Summary: The mass manipulation of media by moneyed mainstream has tarnished the quality of Indian cinema, giving birth to products such as Khiladi 786
Plot: Akshay Kumar plays himself but since he is an ‘actor‘ and the ‘film’ requires it’s cast to have unique character names, he is therefore called Bahattar Singh; the guy is a con policeman whose entire family of equally tough men believe in making money catching criminals and sometimes framing innocents wrongfully, but the same guy is also rejected by every girl in the town. The leading lady Asin asininely plays a crime lord’s daughter whose lover remains behind bars and so she takes all her prospective bridegrooms on a deadly car drive so that they can reject her. The marriage-maker is played here by Himesh Reshammiya, whose character’s idiosyncrasies put him in great trouble. Supporting cast made up by people usually associated with Akshay Kumar films.
After being repeatedly and uninhibitedly subjected to erratic zip-zap-zoom cinematography with not really visible attempts at fine-tuning, shoddy, so-obvious-it’s- made-out-of-cheaper-quality-material set properties and horrifyingly loud and sometimes out-of-sync sound that has the ability to molest one’s ear, an Indian like me has begun to believe that the availability of good technology, the assumption that the Indian audience always keeps their cerebrum aside while entering the theater and the mass manipulation of the media by the moneyed mainstream has corrupted many of today’s Indian directors, actors and production crew, who seemed to have forgone the basic elements of creating a good cinema and completely left out the advantages of a well-penned script, thereby tarnishing quality completely in favor of show-me-the-money!
Ah I feel so good now after getting this off my chest! This the the pent up feeling (or rant) that bubbled within me with each new frame in Khiladi 786, whose director is incompetent, whose producer (the lead actor’s wife herself) is a cash cow, whose cinematographer is reckless, whose sound recordist is insane and whose actors are extremely aware of their limitations yet incredibly proud that they still are minting money while hundred of capable actors aren’t getting their dues. Salman Khan dropped the bar to depths rivaling Othello’s hapless state after realizing the deceit played on him by the manipulative Iago, but Akshay out-lowers him with smelly poo excreted into an expensive diaper. Only time shall tell whether it is Salman who goes even lower in Dabang 2 or it is some third person who walks away with the usually-dreaded-but-now-coveted-because- money-is-at-least-recovered Hall of Shame.
Since the movie took it’s audience for granted, I did the same for the movie: I left (read ‘fled’) during the interval. It should not be the way a movie should be critiqued but there are certainly exceptions such as this wacky piece. I’m not sure whether the director tried doing a Tarantino (i.e. using prominent qualities from low budget action film in developing a highly stylized, high quality movie, such as Kill Bill inspired by small budget Japanese martial arts films), but in case he did, then he has failed miserably. Just getting a better camera and better recording devices aren’t the keys of making a better film; would Kill Bill have received such a glorious response had it just got a very expensive camera with sharper clarity and high-tech sound devices without creating the epic saga, using proper narrative devices or choreographing it’s complex martial arts moves with beauty and precision? The people associated with Khiladi 786 are all spoilt brats who shamelessly exploit wrongly the resources they are able to obtain just because they have so much money.
The most disturbing part of films such as Khiladi 786 is the open misogynist values it promotes. Asin’s character is a rough rider who can only be controlled by a man, and so there’s a humiliating sequence where Akshay’s character Sattar dumps her on the shotgun seat, takes charge of the driver seat and drives at a monstrous speed to make her submit to his manhood completely. In between the sequence, the action is cut to a fantasy sequence where Sattar driving a swanky car and Asin sits beside him and acts like one of those bimbos in music videos. I’ve seen this with Salman Khan films too – nearly all his leading ladies literally act like they are completely powerless under Salman’s mighty control.
Seems like my rant has still not finished, but what else can said about this work? Akshay Kumar has admitted he isn’t very talented as an actor but he proves now that he has stopped being an entertainer too. Asin has been having a Ghajini hangover for over two years and it’s time she really tries her hand at some other profession. Reshammiya should suck his hubris about being multi-talented and stick to what he does best… Judge music shows that I don’t watch so I do not get to see his face. The rest of the cast knows they risk losing their money-making jobs if either Akshay or Salman quits, so they remain loyal to their films, no matter how hopelessly their little talent is exploited.