My Name is a Movie Buff and I am not dumb, Mr. Khan and Mr. Johar!

My Name is Khan has given me a mission in life. I want to meet Karan Johar and Shahrukh Khan and tell them that I am a Movie Buff and I am not dumb enough to be sold off an advertisement for Islam in the name of a story of an autistic guy and whatever, whatever whatever you said so that we would buy tickets…

I am not dumb enough to miss why immediately before the release of the movie, Mr.Khan made comments that could controversially interpreted as favoring Pakistan. But isn’t that the art of politics (and business)? Make statements that can be justified either which way?

I am not dumb enough to believe in the controversy that was created around Mr.Khan being detained at an American Airport. Now that I have seen the movie, were you just setting a stage, creating the money-clinching environment for your movie?

I am not dumb enough to hate Hinduism, Islam or Americans or any other religion or race. I am not dumb enough to believe in your ideas that to prove yourself good you need to prove that others are bad and mistreated you.

I am not dumb enough to accept a religion’s bouts of self-pity as entertainment.

I am not dumb enough to give into your characterization. An autistic handicap was necessary just to justify his being pure and full of humanity, to justify how he could be so untouched by hatred around him. Show me a real, normal guy and make him love the world the way Mr.Khan does in the movie, untouched by the hatred of the world.

I am not dumb enough to believe this is the best you could do. Your screenplay does not make us cry, it does not make us laugh. It only made us look at our watches, thinking, how long is this going to last?

I am also not dumb enough to believe that you will not earn big bucks:-) You will, inshallah… you will, you have the blessings of our great neighbor and an Asian viewership that isn’t really confined to India, is it?

I am not dumb enough to believe in dialogues that sounded like an Islam big screen commercial. That too at every juncture where they were not needed,  even before the hero and heroine experience the catastrophic death of their son? They go to a charity/donation kind of gathering and start talking – Islam mein we give this much %age of earning to charity every year. Real humane people are real humane people, they don’t make their religion a reason to be humane. You defeated your hero, your movie in this single dialogue about Islamic charitability.

Ok, now that I have said and perhaps made you believe that I am not dumb enough, let me say a few more things.

Mr.Khan, I understand your frustration with the big bad West not treating Islam right. But please don’t try to misuse the art of cinema to release what needs therapy from a Psychiatrist. The only time in popular, mainstream hindi cinema when a man’s frustration turned into something creative was when Gurudutt made Pyaasa and Kagaz ke Phool. Your frustration seems to be doctored by the business opportunity that social/religious phenomenon throws up for some people.

Mr.Johar, this is for you. I didn’t wait till the titles to see who wrote the screenplay and dialogues. But we the viewers, cannot appreciate a scene where a terrorist is holding a meeting in a mosque and anyone is entering and praying. Were you trying to take your revenge from Islamic terrorists by portraying them to be dumb and idiots to hold a meeting like that openly, that too post 9/11 when security was stepped up crazily in US? And on top of it, a friend sitting next to me said, it must be normal for all Mosques to have meetings like that. LOL… you really did take your revenge on Islam, in disguise of course, by spreading such notions about them through your movie… LOL…

Kajol screams, ‘Mein tumhe chhod ke ja rahi hun’ and so on and so forth.  How many times have we heard the same dialogues in Hindi movies?

A confused script, tacky dialogues, mumbling SRK and a screaming Kajol.

Mr. Johar, if you want to sell Islam, go stand on Marine Drive and distribute pamphlets with praises of Islam. Don’t cheat us with a a bad commercial.

If you want to make a good movie, then make characters that work for us, just as Aman in Kal Ho Na Ho did, write dialogues and screenplay that binds us to those characters and their journey with Samsonite on their back. Don’t cheat us with something that makes us feel like we could cut up the screen if we had scissors.

And if all you want to do is give an emotional fuck to your idol, your hero, make him feel better, then don’t try to earn money from the poor movie buff out of it.


3 Idiots? Or none?

After a few weeks of watching 3 idiots and going gaga over it, I feel like a fool! Hello sweethearts, if there are any idiots, those are people like me who saw any deep theory in it except entertainment. It is one of the most entertaining movies I have seen in quite some time. But when it comes to the ‘real’ portrayal of our students and the education system that everyone credits it with, then I am sorry… the movie fails and so do I and people like me who thought it was real…

Pit a perfect character, genius in science, good at heart, in conflict with an education system with all its negative side out in full glory… what do you get? A winner who mocks the system and ultimately also gets material success and the girl. I am not saying the story has a flaw from the writing point of view. I just have a problem with the claim that the 3 idiots and the portrayal of the education system in our country is absolutely ‘real’. Anyone who has studied in a professional college knows that students are of all kinds. Some become victims of a system, no doubt. Students commit suicides, no doubt. But some find their way around, some are street smart and know that grades or no grades they will get by. Some are helpful but are never at the top. Many a times, the most innovative and the intelligent ones, who mock the system, happen to be the most competitive too.

People are complex. You don’t know what prompts anyone to commit a suicide. It can be the Principal of a college, it can be a parent and it can be peer pressure as well. It can be an imaginary pressure a youngster can create in her own mind by telling herself over and over again that her life is over. Create cardboard, white characters and tell the world they are for real? That’s where Rajkumar Hirani failed this time. Munnabhai was lovable, Munnabhai was real because he had flaws, he struggled with them to find his golden heart and follow it.

Give me an imperfect student, a real idiot, like we all have been if we would only own up to it instead of blaming the system… There is no one who is not an idiot in some way or the other in college. Why such a linear portrayal then?

Show me how an imperfect guy finds his path even while staying in the system…

I know at least some of my friends from my MBA who joined wherever they got a chance and did what came their way within the corporates and then found one thing that interested them the most and grew in that direction. I also know another guy who tried many different Management and Technology jobs, didn’t like any of those and is now a filmmaker in Australia.

We all find our path if we look for it. But mocking or cribbing about the system is just a way to get out the frustration of taking the easy route when you really wanted work hard on something, a way to sound intelligent because only intelligent people can critique a system, no?

These days I hear people who are covering up their own individual failures saying that hamare india ka education system hi kharab hai. It didn’t let us follow our hearts. It didn’t give us sunshine and rain and blah blah blah… Parents are suddenly very aware, they suddenly are discussing in social circles, mere muniya ke school mein bolte hain bas pado pado aur kuch nahin karo…

I completely agree with the flaws in our education system. I am into the business of Adult, corporate education and I know how difficult it is to get a single radical idea get ahead in any way. We are fine pushing information down the throats of people, the time and money are always made unavailable for a learning program that can really inspire people to keep learning. Formal education or corporate education, we are stuck in a system, the same old ideas about education but we are not willing to see if a different way can get us a different result. But is it only about the education system? Aren’t all systems like that? Rigid, inhuman, demotivating for individuals? A system is made to eliminate the possibilty of human error. So that the flow of information runs smoothly despite changing human elements. Whether an individual is a genius, mediocre or average performer by the standards of a particular system, the goals of the system don’t change. The problem begins when a system stays rigid for years and does not evolve to give some space to new thoughts, new generations. Our education system is terribly slow at evolution but extremely fast at commercialization. Thats where I see the flaw. We are still selling degrees, not an education.

But despite the flawed education system, terrible examinations, remember your teachers. We all called them names, maybe hated most of them. But don’t you have one single favorite teacher in 15-18 years of education in whose class you really felt like doing more? Teachers are part of the system like students are but are they really as linear characters as they are made out to be in this movie?

Now for a moment forget the education system. We have made a middle class-wide system of taking up safe, well-reputed, good money choices for our lives. Education System seems to be the culprit in making us do that. We blame it for keeping us dead ducks with no innovative streaks in us, keeping us confined to the chains of this system. We blame it because we Indians like to define ourselves by our professions.  Just ask someone, Who are you and you will know what I mean. So, Education system defines who we ‘become’ in our lives to a very large extent. If Education System goes wrong, we acquire wrong identities. But who stops us from taking up a job as per our education and take time to find other things we maybe interested in and keeping it alive in some way or the other?

Have you ever seen people in your family or friends or friends of friends or neighbors with a radical idea of what they wanted to do with their life, their careers, maybe marry by a different system, become a chef, stay single… go beyond stereotypes  and not tried to analyze what was wrong with them?

Have you ever supported anyone who was following his or her heart without coming up with your own set of cons or predictions about why those people will fail? Have you, despite your apprehensions and uncertainty, ever believed in and maybe followed anything that was not a safe choice according to your parents, friends and relatives, the Indian society and the world we live in?

And God forbid if that person’s radical ideas have failed in the past, would you believe in that person’s new idea?

If yes, then you are the person who deserves to be one of the Idiots.