Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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© Copyright 2004

 

INDIAN CINEMA

Cinema In General

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Pans & Tilts…Dasavatharam, Sarkar Raj, NFDC…

Kamal Hassan’s “Dasavatharam” will now open on June 6. The Madras High Court has cleared it without hassles. The title will remain, and so too the scenes that appeared to have offended some. A Division Bench, comprising Justice K Venkatraman and M Satyanarayana, dismissed the case saying the name "Dasavatharam was an ancient, historical and religious one and nobody could object its usage since there was no intellectual property rights attached to it.”
Describing the scenes in which Kamal allegedly steps on the 'OM' mantra and tramples on the Bhagawad Gita as "imaginary assumption of the petitioner," the Bench said the sequences were only fiction born out of imagination.
I never seem to understand the kind of fuss made in India over inane issues on the screen. Some nobody would file a petition objecting to lesbianism or the length of an actress’s skirt or a kiss, and the courts would diligently examine them, most often to dismiss the appeals. In the first place, the judiciary should not even take up petitions like these which I feel are nothing but a move to harass producers and directors. After all, what can be wrong with alternate sexuality or a harmless kiss?
And, the average Indian viewer is intelligent, and can distinguish the acceptable from the unacceptable. If there were something grossly terrible in a movie, he would reject it. So, why cannot we leave this to him, instead of wasting the time and energy of our courts, pressed as they are with other important matters? At least in some instances, rule by the judiciary does not appear quite right. Certainly cinema is an artistic medium, and without some freedom, films can get boring. What do you say?

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Ram Gopal Varma’s “Sarkar Raj” will also open on June 6, and is the tale of a ruthless businesswoman (played by Aishwarya Rai) and a people friendly soul (Abhishek Bachchan). Rai wants to make money for her firm, and Bachchan dreams of the masses making the moolah. Between these two poles, stands the patriarch, Amitabh Bachchan. Varma has had some flops recently, “Sholay” being a case in point. I wonder how “Sarkar Raj” would turn out, but, frankly, I am getting a little bored by seeing the Bachchan family all over. It is question of getting trifle nauseas by too much of the same thing.

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Tailpiece: The National Film Development Corporation took three new films to Cannes: “Lucky Red Seeds”, “Via Darjeeling” and “Bioscope”. Did it manage to find a buyer? Will it at all tell us?

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(Webposted May 30 2008)