Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cynical lyrics and movie titles

Long long ago, so long ago that nobody knows how long ago, there was a movie that went by the title Ready, starring Salman Khan with Deepika Padukone in the lead. And there was a song in that movie whose lyrics contained the phrase Ras leela apparently in an unsavory sense. Trust our culture police to get all het up and try to make a fuss on how the Hinduhood has been insulted, hurt and injured. Thankfully this injury did not spread in the Hindu body and no gangrenes developed. Thankfully, the nascent protest movement died an early natural death.
But then, even this ultimately unsuccessful protest movement appears to have given movie makers the incentive to further test the cynical waters of culturehood. The brotherhood, focused exclusively on the bottom line, thought if a harmless phrase could stir the culture waters why not have something similar in the movie title itself, hoping for an ocean manthan.
What is the benefit to the movie makers? In the days of a movie being proclaimed a success if it sustains itself through the opening weekend, a controversy can be expected to draw viewers into the cinema halls on the Monday after the first weekend – a bonanza; a super hit, the movie will be tagged.
We then have the movie Goliyan ki Rasleela Ram-Leela. This movie title, given that it carried terms of insult twice over and just as anticipated, got a protest movement started. But, alas, even as the two traditional warring factions – one arguing for freedom of speech and the other for respecting religious sentiments - started gathering gunpowder, neither side found enough gunners!
This was the war that never was! I am only hoping that this episode will put an end to such cynical manipulations of the culture space.
But, you may think, again cynically, that I am being naïve.

Raghuram Ekambaram     

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