Yaadein

At the outset, I must warn you that I am biased. About two months ago, I bought a large number of Mukta Arts shares assuming that if Yaadein became a hit, market sentiment would drive up the price and get me decent returns. As a result, I was desperate to see the film on the first day of its release – but try as I may I could not get tickets; not even scalper’s tickets (or black tickets as we call them).
I finally managed to see the film the week after, two days ago; again I could not get tickets the regular way, but eventually managed to get extras at Cine Planet, the new swanky theatre complex at Sion. Despite the film having received bad reviews, people are still queuing up to see the film, possibly I suspect, to see how bad the film really is.
What was Subhash Ghai even thinking of! Pardes and Taal were tolerable, the former because of Shahrukh and the latter because of the music and Anil Kapoor. Both also had crisp editing and lush looks. But Hrithik is no Shahrukh; at least currently, he does not have the ability to rise above the role. Kareena is still very raw. Jackie Shroff, who surprisingly is the pivot around which the movie revolves, just can’t act. The editing is clumsy, the rest of the supporting acts are average to worse, the cinematography is at places terrible, the dialogues make no sense, the story is patchy, the music is no great shakes…I could just go on.
And what is the story? Jackie Shroff is a middle-class restauranteur (with a swimming pool) living in England, a father of three daughters, who loses his wife (Rati Agnihotri, probably the only saving grace of the movie) in a shoot-out. They then move to India, because the only thing he wants to do, is to get his daughters married, which he does pretty fast, especially as far as his first two daughters (forgettable faces) are concerned. Hrithik is a foster son of his, who eventually falls in love with Kareena. Due to a crazy set of circumstances, they can’t actually get together, but eventually in a silly, contrived ending, they do.
The audience reaction at Cine Planet was interesting. Everyone was just waiting for the next embarrassing moment, wondering how much worse the film would actually get. The cringing feeling was similar to the one I had while watching Toofan and Jadugar wondering whether Amitabh had lost his brains. And the use of brand placement for advertising is a joke. Coke as cokemohabbat.com and Pass-Pass (a mouth-freshener) are blatantly thrust upon the audience. I don’t think I’ll be having Pass-Pass for some time to come, considering that it will immediately remind me of Yaadein.
Subhash Ghai has gone or record saying that his target market is the foreign market where people pay 7-10$ for a ticket and he does not really care for the guy paying 10 rupees in a small town in Bihar. Which may make economic sense (though I doubt it)…but doesn’t the movie still have to be good? Or is it that the desi crowd abroad is so film-starved that it will lap up anything thrust upon it? I wonder…on Friday, the Mukta Arts stock actually went up by 10%, because of market news that the film is a hit abroad, in the UK and US. If the desis abroad think this film is worth seeing, they are welcome to it; and if that helps me make up my current 30% loss in the stock, all the better!

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