Tag: bollywood

Bombay and Alienation: Interview with Island City’s Ruchika Oberoi

Disclaimer: I talked to Ms. Oberoi in 2016 on phone soon after the premiere of her film Island City at the 2015 Mumbai Film Festival. This was originally written for The Review Monk but never published due to last minute edits. I am publishing this today without her approval.


Island City is the dazzling debut feature by Ruchika Oberoi who has already collected accolades for writing from various major film festivals around the world.

Her anthology film consists of three stories that sample themes of alienation and vapidity in the city of Bombay (Mumbai). Oberoi’s characters are ordinary people, whose tragic narratives have been carved from her own experiences as an outsider. She came to Bombay after graduation. Island City, starring Vinay Pathak, Tannishtha Chatterjee, and Amruta Subhash, which won the FEDEORA prize at the Venice International Film Festival in 2015, is about people trying to find hope and meaning in a life without substance. Excerpts from the interview with director Ruchika Oberoi:

Island City is about three stories – three short stories that talk, in some way or the other, about the chilling solitude of living a fast-paced life in Mumbai. What was the inspiration behind these stories?

Being a Bombay-ite and living here for so many years definitely did help. But most importantly, not being born in Bombay, and experiencing the city as an outsider really was the starting point for these stories. I have lived in so many places in India including Bihar and Darjeeling, and then I came to Bombay only after my college. At that time, a lot of things affected me, and many years later, when I began to write the script for Island City, the vivid experiences of Bombay came back to me. I wanted to write about the arrival and adherence of Western culture in the city’s work ethics – the corporate culture – which is now an integral part of the system.

Island City still
Vinay Pathak in a scene from Island City / © NFDC

Overall, my aim was to capture the tragedy of the working class – the middle class – especially where women find themselves circumscribed within the household with no scope of chasing their dreams and aspirations. I was working on these stories separately, and in the case of the third short, “Contact”, it was based on a story written by my husband. But, while the original idea was for a TV serial, I worked upon it and created a story within the working class milieu. The characters, played by Tannishtha Chatterjee and Chandan Roy Sanyal, are both working people and are trying to figure out life through romance and matrimony, respectively. Later, at some point of time, I decided to bring these stories together and furnish it as an anthology. However, these stories are not about any one thing, but about many things at once. In terms of plot, they have more to do with the city of Bombay and alienation.

The first story, “Fun Committee”, starring Vinay Pathak was inspired by an incident involving your spouse. Can you tell us more about that?

My husband was working with a bank and was not really happy with the job. He was contemplating moving on, and finally when he did, the bank asked him to join back. Although, even after joining he was not very happy with the projects. One day, after coming home from work, he was emptying his pockets when some bright-coloured coupons fell out. So, when I asked him about them, he told me that those coupons were part of his bank’s ‘fun committee’ department which distributes such freebies and vouchers to employees to keep their spirit up. I found this idea very interesting and decided to carve it into a story.

That’s how “Fun Committee” was born, which is indicative of the present corporate culture, where you have jobs that suck out all the fun from your life. Everything that you do is decided by the committee who also has the final say in your happiness quotient. A sense of black comic story is what it is.

(Note – I wrote about this company culture on my LinkedIn.)

So, do you have a favorite? From your three stories?

No. No favorites, because all three talk about diverse things that are primarily only related by the city in which they are based in. They have different tones, but similar culminations. Also, after watching the film, a lot of people came to me during festival screenings and told me that they could connect with the first story or the third one. Even in Venice, lots of people were vocal about their connections with the second story, “Ghost in the Machine”. So, it is evident that obsession with the idiot box is not local, but universal. While some could connect with the first one, some found the second one more relatable, with others finding the third short more interesting. So, basically, since the stories talk about ordinary people,
they were perceived well.

Tannishtha Chatterjee, Chandan Sanyal in Island City
Tannishtha Chatterjee and Chandan Sanyal in a scene from Island City / © NFDC

The underlying theme of the stories is slightly offbeat. For example, in “Fun Committee” we have Vinay Pathak’s character going on an impromptu fun ride organized by his employer. How did you market this to your artists and producers?

Vinay was one of the first to read the script and he instantly liked it. Similarly, the producers actually went for the quirkiness of the stories – the offbeat nature of the stories that you mention – that’s what worked for me. I didn’t have to market it in anyway. The stories are black and slightly oblique, which is the USP of the film. That was the thing that everybody liked and connected with the film as a whole.

The Hollywood Reporter compares “Fun Committee” with the Orwellian concept of Big Brother. What do you think? Is the semblance real?

Sure. George Orwell’s 1984 was there in my mind when I was crafting the story, although it is not overtly thick as the novel. When you have read these books about dystopia and the idea of Big Brother, they are always present in your subconscious. That is why you connect with these stories in the first place. That is why when my husband described the coupons he had got from his office, I could connect the dots and create what is “Fun Committee”. So, yes, definitely there are Orwellian elements in the story – as in the voice that Vinay’s character follows, in the short. The voice is totally disconnected from the activities that are happening. For a moment, we wonder if it’s really of a real person, is it really a fun committee, or is it a machine, or a program which has no idea what’s going on. What if this program goes wrong and it won’t be able to deal with it or fix it? Something of this nature is currently happening around us, wouldn’t you say?

What genre would you collectively place this anthology in? Black comedy? Tragedy? Or is it genre- neutral?

They have diverse tones. So, collectively, I would put them in the tragic-comedy genre with traces of black humor. And the final story with Tannishtha – it does have bit of a romance in it. But, for me, it is not very important to set the stories in a single tone. All of them are interesting, per se, and together they have a voice that communicates the city’s core as it currently stands.

Could Island City be based on another city in the world and still be similar?

Absolutely! I can’t say any particular city, but like I said, in Venice, the audience could relate with the second story where people sometimes forget their own life owing to their habit of TV-watching. Talking about the first story, the entire concept is about a Western culture, so it connects with a universal audience. Of course, the working class conditions will be different, but in general, the essence remains the same. Island City has played in different countries like Colombia and in the States, and the fact is that people have managed to connect with the stories.

How was it to win the FEDEORA prize at Venice?

Totally unexpected. To even get selected was a big thing for us. I personally thought it was difficult to get selected mostly because it’s not that serious a film. Although it does deal with serious issues, it is narrated in a dark humorous way. But, the selectors were unanimous in their praise for the film and they promoted it very well from their side. It was screened at a huge hall with 500 occupants, and it was jam-packed. At the end, we even received a standing ovation. Overall, it was a wonderful experience for the whole crew, and afterwards when we won the prize, we were sort of ecstatic. At the end of the day, festival selections and awards are what build credibility for you as a filmmaker and your independent films. Such treats provide hope to us that, yes, films like this are worth people’s time.

Ruchika Oberoi
Ruchika Oberoi / © Loudspeaker Media

What do you think about independent films in India? How are they perceived? Will the trend change?

As in, have people started accepting independent films which convey strong messages? I know that more and more are being made here in India, but the artists are not making much money. I think, with the digital media coming in, it has been easier than ever to get a film out there; at least the publicity part. Great films are definitely happening in India and are competing at major film festivals around the world. However, I am not sure whether the public is watching it or not. There are certain people – the youth – who are interested in watching a different kind of cinema, but I don’t know why it snaps there. The interest and content are not connecting with each other.

I also don’t know if filmmakers even recover the costs. But, we have to keep doing what we do and hope that somewhere down the line, things will change for us. The audience also does complain about a lack of quality films, but at a time, when there are films which are also easily available to watch, why don’t they give it a try? I can sense that producers are trying to bring content and relevant audiences together through digital and social media. And that’s a good thing for this part of the industry.

Last year when we talked, you told me you were trying to find a distributor for the film in India. Can you share the experience? What challenges did you face?

I was not involved much in the distribution side of things. Sure, we had NFDC with us which gave us all the support we needed. As you know, NFDC is of great help to independent cinema filmmakers, and they were sure that they were going to give it a wide release. We were happy with the press the film was getting and we wanted to get good distributors. Moreover, it was our decision to let the film travel for a year and let it make a name for itself before getting a theatrical release. So, that’s why it premiered last year (2015) in September at Venice and now 12 months later, it is releasing nationwide on September 2nd (2016). We are lucky to have NFDC and Drishyam Films supporting us.

Trailer of Island City

What was the budget of Island City like? Do you plan to do big-budget films?

The budget was pretty low, but the film was not based on a budget. The actors definitely helped by cutting down their fees; otherwise, it would not have been possible to complete the film. Plus, I cannot outline a script on a budget. It has to interest me and help in my own understanding of the medium and of myself – only then will I write it. For me, filmmaking is not really about the budget.

Do you have anything in the pipeline?

Nothing right now. I do have an idea in mind, but I think I am going to take a brief break for a couple of months, get some rest, and then get back to writing.

One last for the audience: why should people go and watch the film starting this weekend?

I think people should go and watch it just to be entertained and to dive into a series of poignant stories. No other reason at all.

Island City, directed by Ruchika Oberoi and produced by NFDC in association with Drishyam Films released September 2, 2016 across India and is available to watch on Hotstar.

Mumbai Film Festival: A Waiting Guide

It’s been nearly six months since the last edition of the Mumbai Film Festival (MFF) concluded and I am finding it difficult to wait out any longer for the next one. Especially with Cannes releasing its official poster for 2019 featuring a tribute to late French filmmaker Agnès Varda as well as folks on my Twitter already starting to build up on TIFF 2019. It was difficult enough to see critics reshare opinion pieces of their favorite and not-so-favorite movies they caught at Sundance this year. And then our own MAMI came out with a tweet that sent a tribute to the late legendary Indian filmmaker Mrinal Sen on 10 April, and I just couldn’t control. Yours truly is filled with misery these days.

Mumbai film festival 2019
Poster for the 21st edition of the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star / © MAMI

But, thanks to cheap access to the Internet and theaters nearby, I have somehow managed to find a way to sustain the gap – which almost feels like an eternity – between the festival editions, October through October. The key, they say, is to stop thinking about it, but good luck doing that if you are an active social media user. And if you are someone who follows the film fraternity (for whatever reasons), you are bound to become miserable over the 12 months. More so if you are disturbed by the wave of low-quality movies that have come out of Bollywood in 2019 so far. Why Cheat India, Total Dhamaal, Mere Pyare Prime Minister, Junglee

If you think you are in a similar situation, don’t worry. I have found a few ways to keep myself occupied till the week-long festival comes back, scheduled between 17 October and 24 October this year. If you can manage to find a buddy then nothing like it. Schedule a day and a time, grab a few packets of instant popcorn, and fire up your home theater to end your hectic days with doses of filmy smack. Here’s how…

Waiting Out the Next Edition of the Mumbai Film Festival

Since the 2018 edition was my most successful in terms of catching the movies that I actually wanted to, it has become even more difficult to exist and function knowing that October is so far away. I often think about my days at the festival and how I managed to watch both the opening and closing films for the first time in three years. Talking to a few acquaintances that I made in 2017 and 2018 made me realize that I am not the only one.

Here are a few things that I have been doing over the past few weeks to make for the cinematic hunger that has suddenly dominated me.

Watch and Complete Previous Editions

In 2018, there was a guy who watched 27 films in six days. This is like an unachievable record for me. Because there’s a limit of four movies per day (that you can book online against your MAMI ID), and this guy booked three extra films by standing in queues. That’s five movies back to back between 10AM and 10PM, each at least 150 minutes long. I would be doing better if I had that kind of commitment for anything in my life.

But that’s not the point. The point is that if you are like me – whose record is a measly 13 per festival – then you have a lot of films to go back to. You’ll have even more if you skipped any of the recent editions of the festival because there are upwards of at least a 100 titles that are screened per year.

I am personally going to try and catch all the pending movies of the 2018 edition. I also created an ambitious list on IMDb so I have a headstart here. If you are looking for inspiration, here is a list of lists –

Lists to Catch Up Old MAMI MFF Movies

Other than these, IMDb itself has a separate section of films that were nominated/awarded in the festival. Have a look at the lists for as back as 2013 here.

Catch Up on MCU or GoT

Now I know that not everyone is a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or TV shows like Game of Thrones, but if you are and if you have been putting them aside for long, now is the time to catch up.

The latest Avengers installment is scheduled to release in a week’s time. Which makes April the perfect time to complete the three phases of MCU that lead up to it. Same for GoT as its final season is currently running on HBO (Hotstar in India).

If none of these franchises interest you, there are numerous other shows and movies in various genres available for consumption. Obviously. So go to IMDb or Letterboxd and take a look.

MAMI Year Round Programme

This should have been on top of my list. Because it is MAMI’s own way of answering the hunger of cinephiles after they are done with the festival every year.

The Year Round Programme is a subset of the MFF where MAMI organizes screenings (often premieres) of new movies and web shows at their partner theater network (PVR) throughout the year in Mumbai and Delhi. Access is free; members only have to sign up separately for the programme (on their website), wait for email invitations of new screenings, register their interest (as soon as possible because of the limited number of seats), and then wait for the confirmation.

If you’re an early bird and/or first-timer, you have high chances of getting a seat. On the other hand, if you get a confirmed seat and don’t show up, it will be hard for you to show your loyalty to the sweet MAMI people again.

The Year Round Programme hosts a lot of cool movies and web shows as MAMI directly partners with the producers and distributors. For example, their last show in Mumbai was the Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo, in association with National Geographic. In the past, they have screened Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, Sonchiriya, Made in Heaven (Amazon Prime Video), Green Book, and Stranger Things (Netflix) to name a few.

Made in Heaven at MAMI
A photo from the recent screening of Amazon’s Made in Heaven in Mumbai © MAMI

It’s a great initiative by MAMI because it gives a form of community to the participants. And more importantly, a way to stop missing the festival.

Embrace the Academy Awards

Or any international awards for that matter. I like to keep a track of the Oscars – winning films, nods, snubs, long shots, everything – and then predict which ones will win when the night comes. Unfortunately, I have never been able to watch all movies let alone predict correctly. But I still have at two lists prepared and ready:

These will be enough for at least 2-3 months from now, depending upon the number of titles you have seen already.

If Oscars are not your thing, you can pick any of the major international awards like the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and Independent Spirit awards, or even Filmfare and Indian’s National Film awards. The idea is to continue watching films to keep the spirit high and constant. Heck, you may also consider the Razzies.

r/bollywood

This might come as a surprise but let me at least make a case. The amount of information that is exchanged in this small Reddit community of Bollywood lovers is just breathtaking. All types of news, trailers, and trivia are discussed there every day by users from around the world.

They even have polls of new Bollywood releases, and unlike popular opinion, have constructive discussions that you can take part in. The community is also actively moderated, which means no spam, no advertisements. Just plain Bollywood worship.

Go and have a look here: https://www.reddit.com/r/bollywood/

Young Critics Lab

This is not for me, but for people who are between the age of 18 and 25. If you are that young and still interested in cinema, the Young Critics Lab organized by MAMI every year will be a beautiful opportunity.

It is a short workshop for young students and professionals who want to get a little hands-on training about the basics of film criticism. The club’s favorite and National Award-winning critic Baradwaj Rangan conducts the workshop between July and October. He is sometimes supported by an international film critic. 2016 saw The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw come to Mumbai for the class while in 2017 (when I attended), TIME magazine’s Stephanie Zacharek made an appearance.

I wrote a detailed article about YCL last year which I think will be enough to push you to sign up if they host it this year. Keep your eyes and ears open in May/June when they usually announce it.

Prep

Lastly, and this is not very relevant here, there’s Sujay Kulkarni’s fantastic take on how to prepare for the festival. Writing for VICE, he captures the very essence of the festival – from ticket booking to finding obscure films outside of your watchlist to getting from one venue to another – in so less words.

Take a look as you revisit your own time at the festival last year… or five years ago. Whichever suits you.

Stay Tight

There is no doubt that the MFF has transformed into a national phenomenon if not a global one. Last year the ticket price was INR 500 (approx. $7) which surely helped increase the footfall. And with so many new members looking forward to the 2019 edition, I’m sure it will be grander this time.

The MFF is now officially open for entries. If you are a creator, you need to sign up and submit as soon as possible. Check out the website for more details. If you are unsure if your film belongs to MFF, check out the rules and regulations here. And don’t forget to follow MAMI on Twitter becausethat’s where the action is.

Here’s to six more months of hope-filled anticipation. TN.

Rethinking Movie Disclaimers

I was watching V A Shrikumar Menon’s Malayalam-language thriller Odiyan (2018) last day and I couldn’t help but think about the disclaimers that flashed on the screen. While I have noticed the disclaimer “Violence against women is punishable under law” in plenty of other recent films, it is only now that I thought about it in length.

I understand why there is a need to add that particular disclaimer (added to a scene where Prakash Raj’s character is forcibly holding Sreejaya Nair’s character’s jaw by his hand) – especially in today’s sensitive landscape where violence against women has shot up unnaturally – and how it satisfies and suggests the country’s various art control and regulation boards into believing that their job is done, but what stumps me is the singularity of it all. Why do we restrict the disclaimers to only certain elements? Why only women, cigarette smoking, and animals?

Why do we append these less-than-useless disclaimers in movies when we know that there are other bigger reasons that cause these very things that we are trying to eradicate? Why do we think that these disclaimers will have a considerable impact when no one even takes them seriously other than those who mandate it who, by the way, I’m told, often look at these disclaimers when they don’t have access to porn? 

Plus, we all know that not a single smoker has kicked the butt after watching that horrendously produced anti-smoking disclaimer, now starring Indian cricketer Rahul “The Wall” Dravid in the performance of his lifetime.

So, here’s a list of common disclaimers that we all have seen and got irritated by when at the movies and how they should be if we were living in an ideal world.

Movie Disclaimers in an Ideal World

If there is a need to add disclaimers in movies (restricted to Indian movies), I would love to see these versions over the current ones:

  • Not all characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is not purely coincidental.
  • No one was harmed during the making of this film.
  • Culpable violence against all genders is punishable under law.
  • Smoking, much like living in a polluted city and other 87 acts, is injurious to health.
  • Intoxication is injurious to health.
  • Not following the rules underlined in The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 is punishable under law.

I know for a fact that as long as we are sensitive about art, this new edition of movie disclaimer texts will never be accepted. My future son already knows this. But I’m still hopeful.

What are some other disclaimers that takes the fun out of your movie-watching experience? Let me know and we will edit it a bit. TN.

Effective Strategies to Watch Padmaavat Without Getting Killed

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s period drama Padmaavat is finally cleared by the CBFC and the Supreme Court, and is now slated to release on 25 January 2018. But, there are still some zealots out there who may prevent you from watching it.

So here are a few strategies to adopt so that you can enjoy the film and at the same time be prepared should a sword catch you off guard. There’s a high chance that your viewing will be interrupted by machete-wielding attackers, so if you care for your life, read and adopt these strategies.

I have never been so apprehensive about going for a movie before, and if it’s not an indication to the rising extremism in the country, then I do not know what it is.

Anyways, without further ado, here you go:

  • Book the movie ticket at the box office. This way you can gauge the situation and see if there are any religious extremists keeping a close eye on the patrons. If there are, don’t think twice. Go to the next theater in the next state
    • Don’t pre-book on BookMyShow as you can never know if they’ll cancel the show at the last minute, or if they are tracking who all are booking the tickets so that they can finish you before you leave your house
  • Book a movie ticket for PadMan and then, when you don’t see any danger, enter the screen that is showing Padmaavat. Unfortunately, your money will not reach the Bhansali crew
    • Or book a ticket for films like Nirdosh or Vodka Diaries that are definitely going to bomb at the box office. At least the artists of these films will get paid
  • When booking the ticket, don’t focus on comfort, and instead reserve a seat that is closer to the EXIT door. This way if they come to get you, you can run for the door quickly.
    • The one problem with this is that some cinema halls have ENTRY and EXIT doors adjacent to each other. If this is the case, you are screwed
  • Carry the holy book of those people
  • When entering theater, avoid the water flask and carry a pepper spray or a mace
  • Ask one of your religious friends to accompany you so that when push comes to shove, your friend can at least talk to them in their language using religious annotations. This will not work if the sword reaches your throat first
  • Apply for a job as an usher at your nearby theater right now and enjoy Padmavaat not as a patron but as an employee. Danger still exists here, but you at least know where to hide when they come
  • Observe them as they have appeared in the news in the past few weeks and mimic their dressing style when going to the theater. When terror breaks in, take their side, but don’t kill anybody
  • Choose a movie theater that is isolated. Chances of them going there to kill movie-watchers is low as compared to them going to popular locations. If not anything, these folks care much for publicity
  • Wait for a day or two and then head to The Pirate Bay.

 

There you have it. The best possible strategies to watch Padmavaat on or around 25 January. I usually don’t say this, but if you are really planning to go, it won’t hurt to be a little alert at all times. For all you know, the sword may be sitting waiting for blood in the bag of the person you came in with.

And if you don’t already do it, don’t go in until after they have played the anthem.

What’s Wrong With The IMDb Page Of The Film, GUNDAY?

Not to fret over how bad or good the movie was, as I usually do when it comes to movies, this article is being written after I saw a snippet on my Facebook feed shared by The Low Budget Satya Show. It was a snapshot of the IMDb page of the latest Ranveer Singh starrer, Gunday.

I had watched the movie first day, second show and ended up rating it a 3/10 here. I can understand Himmatwala ranking at 31 of the IMDb Bottom 100 Chart, but Gunday is not worth this ignominy. Because if I were to be kidnapped and given 3 movie DVDs of Himmatwala, Once Upon Ay Time In Mumbai Dobara & Gunday to induce torture, I would select & watch Gunday again & again & again till my family accepts and then fails to bring the ransom because I come from a poor family. But that is another story.

Now, the Himmatwala score is legitimate; IMDb users are often true and rate films solely based on how they feel about it, the IMDb inside tactics notwithstanding. But, the score of Gunday has another story behind it. On the day of its release, it had a fair rating of 6.0 from an average 3000 registered users and about 20 user reviews, all genuine. The next week, the score dropped to 4.8, then to 3.0 and eventually 1.2 as of Sunday, February 23, 2014, a week after its release on Valentine’s Day. Around 34000 users have rated it, more than what Swades: We, The People (with a rating of 8.5) has. There are more than 800 user reviews now and 98% of them say one and the same thing, that the plot manipulates Bangladesh’s Liberation War history.

Now I am not much of a history guy, but as far as the movie is concerned, only the opening few minutes talk something about it as the two leads are introduced as two Bangladeshi immigrants. [And I have been told, the movie DOES manipulate the history. So, I understand their plight.]

But, the IMDb reviews and message boards are filled with messages of protest, asking for apologies from the makers for maligning the history of Bangladesh‘s Independence. Here as well, 98% users are from Bangladesh (Dhaka, chiefly), so suggests their profiles. One stands to wonder, at this point, that how come so many Bangladeshis own an IMDb profile, taking into account the fact that there are not many Bangladesh-origin films listed there. I am not saying they cannot come over and rate foreign films along with their own ones, but that just doesn’t look credible. I myself am not into much of my own language flicks, but had joined IMDb last year to keep a record of everything I watch. If I were to joke about it, which I am not, I could say that there are more Bangladeshis in IMDb than in the country itself. But then I would have to look oblivious because the country is the 8th most populated country in the world.

One review, with 2029 out of 2063 people finding it useful, reads,
“I just began to watch the movie (though I do not watch Hindi movies a lot) but in the beginning, the timeline of 1971 war between Bangladesh and Pakistan (Which was later changed as Indo-Pak war 1971) was full of lie and manipulation. Bangladesh was never born from the war between India and Pakistan, 1971. It was a long history and clash between Bangladesh and Pakistan since 1952 Language revolution. Later India joined the war (3 December, 1971) and helped the Freedom Fighters’ of Bangladesh. As a Bangladeshi, I am not denying the fact that India helped us a lot that time, but its my right to protest against the proper manipulation of a country’s birth history! It was our great leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who declared the independence of Bangladesh in 26 March, 1971 and after that the war began between East and West Pakistan. East Pakistan later became Bangladesh, a sovereign state. Along with 90000 soldiers Pakistan army surrendered to the commander in chief of India and Bangladesh joint forces. The instrument letter of surrender clears the fact. Anyone can search in internet and even in wikipedia for the truth : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangladesh_Liberation_War”

It is interesting to know that that this single review has been copied around 400 times and published by other users, ridiculing the film, giving it a single star and hence forming a factor, for the drop of overall score to 1.2. Now, as an Indian Y-gen adolescent, I truly am not aware of what happened, neither have I read about it. And if the reviews were not enough, the message boards of the film has at least 10 messages, asking for apologies from YRF studios for not sticking to reality and showing the Bangladesh freedom fighters in low or no light.

It is ironic how IMDb editors do not even have a gander at the reviews thrown at them, let alone edit them. It is evident how even a 2-year old kid can cook up a review and they will publish it in few hours. I was under the impression, previously, that a new user needs to rate and/or review few films before he is considered a true user and only then his rating is considered. But, looking at the fact that the users who have helped in the decline of Gunday’s score are only one or two day old account holders, I am sure there is no guideline or stopping from a film getting poor reviews and since we have reached a point where IMDb ratings play a sizable part in the success or crowd-pulling factor of a film, the one and only victim is the film itself. And if the film is genuinely a true celluloid, there is no measure of the woes and that will per se, appall me, as a movie aficionado.

Why this personae non gratae have taken up a topic so trivial yet bold to prove a point is beyond the theorizing part of my brain. Its not about making the point I am concerned in, but on how  they are making their point. Mainly because there was nothing much reasonable to hurt anyone’s sentiments. (The pre-title prologue of the flick runs for less than 5 minutes; if the whole film continuously showed disrespect, if they at all did, that is, I would have struck, as well) And if I were from Bangladesh, maybe even I would have joined them because when it comes to the love for one’s country, nothing can be ignored. Maybe I would have chosen another way to prove a point. Their step will attract more people and fanatics to have a look into the film thereby upping the revenue collected by the producers, if they don’t know how to torrent, that is. It could be a publicity stunt by the producers, but the use of heavy expletives in these messages prove that wrong. How a Bollywood movie with no famous actors, but only newbies enacting came into so many Bangladeshis’ sight is also a factor to ponder upon. Yet, the one thing we can learn from this event is the power of unity of Bangladeshis or the group of so-called right-wing activists called Gonojagoron Moncho. I appreciate their like-mindedness but their modus operandi, I laugh at.

I am in no way supporting the makers, either. They didn’t do their homework and now their month-long efforts will forever be etched in history as the “film with the lowest score in IMDb.” I’ll drink to that!

My idea of a win-win situation would be that since it is impossible and non-economical to re-release the film reels all over the world/continents a disclaimer from the producers apologizing for referring wrongness in their film’s DVD/DTH/BluRay release would calm the situation; a media letter of apology citing this action of appending the disclaimer, to the citizens of Bangladesh would calm the moment for now. After all, it is peace that we all desire.