I tried to download the movie a day after its release and much to my annoyance it turned to be a fake torrent. Well, there was another movie in its place -- Super Star. I did, however, get the actual movie yesterday. After watching it, I so wished that the second download was a fake too.
The fact that this movie has been lauded as one of the greatest in recent times just shows the perversion in the mainstream consumption of mainstream art forms, especially movies. It happened among Tamil cinema viewers in the last decade. When the dearth of 'good' movies and pseudo-critiques in TV created an illusion of differentiating the 'good' from the 'bad'. Of course, the need to put down the Other -- non-Tamil movies, especially Hindi -- effectively blurred the viewers possible 'objective' assessment of a movie further. Veyyil and Paruthi Veeran are lauded ubiquitously, almost (Paruthi Veeran is also "going places").
I wonder if the same phenomenon has caught up with the Hindi movie viewers as well. The need to "have something on par with Hollywood". I'm not as surprised by a few "critics" on TV because they are known to be cronies of one faction or the other. After all, they need someone for their 'Grope a star' kind of shows. But the mainstream viewer's enthusiasm to suck up, in this context, is slightly disturbing. They are either gleefully buying into the false binaries created by the TV hosts (Hrithik can act, Sunil Shetty cannot. Aishwarya Rai looks like a feathered turkey, but she looks stunning etc.) or they are caught in some kind of self imposed binary. To choose between national pride, supposedly represented by this "great Indian movie", and being an American boot-licker.
The reason one likes this movie cannot probably oversimplified like above, but who cares? When one likes an oversimplication like Jodhaa Akbar, he/she better be prepared undergo the same treatment.
1. To quote from one of my previous posts: the perversion is not in the consumption per se, but how it's perceived. Ex: when a health expert appears on TV and starts explaining the benefits of consuming 500ml Pepsi everyday.
2. Read this interesting column by Sudhir Mishra