Other years in my life have begun with regular resolutions – you know the clichéd sort everyone makes: I will lose weight, I will sleep on time, I will not lose my temper, I will do my homework every day.
But I woke up this January 1 with an odd resolve dancing around in my head: in 2011, I will review EVERY SINGLE Hindi film that is released and that it is possible for me to watch. My brain didn’t cleverly slip in the word “possible” to provide me with a loophole as the months wear on and my interest wears down. “Possible” means every single Hindi film that is released in my home city Delhi or her suburbs Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad; “possible” means that if I miss it at the time of its release, I will even try to get the DVD from the producer.
Let me give you some background to this resolution. Through my years as a journalist, whenever I’ve grumbled about the bad films I see as part of my job, I’ve had people ask me, “So why do you watch them? Go only for the good ones, na.”
May I ask how one is to gauge in advance that a film is good? Ah well, each time I discover that what people mean is: go watch the big films with big banners / big promotions / big stars. Such faith is moving but misplaced, especially considering the number of appalling non-starters that big banners and big stars have churned out for us in 2010.
And what an unfair assumption, anyway! Many of today’s major stars began their careers in innocuous projects that later went on to assume significance because of the actor / actress’ elevated stature in later years. Besides, who’s to tell whether a small film may not turn out to be a gem? And how in god’s name do we hope to have any sort of indie movement in Hindi cinema if we (the audience and the media) don’t support the smaller ventures and the outsiders?
Remember Hyderabad Blues back in the 1990s. It was tacky and poorly acted and came to us from nowhere. But director Nagesh Kukunoor showed a certain spark in it that we all connected with. We (the audience and the media) had the right instincts about him, of course. Kukunoor went on to make Iqbal which, for me personally, ranks as one of the best, most sensible and sensitive, least melodramatic, most realistic yet entertaining Hindi film portrayals of the life story of a person with a disability.
It’s certainly not my argument that every member of the film-loving public owes it to some greater good to watch every film that’s made. But as a journalist I think I ought to at least try. And then spread the word.
Damn my principles! Over the years, they’ve compelled me to suffer media screenings of nightmares like Dhund: The Fog (starring Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’s Mihir – Amar Upadhyay), Baaz: A Bird in Danger (starring no less a personage than Karisma Kapoor), Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag (needs no introduction), Sandwich (with Govinda), Shaadi Karke Phas Gaya Yaar (starring Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty in which one character actually suggests that a woman is the soil on which a man’s seed is planted, haha), KRK’s Deshdrohi, and the most repulsive of them all, Ladies Tailor starring Rajpal Yadav.
Worse, I’m the sort of person who just can’t bring myself to walk out of a hall midway through a film. If I’ve started watching it, I’ve got to finish it. An exception: in September 2010, during the press preview of a seriously disgusting horror film called Mallika, I began feeling nauseous and had to leave. I feared that it was the ridiculous film having an effect on me. But later that day I was hospitalized with gastroenteritis. If it wasn’t for that, I would have sat through even Mallika which, if I remember correctly, featured an over-made-up heroine lying inexplicably in a negligee in a bathtub.
I swear I would have sat through it … After all, as a journalist, how can I hope to judge the great stuff unless I’ve sampled the crap?
But these films that I’ve mentioned were all released at a theatre near my home or previewed for the press. In 2011, I hereby resolve that I will go many extra miles to not just watch, but also review for your benefit (and your entertainment!) EVERY SINGLE Hindi film that is released in Delhi or thereabouts.
And why am I making this announcement on my blog? Because there’s no better way to keep a New Year resolution than to guarantee your own public humiliation if you slip up.
So please do keep me on my toes. If you hear or read of a Hindi film that you notice I’ve not reviewed on this blog, do give me a tough time about it.
After all, every film deserves a chance. Hai na?