Thursday, August 31, 2006

Well Begun, Half DON

The most exciting part when I watched Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna was the trailer of Don and Dhoom-2. The Dhoom franchise is a great example of savvy marketing, more speed, more cars, more babes and pure adrenalin with a great cast starting with Abhishek at its helm. It is also one instance of maturity shown by the czars of candy floss.
Coming back to Don. I completely share Farhan's enthusiasm for the original Don. For a movie of its time, it had amazing pace and style except for the scene where Pran does the toughest trapeze act in history. It is also arguably Amitabh's best performance as a star where he digs his teeth into an extremely well-written role both as the bhaiyya and the suave don. Some dialogues like ' Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahi, namumkin hai'... his paan-filled talk with Iftekhar pronouncing Don as Daaaan were memorable. And Kalyanji Anandji dished out superhit songs and Kishore raised Khaike Banaras to great heights. Even the background score by Babla was pulsating right from the first scene at the hotel.
Welcome to the new Don: King Khan. Well for the superstar this is going to be his true test. He managed to do superbly in Main Hoo Naa. Can he pull this off without hamming too much and given a spectacular style as the suave Don. Well he is looking a bit old especially near his temples but the visuals are stunning, especially the scenes shot at the Kaula Lumpur airport. SRK's last attempt playing a true don was in Duplicate where he was pretty bad. For the original Don's sake I hope Farhan pulls this off.
The music is spot on. The remix 'Don revisited' is excellent. If this is theme song and the background score then you already have a winner. Lyrics of 2 original songs Khaike paan banaras and Ye mera dil have been kept the same with some musical enhancements whereas Main Hoon Don comes with new lyrics. Although Main Hoon Don Remix is better on the listening quotient with its distinctive sound which epitomizes the adrenalin in the movie. Somehow the Khaike paan banaras lacks the energy of the original or maybe the makers wanted to improvise without hampering the original flow and just could not. But if the song is picturised well you could have a winner. But the real treat is Sunidhi Chauhan's rendition of Ye Mera Dil and I am just imagining this as the first song of the movie picturized on Kareena Kapoor and I can already a sense of madness in the front bench. This is going to be scorching. Farhan will have his audience captivated in the first 15 minutes but the trick would be retaining that tempo.
The track also comes with Morya a Ganpati song, which is a smart move rather than great music. Its been years since we had a street style raw Ganpati song and this song will deliver with Shahrukh in a white shirt and orange pheta. There is another song Aaj ki raat which has a clear ' Raat baaki, baat baaki' hangover. But since it has to be the climax song , something better was expected.
Overall Don's music is a good mix of nostalgia and club/groove feel. Well begun half DON.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The new corporate smokescreen.

The fight against smoking is reaching its final frontier. According to the latest European Commission ruling, employers in Europe are within their rights to refuse jobs to smokers. So just like dogs and coolies got classified in the same category, the same now applies to smokers and non-productive workers. In fact the advertiser who ran the ad in Ireland that proclaimed smokers need not apply said “If these people can ignore so many warnings and evidence, they do not have the intelligence that I am looking for. Smoking is idiotic”.

How things can change in the span of 50-60 years. Earlier, rings of smoke accompanied with thoughtful expressions were the harbinger of creativity. The ultimate American export of consumerism, Marlboro man gave smoking a sense of ruggedness and machismo just like the riveted jeans he wore. Hollywood movies reinforced its cool image, and localized versions like Rajnikant’s ishtyle gave it further popularity. Commercially, it was a cash cow. High margins, cash to be ploughed for new investments and of course political greasing.

Before the Erin Brokovichs, came the gradual clamping of the weed. Crowded commutation options like airplanes came first. Then came public places. Then came central air-conditioning which meant workers had to go out for a fag. Although when they return, no amount of Clorets can get the Marlboro stink away. Soon the smoker carried the brunt of wasting office time on a pursuit that was anyways non-productive in the long run. But coffee break gossip and status update meetings were allowed.

Thus the smokers’ status as the pariah at the beginning of this century is confirmed. I am predicting that this century’s target will be fat people. Just like high taxes on cigarettes, fat people face new forms of economic disincentivization. Outsized people end up paying more for clothing since a discount retailer like Walmart doesn’t stock their size since they do not make economies of scale. Waist size 38 never has the same variety as 30-34. Moreover fat people stand a higher risk of spending their well earned fortunes on medical care due to the higher propensity for diabetes and heart disease.

But worse are the social pressures. You can never be fashionable like the devil(usually a marketing executive) who wears Prada .You will be given discourteous glances at the escalators and airport check in counters. As you sulk into the chair with your paunch of prosperity, slimmer people will assume that you don’t contribute as much as them to the company. You cannot participate in the diet discussions during lunch hour which would make the Atkins diet come under Maslow’s higher order needs and not the lowest. Sooner or later the companies will start thinking that fat people are naturally unproductive like smokers. They just take more time for everything from walking to digesting food and hence waste mission critical office time. So why not avoid them also. The only way fat people can avoid this is by calling fatness a disability so that they cannot be discriminated against. But that seems a far fetched idea when you compare with the CEO’s new vision of a lean and mean corporation. Reduce or retire !!