Sunday, January 30, 2011

Women Start Cheating in Kerala

"..It must have been in the beginning of twenty first century that women started cheating on their husbands in Kerala. There are references to such relationships in Malayalam films that came out circa 2010. While Cocktail (2010) had cheating as its central theme, Traffic (2011) has a cheating wife and a betrayed husband playing important roles. Another 2010 film Pranchiyettan and The Saint has a casual mention of Khushboo's character cheating on her husband.."

Cannot rule this out if one were to write history based on mainstream Malayalam films. With all the problems that I have with these three films, I think one must thank them for that one character that was almost non-existent till now in Malayalam films -- the cheating wife. We have had cheating husbands, though we could not imagine justice playing out in the form of having them paralyzed or the wife running them over with a car.

(Thanks to Devadas, Prasanth et al for the discussions on Google Buzz).

Saturday, January 08, 2011

When Loknath Sharma becomes our Brand Ambassador

Grand Kerala Shopping Festival is going grand. Selling this festival is one Loknath Sharma and one Major Mahadevan. Do not scratch your heads if the names are not very familiar -- they are characters from a Malayalam film titled Kandahar.

Nothing new about this. Having sponsors, models or "brand ambassadors" selling products and services is common practice. But what makes this one interesting is the fact that it has cleverly undone a policy decision taken by the Kerala government a few months back.

[Old news in brief: The government of Kerala decides to make Amitabh Bachchan the brand ambassador for Kerala tourism; This move faced opposition from within and outside the party as Amitabh was the brand Ambassador for Gujarat;  (Mid-Day: CPI-M against making Big B as Kerala tourism brand ambassador, Statesman‍: Stiff opposition to Amitabh Bachchan as Kerala tourism ambassador) Succumbiong to these pressures the government backtracks on the decision.]

We also got to hear that Big B was not very happy with the whole episode. (Not made Tourism ambassador, Bachchan slams Kerala : Indian Express‌, 2010 March 25).

That was about nine months back. Now we see the same Amitabh Bachchan disguised as Loknath Sharma and selling another business initiative of the same government. All major newspapers carry colour advertisements on their front page every day, featuring images of Mohanlal and Amitabh Bachchan. Huge hoardings in all big cities of Kerala. The bigger ones have the Government of Kerala symbol of two elephants prominently on them. To make sure we don't mistake the face to be that of  Amitabh Bachchan, there is a small script below (smaller than the "Cigarette smoking is injurious to health" in the old cigarette ads) that says: "Major Mahadevan, Kandahar" and "Loknath Sharma, Kandahar". Intelligent.

Those who opposed the earlier move to make Amitabh our brand image appears to have been done in by this trick.

[Images: (i) Ad on the front page of The Hindu, December 25; (ii) A hoarding in Kozhikode city]

[A Malayalam version of this note was carried in Countermedia. The images were removed for some technical reasons.]

Monday, January 03, 2011

LSD and Ishqiya: Indian films come of age

This is not one of those year-end round ups. I am as tired of them as many of you are. For some reason or the other, I could not write about these two films that I watched in the early months of the year gone by. LSD: Love, Sex Aur Dhoka and Ishqiya. I loved them.

There are many reasons why I love them. I do not intend to do an essay here.

Babban's question to Khalujan, "Aapka Ishq Ishq, Aur Mera Ishq Sex?" rips through our "divine love" hypocrisies, and the final shot of the happy triplet breaks the cliched notions of the pairs made in heaven. Provocative right from the title itself, LSD went one step further and did a tightrope walk on the thin lines between love, sex and deceit.

Exceptionally catchy "Dil To Bacha Hai Ji", racy "Ibn Batuta" (Lyrics: Gulzar, Music: Vishal Bhardwaj), crazy "Love Sex Aur Dhoka..", controversial "Tu Nangi Achchi Lagti Hai" (this was changed to "Tu Gandi Achchi Lagti Hai" in CDs) and totally mad "I can't hold it any longer" (Music credits: Sneha Khalwalkar / Dibakar Banerjee, Sung by Kailash Kher, Sneha) provided a complete musical feast. Dil To Bacha Hai Ji has been more or less a unanimous choice as the best track to have come out last year.

I'd rate LSD above Ishqiya for the form that we were not used to.

[Images: Film posters]