Eklavya is the Indian entry to the Oscars. I don’t care much about the Academy Awards, at least whether we figure in it or not. But I am really pissed off with the controversy surrounding it. Apparently it won by one vote against Dharm. I have not seen the latter, so shall reserve comment. It is a debut film and from what I hear quite interesting. It is also about social status, though woven into religious belief fabric.
Yet, I do not understand the general voices being raised against Eklavya. (I had earlier written a political analysis of the film vis-à-vis Bachchan, and not too kindly about the latter!) The film has an epic sweep; the cinematography is lush; the performances are way above average – I have to admit that I have never felt so empathetic towards a Bachchan character ever. He is amazing, the pride in his obsequiousness, if it may be called so, just reaches out to you. And then there is the backdrop of the Mahabharata. It has taken just one strain from it – the guru-shishya one and given us a flip side.
When I watched the film, the cinema hall was virtually empty. Two women behind us kept saying, “Yaar, nothing is happening” as they crunched irritatingly on some munchies. The ‘nothing happening’ was the brilliant silences, the darkened screen, and the repose in the eyes of the protagonist even as his lips twisted in an inexpressible agony.
Saif as the son he could not openly acknowledge and Boman Irani as the impotent real father were excellent.
I admit this was largely a male canvas, including the terrain, the high walls, the turrets, the large gates, the blood, the dagger…it is disingenuous to try and feminise everything. But for the sake of argument, I’d say Eklavya in his sacrifice and his quiet nurturing was indeed feminine. When he kills, he later holds the dagger as a woman would hold a child close for having committed a wrong.
This has nothing to do with the Oscars. I had loved the film and stick my neck out and say that Eklavya is an assured film and it is most definitely more Indian and exotic than those silly NRI home movies about aunties gobbling food and match-making young women who look like they have just played holi, wearing such garish costumes.
- - -
I read the news that Akshay Kumar is overtaking (or almost getting there) Shahrukh Khan in the overseas market. Amusing. Are we exporting livestock? Why has it become so important to appeal to the non-resident Indians?
Movies are increasingly catering to their needs and sometimes it is pure sugar-puff.
Isn’t it surprising that for the enlightened West where these people make their homes and where they learn about ‘liberal’ values no female star commands that kind of interest? Aishwariya Rai has a following because she helps market a foreign brand of watches. Making it in
And when one of their big or small stars visits our country, why don’t these media people stop behaving like fans when they are supposed to be asking questions? And why is it mandatory to want to know what all these LA types think of
- - -
Salman Khan has refused to have his wax-work prepared for display at Madame Tussaud’s. They say it is because his ex-girlfriend is featured there. By this logic, he would refuse to pose for pictures in magazines where she has been featured. How puerile.
I should hope he has the good sense to have refused because he has a case against him in court.
And that he does not give a damn about how any Madame legitimises him.