Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire and beyond

Taking a cue from the resounding success of Slumdog Millinaire, in the USA and in India, Bollywood is wasting no time in re-releasing yesteryear’s Indian hits in the USA. Yesterday’s Beverly Hills mega opening of Jai Santoshi Maa (re-named Maa dot com for the American audience) is truly symbolic of how far Bollywood has come in winning over the West.

The event was organized by Mr. Raj Gupta, who has the distributions rights to the film in the USA and was attended by a veritable who’s who of Hollywood glitterati. “This is not about making a fast buck on the current India wave, but to introduce the Americans to quintessentially Indian sensibilities, like mother sentiment, Ajit phattas and the Seeta-Geeta twin conundrum.“ He told reporters that extra footage, shot in dharavi, was added to the film’s re-release, in response to the overwhelming curiosity the West has shown about the Mumbai slum, considered the largest in Asia.

Already Dharavi is proving to be a major ‘Terror-tourism’ destination, where for prices upwards of $ 2500, strong-stomached tourists can experience first-hand pickpocketing, all-female gaali competition, mugging, gang-fights etc. A three day premium package includes a live political assassination and a thrilling election booth capture, midnight smuggling cruises kind of adventures. There are also economy packages which include self-guided tour of Dharavi, but the operators do not guarantee your return passage though.

The scene outside the fashionable Mann theatre, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles resembled Rio’s carnival, with celebs dashing in and out of stretch limos. This reporter managed to catch up with a few of them.

“The subterfuges of the subliminal in a polychromatic emotional canvass caught me completely off-guards” said Kate Winslett, the winner of two recent Golden Globes, dressed in an elegant light blue churidar dress, specially designed for the occasion.

“It is interesting – in a sort of, kind of way.” said Martin Scorcese as he emerged from the premier of the movie “The character arc of the Mother figure, going from the mother the protector to the mother, the destroyer is thematically very powerful.”

“The movie defied any classification” admitted Clint Eastwood, who was recently snubbed by the Goldern Globe awards. “It smoothly crossed over from the ‘action-comedy’ to the ‘family drama’ genre, with touches of ‘Horror’ and sci-fi. I have never seen anything like this.”

With the Hollywoodization of Bollywood and the Bollywoodization of Hollywood, can Tollywood and Kollywood be far behind, ask industry experts.

When contacted at her residence in East Godavari district in Eastern India, Pichaayee Homeopathi, 76, the star of the movie, said that she was still in shock. “Just imagine, getting a call from Steven Spieldberg. He wants me to do two movies for him – both without any make-up.”

Gupta also told this reporter that he is currently working on several projects – including re-releasing classics like Dara Singh’s ‘Lootera’ (Loot it, dude, for Hollywood) and the timeless ‘Daku aur Mahatma’ (dubbed ‘The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Mahatma) But for now, he is busy working on the re-re-release of Maa dot com in India with the new title Amma


At Thursday, February 05, 2009 6:07:00 PM, Blogger Thaths said...

Back at your best, Ramesh. Just waiting for Mr. Palvayantheeswaran to make another appearance. What is he doing these days? Surely he is tied down with a arranged love marriage bahu and is towing a couple of snotty nosed kids around some IT company campus in Bangalore?

At Saturday, February 14, 2009 9:01:00 PM, Blogger Sujatha said...

"...but to introduce the Americans to quintessentially Indian sensibilities, like mother sentiment, Ajit phattas and the Seeta-Geeta twin conundrum". LOL. Little wonder India is still thought of as the land of snakecharmers and Maharajas and mahouts.


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