How the Bullet Raja Team Ruined a Perfect Chicago Evening

I like to see films when I travel and have fond mem­o­ries of dif­fer­ent the­atre and film expe­ri­ences. For exam­ple, in Berlin, before one of the Mis­sion Impos­si­ble films, the ads lasted for around 45 min­utes, watched patiently by a full house, fol­lowed by an inter­val and then the main film. Over the years though, as mul­ti­plexes have replaced single-screen films, the expe­ri­ence has become more homog­e­nized, but small inter­est­ing dif­fer­ences still exist.

Once in a while, we go for Hindi films as well, depend­ing on the com­pany, the film, the sit­u­a­tion and the evening.

I remem­ber watch­ing 1942, A Love Story in Rochester, Min­nesota in the sum­mer of 1994. It was a one-show screen­ing on a Sun­day after­noon and some enter­pris­ing indi­vid­ual also man­aged to get samosas and sev-puri served in the foyer of a 3-screen the­atre. Later that year, we watched Hum Aapke Hain Kaun in a the­atre in Edge­ware, a sub­urb of Lon­don, with sari-clad women shed­ding buck­ets of tears as the tragedy unfolded.

My last Hindi film out­side India was Om Shanti Om that we watched in St. Lucia, in 2007. Apart from the four of us, there were three other native St. Lucians who loved the over-the-top scenes and we all had a good time.

Ear­lier this week on Mon­day night, we went out for din­ner to Big Bowl, a Thai place in Chicago. The weather had been very kind and we walked the block to our hotel. Some­one sud­denly had the bright idea of going for Bul­let Raja, play­ing in an AMC just three blocks from our hotel and despite some reser­va­tions and the late hour, six of us trooped over to the hall that had another six peo­ple in the audience.

The Mahie Gill song is prob­a­bly the only part of the movie worth watch­ing. As the film unfolded, I couldn’t help but keep think­ing of the hor­ri­ble 70s decade, when Dhar­men­dra and his col­leagues did those rub­bish “Khoon pee jaonga” and “Kutte kamine” films with­out any sense of con­ti­nu­ity or story, bounc­ing from one scene to another with a loose sto­ry­line that was per­haps writ­ten up within the first half hour of a drunken stu­por and sold to some­one equally smashed, but with enough money to fund the project.

Seri­ously! What was Tig­man­shu Dhu­lia think­ing? Bul­let Raja could per­haps have become more Pulp Fic­tion­ish, or more Dostanaish, but in the end is a mind-numbing hash and mish­mash of such insane pueril­ity that about an hour into the film, when they got Son­akshi Sinha to do some dance num­ber just because the action had shifted to Mum­bai, we walked out. I don’t remem­ber the last time I did some­thing like this, but Bul­let Raja was impos­si­ble to sit through.

It is as if in the lat­ter half of 2013, a year that per­haps has had some of the best inter­na­tional cin­ema in a long time, our movie indus­try has gone berserk with trash like Besharam (WTF were the Kapoors think­ing?), Grand Masti (seri­ously?), Bul­let Raja and I believe R Rajku­mar (going from the reviews that have been posted online).

The only rea­son we didn’t watch Catch­ing Fire was because my daugh­ter would have killed us if we had done so with­out her. Maybe we should have just seen it, kept quiet and then watched it again in Mumbai…and saved our­selves the tor­ture of hav­ing to watch an embar­rass­ing, middle-aged, 40 years plus, hag­gard Ban­dra yup­pie show­ing off his hairy, cringey chest in an attempt to win some UP themed fancy-dress competition.

4 Comments

  • H.L. Chulani wrote:

    The title should have kept any­body away from wast­ing time. But then there is plenty of time when abroad!

  • Satish Rao wrote:

    Indi­ans pro­duce the film what the peo­ple in India want to see and enjoy. Many of us may not like most of these films but the filmwal­la­has are not there to please us and go bust. But what upsets me most is that gen­er­a­tion after gen­er­a­tion of our peo­ple in the small towns and vil­lages come to imag­ine life as shown in the films which has no rela­tion to real­ity nor there any edu­ca­tional value.

  • Pushpendra Shah wrote:

    Related to this post, has there ever been any research done in India — as to the co rela­tion between the rapes hap­pen­ing and the scourge of movies with semi clad nubiles pranc­ing in the rain…?

  • Prakash Nanavati wrote:

    Agree with Mr.Chulani. All 3 titles men­tioned by you were dead give­away to avoid.

    While on subject,must men­tion dis­ap­point­ment with SLB on Ram-Leela. In which town in Gujarat (per­haps in entire coun­try) one finds guns being flouted as if they are mobile phones? Also beer being con­sumed openly in streets in Gujarat? C’mon SLB!!

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