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.