Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Why did Rai become Raaj?

The first random emotion that blurted out of me when I read the news piece was an intense wave of uncontrollable guffaw. After I had recovered from this bizarre bout of seemingly unprecedented laughter riot, I began seeing the reasons behind it. The premise was simple – one more round of National awards had been handed out for cinema. Good. Being the kind of person who doesn’t think much of the Filmfare or other sorts of cliché coveted regalia, I do attach a great deal of respect to the National awards since I want to believe there still exists some ounce of genuine acknowledgement of equally honest performances in this channel. Nevertheless, what had me roaring in laughter this time around was the fact that Prakash Raaj (previously known as Prakash Rai in the Kannada tele-circuits back when entertainment was still decent) had bagged the prestigious best actor award for ‘Kanchivaram’ – a Priyadarshan feature. Notwithstanding the obvious interest this movie will now receive from commoners like me who won’t even sniff a rose unless told it contains mystical powers, something obvious made me hysterical. Prakash and many more like him are basically from Karnataka. But the hilarious irony is that they are being honored today for their contributions and finesse in non Kannada movies! Could there be a better slap on the mediocre covered chutzpah that pledges its allegiance to painfully stereotypical and over hyped ‘superstars’ of Kannada movie industry? I guess not! Not only did our esteemed state not utilize this wonderful performer’s extremely talented self, but they have the gall to sit around and ban other language cinemas from being released in their neighborhood! Gosh!

The ridiculousness of this affair doesn’t end there. Day in day out Kannada cinema keeps churning out only 3 major kinds of movies – boy meets girl love stories with rains and umbrellas thrown in for good measure, ‘macchu’ (a long sickle like weapon) based senseless action sagas where blood is spilled around like water and village based melodrama where it is almost mandatory that the hero be an underdog and the villain have an evil glare. Oh wait! There is that oh so ignored type too – remakes! Heck, we are terrible at even that since most remakes these days are falling flat on their face.

What aches me about all this is the historical vein that Kannada cinema had once upon a time. Having grown up on a strong diet of Kanagal, Nag, Phani Ramachandra and Nagabharana, the state of today’s Kannada movies is purely pathetic. I was recently reading an admittedly shoddy review of ‘Raj – the Showman’ where the author goes on to say this is a blockbuster! The premise then unfolds that the leading girl, an actress in the movie mind you, has an issue saying ‘I Love You’ on camera! I couldn’t help giggling in pain since a girl who has no issues dropping her clothes for a song overseas seemingly has a problem mouthing words that teens today throw around like cigarette smoke! Where has the brain for such a ‘wonderful plotline’ come from? That person has my respect!

With things looking this medieval and almost every movie assuming the status of a bad Mithun da starrer, people like Prakash have rightfully held up their palms and submitted their final respects to this industry that has nothing more to offer except borrowed tales and copied plots. I patiently wait for the day all this mediocrity is burnt out alive and some fresh stories with a mature and creative mind behind finally makes it way to the national arena.

Until then, well done Prakash! Stay cool, mate.

2 reflections:

Ravishankar Haranath said...

Very sensible post Shakri. Indeed! our industry is in a very sorry state of affair, with all those "deadly", "mental" movies (including re-made) with swinging macchus chopping of the essence of good kannada cinema.

ShaK said...


Thank you, friend. Indeed. One can only hope that in the coming years this bizarre deadlock of unintelligent and dead brain movies will stop in the state. One can only 'hope'.

Thanks for the words, friend. Do keep visiting.