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The worst film in recent times?

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Posted: 04 May 2011 at 10:41pm | IP Logged

Raja Sen


The worst film in recent times?

Why craft and style are all wonderful, but well outweighed by boredom

Raja Sen
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Posted On Wednesday, May 04, 2011 at 04:22:16 AM

I was lecturing a group of peachy keen students at a Mumbai college last week, and happened to ask them what they thought was the worst film they'd seen recently.

The usual suspects popped up, of course Game featuring rather high up on the list until one young lady chimed in with "that Saat Khoon Maaf, oh my gawd," a suggestion that instantly found a chorus of echoes.

I hastened to quell this apparent unanimity, trying to tell them about craft and originality and proffering more immediately dismissible options like, say, Thank You. But the chord had been struck.

I do not, for even a second, believe that Vishal Bhardwaj's most hamhanded outing is anything more than a recent misstep from our finest cinematic maestro, and even as a slip-up there is, I pointed out frantically to the relative tots, much to see: an audacious premise, some great visuals, a killer soundtrack, and a few lines of dialogue too smart for the rest of the industry's filmmakers to even attempt.

And yet the students loathed it more than everyday Bollywood idiocy, simply because it left them stone-cold, apathetic, dry and uncaring. It bored them.

Raavan, No Smoking, Saat Khoon Maaf: films with many merits that failed to engage audiences

This is a reminder of something we, as critics, frequently forget. That cinema despite how sublime the treatment can be and how enthralling the right background score can make a moment is really all about the story, and everything else is, in the final reckoning, just window-dressing.

It's potentially phenomenal window-dressing, of course, and whole films can piggyback simply on style, but if a film fails to engage, then it has failed on the most fundamental level. And while it certainly can engage using visual and aural finesse, the basic tool for the job is the story.

It seems obvious, but it's easy to forget the simplest truths when drowning in a sea of unoriginal cinema, cinema that, for the most part, sadly relies on anything but story. Most of the weakest films in the last few years, and certainly the most disappointing efforts by major filmmakers, are films that have treated the storytelling almost as incidental, while making sure they get the right cinematographer and an appropriate heroine. Or creating enough drama but drama alone does not story make.

Mani Ratnam's Raavan, for example, comes tragically to mind. Ram Gopal Varma, a onetime stunner who has notoriously been rallying against the very need for story, is today making films mostly watched only by their editor while they're being cut into shape.

It is no great revelation that Anurag Kashyap, current posterboy of the Indian indie cinema and a director with immense stylistic flair, has only achieved real success while masterfully adapting a true story and then an old classic.

These are all directors who know what they are doing, and even in their most awkwardly fumbled attempts can we find moments of redemption. We see passion and we see skill, and even in films that squander it all, we seek salvation in gorgeous visuals, bravely written characters, stray performances and subversive lines of dialogue.

Not so for the audience. The casual viewer looks at a film like I do a painting: without knowledge or care for the process or the torturous journey undertaken by the creator, but merely thumbs up or thumbs down.

I don't care how elaborate the brushstrokes are and how hard it is to get that kind of a shadow effect with charcoal on canvas, but all that matters to me at the time is whether I'd like to look at it or not.

And there's nothing worse than leaving an audience cold. No matter how much the critic applauds.


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Posted: 05 May 2011 at 10:17am | IP Logged

Why is Saat Khoon Maaf there?

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Posted: 05 May 2011 at 10:22am | IP Logged
he is crazy..

so far I thought TMK is the worst...I recently watched Golmal 3..OMG what was that??? and a block buster tag?? ahhh TMK is 10 times better than that crap

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Posted: 05 May 2011 at 10:38am | IP Logged
Oh Raja sen... Day Dreaming
 
One thing that I love about him is that he does not always target everyone's and every critic's favourite target "slap stick comedies"... he doesn't go after them blindly by declaring them the worst movies ever made in bollywood.. while glorifying the other wannabe movies.. who even though are based on more serious themes.. but are a pretentious disaster...
 
___________________________________________________________________________
 
"This is a reminder of something we, as critics, frequently forget. That cinema despite how sublime the treatment can be and how enthralling the right background score can make a moment is really all about the story, and everything else is, in the final reckoning, just window-dressing."
"It's potentially phenomenal window-dressing, of course, and whole films can piggyback simply on style, but if a film fails to engage, then it has failed on the most fundamental level. And while it certainly can engage using visual and aural finesse, the basic tool for the job is the story."
"These are all directors who know what they are doing, and even in their most awkwardly fumbled attempts can we find moments of redemption. We see passion and we see skill, and even in films that squander it all, we seek salvation in gorgeous visuals, bravely written characters, stray performances and subversive lines of dialogue.

Not so for the audience. The casual viewer looks at a film like I do a painting: without knowledge or care for the process or the torturous journey undertaken by the creator, but merely thumbs up or thumbs down."

"And there's nothing worse than leaving an audience cold. No matter how much the critic applauds. "

___________________________________________________________________________
 
Totally agree with some of these parts.. so many filmakers are failing at making engaging movies these days.. and all the technicalities and intricacies can just go to hell... when you can't even engage your audience and hold their interest throughout the movie... one should not be able to realize how time passed while watching a movie.. but that is hardly the case these days.. even in 2 hours or 2.5 hours movies..


Edited by ladygaga - 05 May 2011 at 10:38am

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Posted: 05 May 2011 at 11:30am | IP Logged
@katforeva...coz it was a disaster honey...

That yeshu thing in climax seriously blowed my mind off!
I pity those peoples who wached dat movie including myself!


But pc did a commendable job...her performance was flawless




Edited by cute-aish - 05 May 2011 at 11:32am
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Posted: 05 May 2011 at 1:28pm | IP Logged
Golmaal 3 and TMK is not included because both films had entertained the audience. Golmaal 3 was funny and people loved the film. And in terms of TMK, SKJ did the trick if not the film. Both were hits, Golmaal 3 being one of the biggest hits of the year after Dabangg. If you read Raja Sen's article, he says the main reason of a film is to entertain, and Golmaal and TMK do that more than 7 koon maaf and Ravaans..which he says these films leave the audience cold.

PS I was watching G3 with my little sister and brother this weekend, and the smile and laugh that it brings to their face, is enough for G3 to be considered an entertainer. Who cares if she is they are kids...my brother is almost a teenager... they are still audience and both loved the film!


Edited by beboholic - 05 May 2011 at 1:31pm

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Posted: 05 May 2011 at 1:35pm | IP Logged
^ Thats a really good point!
 
 
But if I forget about what this Raja Sen person is saying, just personally my opinion of the worst films in recent years which I interpret as 2000's, has to be TMK, Golmaal films, MPKDH, RNBJ, Raavan, BKB, SAAWARIYA, WYR, Partner, MAMK, Veer


Edited by kash4life - 05 May 2011 at 1:35pm
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Posted: 05 May 2011 at 3:17pm | IP Logged
I loved Partner. I even think Partner was waaay better than the english version: Hitch or whatever it's called. Seriously Govinda cracked me up in Partner he was so good. And Sallu and Govinda made a great team in the film. The songs were awesome too.

With Golmaal, its not the best comedy or film out there, but it's not the worst...it was a huge hit. Same with RBDJ, I didn't like it that much either, but I wouldn't call it the worst IMO. Not MPKDH either.

But yes MAMK, WYR, Saawariya were really bad.


Edited by beboholic - 05 May 2011 at 3:17pm

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