News Round-Up: De De Pyaar De and #MeToo, Priyanka and Ms. Marvel

Use your HEADS people!!!!!! Oh my gosh, twitter and rumors and stuff are flying about things that ONE SECOND of logical intelligent thought would show you are not real things. And also, I should maybe not read the news before having my coffee, because it just makes me too grumpy.

De De Pyaar De, Not a #MeToo Story, You Idiots

Headline=”Ajay Devgn DEFENDS signing Alok Nath despite the Me Too allegations” Actual quote: “This is not the right place to talk about it. And jinki aap baat kar rahe hai woh film uske pehle complete hui (the film was completed before the allegations surfaced against the concerned person)” (story here)

But is anyone going to read the actual article and real quote? No! Of course not! They are just going to jump on the idea that Ajay Devgan and Luv Ranjan signed a rapist to their movie because they are evil men. Yes, Ajay tends to be cast opposite much younger women. Yes, Luv Ranjan makes sex movies and was accused of harassment himself. But in this particular case, USE YOUR HEAD!!!! We KNOW Alok Nath was signed before the accusations because we all know when the film was being filmed and so on, they shouldn’t even be asked the question because the answer is obvious. Heck, we know it because if you have been following the Alok story, you know he has been sitting at home in shame and appearing before tribunals and not doing anything else (like working on a film) for the past several months.

And also, obviously, they are not defending him! They are simply trying to keep the Alok stink off of their film, as they have a perfect right to do. I actually find this less sleazy than the producers that try to erase #MeToo names from their movies. Take Alok Nath out of the trailer and you avoid controversy, but he still got paid for the job, and will still be in the movie because there is no way to remove him at this point. Leaving him in the trailer is in fact the more honest choice.

(oh, and I will do another post talking about the trailer itself in a moment)

Image result for de de pyaar de trailer release
It’s not like they invited him to the release or in any way tried to promote him, in fact Ajay avoided saying his name at all.

No, Priyanka is Not Going to Be Ms. Marvel, That’s Ridiculous

Ms. Marvel is a spin-off character from Captain Marvel, when the Captain Marvel movie was announced, a Ms. Marvel movie was also confirmed. And now in order to promote the new Avengers film, Joe Russo is making nice to the Indian market and said “Priyanka is transitioning into global status now. She is fantastic… (I would) Love to work with her… I am potentially talking to Priyanka for something. I am not going to say what it is,” (story here)

PC’s PR machine, and fan army, chose to interpret this as her being up for the Ms. Marvel role. Which just shows a complete lack of awareness of comic book movies and Hollywood and comic books. Ms. Marvel is a recent hit popular new hero. There are two things that make her special: 1. She is Muslim and her Muslim identity informs her morality and decision making; 2. She is an average American teenage girl. Is Priyanka Muslim? NO! Is she a teenage girl? NO!

Image result for ms marvel

Currently the voice actress Kathreen Khaveri plays Ms. Marvel in animated features. She is not a teenage girl either, but then that is less important for a voice actress, she can still play teenage. She IS Muslim, proudly Muslim. She isn’t of Pakistani heritage like the Ms. Marvel character, she is Iranian, but she is Muslim like Ms. Marvel. Based on previous casting decisions, I think we can say that Marvel studios finds the Muslim part of the character identity an important aspect of who is appropriate to play the role.

Image result for kathreen khavari
Love her. Oh, and she is also an experienced and talented voice actress, she is more than qualified for this job beyond her religious background.

Let’s also look at the kind of actors Marvel likes to cast to lead their franchises. They want either someone talented but fairly new to the audience (like Chris Evans, or Hugh Jackman back when he started) who can commit to multiple films over multiple years because it would be such a game changer for their career. Or they want someone who is already well-known and whose star identity will fit with the role they want. Like Paul Rudd, or Brie Larson. Most of all, they want really really good actors. Robert Downey Jr. set the tone for their films, they may have silly plots but the actors have to take them seriously and create a character who feels real. And Priyanka is just not there, she isn’t famous enough or unknown enough, and she definitely does not have the acting chops.

If Joe Russo is talking to Priyanka about something (something that is more than just a dinner date. Or more likely, a role in his movie Dhaka which is set in India and already has a crossover cast), and if that something is the Ms. Marvel movie (also doubtful, Marvel has gotten better and better about using directors who have similar background to the lead characters, and a middle-aged white man does not have much in common with Ms. Marvel), then the most Priyanka could hope for is a role as the heroine’s mother or aunt. Something small that would let her be part of the promotions (promotions are where she shines) without ruining the movie.

But most likely she will have a small part in Dhaka, which is already a small movie. She will be playing second fiddle to Manoj Bajpayee and Pankaj Tripathi. It’s the kind of role and movie that she is appropriate for, a very small cameo that won’t interfere with her main job of selling Brand Priyanka, and giving her something to talk about on talk shows, just like her part in Isn’t It Romantic. And right now her PR team is jumping on the Russo comment and trying to piggyback on Avengers buzz by picking a random Marvel property to suggest she could be a part of.

As is often the case with Priyanka’s shameless promotional moves and the people who spread them, I am slightly disgusted. Ms. Marvel is groundbreaking, proof that a teenage girl heroine, and a Muslim heroine, can find an audience for her comics. Making a movie about her shows that Marvel studios has faith that the same things that made her comics special can crossover and bring interest to her films. Trying to shove Priyanka into this story says that no, no one is interested in a young girl’s coming of age story, only a sexy grown woman. And all Brown people are the same, and “could be” Muslim, which is a very dangerous message in America today where “Muslim” has become a thing you look like on the outside, not a faith system you believe on the inside.

Or maybe it is just a stupid promotional story and I am feeling grumpy today and overthinking it. That’s always possible too.

21 thoughts on “News Round-Up: De De Pyaar De and #MeToo, Priyanka and Ms. Marvel

  1. I’m parsing words here but Russo talked in such an odd way about the supposed PC project. “I’m potentially talking to her.” Huh? Wouldn’t it be “I’m talking to her about a potential project??” This makes it sound more like he hasn’t talked to her but may in the future. If it was an Indian person saying it, I would let it go because English is most likely a 2nd or 3rd language but for Russo to say it like that is strange. If I’m interpreting it correctly, it sounds more like those noises all HW stars and directors make when they come to India – name drop an Indian actor’s name and get some publicity through them and try to form a connect with the local audience. It’s planned by PR and nothing concrete ever comes from it.

    These kind of PR jobs work for all sides. Russo gets to form a local connection and make the audience happy and Priyanka (or any Indian actor named) gets to the ride the crest of publicity too and establish how big they really are. So there would not be any denials from that side either. Note how Aishwarya used to handle her so-called international career. It was a nonexistent career based on rumors of movies with Meryl Streep, Will Smith, Brad Pitt or playing a Bond Girl and so on. The Bond property has now been replaced by Marvel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I am sure you are right. It’s just picking on Ms. Marvel that makes it feel so icky to me. Float “PC might be in a Marvel movie”, don’t pick on the one property with a Muslim teenage heroine. Whoever added that twist to the story, BOO!

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s just PC’s pr. They have always been vulgar.

        Btw, you should consider watching or writing about PC’s new youtube show. It looked *very* much like a pitch for a reality show but trying to make it look more upscale than the Kardashian variety.

        I could be wrong but if she was actually in talks for big movies, I don’t think she would head down the youtuber path. No matter what, it looks a little too downmarket for a movie star to head to YouTube.

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    • Love Ms. Marvel! And the fact she goes to a high school down the street from where I live! And especially G. Willow Wilson, the wonderful and talented writer behind the character! Her non-Ms. Marvel books are also delightful.

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  2. I’ve read the first couple of Ms. Marvel volumes and it is super fun. And PC shouldn’t even be considered in the same breath as this role. Her PR team is so ridiculous. But I would be fine with her being cast in a superhero role that’s previously been a white character (male or female). But if they ever do introduce Ms.Marvel this is the perfect opportunity to do diversity the right way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s also such a perfect opportunity to give a chance to an unknown actress. The role has to be played by someone very young, there must be a super talented teenage desi girl out there somewhere who could do something amazing with it and make the story about how she was discovered and rocketed to stardom.

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      • Realistically, it also makes more sense to give chances to desis in the US and they would automatically connect better to the general HW audience. These attempts at crossovers from other industries never work out that well. They lose what makes them unique and on the other hand, the audience still others them in a way.

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        • Especially since Ms. Marvel’s appeal is that she is a “typical American Girl”. Although, that’s Peter Parker’s appeal to, and he is played by a British actor now. But a British actor who can do a really good American accent.

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  3. Alok Nath had signed this movie before the accusation but let’s think how Ajay Devgan’s response would have been if Alok Nath was say a murder accused. Would he just say that Alok Nath did murder before the movie was shot and expect others to fill in the rest of his response as ‘nothing can be done now,deal with it’? If not anything,he could have said that the movie is already shot,it’s the effort of many people but we completely disassociate from him and stand by the victims? I mean there’s definitely a more sensitive way to address this genuine concern of abusers getting work and featuring prominently on even trailers despite everything ? And according to you,noone should even question that cos that’s stupid,we should all just take Ajay’s words on face value. Also since you are giving them credits for being ‘honest’, do you intend to watch this movie now that you know it has Alok Nath in a prominent role?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I watch every movie, it takes a lot for me to boycott a film. I think I broke down my concern with abusers in films in some other post in response to a similar story:

      1. They directly benefit in some way from the success of the film.

      2. The film in some way supports their view of the world.

      3. I personally am just so grossed out by them that it makes it impossible for me to watch anything they are in.

      The first two reasons are not relevant in this case, Alok is just an actor not a producer or director or writer. For the third, I don’t know yet how I will feel, it depends on how the other promotions go.

      I agree that Ajay could have said more, but I also think there is a grey area between “supporting” Alok Nath and “condemning” him, and I think this story and Ajay’s remarks fall in that grey area. He didn’t say anything super good, but he didn’t say anything super bad either.
      And if he had said something scathing, I would give it a bit of a side-eye as performative feminism, the same way I felt about Hrithik being aggressive in condemning Vikas Bahl.

      As for if I would feel the same way if it was a murderer being talked about, yeah, probably. If that murderer were being prosecuted and their case considered by a variety of authorities, if that murderer had no support from anywhere in the industry, then I would still think “sounds like they are trying to protect their film without supporting the murderer” when the producers try to avoid discussing the issue at the trailer release.

      I’m not taking Ajay’s word at face value, all he is saying is that they signed and finished the film before the accusations came up, and that is obviously true. If he said “I had no idea Alok Nath or anyone in the film industry was a sexual predator”, then I wouldn’t believe him. But he is making one small statement of verifiable fact.

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  4. And about Kalank – did you see the tweets about it being inspired by this book called “What the Body Remembers”.
    From the synopsis the movie definitely has been inspired from it down to character names.

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    • Yes, someone else sent me a link to the Quint article. We’ll see, in some ways the character name makes it seem less likely to me, like why would you go so far as even using the same names when that would be so easy to change?

      On Tue, Apr 2, 2019 at 11:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I just wanted to drop by to say how I love that you are writing from a neutral point of view, criticising when it’s due and not just doing it blindly. I’ve been seeing tweets about Alok been in the new movie and how everyone is condemning the production for still taking him on etc. Basically I like this statement that you put, “But is anyone going to read the actual article and real quote? No!” because this seems the reason why some “news” or “rumour” get around and hating on this and that happens simply because no one actually bother to read up the entire thing before they react. Just like how those clickbaits work and people tend to still fall for it.

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    • Thanks! That’s really nice to hear. What’s especially irritating in this case is that you don’t even have to read the article to know the rumors are inaccurate, you just have to take a moment to remember when this film was cast and announced, or that Alok hasn’t been seen in public in months since the accusation.

      On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 5:00 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

      >

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  6. I understand your hate for PC, but I personally find it a little unwarranted sometimes. From the perspective of an Indian American, Priyanka has always been inspirational in the way that she was able to have a successful career in two entertainment industries. Regardless of how you find her personality or the way she carries herself in interviews, I don’t think it’s fair to discount her achievements and talent as both an actor and a South Asian women.

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    • Sure, makes sense. And certainly there is space for different opinions here, I’m not going to insist on everyone agreeing so long as we can be respectful about it.

      Like

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