Return of the Ageing Superstars

In the first month of this year one saw the release of a Telugu film titled ‘Khaidi No 150’ starring the biggest superstar of the industry, Konidela Sivasankara Varaprasada famous as Chiranjeevi. Called the Boss by his adoring fans Chiranjeevi is making a comeback of sorts with this film as it comes a good decade after his last film Shankerdada Zindabad. And that film received a lukewarm response from the paying public. Predictably, even before it released, naysayers were quick to announce it’s demise owing to the superstar devoting more time to his political career in the interim. They were all proven wrong as Khaidi no 150 (named so also as it is #Chiranjeevi’s 150th film) broke all existing records at the box office falling just short of that behemoth called Bahubali. In a industry where ‘out of sight is out of mind’ applies to the biggest of them, it is incredible how #TheBoss has managed to keep his fanbase intact.

For the longest time, Malayalam cinema has led from the front when it comes to original cinema rooted in the culture and ethos unique to Kerala with great filmmakers like Bharatan, #AdoorGopalkrishnan, Ramu Kariat & Sethumadhavan just to name a few. Though formulaic commercial films do not rule the roost in the Kerala industry as much as it’s neighbouring Tamil & Telugu industries there are still some actors whose films are more eagerly awaited than the others. In fact for the longest time (over two decades) Malayalam films have been a two legged race with superstars #Mohanlal and #Mammooty currying favor with the masses and classes alike. In fact be it commercial, middle of the road or even art films both these actors have done it all, encompassing in their respective careers all possible genres of cinema. And in the year 2017 they are not doing too badly for themselves either. Mohanlal’s latest film #Pulimurugan has turned out to be the first #MalayalamFilm to gross a hundred crores at the box office. And this man has done over three hundred odd movies (320 at last count)

Artists from the film industry in #TamilNadu have always enjoyed demi god status among the masses. And not surprisingly some of the tallest politicians of the state have almost all had a glorious first innings as leading actors, actresses and writers. Be it the late MG Ramachandran (MGR) or the recently deceased ‘Amma’ J.Jayalalitha their onscreen persona has had a direct bearing on how they get perceived in real life as well. For the last few decades much like in Kerala, Tamil cinema has come to be known by it’s two marquee stars, #Rajnikanth and #KamalHassan. Interestingly enough inspite to enjoying great popularity among the people at large both have been reluctant to step into politics. Fans of the former have tried to interpret signs in each film of the superstar as proof that Rajni will join politics, but no avail. Rajnikanth whose last film #Kabali is said to have been underwhelmed at the box office yet ended up grossing over 200 crores is perhaps happy doing what he knows best. Wowing the masses.

In the commercial land of Bollywood it is all about numbers. Did the film gross 100 crores? Or was it 200 crores or even 300? At the end of the day, it all boils down to how much a movie can make over the weekend? Not as much about quality of the product itself and considering that box office can be a very fickle item on the menu for an actor,it is quite fascinating to see three actors stand tall for what is a good 25 years now. They are the #KhanTriumvirate of Aamir, Salman and Shahrukh (in order of appearance on the big screen) Call it charm, chutzpah, choice of film or mere talent these three actors have been part of all the most successful films that have ever got made. With all three being a huge draw worldwide, films starring these actors have the potential to make moolah like never before. And they are. Like Aamir’s #P.K. which made a staggering 800 crores worldwide.

And as we mention all these huge stars, how can one forget the biggest of them all, Big B? The evergreen Amitabh Bachchan missed the National Award by a proverbial whisker for his epic performance in the seminal film ‘Pink’ And he is just 75.

Unpredictable Indian Movies attract without fail..

   India….India is the home of the great number of film productions. Particularly, in film industry this country is inimitable. To my thinking, the specialty of Bollywood(the second name) is identified by it’s anciety, largest multilingual cinema in terms of ticket selling and annual film production. Indian movies are well-known internationally by their sensibility, Bollywood musicals, successful musical films of India in different languages such as hindi, tamil, telugu, malayalam and others inspired western world. And Indian cinema has been recognized and nominated by many International Awards, for instance American Academy Awards( Lagaan 2001). This means the credibility of the movies are high as well as remarkable. Indian cinema box office sell goes at the same level as American and British cinema.

Indeed, Bollywood movies have rather different sensibilities than any typical Hollywood movie: including songs and dances inserted in unexpected places, simplistic storylines,  lots of exposition. There are many Bollywood movies that are as good as any movie produced elsewhere, even better.

Here, I should mention one fact that , whole my expectation and real film making process is totally different. The outstanding Indian films I watched in my country were impressive and effective, full of lights, romantic and musical, and the flow of the movie left like a real life story. Touch hearts…Nevertheless, reality is not that much….seems.

Seeing the real film making process gives a different imagination. From the initial shooting observation and furthers as well, I understand that, all the process of film making is not as much real as  it shows in movies. Let me tell my experience about this from the beginning… I am a citizen of Uzbekistan, one of the Central Asia countries. As all common students who want to continue their education, get experience, particularly see different style of education in foreign languages I decided to test my success as well and applied for Indian Cultural Program -study abroad. Fortunately, after some steps of examination process, once the official representative of Indian Center in our country informed me that I am accepted to one of the popular universities in India. With huge emotions and thrilling heart I got ready to study abroad.

Now I am in India. A student of Osmania University in Hyderabad. In reality, its a great pleasure and beneficial to study among multilingual and cultural students. However, I have  experienced another thing here and it is amazing. Through the chain of foreigners under the control of main coordinator they have, most foreign students are involved in movie shootings. Once I was asked “would you like to go to shooting?”, not knowing any idea about it , as  my friends were also going, I agreed. In my country I have never experienced film making process, that’s why it was curious for me to go there.

I was shocked by the artificiality of  whole the  film making process. There was nothing similarity as in movies I used to watch. In movies it gives the impression that all the scenes are happening in real life, but far not like this. Everything is predicted , created, acted and so on. Take an example of location- in some films it shows that the film is taken abroad with beautiful landscape, natural places, but in fact, it is just well done decoration or some places not out of the country. Majority actions of the hero’s, emotional scenes played by them are acted. Furthermore, lights are highlighted.

When you watch your favorite movie, that inspired you so much , at the same time when you see all the story is not as much real as it seems to be, you feel- you cool down. Looks like all you believed, stimulated is false. For the first days my feelings was disappointed, discouraged. “You are not the first person to feel this..”- told me one day one of the assistant directors in shootings. Majority feel this when they see process of film making, including me. But,indeed, its reality. All films done in this way. It’s acting. Films are produced by actors playing the role of hero’s written as in the scripts.” I accept- he was right!

In spite of small shock I had, I come to the conclusion, I still like….movies motivate and educate… Yes, Indian movies are really incredible as India itself. First they shock, and again make you love more….