3 idiots did it successfully, albeit dramatically. Chetan Bhagat continues to do it in his own unique manner. The Social Network even chronicled it. Hell, even F.A.L.T.U managed to touch on it superficially, however ridiculous the plot read. Yeah, Gen X takes no shit from nobody. In fact, at times, the kids are right and know perfectly well what they want. They’re not as flaky as most wise old parents would like to believe. Those ‘Aaj kal ke bachche..’ conversation-starters in every PTA meeting or kittie party aren’t as frequent as they used to be simply because kids nowadays will retort with the smart ‘dropout’ argument. Always works. Especially, as the list reads Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Hugh Hefner, Richard Branson, Sachin Tendulkar and so on. Hence, ‘you ain’t got nuthin on us, daddy-O!’
Roshan Abbas, though, seems to have gotten it terribly wrong. Easily one of the worst youth-centric films of the decade in a country where over 65% of the population is under 30, it looks like Shah Rukh Khan has made an inexplicably unacceptable business decision. Could be his worst, even. Ganguly may have something to say about that, though. Okay, Red Chillies isn’t exactly Aamir Khan entertainment (oops)- but the least you’d expect from the famous team behind it is that they remain in sync with today’s youth, and their choices, fears, language, insecurities, personalities and interests. In short, if you can’t relate to us, just observe us. And understand us. Making a film that vehemently misrepresents us is about as bad as showing up at our 18th birthday party dressed up Hulk Hogan. Even if you are really Hulk Hogan. I mean, get with it dudes.
You can’t get away by showing us barely-legal kids booze away to glory in a nightclub (whose name resembles more of a 90s WWF event)- and then show us those same kids having a FANTA party later in the film. You heard right. FANTA. Fizzy? Maybe not. So, they’ve sobered down overnight. We get it. But, seriously, FANTA? Only Subhash Ghai managed to be as blatant as far as product placement is concerned. (remember Yaadein?) Since then, Coca Cola and Pass Pass masala have never been consumed without having to endure the repelling thought of the late great Amrish Puri’s hair colour in that film. Jackie Shroff has, since then, gone South. Literally. And successfully (with the recent Aaranya Kandam). Ghai 10, Bollywood 0.
Coming back to the point, I just can’t get over the FANTA-themed party. Why, even the tune was played on a Surround Sound System. Oh yeah, modern kids these days. The tracks involving 4 of our teen friends are so uneven and forced, that there really seems no point even trying to be picky about the gravity-defying nosedive of scriptwriting as an art. By the logic of Sam’s (Ali Fazal - ironically the suicide kid from 3 idiots) track, the film Shaitan is probably a pointless exercise in techinical wizardry. Corrupt cops accept installments, then? Must try it at my next signal-jump.
And our teen heroes (2 boys and 2 girls, as usual) are in their final year of school. That makes it their ‘board’ year. 12th standard. HSC exams. *Shudder* We all know what that means. If not, just check out the cut-off percentage at SRCC.
St Marks (Stephens, Xaviers, George, Francis, John - all taken) can’t be in another world, can it? In fact, I’m quite sure the film is based in New Delhi too. Hence, by that logic, the film automatically amounts to nothing - simply because the parents’ continuous efforts to discipline their kids and enforce rules upon them, is not too unfair then. Unless we’re in another country. Sadly, we are not. To venture further into this film would be pointless. One feels sorry for the young actors who have helped convert this warped time-travel nightmare into stark reality.
Outdated music? Check.
Outdated dialogue (or none at all)? Check.
Climax to represent misunderstood youth, albeit juvenile and tacky? Check.
Overly long? Check.
Final cameo item song to rescue commercial credentials? Check.
Film Review? Check.
Rajshri has competition. Finally.
If this is Abbas’s idea of today’s youth, he should consider touring with Justin Bieber very soon. Or maybe create a fantasy world where everything always goes. Not just kabhi kabhi.
- Reel Reptile