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DIRTY TO SRK TO HUGO: A SEASON OF SURPRISES

By Arun

The last few weeks have landed surprises by the dozen, which includes a reduction in the petrol prices. Whoever thought that Dhanush would one day turn a singer, then a lyricist and then also make a song called ‘Kolaveri’ which would go on to be the biggest musical phenomenon India has seen. The journey of Dhanush from being debutant singer and lyricist to being a historic hit maker took all of one month. 1 crore hits on Youtube and counting! 1st Tamil song on MTV, you’ve got to be kidding! But, it’s true. Something that 20 years of A R Rahman music could not do has been achieved by this unassuming ‘Kolaveri’. But, is that the only surprise of the season, no.

We thought that Vidya Balan was a timid and very conservative actress who would always do the ‘Parineeta’ kind of role. She sprung the surprise of her career this Friday with The Dirty Picture. Of course, we had seen glimpses of what the lady is capable of in Ishqiyaa, but even that never led us to think that she was prepared to do something that would have made the original ‘Silk’ proud! And, the audience sprung an even bigger surprise, giving the film the kind of opening that is usually reserved for the Akshay Kumars and Ajay Devgns. The Dirty Picture comprehensively thumped Desi Boyz in the opening weekend collections and proved that good old fashioned ‘ooomph’ still sells; like hot cakes.

Then comes a bigger surprise; SRK. Last week, he was spotted in Cochin, dancing on a stage along with a group of models to the ‘Chammak Challo’ number on the ‘hugely important’ occasion of the inauguration of a textile showroom! The week before that he was spotted making the opening speech at the India International Film Festival at Goa. From being a distinguished guest at a prestigious film festival to being a side show on a showroom inauguration, SRK has shown amazing variety and proved that he needs a serious priority check. Arguably the biggest male star in India at the moment, he cannot help to reduce himself to a journeyman dancer, he is better than that. And, he will also do well to stop endorsing products that no one has formerly heard of, like ‘Vi John Shaving Cream’! One just gets the feeling that SRK is spending more time endorsing than on his actual vocation, films.

But, the biggest surprise of the season was reserved by a man who is almost 70 years old, the legendary Martin Scorsese. Nobody was ready for his film ‘Hugo’. Over the years the name Martin Scorsese has meant many things to cinema ranging from troubled taxi drivers, to smugglers, lunatics, maniacs, gangsters, the Italian mob and several other things which were all about adult insecurities, money, power, corruption, tensions and thrills. There was nothing cute or likeable about his films, his works arrested and haunted us as gripping depictions of the cut throat world. A year back when Shutter Island released, no one would have even thought that he was gearing up to make a 3-D animation fantasy adventure for children; something which is now being as cute as ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’. In fact, he has stolen a march on Steven Spielberg (much more experienced in fantasy fare) whose Tintin (3D) got a slightly milder reception. The only things in Hollywood that can surprise us more is Quentin Tarantino or Steven Soderberg doing a children’s film. In Indian cinema terms, this is equivalent to Shankar making a film like Subramaniapuram. Let’s hope all these things happen.

And, besides all these surprises, there was also a shock. Dev Anand passed away and though it is a cliché, one should say ‘end of an era’. Perhaps, the term ‘end of an era’ has seldom been more appropriate. Nearly 70 years of activity in cinema. At 88, he was still thinking about his next film and his last film had released just about six months back. We celebrated 50 years of Kamal Haasan in Tamil cinema. That included his initial period as a child artiste. Dev Anand had turned producer even before Kamal’s screen debut and was still going strong. That, perhaps describes the enormity of his work and justifies the cliché; ‘end of an era’.


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