Sunday, July 25, 2010

Khatta Meetha: Life's Games of Wins and Losses

Priyadarshan’s Khatta Meetha is a movie that I didn’t want to miss. I was determined to see the movie that was a remake of one of my favorite Mohanlal-Srini movies. Tired of candy floss romance and terrorist-turns-good romance in Bollywood movies, I wanted to watch something that is about ordinary people like me. The song sequences in foreign locations, the mindless hero-heroine plots and unbelievable romantic encounters were chipping away at my interest in watching movies altogether because every movie seemed to be a rehash of a commercial formula that has doses of love, violence and glamour.

Khatta Meetha: Romance is out, Social Satire and Mass Appeal is in
Critics have come up with detailed interpretations of this film. However, an ordinary viewer like me didn’t go to nit-pick on the gaps in the movie. I went there to just watch and enjoy. I assume many viewers do the same when they go to watch a movie. When most people watch a Bollywood movie, if the hero-heroine chemistry isn’t sizzling, they become restless, uninterested, crib or watch just half of the movie and leave. In this film, there was no chemistry between Akshay and Trisha. Their so called ‘love’ sequences were insipid yet the twist is that the audience was actually looking forward for the hero to come back to the real story. This anticipation and expectation is rare to find unless the story itself is interesting. In this movie, the story has social satire, which is perhaps the reason why it worked.

The few sore points that I felt were that the movie had high pitched drama throughout but its end was badly bungled through a riot of confusion and an abrupt end. Although the movie had significant portions featuring his family relationships, there was falseness to it. His only convincing relationship is that with his father. Even his love for his sister (Urvasi) seemed watered down and not well etched out. The initial fun in the film filtered down to grim politics that almost seems unbelievable but perhaps that is because I am judging it from the safe environment that I am accustomed to. Song sequences in the movie disturbed the flow of the movie and were placed awkwardly in unnecessary moments.

Khatta Meetha: Everyone Loved Sachin Tichkule
So, critics apart, I know for a fact that the people who watched it loved the movie right from start to finish. There were people from all walks of life who were there, watching and enjoying the movie. This mass appeal is the greatest strength of Priyadarshan’s movies. These days, you can rarely find a movie that brings together diverse people from diverse social backgrounds and gives them something to laugh and think about at one go. From what I saw in the cinema hall, everyone seemed glued with interest and anticipation to the screen.

The best part came at the end, when they were showing the final sub titles after the movie had ended. They showed a politician screaming into the mike about ending poverty and so on. Akshay takes another mike and coughs a little and the Mantriji asks, “what?” Then our hero breaks out into a funky but apt song, “Bullshit, I don’t like bullshit.”

People loved it because it’s so true. This is what the system doles out to the ordinary people of this country in the name of politics – bullshit.

Not justice.

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