Showing posts with label Romantic. Show all posts

Why Chennai Express of Sha Rukh Khan is an amazing sine qua non for a course on world cinema

It is almost a year since Chennai Express, a record breaking Indian blockbuster of  the king of Bollywood, Sha Rukh Khan, was released. This Indian flick may have a few surprise lessons for students of the movie craft.

It is one of those rare events on the silver screen, which provides a lot of insight to anyone seriously considering to master the craft of cinema and how to press the right buttons to enter the hearts of millions.

Bollywood films routinely become blockbusters with record collections at the box office, thanks to a captive audience looking out for a pass-time and burdened with a deficit of IQ and excess of money in their pockets both in India and abroad.


Chennai Express which got only sub zero marks from film critics, but managed to add a record number of zeros to its box office collection, however, is different and something of a a mystery of the Indian silver screen.

No one really knows how and when the ‘rail cars’ of Chennai Express, with such complexity  that  they could all have hardly come alive in a single brain, came together.

If Chennai Express was a typical director’s film it might have been a Rohit Shetty film. It is actually a  unique flick, with a lot more deeper and serious facets to it than a film director’s work of entertainment. Many of those can be attributed to its hero, the Indian movie star and entrepreneur, Sha Rukh Khan.

A rail car named desire.

It is clearly the enormous desire of Sha Rukh Khan to make more money by investing wisely in a sure-fire formula which compelled him to venture out to make a film with Rohit Shetty, who is a young Indian director with a string of blockbusters under his belt. Rohit had cracked what the modern Indian audience wanted and was ready to to pour oil on any desire which made good commercial sense. The result could hardly be anything but explosive. Chennai Express, a deceptively dangerous theme, was the product of bold commercial vision of Khan, as suicidal as it is genius.

A script no one will touch

With the fire of desire in its gut, the express train of Sha Rukh and Rohit Shetty could have gone in any direction, but it took a southern turn with its script writer Subhash, son of a veteran southern film director, connected with the leaders of linguistic strife in India before independence.

It was no surprise that his script came with a genesis of an impossible dream of unity and harmony between southern and northern India, which broke down with the departure of the British and was aggravated by the linguistic division of India after independence.

From Helen of Troy to Gone with the wind, regional human conflict had been the backdrop of great classics, depicted truthfully and presented to audiences who can discern life from entertainment.

However, it would be utterly irresponsible to ignore consequences of chauvinism, even if it is in mere movie entertainment, in the 21st century India more divided and ignitable than ever.



The script of Chennai express, dealing with the love of a northern man to a southern belle  was explosive any day, novel yet fraught with danger of massive protests and national grief if not a civil war, with the risk of negative stereotyping of south Indians.  Though the script has a strong message of the power of love to unite everyone, almost impossible to deliver today as it was nearly a century back, the great Khan was audacious enough to grab it because he saw a divine touch of great commercial success.

The divine touch

What actually created the spark of creation of Chennai Express was a touch almost divine as the one in the Creation of Adam of Michel Angelo. It was the final touch of Khan’s own blockbuster  Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge,  still running in Mumbai after  two decades, as the longest running flick.



Khan has instantly recognised that the feel of goodness where he left off in DDLJ is his ticket for Chennai Express which had the pulling power to drag millions of Indian hearts along with him in to it. It not only sealed the script of the movie but also the soft corner he has managed to sneak in to in millions of hearts worldwide.


The fault in the stars of Sasi Tharoor

As the story goes, Draupathi, wife of the Pandavas in the Indian epic of Mahabharata, asked a poignant question to Lord Krishna, who was about to embark on a peace mission to appease the Kauravas, the arch enemies of the Pandavas.

The latest controversy in the life of Sasi Tharoor, once a candidate for the post of the U N Secretary General, reminds of this episode and beacons the question what his deceased wife Sunanda Pushkar would be asking him if she was still alive. Sasi Tharoor and Sunanda Pushkar had a brief life together reminiscent of "The fault In Our Stars", the latest romantic flick enthralling film lovers of the world.

Sunanda Sasi - Photo by Indiatimes 
The Fault In Our Stars may not replace "Love Story" at least in the hearts of the baby boom  generation, but will resonate with the story of romance, jealousy, sacrifice, union and tragedy the amazing short life of Sasi Tharoor with the beautiful Sunanda Pushkar in the hearts of a lot of younger Indians.  

Draupathi, who was disrobed and humiliated in public by the Kauravas in front of her five powerful husbands, asked the lord if he forgot why her hair, which she had wowed to leave loose till the Kauravas were annihilated, was not plaited.


It is only natural that Sunanda, who was once called Rs 50 Crores girl friend of Tharoor by his political foe Narendra Modi, would have questioned Sasi Tharoor with no less vehemence and rage at the overture of her husband to the same man.

There are none so blind as those who won’t see. How can a person with the highest of education and international exposure miss the danger posed by the blind ambition of a person like Narendra Modi?

Narendra Modi has not apologised to Sunanda Pushkar before or after death which beacons the question what has made Sasi Tharoor to warm up to someone who has not only insulted him and his wife but even his government headed by Dr Man Mohan Singh by his snide and thoughtless remarks, especially when the ex Prime Minister had promptly asked for his resignation instead of defending a brilliant minister of his team.

Time to Experience the Great Joy of Liberation of Indian Music by a New Generation

It used to be called fusion,  very often concocted in confused minds, mostly an experience of frustration to those who enjoyed traditional Indian music.

With a new generation of dedicated and serious musicians who seem to understand what they are playing and work very very hard to perfect their skills, suddenly Indian music is being liberated from their traditional limitations and scaling new heights.

There are several palpable facets to this new, invigorating upheaval in the Indian musical entertainment, being brought about by our youngsters through their ventures with exotic names like Music Mojo, Kappa TV,  Acoustika, Music Bowl Rosebowl and bands like Staccato, Bennet’s Band etc.

First and foremost is the liberation of the musical soul of the artist itself. A talented musician can now experience that joy of his own god given talent, which was confined to the bathroom and extremely private moments, in much more accepting, forgiving and friendly environment.

From the nerve wracking and competitive performances in schools and colleges, through the highly pressurized competitions on TV and similar platforms  to the  demanding recording rooms of established directors, the journey of a musician, in his quest for getting recognition and fame  is indeed gruelling.

It's Now Or Never to Rename Valentine’s Day as Elvis Day!

If you are someone who feel a tightness in your chest and tear drops swell in your eyes as you listen to any of Elvis songs, perhaps no one but Elvis can make your Valentine's Day!  You are almost certainly a baby boomer and you owe this to Elvis before you go; it is time to rename Valentine's Day as Elvis day.

Valentine's Day is the ultimate celebration of love, the most precious of human feelings, personified by Elvis as no one else has. This is borne out by the titles he chose for his songs and their lyric, almost all of which had nothing but love to sing about. Why are we then waiting for the Kind Bishop St Valentine to abdicate to place the King himself on the throne of love?
What makes Elvis uniquely deserving is the emotional avalanche of each of his songs, delivered with powerful voice, intonation, timbre and mountains of emotion to someone in front of him, making you feel that someone was no one but you. Arguably even Luciano Pavarotti's superb delivery of the original "O Sole Mio" has never achieved the emotional turmoil of "Now or Never by Elvis" in listener's minds.
If 35 years after his death, in the age of social media, we still haven't done it, only the commercialism and short sightedness for immediate profits must be blamed.
As some one said "You can bet that Col Parker, Elvis' manager, would have been all over social media: for a price. It would cost money to click onto the official Elvis page, or even his website. If not that, you'd have to pay to use it, with a teaser front page leading to a pay for Elvis main section. Nobody got to see Elvis for free, the Colonel saw to that."
In reality, even without the Colonel around, the situation is exactly the same. Despite the social web being a free for all world on its own, nothing about Elvis is really free, which virtually destroy any chance of the legacy of Elvis being passed on to the future generations.
In today's competitive world of modern electronic media and entertainment, with different values and buckets of emotions of anger, hatred, lust, fame and glitterati, dominated by Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, the softer qualities of love, romance and angst of separation and loss, which endeared Elvis and his music to a generation, do not find much of chance to survive.
In the broken down social fabric of today, which is being dominated and reshaped by social media, where the Pope can tweet to his sheep and you can even find friends you can bang with just by a click, there is less and less people to listen to and experience the inexplicable emotional trips to fantasy worlds of joy and sorrow only Elvis songs can take you.
It is sad that whole new generations are really missing out on something which generations of parents and grant parents were granted to experience but have no real means of passing on, like lessons in text books or in curriculum. It is indeed a shame that future generations might not even know Elvis ever lived and graced the earth.
Numbers like "Can't Help Falling in Love", "Always on my mind", "Love me tender", "Are you lonesome tonight", "I will hold you in my heart" or "You don't have to say you love me" which are indeed immortal will be most probably forgotten.
When everyone is concerned about preserving and protecting our environment and a clean world for future generations and billions of dollars spent on efforts, there must be a ways to stop this being happening.
Releasing a royalty free album of memorable, evergreen Elvis songs as an ELVIS DAY album, free for all and downloadable on the net will be a good start.
Renaming Valentine's Day as Elvis day must certainly make awareness of his music and legacy for years to come.
With platforms like Facebook reaching over a billion memberships, with 6 billions more to join, the enormous power of the social web can definitely help to rekindle the dying memory of this great singer and human being among the younger generation.
For business minds in the know of the enormous power of the social web, that in itself must be ample reason for releasing at least part of the treasure on the web.
Sadly, the onus is on the baby boomers, who lived to experience the miracle in the voice and life of one of the sweetest of human beings, who gave us some of the greatest of music which could really touch heart and soul of humans, to make it immortal for the sake of future generations.
Let us show our love of Elvis, for a start, let us call this Valentine's Day as ElVIS day!

Could Romantic Elvis Presley Have Shaped the Social Web Differently from Daring Lady Gaga?

Facebook has amassed a gigantuan membership of over a billion people and Twitter aims to catch up with new features like Vine, taking micro Blogging to new levels. This spectacular growth of the social web, no doubt, is largely due to its nature as a free place for social interaction.

However, the role in the growth and evolution of social web, of pop stars and celebrities like Lady Gaga andJustin Bieber who have enhanced their fan base and interact with their fans through social web, is also undisputable.

But what about Elvis Presley, who sent millions around the world in a frenzy hardly ever stepping out of the US soil and just by singing I can't help falling in love with you, when no one had even heard of the social web? Could he have shaped the social web to be a totally different place from as we know it today?

There is no denying that without the Television neither Elvis Presley nor Lady Gaga would have reached the level of popularity they attained. So the integration of the social web with television by most recent technological advances like social streaming and social DVR, which allows for real time interaction over social media with time shift would have evolved naturally.



However, the popularity of Lady Lady Gaga, who is a singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and activist on the social web is largely based on her daring stage appearances and the issues like bullying and causes like lgbt which the artist actively support.
Her achievement like being invited to speak at Harvard is more of a reflection of her belief and support of the issues she has chosen to champion for. As a result, the technology she sought was some means to interact with her fans on the web on those issues, enhancing her presence among her fans, which created her famous back room chats with her fans and which rendered her role of counselling her fans possible.
But in the case of Elvis Presley it was his talent, good looks, sensuality, charisma, and good humour which endeared him to millions, as did the humility and human kindness he demonstrated throughout his life. Known the world over by his first name, he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture. He has been described as the sexiest man of his generation, so manly yet beautiful!
In the words of music historian John Robertson, Elvis was a flirtatious teenage idol with a heart of gold, a tempestuous, dangerous lover, a gutbucket blues singer, a sophisticated nightclub entertainer and raucous rocker.
Years after his death, fans continue to yearn for him with comments like "We will never have someone like him again... Elvis, unique, wonderful, our king forever!!!!"
Obviously, the persona of Elvis Presley, which had no need of a social web for the entire world to swoon for him, might have attracted the entire world to Facebook, if he were to have a fan page!
Given the wild passion and infatuation his fans felt for him as was evident from his concerts, It is conceivable that tactile technologies like the remote kissing devices would have found their place in Facebook much head of simple chat.
May be you could have enjoyed an on demand virtual concert by Elvis Presley singing I can't help falling in love with you, just for you.
Perhaps a new version of the Aloha from Hawaii music concert that was headlined by Elvis Presley, and broadcast live via satellite around the world on January 14, 1973, in which fans could rejoice by touching Elvis, using this invention, wherever they happened to be could have been broadcast through Facebook or whatever name the media would have been called.
There is of course many things one can imagine as was possible. The predominant factors would be the key elements which made Elvis irresistibly humane and accessible to millions. One thing is sure, whatever shape the social web would have assumed, it would have done more to bind people of the world in romance, love, passion and compassion, qualities which Elvis was graced with in abundance.

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