Friday, June 16, 2006

Review Central - Boys (uncut, uncensored remarks!)

’’When the truth was depicted without pretense, some scenes were not acceptable to some and are hence removed’’

This is the gist of what director Shankar wrote alongside a big ad claiming MUST-WATCH-FOR-THE-WHOLE-FAMILY for his latest venture.

Mr. Shankar’s statement is an insult to the collective intelligence of his audience. However hard it may be for a person of such bloated ego as Mr.Shankar’s to swallow, we do not shy away from ’truthful’ scenes; We shun from offensive scenes.

Offensive adj utterly unpleasant or distasteful to the sense or sensibilities.

And now, what I found offensive in the film AND how inspite of my disbelief that there could exist something even MORE offensive than this shabby, crude, illogical farcical attempt at something masquerading as a film, the director’s ’statement’ has managed to make even the most mild mannered film-goer see red.

Ladies and Gentlemen, without further delay... I give you... BOYS, the review!

What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said? That is is vile? No, I believe that word has been used to describe the film already a 100 times. Disgusting? No no, that single word has summed up this mockery of the cinematic experience about a 1000 times already. Putrid? Insensitive? Servile? Sordid? Squalid? Despicable? Rancid? No no, they have all been used (with good reason) by reviewers before me...

Ok, how about this? This movie is an absolute FARCE.

Farce noun An insincere, contemptible, or impertiment imitation of something worthwhile.

Why the strong sentiments you ask? Where shall I start..... At the beginning would be a good place!

Our opening scene shows 5 boys and their ’normal’ outlook and approach to life and love. One boy’s sole aim in life is to catch glimpses, whenever he can, of women’s breasts... mothers, sisters.. in fact, middle-aged women seem to form the crux of his repertoire. How touching, How wholesome, How heart-rending his attitude is. Another prowls the streets of Madras with his fly open. When a girl laughs at him, he hounds her with questions as to the cause of her mirth and in reply to her subtle ’’YOUR FLY IS OPEN!!’’ he laughs and then replies that he intentionally did that because otherwise such a pretty girl wouldn’t have noticed him. *sigh* Absolute poetry. Warms the cockles of my heart. How true and unpretentious Mr.Shakar has been in the depiction of these 5 normal boys with their normal behaviour. Thank you ever so much Mr.Shankar for reconnecting me with my childhood memories, when I was truthful and unpretentious and prowled the streets of Madras like a sex-crazed fiend.

But wait, we must not begin to wallow in nostalgia just yet! There are miles and miles of film-reel to review before I sleep.

After such an excellent introduction to our friends the audience must now accompany them on their journey (As if we care, I would have applauded had they jumped off a cliff and died then and there) As is essential in any boy’s transition from boyhood to manhood, on hearing that the parents of our protagonist, Munna, will leave town, his upright and respectable friends come over to his house under the pretense of studying and decide to call a prostitute.

Now, I will be fair. Such a situation is not new to a regular movie-goer, however far (or near as Mr.Shankar claims) it may be from what is universally accepted as a truthful and unpretentious depiction of a normal boy’s life. I have watched far worse in Austin Powers. A claim made by some people that we are hypocrites for shunning Boys while we do not blink an eyelid while watching English films, fails to take into consideration one vital point.

In most English films (for there are quite a few English films that try and fail miserably to make light of sexual situations) Sex is depicted either in a humourous or a sensuous vein. In the former case, the actual scene would be largely elevated to its hilarious heights by some excellent acting. Case in point: American Pie scene where the boy’s father tries to discuss sex with his son. Or, if the acting is not the highlight of the scene, no doubt, a humourous mood is induced with the right music/setting/props in the background.

Sadly, in Boys, both these features are missing. The prostitute scene thus falls flat. There are genuinely funny moments when a certain member of the troupe lacking the grit to actually perform the act but still aware of the fact that his friends are listening with their ears pressed to the door, violently shakes the bed to lead them to believe he is ’’now a man’’. Unfortunately, the prostitute was too slutty and the music too sombre to really uplift the scene to the side-splittingly-funny entertainment that could have been achieved. Laughing in my seat? More like casting furtive uncomfortable glances at the row after row of grandparents and children of my extended family who had to endure 3 hours of this torture.

And so the movie ran on... and on... and on... Vivek, for all his idiocy, has carved a place for himself as a comedian and makes his appearance in this film too. However, one usually welcomes his appearance and anticipates his mindless albeit humorous jokes with glee. But in Boys his jokes are virtually non-existent and instead we are subjected to speech after boring speech on the cause for the decay of our society, cries of our fast-growing youth and their search for answers and the head-in-sand attitude of the elder generation toward their children’s questions and thoughts of sex, love and desire.

No doubt, there was a point in all this ambling rigmarole - the truthful and unpretentious fact (No sarcasm intended!) that at such an age feelings of love and lust are only natural. However what could have been an enlightening and paradigm step in the right direction as regards Indian attitudes or even Indian cinema was bogged down by scripts of self-righteous, patronizing monologues. Had it been executed better, it would no doubt have opened the eyes of the parents in the film as well as the audience and instead of the director having to vehemently (and vainly) declaring his film as truthful and unpretentious, it would have been realized by the viewer himself. But alas, in true filmi style, the director tries to manipulate the audience’s feelings with long condescending speeches, which needless to say, make no impression on the stick-in-the-mud parents.

And so it ran on... and on... and on... the story is illogical and unimportant. The execution of this dastardly script even more so. In a nutshell, Munna, our hero falls in love, marries the heroine, tries to prove to his parents that it is possible to be victorious in love AND life! (Gee, what an original idea. No doubt, the very foundations of our film industry will shake with the weight of this truly original and never before explored idea!) They come across many hardships before finally making it big as musicians. Of course, this being a Tamil film (truthful and unpretentious, I must add!) I will not raise my eyebrow at the ridiculously simple manner in which they with no prior music experience or background land huge contracts with Sony and go on to sweep the MTV music awards. At the climax, our hero and heroine part ways based on a misunderstanding but as expected, get back together and all’s well that ends well.

At the roll of the credits I could find only one word to best describe this movie. It was in fact the one word I heard my younger cousins constantly exclaiming loudly all through the movie..... CHEEEEEEEEEE!

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