Friday, September 23, 2011

Delhi Belly

When the film produced by Aamir Khan and directed by newcomer Abhinay Deo, was released in its original version, predominately in English, it created a controversy of sorts, for its use of language. Apparently, the characters used inappropriate language in the film, so much so that, the film came with a warning, don’t take your family to this film. So much so that the producers had to release a dubbed version, in Hindi, where the language was also censored to the extent it could be.

I saw this ‘Hindi’ version of the film. The dubbing was terrible. On most occasions, the sync between the actors’ lip movements and the sounds were out of place, which was quite odd and quite irritating. And, I did not see anything that is controversial enough.

The film itself was okay, nothing extraordinary, most of it you have seen before (in parts it reminded me of Guy Richie’s ‘Snatch’ or Martin Lawrence starrer ‘Blue Streak’). But, it’s fun as long as it lasts.

But the controversy over the language got me thinking. It wasn’t as if this was the first film to use cass words. Films like ‘Satya’ did it a long time ago. It’s not as if the film shows something that’s not there in India. I mean, every youngster knows these words and use it. So, you find it silly that the film’s producers should use the cass words as the film’s USP.

What’s the film’s USP? I could find none. I mean, after a point, the plot even fails to engage you enough to worry about the lead characters. The film begins with three lazy-bum, careless and selfish youngsters and the film ends with them being the same; they do not learn anything in the process. Therefore, we, as audience, also do not feel for them. In a film of this kind (see for example, the fantastic ‘RocknRolla’, or ‘Layer Cake’), there should be a constant threat hanging over the protagonist. The film introduces the threats — a psycho husband, missing diamonds, gangsters, police — but how the protagonists react to these threats are superficial, and very, very badly realised. You look at them running (wearing Burkhas no less), and pushed to a tight spot, and you know instinctively, they would come out of the situation unscathed. I mean, whatever. It robs the film its thrill. We would be more sympathetic to them if we knew that they may be dead at any moment.

And, let me not talk about Imran Khan’s acting. Another major problem is his name — Tashi Dorjee Lhatoo. The name suggests that he is from Ladakhi/ Sikkimese descent. But nothing in Khan remotely authenticates his ethnicity. It seems the filmmaker gave the name simply because it sounded cool. (In ‘Kaminey’ too there is a character called Tashi, and he is played by an actor looks and acts like he is from that ethnicity.)

Wikipedia tells me that the original script was written by Akshat Verma, a Los Angeles based writer. So, I am guessing that the film was written in English. I am also guessing that the film was original made on the basis of the same English script. I am also guessing that when they decided to make a Hindi version of it, they sent the script to those people who are experts in translating original English language films into Hindi. Some of the dialogues sound so ludicrous that any one who knows his Hindi won’t speak like that. They speak like Disney cartoon characters dubbed in Hindi. In the beginning, Tashi’s girlfriend comes to his house, and says, “Tashi, main bahot gussa hoon!” in a singsong voice. This is a literal translation for “I’m very angry.” Nobody speaks like that in Hindi. In Hindi, gussa aata hai, gussa hota nahin!!!

Anyway, it was a Aamir Khan film, and Aamir Khan can do no wrong. By the way, I like the idea of the lyric, ‘I Hate You (Like I Love You).’ Very Smart. If it reminds you of French singer Serge Gainsbourg song, "Je t'aime... moi non plus" (1969) (Jane Birkin avec Serge Gainsbourg), I am sure it’s purely coincidental. By the way, I did not understand the brohaha about the other song, ‘Bhag DK Bose...’

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