Mild Spoilers ahead. Also for those who don’t watch Bollywood, most of this will go over your head.
Preeti and I had the misfortune to go see Chennai Express. Within minutes of the movie starting, I knew it was going to be a steaming pile of shit. However, we sat through the overacting by Shahrukh Khan and Deepika whatever her last name is (I am too lazy to go look it up), and I couldn’t help listening to the audience that was in the same theater with us. They were giggling and laughing away like it was the funniest movie they had ever seen. It hit me that perhaps they are such huge fans of SRK that seeing him in a comedy made more than worth their time. While I couldn’t help noticing how old he looked, and the fact that he had to quote his older movies to constantly remind us what a huge superstar he was, I couldn’t quite get over how disrespectful us North Indians are towards South Indians. The movie is full of every South Indian stereotype there is (idli anyone?), with a bare nod towards Rajnikanth at the end with a song dedicated to him since he is a huge star there.
A quick glance at reviews online and I kept seeing the word escapism, visually arresting, blah blah. If you want to wade through glistening shit, this is the movie for you. No matter what, with a big blockbuster like this, you can count on one or 2 songs being interesting especially the “masala” song which involves a girl with some flimsy clothes gyrating away as she has never gyrated before. It’s all in good nah. Never mind that it shows women nothing than sexual objects and things to look at. God forbid, a Bollywood movie such as this show women as more than showpieces. Nope! Not happening. Instead we get a mishmash of horrible songs, even worse dancing, and me wondering why the hell did I sit through 2 hours of utter bullshit.
I know that we all have different opinions, and perhaps I just couldn’t get past the over acting, but what really offended me is how we continue to watch Bollywood movies that are broadly stereotypical (a tamil speaking punjabi guy anyone?) and promote the idea that only particular north Indians are the true Indians. What a load of bullshit. We are better than this. Bollywood needs to get better before it truly become irrelevant to the next generation of South Asians. [Rant done. Drops mike.]
- Mayank Shekhar’s Review: Chennai Express (thew14.com)