Why “Rationships” are important in any form of entertainment, work, life et al..
SV Prasad, Chairman RetyrSmart Advisory
Over the last two of my articles writing about a few films, I have been looking at movies through the prism of “Relationships”. And the most important Relationship or Connect is with the viewer in the case of films, plays & even sports and with the reader in the case of stories, blogs, media articles etc. Therefore, the audience getting ‘hooked’ is paramount. The great actors and a sportsman such as Roger Federer know this best and therefore never take their audience for granted and give them the utmost respect.
In the last week, two major events occurred in the context of films: the biggest Hindi movie of the year till date, eagerly awaited by all of us: the release of “Thugs of Hindostan” and the death of the legendary Stan Lee, the creator of immortal superheroes such as Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, X Men and so many more.
First the death of Stan Lee
Stan Lee was a “young”, sprightly 96 year old person when he died. Full of life, he died with his boots on, working right till the last day. Like Alfred Hitchcock, Stan Lee too did one or two scene cameo roles in all the Superhero movies. And he was noticed by the audience and welcomed with a huge applause.
His “connect” or “Relationship” with all of us across the world – young and old – was so strong that his sudden death sent shock waves across the world, including here in India and all of us, his fans continue to feel sad. He was different from the other creators of the Superhero genre as he made them relatable, with warts et al.
The Stars who have played the various parts and indeed became stars thanks to Stan Lee – Hugh Jackman as X – Man Wolverine, “Iron Man” Robert Downey Jr and pretty much everyone else felt extremely sad and felt quite a huge void at his eventual, inevitable journey to be with the Lord Almighty.
Please join me in praying to the Lord Almighty for his departed soul to rest in peace. The myriad Superhero characters he has created continue to give us so much joy and happiness.
Thugs Of Hindostan
It had everything going for it. Two of the all time great actors of India Amitabh and Aamir. Produced by the hugely respected YRF Productions which has produced the likes of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Veer Zaara, Dil To Paagal Hai, Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Dhoom series etc. The trailer, nowadays more known as promo, looked extremely promising. And yet, the audience rejected the movie. It just did not get a “Relationship” going with the audience. The connect was just not there.
Yes, two of the best star actors were there. The scenes were breathtaking. But story, screenplay, edit etc all left a lot to be desired. It just shows even the greats cannot salvage a not so well made movie. Like a good Indian Thaali, all the ingredients have to be in right for a movie to be able exercise “pull” with the audience.
On to Sui Daaga and Badhaai Ho
A simple tale set in a lower middle class home in Delhi, this film has slowly and surely become more and more popular by sheer word of mouth publicity and not via heavy duty advertising in various media, promotions in serials and reality shows in the various TV channels, radio stations etc. It just goes to show that ultimately audience feedback is very important and such positive, genuine publicity makes a huge difference.
The middle class couple around 50+ are in fact the hero and heroine of this film. Whilst all of us know about Neena Gupta’s acting prowess, it is the relatively unknown Gajraj Rao who essays the role of her husband who really stands out. The sudden strain in their relationship with all and sundry – Gajraj’s mother in law who stays with them, their 25+ eldest son and the second son a teenager, their various relatives and finding themselves the butt of jokes by their friends, and all this because Neena discovers that she is pregnant, is captured in a nice manner without getting heavy handed. And as the film pans out, it shows how everyone comes around and relationships get back to even keel.
More than all the other relationships – mother-son, mother-in-law & daughter-in-law, parents and children etc it is the husband and wife relationship that really stands out. Many of the people who have reviewed the film have rightly pointed out that the film pitches for love existing in such middle aged Indian couples. To me what stands out is the husband and wife being “equal” and in fact the husband leaves it to her to decide whether to keep the unborn child or abort it. And Neena Gupta softly and firmly insists in having the child. And at the end, even before the child is born, when he comes around, the eldest brother’s bond with his youngest sibling is so beautifully established.
All in all a nice, cute movie. Brought back memories of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and his Bawarchi though the stories are absolutely different. It’s just that the middle class setting is so nicely captured, bringing back nostalgic memories to all the Retyrsmarters!
Anushka Sharma as the small town Bahu (daughter in law) is quite a pleasant surprise. I for one never expected her to pull off this non glamourous role. Respectful Bahu of the house, with her pallu always over her head, always listening to both her father in law as well her mother in law and being at their beck and call.
At the same time, in her quiet, determined way, she is instrumental in ensuring that her husband follows his passion and thereby fulfils his ambitions. In the process, she even gets her over sceptical father in law to come around and happily and whole heartedly accept what the son is doing. Like a typical middle class person, he has quite understandably, hitherto been not in favour of his son taking a risky path with respect to his job and career.
Raghubir Yadav as the father of Varun coming up with another nice performance is no surprise. It is the relatively unknown Yamini Das as Varun’s mother who stands out every time she is present and proves to be a cute scene stealer.
Varun too gets his teeth into a sort of deglamourized lower middle class role he has perhaps hitherto not done before, after the initial stutter.
Like a proverbial Sui (needle) and Dhaaga (thread), this movie weaves a nice web of relationships with you and me, the viewers.
And the irony is that this movie too is from the legendary YRF stable. With even a fraction of the promotion (both time and money) that Thugs of Hindostan got, Sui Dhaaga, already a hit, would have become a super hit like Badhaai Ho. In fact, for story content, this had more than what Badhaai Ho has.
Hope people who have watched these two films agree. I also hope that the curiosity of those who have not have seen the two pictures has been stoked enough, tempting to watch the films either on the big screen on the TV!
This is many ways concludes looking at movies through a Relationship angle and going forward, I will continue to give you feedback on the good films I have seen, albeit in a different way!!! .