Vetti post - 15

Following a stunt sequence gone wrong when shooting for a film, Babu suffered spinal injuries and became paralysed in the early 1990s. He subsequently stopped working as an actor.[3] In 1997, he worked as a dialogue writer for the unreleased film, Smile Please starring Prakash Raj, which would have marked the debut for filmmaker Radha Mohan.[4]

A Clear Canvas

Note: This post was written in bits between Nov 2016 - Oct 2017. Publishing in its half-assed draft state because I've lost any hope of finishing it properly.

Is it just a coincidence that a small place like Goa gets to be the setting for so many Hindi films off late? No, this is not a genre that could be likened to those 'Vegas films' (in some ways, it is). This is about the special individual or a set of special individuals for whom money is not an everyday concern. They're trying to deal with 'post-money' life and and it's only natural that they take the story to a post-money space [1].

The literality of the space might be 'natural' for the film maker for s/he, perhaps, imagines his characters existing in void interacting with one another and discovering whatever save a few instances where the canvas exhibits character. Otherwise, it's just there to aid an uninterrupted flow of the narrative while the audiences aren't 'distracted' by the milieu but remain primed for a semi hypnotic experience. The literalness -- of being in Goa, Spain (or Ooty as it used to be, for Tamil film makers of the 70s and 80s) -- is probably superfluous and is either overlooked or actually considered integral, but rarely critiqued. I say probably because the audience isn't just from the subcontinent.

Consciousness of the 'backdrop' for the Indian film consumer has to be paradoxical or at least wildly inconsistent. For the individual who grows here learns to either divorce the objects and stories that occupy his/her house, neighbourhood, daily commute, the work place etc., from those that from their respective countours or exists in a state of constant mental turbulence and indignation;  usually, though, swaying between the two ends of the spectrum. The situation is not peculiar to India by any means but the disparities and injustices are particularly stark here.

An interesting contrast could be made with advertisements for cars and automobiles in general. The global format, going by most ads, is to select roads and streets that carry no semblance of its normal existence -- devoid of other cars, pedestrians and denizens of the city -- and have the car ply through it. There's no secret as to what the viewer should focus on; even distractions that could be deemed subliminal are seldom identifiable.(Just that Honda or a Lexus sold in France has its ads shot somewhere in Europe -- with cars zooming through the streets of Paris at night or the mountains of Italy -- as are cars sold in India.)

If Aamir Khan is crying over his unrequited love while sitting inside an air-conditioned Mercedes Benz S-Class stopped at a busy junction in Bombay while a 5 year old is panhandling outside in hot sun, nobody would give a fuck about Aamir Khan and his rich-man tears, would they?

Plato said that a society cannot exist meaningfully if a significant part of the people are 'checked out', in relation to drug/alcohol use -- existing in world of chemically induced sense of pleasure, disconnected from the goings on of the immediate, 'real world'. The truthfulness of this assertion then has a strong bearing on a people who are largely checked out -- by way of otherworldly religious beliefs (Marx did call religion the opium of the masses), weariness of existence worsened by the mundane etc. So people are already checked out. They have a boket vision of the background already. They're immersed into the immediate signifiers while those in the contours decay into non-existence no matter how active and dynamic, anything but still. A literal emplacement of a hazy background -- like the blue water and the sandy beaches of Goa or the green mountains and yellow fields of Europe -- is an exercise in redundancy.

1. The term post-money need not necessarily be pejorative at all times. There are issues that affect the human condition that are beyond the everyday economics of existence. Nevertheless, most earnest renderings of a narrative cannot but have it running as an undercurrent somewhere (as in, you insert money and at least some problems are solved).

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