Planet Bollywood
Another Year of Hype, Over Exposure And More
- Shruti Bhasin           Let us know what you think about this feature article

2005 Is No Different

Isn’t it sad that some films get delayed and when it’s finally released, it’s really not worth it at all? Isn’t it disapointing when a film is hyped so much that you desperately seek to see it in the cinema, only to realize that the viewers have been bamboozled.

According to a friend of mine, a huge Bollywood fan, some of the best films ever made, were all original stories. This is true, but sometimes even “original” stories need to be genuine.

For the last few years, fans of Hindi films got tortured for the releases of films that were under production, and then, release dates were pushed around or no trailor looked appealing, and we lost our interest in a flash.

2005 . . . filled with quite a few films that are worth mentioning . . . some were so overrated, but who’s at fault? The filmmakers? The producers? The stars? The writers? Let’s take a look at exposure in Bollywood . . .

MOVIES in 2005

The first big hype began with Kaal. This awful film boasts of a solid album, well, only 2 songs, but expectations increased close to the release. Shah Rukh Khan’s appearance, a big star cast, and the genre of horror that seemed to gain popularity over the last several years. Cut to the film’s release, the story is surprisingly not coming from Karan Johar. Acting is horrendous, especially from the actresses, while the actors look bored. A film that was supposed to be about tigers turns out to be a goose hunt in a jungle with a non-menacing Ajay Devgan playing a ghost. The only thing about this movie that worked was the first and last song, that’s it, that’s all. But did the producers make money? . . . For sure!

Next, the biggie . . . Mangal Pandey. So many people told me: “its good, check it out in the cinema; it is not Lagaan, but do see on the big screen”. How could I resist, when ace Aamir Khan returned to celluloid after 4 LONG years? Hearing so much about his genuine look of . Mangal Pandey, his acting (as usual to perfection), added the combo of Aamir and Rani, reputable filmmaker Ketan Mehta, music by AR Rehman . . . how could the film not be overexposed? Since 2004, this film was on the must-see list of almost everyone. No delays, a summer 2005 release. Music release: what? Purely average tunes? How could this be? Well, at least we get to hear Kavita Krishnamurthy’s sweet voice again. As for the movie release . . . so much to expect . . . a flawless performance by Aamir Khan . . . a period film with the twists and turns . . . but alas, it cannot be considered the best film of the year. But was it supposed to? That’s what the hype was all about, yet, something with this film made me think that perhaps gargantuan expectations can make any good film seem mediocre. Nonetheless a must-watch film, but not classic as many were expecting.

Finally, the biggest diabolical genius of the year . . . Suneel Darshan wins the award for bluffmaster of the year with Barsaat. Now I know quite a few people who LOVED the music and thought the film was excellent. It began with statements such as: “Nadeem-Shravan’s best work”, “another award for Alka”, and my personal favourite “Kumar Sanu’s comeback”. Sorry, but I laugh now at all 3 statements. This soundtrack was the most overhyped music of the last 4-5 years. Even my local video store could not get a copy to sell me for 5 weeks. Unbelievable! I finally get my hands on a CD and was surprised that the tunes are average at best with perhaps 1-2 tracks sticking to my mind. As for Alka, she sounds as sweet as ever, but not award worthy. Kumar Sanu was much stronger in Andaaz, as a matter of fact, that movie had Nadeem-Shravan’s best tracks since Dhadkan. Let’s skip to the movie now . . . a remake (in slight areas) of a horrific Hollywood box office hit called “Sweet Home Alabama”. Well . . . one thing is for sure, Barsaat belongs to Priyanka Chopra, Bipasha looks nice (what else is new?), and Bobby Deol is officially washed out with this debacle. Overall, this Darshan bhai gets to laugh all the way to the bank for hyping his movie to the core, while a better film, My Wife’s Murderwas overlooked.

TYPE OF FILM

Earlier, I mentioned how the horror genre was the trend since the last few years. It began with copycat Vikram Bhatt making Raaz the biggest success story of 2002. We got other films like Darna Mana Hai, Bhoot, Krishna Cottage, making Kucch To Hai, making Kaal, making Naina, etc. follow suit to keep up with the trend. RGV productions succeeded with Darna Mana Haiand Bhoot, but other filmmakers attempted scary films without a real story and failed.

Back in the day there were 2 types of films: Comedy and Drama. Plain and simple! Nowadays, there are so many categories, its mind boggling.

The horror trend continued, then we got a flood of cop films (some good ones other bad ones) . . . Gangaajal, Khakee, Ab Tak Chappan, Aan, Police Force, Sehar, etc. After watching one film, viewers seemed to think they’ve seen them all as they could predict what will happen next, despite the fact that there may be new twists and turns. Isn’t this a problem? The originality factor is missing among many films of the same topics and when there is something new, audiences don’t bother hearing about it.

2004 was probably the year of the sleaze. It began with Murder and then the decline of films altogether as every model wanted to play a hoochie kissing slut seducing a non-attractive man to titilate a small percentage of the population. Sounds harsh, no? Well, the overexposure of trashy films was the highlight of 2004 as the garbage filled the cinema halls and some (I can’t believe this) actually managed to make some money (ex: Tauba Tauba).

Coming in 2005, it’s obvious that comedies are huge, with everything from Kyaa Kool Hai Hum up to No Entry making a killing at the box office. I guess the last few years have been drama related films and people want to shut-off their brains and enjoy a silly film. Its about time . . . people gave comedies a good recognition, and no it doesn’t have to be a sex comedy to be funny (see Ramji Londonwaley and you’ll understand).

STARS

It is not only films that get overexposed but celebrities as well. Whether you have Aamir and Hritik focusing on one film at a time, they remain in the media, their films are maximum exposed everywhere . . . and we hope that the wait has been worth it. But what about stars who do so many films? Amitabh Bachchan did almost a dozen films in 2004 and in 2005 he has about 10 releases, the difference being he is being picky in his roles. What about Ajay Devgan? After a successful 2002-2004, he seems once again, not appealing with a flood of duds like Insan, Blackmail, Tango Charlie, Kaal, etc. Hopefully, he can regain some momentum with future releases. The list can go on . . . the point being that a little or even a lot of exposure can do harm to stars.

MUSIC

Exposure also hits the music scene with not only soundtracks (like Barsaat) but composers and singers. Anu Malik has several soundtracks a year, but maybe only 1 is worth mentioning because the others are typical tracks (change lyricists please, Sameer is not the only one who can pen words). Himesh Reshamiya (I have nothing against him), but since 2002, he’s become widely used. It began with Humraaz (2002), then some forgetable tracks, 2003 came with TereNaam (I still think he deserves more awards for this one) and then some more forgetable soundtracks, 2004 is up again with Aitraaz and the graph keeps going up and down. A final look could be Nadeem-Shravan, who ruled the 90s, and became the Darshan clan favourites, but they haven’t had the same touch to their music as everything seems rehashed and unoriginal.

On the singing front, unfortunately Kumar Sanu took a blow in losing his popularity and mediocre singing. “Barsaat Ke Din Aaye”, which supposed to be one his best tracks ever sung (yes, this was the rumour), turned out to be average at best. While Udit Narayan and Sonu Nigum were on almost every movie soundtrack, a new generation of singers came flooding, giving new competition to these veterans and even Alka Yagnik. I would say in 2004, it was Sunidhi Chauhan, and even in 2005 who seemed to pop up everywhere, but hey, she’s getting the limelight she deserves after years in the industry.

Final Thoughts

You see, exposure can be good or bad, depending on what it’s for. A small movie that gets recognition is truly an accomplishment, but when we hear about big movies for months and months, in the end we realize it was all talk, no action. We look for substance in Bollywood but all we get are rumours, exposure, high expectations, hype, and other stories that turn everything upside down.

Overall, the media is the source of communication to the world, whether it’s good or bad. When the topic of Bollywood comes up, it seems everything is exposed times by 100. As fans of Bollywood, sometimes we just need to look the other way and follow what our mind tells us and decide for ourselves whether or not a movie/album is worth the money.


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