Saturday, February 19, 2005

Blogging in the doldrums; dissing Kisna

My blogging mojo is weak right now... All sorts of factors may be to blame, but more than anything else it's hard to blog when my daily rhythm is in transition (moving, packing, adjusting, commuting, etc.).

Blogging is one of those things that really requires windows of time and energy. To write even semi-seriously takes an hour or more a day of commitment, and I just haven't had it as much as I would like lately. Maybe things will get back to normal soon; I don't know.

* * * *
We saw Kisna, and I can agree with reader Mihir that it's in fact quite skippable. Or fast-forwardable?

Or to put it quite plainly -- it sucks.

That said, I didn't mind Antonia Bernath's bad Hindi accent. I think it's remarkable how much Hindi they actually got her to say; in the past, the English characters in Hindi films had all their lines dubbed into Hindi, when they had lines at all. And speaking as someone who speaks Hindi both badly, and with a bit of a 'gora' accent myself, I would posit that it's a bit of a step forward, which Indian viewers probably ought to enjoy. In an era of globalization, we want to hear non-Indians speaking Hindi with an accent -- it's a sign that the language (and the culture) is in demand. One so rarely heard it in India in the past, largely because foreign visitors almost never felt it would be worth their while to invest serious time and energy learning the language. "They speak English in India, don't they? Why should I bother?"

Kisna as crappy as it is, is a small sign that that may be changing.

On the interracial romance. In this film, Bernath's "Katherine" and Vivek Oberoi's "Kisna" do push the threshold past the interracial flirtation we saw in Lagaan. Ghai clearly loves putting the camera on Bernath's face -- she's definitely the lead -- while Gowarikar, in Lagaan , stacked the decks in favor of Gracy Singh. But even though he put Bernath in songs, desi outfits, and provides copious measures of smouldering looks and melodramatic dialogue, Ghai does the theatrical equivalent of sitting on himself with the conclusion of the film. Instead of having them run off into the sunset as the plot demands, Ghai has his Oberoi mumble some twaddle about "jeevan satya," and demur, marrying his racially-correct village fiance for duty rather than love.

Why not have Katherine stay in India, and marry Kisna? In real life, I know of a few instances where something like this in fact did happen.

But maybe I'm asking too much. I continue to doubt that we'll ever see a mainstream bollywood movie where a heroine romances and marries a westerner. I simply think it would be impossible for audiences to accept. (And just in case anyone is confused, Bride and Prejudice is really an American production; that's where the money came from...)


chutry said...

I've been having the same experience. My life is very much in transition right now, so it's hard to find time to blog and to think seriously about political issues, hence my recent post on Horowitz.

Looking back, I think that post is more about my own inactivity in the blogosphere than anything else. Hope things settle down for you soon.

3:07 PM  
Nitin said...


Re: the mojo

Just hang in there!

6:49 AM  
Patrix said...

well, you asked for it :) you chose Kisna over Black

8:43 PM  
PhDiva said...

No wonder you are an award winning blogger and i am not!! I set a limit of 15 minutes per day on the blog. Otherwise it could and would take over my life!

9:51 PM  
Varun Singh said...

I'm sorry if this comment is way too late. I was also wondering that even in movies having across the border romances, why always the female is from the other country? Why couldn't Veer-Zaara be Mohsin-Reena (Reena Roy actually went to Pak after marrying Mohsin Khan!). Strange are the ways of Bollywood! :)

6:32 AM  
Ray Davis said...

I got a lot out of your "Toy Story" lark, if that makes you feel any better. (Too much to have finished drafting it yet, though!)

11:26 AM  
Ray Davis said...

Well, *that* was foolish of me -- I ended up at this link & didn't notice the date. Sorry about the anachonism!

11:28 AM  
Anonymous said...

Kisna was a good movie, I liked the story line, it was different.. I don't like the "normal" bollywood films that much this was somewhat new and even tho a bit predictable it was good none the less.

4:43 PM  

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