There are many pros and cons to social media. Pros being popularity, connections, external validation where people praise you and you feel like ‘Oh My God! Thank you for appreciating me’ now I have enough self worth to last me a day until I can post again 24 hours later!
That and of course, ecommerce, long distance communication, news, etc. We know the drill.
The cons, where to begin? Well, apart from senseless things that polarize the society into black and white and no Grey, and I don’t mean the 50 shades of Grey, grey, I actually mean the middle ground, well, there’s no room left for the middle ground.
Despite thousands of Buddha’s quotes shared online, now reduced to posters in an exotic looking spa, wherein Buddhism advocates a middle ground to thinking everything and not being extreme, ironically that’s where we’re headed to the extreme. Sometimes a good thing suffers when either extremes get viral.
Same is the case with the expletive laden rather funny actually hysterical review this perplexed old man gave for Baar Baar Dekho. Now, that’s not just his fault okay, the bad review. I am guilty when I say it did feel funny when I saw it, I mean the old man was out of his wits and so were a few other people.
I like films as you may have guessed by now but that is an understatement. In fact, it is safe to presume that I love films, cinema – all kinds of it, all languages in all it’s weird shapes, sizes, colours, perceptions etc. And, that’s why I feel it is a moral obligation to talk about something good that could have been better like this film ‘Baar Baar Dekho’.
The director, Nitya Mehra who marked her directorial debut in Baar Baar Dekho bore the brunt of it all. They don’t call you the captain of the ship for nothing honey!
It was much later that I came to know a female had directed the film. However, when I speak of feminism, it doesn’t matter whether a female directed it, as long as she earns pretty much what her male counterpart would and was not denied any rights that a man in her position would get, to her work. So the argument that how could you abuse a female filmmaker is void. A filmmaker is a filmmaker – male, female or transgender is a non-issue. You are judged by the quality of your work and not your gender. She got the same treatment a male would.
I was rather curious as to what brought such confusion in the people who had watched the film. Honestly, I was perplexed that they were perplexed. So, finally now that I had some time on my hands I managed to watch the film. I watched the entire film in one go, no breaks, no halts nothing. How I did – that’s another story I will never tell (my lips are sealed!).
Baar Baar Dekho, I felt must be loosely based on About Time and must be on time travel. I did not see the trailer (sorry). When I initially deliberated on what brought forth such strong reaction from some of the audience and even a couple of people I asked said, ‘Oh, it’s really confusing to watch!’ I realized maybe something is wrong with the transitions.
This led me to believe the transitions traveling back and forth in time would be a vortex or something confusing and rather frequent, hence the confused get-me- out- of -here -effect in the audiences.
Finally, the Sherlock Holmes in me (my alter ego) puts his hat on, brings forth the tobacco pipe and after much deliberation decides to watch the movie on one of his insomniac adventures.
After watching the film, this is what I realized. It was a non-linear screenplay. The film begins with a beautiful montage of childhood, how two different people are born and their lives linked and how they fall in love. This needs to be spoiler free so I will not go into the details of the rest.
The filmmaker went wrong in her treatment of a lot of factors. The scene where there’s a short circuit – that’s important but overly subtle. Secondly, the non linear screenplay. As it is, people, Indian audiences in particular are not used to non-linear screenplays. This is a developing country with the second largest population of the world. There are nearly 5% of the people that ever make it to Masters and that too in English.
Let’s assume of these 5%, 4% would be more interested in DC, Marvel, Batman, sometimes Nolan (again because he made Batman) and you’re loyal so you will like Interstellar because that sets you apart whether you understand it or not is a different story. Of these 1 percent people, 0.5% are put off by a negative review. The remaining o.45% are the ones giving the negative review while the remaining 0.03% like the movie. There are still people like me who do not wish to take chances with a bad film and don’t go to the theatres, that’s 0.02%, yep sums up just about right.
Did I just admit I am a pretentious elitist DC/Marvel fangirl who only pretends to like Nolan? Oops!
Anyway, getting back to the point the non-linear screenplay with too much subtlety didn’t work. The music was on point, the cinematography, the futuristic vision – everything was good. Katrina’s accent and Siddharth’s confusion – Siddharth looked more vulnerable and less confused – something you don’t expect from the lead. The conviction and the strength of the character was lacking.
Thirdly, the dialogues, some more hilarity, something to wake you up – the film was high in its lows and not sound enough in its highs. People expect to feel high (the positive one) in a Karan Johar production (even though in part, but still). That’s what pissed people off. You confuse me right to the end even though I know things will be alright but you don’t make me happy enough.
Anyway, I really liked the movie in bits especially, the scene where she has a show and is juggling with the kids, the first time morning scene, something about the sensibility of the whole scene made me feel only a woman could make this. There was something truly powerful about the moment. Another one was after his mother passes away and he stands on the balcony and his brother approaches him and they talk. There were bits and places where some subtle but powerful moments were there. The moment with the friendzoned girl for instance. Some of it was truly touching.
Now I am all for realism and all for subtlety – I couldn’t be happier with that. I also understand the filmmaker’s reasons for doing so – to make this unrealistic story something close to home – as if it’s something that’s happening to you.
There needed to be supporting cast that could carry the movie better in the terms of sense of humour – for instance, I remember how Mehmood in the good old days would somehow lighten up the situation and perhaps give people a breather. Replicating the exact form would be detrimental in a film like this but moulding it to suit the need of the hour might have aided this film.
Even precise editing cannot save a film with a weak screenplay. I guess it may have been the time constraint, you need to show so much, establish so much all in all in less than 3 hours which leads to several compromises. But, it breaks my heart to watch the effort of so many skilled people not live up to it’s potential.
A film is a very expensive product, even though there may be some creative compromises to cater to a wide population, a film should be a mass product, especially on a budget like this. It becomes even more difficult to make films that touch people when people who make the films may not have been out there with that 95% beyond the cities in those single screen theatres. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying turn Baar Baar Dekho into Singham, it’s not that kind of film, but to a certain extent sensibilities of those audiences need to be held into account.
An average Indian watches a movie to go to his ‘Happy Place’. He has enough realism and issues he needs to focus on, alter or deal with in his daily life. And, that’s actually okay, if Cinema could be the best Entertainment an average Indian has, even if Awareness and Education don’t form a part of it.I don’t mean spew trash on screen like Happy New Year but it’s difficult to achieve that fragile balance which let’s say Jab We Met does. There’s enough of issues staring at us through our smartphones, laptop screens and newspapers all day.
Simply put, Baar Baar Dekho could have been saved if it would have been a tad bit louder in its tone. It was too mellow like in his post Voldemort appearing Harry Potteresque dark era – the look and feel of Baar Baar Dekho world needed to be more vibrant.
To sum it up the supporting cast and Katrina (minus her accent) did a decent job. I adore Sarika. There’s some awesome work coming up by Nitya Mehra so I am willing to keep my eyes and ears open for the next project. And, no it does not have anything to do with Feminism, it’s because she is a decent filmmaker with a lot of potential.
I can still watch the film again. No, I wasn’t confused, thank you very much! I loved it but the point being it’s not a mass product at this ginormous budget.
I wanted to give 3/5 but I give it 2.5 out of 5. (2.0 is too less baba!)