Vantage point

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Microseconds turned into milliseconds, and milliseconds turned into centiseconds, and centiseconds turned into deciseconds, and deciseconds turned into seconds, as I sat down in front of my computer to write a blog about the experience, about the time spent, about the visuals, about the sound, about the dialogues, about the songs, about the movie, but above all a blog about WHAT A HIDEOUS LOAD OF CRAP I HAVE JUST SEEN!!!!!! A load of crap whose stink would outlast the stink of any bad Hindi movie ever made!

Those of you who are blessed with a good memory must have astutely deduced that the above paragraph is a spoof of the last few lines of that >shudder< film called "Moulin Rouge". I remember that moment 2 hours ago. My friend and I were debating which movie to watch. We had already postponed "The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers" because another friend of ours had requested that we defer its viewing till tomorrow when he would join us for the same purpose. I wanted to watch 'Analyse That' but my friend had already seen it. Finally we rejected "The Cell" and decided on "Moulin Rouge" since the latter had been nominated for the Oscars and all.

And man, do I rue that decision. Take the tritest (most trite??) hindi movie plot you can imagine, translate it into English, and filter out
any traces of originality from the dialogue. Put in more cliches than in a Shobha De article. Then take some hit songs from a variety of
genres and countries and get them sung a couple of chords higher than usual. Take some atrocious sets, preferably rejects from the ubiquitous Ganapati or Ramlila decorations all over India. Mix everything and add thigh and cleavage to taste. What you get is "Moulin Rouge".

I read Baz Luhrmann's interview once in which he said that he got the idea for making the movie when he was watching an Indian movie called "Yodha" in Rajasthan. That ought to have been enough to warn me. But I guess all the media hype has its effect. I could not (lucky me!) watch the movie for some reason or the other when it was released in theatres. I guess that was the work of my guardian angel exercising his/her better judgement about cinema.

What makes me sick is the utter lack of originality. Just because it is presented in a slick way does not make it original. The end is so contrived that Yash Chopra and Manmohan Desai (RIP) would grin and nod in approval. All the songs have been distastefully medley-ed. And the gads!!

However, I believe there is a learning in life from everything. This Luhrmann dude for instance. Now I may not rush to him for lessons in
movie-making, but man, is he a marketing genius!!! I mean if he could get this tripe nominated for the Oscars, he could easily sell barrels of ice to the stingiest of eskimos! The success of Moulin Rouge, not just in terms of the money it made, but also in terms of the effect it had on people, and drew them into devotion is astounding. It is a triumph of astute marketing. I think if one does a proper study of their marketing techniques and writes a term paper on it, one could learn a lot about how to sell mediocre stuff.

Of course there is a remote possibility that the movie was actually very good, but I being a phillistine, could not appreciate its true beauty. Errrrrr, I dunno!