Mere Brother ki Dulhan or MBKD, as it is being called right now, is yet another medley-cum-rehash-cum-remake-cum-repackaged version of every rom-com ever made under the pretext of originality in Bollywood. Why Yashraj needed to produce this explosion of teeny bopper content under the banner of their new ('fresh') division Y-films, is a mystery. YRF, it seems, is trying to pin the blame on the youth of our generation, by claiming that their target audience will savour and gobble up such films with gullible glee. How else can one explain a 'family comedy', a lighter version of Subhash Ghai's Pardes given the treatment of Luv ka The End (naive, innocent, unrealistic, bubblegum), being presented to us as Katrina's breakout performance, atleast relatively speaking.
There is not much I can write about this non-story, because if you've seen one YRF film, you've seen them all. The production value still stands out as the best in the country, but the directors prefer to utilize such privileges as a PPT presentation, rather than a cinematic experience. The recipe: Young, chocolatey eye-candy, a wedding or event of that scale, two families (or 10), some passable music and, of course, apna Dilli or any town 200 kms within the radius of our capital. After a while, it's impossible to go wrong with technicalities and that's what makes me sad - to see a technically-competent crew and filmmakers openly disregard the importance of fresh writing in this industry. As of now, we have 3-4 GOOD writers in this industry, and 2 of them are from YRF (Habib Faisal and Jaideep Sahni) and therefore, it is not a coincidence that their biggest (and best) films over the last few years have these two involved in them one way or the other. Sometimes, you wonder why Aditya Chopra watches every film that releases, first day first show, if he repeatedly agrees to churn out stale content repackaged in fancy bottles - blatantly exploiting the fact that there is nothing that YRF, as a production house, cannot achieve. The rights of almost every classic song or film over the last 50 years seems to have been procured by the powerhouse, and probably placed in a room that says 'New Directors: Refer for content'. Even if the classics are used in these new films in a mildly acceptable way, there is no excuse for the lack of originality that plagues the minds behind these big releases.
What did stand out, though, was the fact that I was privileged enough (I think) to watch this latest production first day first show in a smaller town, away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai. The good news is that the audience in Mumbai is still very civilized, as much as we love to believe otherwise. The bad news is that this 'mass' audience, mostly containing college kids who may not be studying in high-society convents, genuinely seem to enjoy moments that we critics cringe at. Maybe Adi Chopra does know the pulse of the audience he so often talks about, and maybe we really don't understand the power of mediocre content when treated with the sheer overwhelming number of people that exist in this country. And since it is part of my job, let me just get it over with: Katrina does not stand out, though she tries hard to lose that gorgeous smile in order to twist her face into something that resembles emotive expressions. Her eyes, though, combined with the eyes of the once-likeable (Pre-YRF) Ali Zafar, blink at the rate of knots, easily breaking any fake-eyelash record that the likes of Paris Hilton once claimed. Zafar should consider creating another Tere Bin Laden, in order to continue getting noticed in a country that is completely unaware of his own country's artistic tolerance (Bol is doing well in Pakistan, which is a better situation to be in).
Imran Khan is back to his usual wooden self, and will do well to continue acting only in films under Mamu's banner. Raising your eyebrows when you don't have dialogue is not exactly Acting 101. One of Imran's two friends (Kush to Zafar's Luv - see what I mean?) in this film, though, shows signs of artistic life, probably the only bright point in an otherwise forgettable presentation that Tanu Weds Manu beat them to the line with.
A few days ago, the Y-films twitter handle created a bit of a stir by going head-on in a rather mature verbal battle with a fellow critic- simply because he dissed their new film's trailer. The hot-headed and idealistic young mind that manages the Y-films twitter account claims that it is wrong of us to judge a film without having seen it (or only having seen their colourful trailers). Now I've seen this film of theirs, and I will see more, and I can safely claim that we can't be blamed for being so cynical about the content they churn out. In fact, their trailers are probably the best part of their productions. Smart PR move, that, though, I must say.
Finally, avoid this, at all costs, even if you thirst for Sheila's Jawani. Go watch Soderbergh's Contagion instead.
- Reel Reptile