Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bollywood' Crossover Films Lack Quality

Bollywood seems to have got it all wrong when it comes to the basics of 'crossover films' Kites obviously had a dismal fate in India but it suffered horrendously in the South Asian market in the US. To pander to the fancy of the English speaking audience and cater to the Western culture, we are dropping the 'Indian-ness' out of the movies.

If you look at Kites, yes it looks like a Hollywood movie but it looks like a B-grade Hollywood movie that we see on AXN channels. Such types of Hollywood movies release in January and Februarya in the US when studios recoup their investments, because they know the industry biggies are more concerned about the Oscar frenzy.

Coming back to Brett Ratner's version of Kites, the English version did worse than Indian version. This calls for serious rethinking and our version of what we think are'crossover films'. The reason why the so-called NRI films Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Kuch Kuch Hota Hain and Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam worked were because they had a lot of earthiness in them, despite the Manish Malhotra hot pants and short skirts. But then there was an overdose of movies on such themes and a wannabe costly diaspora film Yaadein(starring Hrithik Roshan once again) directed by Subash Ghai, flopped.

How many times have we seen that whenever we blindly try to ape the west and lose our sensibilities, we fail? There are examples like Neel n Nikki which tried to be ubercool and Western but ended up being lousy and perverted. Kites obviously a much superior film compared to Neel n Nikki, shed as much Bollywood as it could and looked like a B-grade Hollywood movie. Basically Indians felt 'Kites is not for us' while people in US thought that it was just a product that they would see when they want to take an afternoon nap.

Let us understand crossover cinema, the biggest Chinese movie hit in the US Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was all Chinese, rooted in the Chinese culture; it had nothing to do with US, except for the fact that Americans loved it.

Another Korean movie, 'Old Boy', which is a hit in the US is a fundamental Korean film in all aspects, in ethos, style and soul. That doesn't mean we should stop making 'cool and hep' movies like Dil Chahta Hai, just that we can be modern our way and not just be a clone of the West and use fake accent. Remember Hrithik Roshan faking it by saying 'Party over' in Kites? The US can smell a fake accent 100 miles away. BEWARE.


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