the BEST!)

 

Writer Disputes

Now, this is the juicy stuff!  Well, for me.  Manoj Mairta wrote a script in 2014.  In 2016, it landed with Raykesh Omprakesh Mehra.  And then Hussain Dulal was handed the script by Mehra and did more work on it, along with Mehra.  And now the first look and promos of the film are out and Manoj Mairta does not feel his name is prominant enough (link here: http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/news/bollywood/merey-pyarey-prime-minister-rakeysh-omprakash-mehra-faces-legal-trouble/)

It’s a tricky situation, because Mairta himself says that other people worked on the script.  But claims that it is still primarily his work and he should get top billing.  So then it gets down to a matter of comparing Mairta’s original script, and the shooting script, and decide where the line lies.  Especially since Mairta is technically given credit, he is listed in the official detailed credits on IMDB.  And he received payment and all of that.  It was just the above the line top billing as writer on the poster and so on that he wanted.

Are you getting Deja Vu?  If so, it means you have been following these stories for at least 10 years like I have.  This was very similar to Chetan Bhagat’s complaints about 3 Idiots.  He still got paid, he still got credit, it just wasn’t the right kind of credit.  In a way it’s almost noble, caring that much about your honor.

The nice thing is, India has a very careful system for this.  You can appeal to the Screen Writers Association, they can consider all versions and drafts and make a judgement.  Which is what Mairta did.  The SWA agreed with him and told Mehra he has to give him sole credit for the script.  Mehra however does not agree, arguing that Mairta ignored the contributions of the third writer, Hussain Dalal, who also deserves his own credit on the script.

Anyway, I just find this all fascinating!  As I understand it, in Indian film the writers and composers and everyone else tend to sell their rights outright.  There is no negotiation for percentages of the profit, or right of final approval, or any of that.  You sell your work and it is then owned by the producer/director completely.  Which has lead to this odd last minute court case and appeal system, since there is no other way to maintain control.

Another example, Salim-Javed went to court twice to prevent a remake of their classic films, first Sholay and then Zanjeer.  It was tied up in legalities, because they were the only writers powerful enough to maintain some legal control over their work, and yet the majority of it was still owned completely by the original producer and whoever he sold it to.

Isn’t that all so very very interesting? The question of who wrote what when and all of it revolving around something as small as where the name goes on the poster?

Image result for mere pyare prime minister

 

Omkara is Still Popular

Tiny early publicity is starting for Taanaji, Ajay Devgan and Saif’s next movie.  And it revolves almost entirely around “remember how great Omkara was?” (link here: http://www.bollywoodhungama.com/news/bollywood/12-years-omkara-saif-ali-khan-turn-anti-hero-ajay-devgn-starrer-taanaji/)

And I do!  I do remember how great it was!  I am definitely up for a repeat of that magic!  If they want me to show up first day-first show, they can just keep reminding me of that, and telling me that Ajay will be playing the hero again and Saif the villain.

But what’s cool is, I didn’t realize so many other people remembered how great Omkara was!  I never would have thought that it would still be popular enough that it could be a reasonable thing to be used to promote a film, right next to an implication that this movie will be like Bahubali, but bigger.

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29 thoughts on “News Round-Up: Patriarchy is Patriarchal, Writer Disputes, Omkara Hangover

    • Well that’s nice! What I would really love is if they end up partnering with the WCC in Kerala and it turns into an arts exchange along with everything else. There are some shockingly talented actresses/directors on this list, and some shockingly talented ones in the Kerala group, I’d love to see what they could create if they combined forces.

      On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 10:00 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • No way! The issues that WCC is fighting & this group(if at all they make a formal organisation that represents the women in Hindi film industry) has to take up are entirely different. The milieu, issues & mindset’s that has to be fought against in each industry us different. It’s nice to think of ‘art exchange’ etc but that isn’t(shouldn’t be)the point of such groups. I’m also surprised to see Zoya Aktar in the list. She had a birthday party with the A-listers on the same day as this notification came out. And none of the ladies mentioned in this notice were there & no announcements of any kind. I can’t take her seriously committed to this, if she can’t use the crowd she had to send a message-especially when her own cousin is caught in the thick of things. I also think it kind of dilutes the issue of women if you have high profile, industry insiders like Zoya & Kiran Rao as the leaders. If a situation involving one of their families, production house comes up, how can one be sure of impartiality & unbiased support. Kind of like how Anupama Chopra used to be a good critic but is now using FilmCompanion to promote books, fashion lines & reality shows of star kids & wives. Shweta Bachan, Twinkle Khanna & Shilpa Shetty have nothing of interest to contribute for a film fan but Anupama has to shove their elitist views via promotion interviews down the viewers’ throat who did not sign up to listen to these women detailing their struggle of having to instruct the cook what to make for dinner. If a women committee is formed in Hindi films with the likes of Zoya & Kiran Rao at the top,it is highly unlikely to deal with any issues that women in the lower strata would face or the precarious positions they have to take when one of their own gets implicated.

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        • I agree with you on both topics (Anupama and certain names on the list).
          As I am also sure that each Indian filmindustry should treat the working environment of women in it’s own way, I think, a kind of ‘umbrella organization’ only makes sense if it is a national one dealing with all kind of women issues, the sexual harrassement on the working place being one regardless the working place.

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        • Thank you! I was looking and looking at that list, thinking someone on it surely must be related to someone that’s been named, and I couldn’t solve the puzzle. Zoya, of course. And Farah is noticeably absent, the other most famous and successful female director. I guess she is too close to things.

          I do think the only way this might be able to be addressed is if people are allowed to separate the personal from the professional. Zoya and Farah can’t be responsible for what their relative did on his own set. All they can do is make sure their sets are safe and fair. Once you start opening it up to people being painted with the same brush as relatives or even friends, then there is no end to it. Because everyone is related somehow.

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          • But do people want to separate personal from professional? Going back to Anupama Chopra, she shut down an entire film portal from reviewing her relatives’ movies when there was clearly no need for it from the audience perspective. It was to keep appearances with the industry people. To not give a chance to say, ‘look, what good is Vidhu Chopra’s movies when his wife herself(or her company) can’t say anything good about it’. As insiders they are expected to stand by each other. Mallika Dua has to stand by her father. Manju Warrier can’t take a public stand against the father of her child. So all in all, industry insiders helming such crucial roles will essentially make such efforts futile.

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          • But then, who else can do it? I’m not talking about a commission on safety in the workplace or something, but something like this were the goal is clearly for representatives of the industry to come together and take a stand. You can’t find someone in that kind of position whose hands are clean, who has no relationship to someone who might be smeared. So, do we just shut it all down? Give up and wait for the industry to change before anyone claims to be doing anything? If no one can speak out unless they are completely unrelated to a potential perpetrator, than no one can speak out. Amitabh’s son was in Sajid Khan’s movies, does he lose the right to say anything because of that?

            On Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 8:03 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • It’s great if people from industry come together & form a forum. But those taking up the leadership roles should also be prepared for potential situations where one of their own maybe implicated.Manju Warrier is a classic example, she started WCC but is now in a position where she can’t take a public stand. I do think she’s handling it in the best way by staying in the background & letting others run the show without derailing it. Of course it’s slightly easier for her cos it’s the ex, not a cousin or friend with whom you had drinks last Friday. Bollywood is known for the cliques & camps, so I can’t believe that someone will take a truly impartial corrective step, disregarding their connections if a situation demands it. Currently I see the upholding of values by means of generic Twitter statements only which are of course blinds. If personal values & impartial dealings were precious currency, Bollywood wouldn’t find itself in the spot that it is today. Abhishek can very well speak about Sajid, but will he? And will he follow it up with not ever working with him again?

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          • In my opinion, even if Sajid wasn’t harasser, Farah would not sign this letter anyway. I can be wrong, because I don’t follow news and gossips, but she doesn’t give an impression she cares about such things.

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          • Now that I think about it, there is another important female director missing, Tanuja Chandra. Everyone here is kind of the same artistic generation, none of them came up in the 90s with Farah and Tanuja. I don’t know what that means, but it’s something to notice.

            On Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 8:14 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  1. This is geeky but since you mentioned payments, I’d been wondering if they pay residuals in Indian film. Residuals are super complicated and based on what you’ve written about how little of the business historically has been written down in contracts, I was wondering how that would work. But it sounds like no, the producers get sole rights and keep any profits? Where do the stars fit in? Do they get a producer cut?

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    • Until recently, the star payments were a combination of handshake deals and blackmail. That is, the star could just stay home and hold the producer up for more and more money. Or on the other hand, might work for free and take payment based on what the producer could afford once the film came out. But yes, there was no right over the film once it released, you got paid what you got paid and then moved on with your life.

      You will be unsurprised to learn that Akshay Kumar seems to have lead the way in getting percentage deals. He always has his eye on the money. It’s better all around, the producer doesn’t have to find the money to pay him up front and Akshay benefits if the film does well. Other stars have started producing the whole darn thing and taking no official payment for themselves at all.

      It isn’t just the star that got the one time payment, the producer did too. The system was, the Producer decides to make the film, finds the money, pays the stars or agrees to pay them later, buys the music, and rents the studio space, and so on and so forth. Part way through filming when the money starts to run out, he turns around and sells the Distribution and music rights to other people and uses the money to finish the film. And then the distributors sell the film to small distributors who rent it to theaters. Everyone gets a one time pay out except the theater owners and the last distributors who rent out the film stock. Now it’s changed a little bit, because you get multiple one time payments, the theatrical distributors but also the satellite rights (which are massive sales, easily half the box office in one lump sum) and the streaming if those aren’t packaged in with the satellite. And stars are beginning to ask for percentages of the distribution and satellite sales on top of their base payment.

      Here’s the funny thing, the distributors are the only ones who take the immediate loss when a film flops. Well, distributors and theater owners. Because everyone else got their nice lump payment in advance. Anyway, it’s common/expected for the star to pay back the distributor’s loss out of their own pocket when their film flops. So Salman paid back the losses for Race 3 and Tubelight, and Shahrukh did the same for Dilwale, even as long back as Asoka he was paying back losses. So the stars don’t get residuals (no one really does, it’s all one time sales), but they do have to pay for the residual losses of everyone else.

      Oh, and there’s also the way that you never make a profit on your big hit film, you make a profit on your next film because your market value has increased, that’s what you want to look at. So it’s all about signing as many films as possible and shooting your rate up as high as possible while you’re riding high. And that’s true for all artists, composers and actors and even directors if they are looking for investors. Same for the people hiring them, you want to get in right after the big hit so you can sell the distribution and satellite rights for the highest possible rate with everyone expecting another big hit.

      On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 10:11 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Interesting, that all would explain why everyone was trying to make as many movies as possible. If it was a onetime payoff for all involved, the incentives would be to make as many as possible and not worry too much about the details. So then did the distributors ultimately end up with rights to the older films? Like, if you’re Netflix or Amazon or any of the new streaming platforms, who are you signing deals with to get access to the films from the 40s-90s?

        Smart move by Akshay, especially if he thought he was being undervalued in terms of star power.

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        • Yep, ErosNow has it’s own Amazon channel, they aren’t a studio but a distributor. YRF, Dharma, Red Chillies, they are all forward thinking and trying to retain their own rights. Red Chillies is doing something really interesting, they are buying up the whole Shahrukh filmography as much as they can, tracking down all the films that are still owned by random other companies and collecting them. It’s kind of like cornering the market, eventually it’s gonna get down to the handful of films that Dharma and YRF have and Shahrukh is either going to have to live with an incomplete collection, or somehow convince his two best friends to pry their hands loose of their most valuable content.

          On Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 10:53 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Yes, that’s wise. Control your legacy + build your ability to use your older films to promote interest in new releases + secure income from any future distribution and audience opportunities for yourself and your heirs.

            Given how intertwined the personal side is with the business, the question of who ends up with the SRK part of the YRF and Dharma catalogs could play out over a generation or two. Does Adi have any successors in evidence? Does Karan have to wait for his twins to grow up? Aryan and Suhana seem like strong contenders to become players in the industry.

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          • Oh my, that makes complete sense. Adi has a daughter, Adira, I think she is 2. So give it 20 years and she can marry AbRam and bring with her the SRK-YRF films as her dowry. Or she can marry Karan’s son Yash and combine the Dharma and YRF SRK films into one whole.

            On Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 11:26 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Guessing Adi and Karan are too savvy to let go of those while they’re still in control, but once the reins pass to the next generation you never know. It depends on who cares enough to be involved and who is good enough at the business side to keep things running. YRF and Dharma have been lucky in their current generation, sustaining through a third generation would be remarkable.

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          • Especially since both Adi and Karan had kids so late in life, meaning they will have little time to train up generation 3 before they retire. Although, so did their fathers. And then Adi and Karan just happened to be boy geniuses who made their first movies and took over the direction of the company at 24.

            On Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 11:50 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Ugh I’m just not feeling Bollywood right now. It’s just a bunch of cliques working together and ganging up on a single person. – Kangana. Now she might not be right all the time and might make stupid statements but so do the others. A lot of journos called out Kangana for seeking publicity for her movie by making controversial statements. Maybe she did, but that’s how the rest of Bollywood is. Amitabh was all about feminism and wrote a letter to his granddaughter and stuff during Pink. Aamir she’d buckets of tears on his show Satyameva Jayate. But both of them are silent about the me too movement. Why don’t they get called out?
    Just because Kangana is an easy target they call her out. She may be making stuff up about Hrithik or not, I have no idea but the fact of the matter is she’s an easy target for the entire Bollywood brigade to brand her “crazy”. I fear she may end up like Parveen Babi, alone and sad.

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    • I understand your concern, niviblog. Nevertheless, Kangana lends herself to the harsh critic as she makes herself implausible.
      In addition, I don’t think that anybody has the right to call out people by name to take a stand…it is important the stand she takes herself concerning her own prson…and there, I mostly see that she confounds sexual harrassment with a lot of other things that revolves around sexuality at a working place.

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      • I am so conflicted about Kangana. She’s so smart and talented and she often makes incisive comments. But she’s also self-serving and histrionic and seems to have no problem with exaggerating for her own benefit. I don’t want to outright say lying because in a weird way I don’t think she sees herself as lying if that makes any sense. But yeah, she’s problematic as hell.

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    • Aamir actually has been fairly vocal (for Aamir). He went to an emergency meeting of the directors guild and then gave a statement about the need for institutional changes, and he released a statement about leaving a movie because of accusations against the director. Amitabh made a brief remark in the context of a birthday interview that everyone should feel safe at their work place, I agree he could have said more.

      Parveen Babi was very sad, but that was decades ago and the mental health profession has leaped for forward, hopefully if Kangana suffers from similar illnesses she can get treatment and manage them more easily.

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  3. I fully can relate to the Omkara “hangover”…it really was an exceptional film. Yet it is also very convenient to remind people over and over again of a good pairing for promoting a new movie. So, personally, I don’t mind…it will just be a movie with Saif and Ajay in the leads (I neither mind the constant reminder of ShahRukh-Salman as the KaranArjun pair, for that matter 😉 )

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    • I just hope it is nearly as good as Omkara! Looking back at that video, what surprised me the most is how little Saif and Ajay have aged in the intervening years! I guess for men, once you hit 35, you just sort of plateu for another 20 years.

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    • Why do the men look amazing and the women look terrible? Unfair!

      Rani looks okay in that first photo, and then the angle shifts and I realize she has see-through sleeves on her blazer and blech! And Kajol looks okay straight on, but then in the other photos her dress is much too tight around the waist, very unflattering.

      On Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 10:35 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Really you noticed all this, and not terrible suit Karan is wearing? And his shoes? And glasses? His style is like blow in the eyes.
        But on the other note – Happy KuchKuch-versary!

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        • But Karan himself looks good in it! It takes advantage of his height and slims down his waist and just generally looks good. AT least, to me.

          While Kajol and Rani’s clothes just serve to accent their worst features, making both of them look much shorter and wider than they should.

          On Tue, Oct 16, 2018 at 11:45 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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