Monday, October 26, 2009

Wake Up Sid put Me to Sleep!

After some deliberation, I decided to watch Wake up Sid the past weekend. What follows is basically my reasons to why I fell asleep watching the movie and considered my Saturday afternoon a criminal waste!

Firstly, the plot, or well…what to say, the incident/the happening…coz, I couldn’t see any plot, whatsoever it may be!

Ok, it’s the story of this stinkingly rich and spoilt brat, Sid, who flunks his graduation, but still manages to continue his exceptionally rich lifestyle, and in the end even manages to ‘win’ an independent, self-made woman’s heart! That’s all it is to the movie! He having his heart broken because of flunking his exams, walking out of his home and straight into another, and then finding a job are all merely fillers!

This movie is solely for those people who go/went to college driving their own cars, start/ed boozing in swanky pubs even before the legally permissible age, wear/wore branded clothes, and shop/shopped by using credit cards that don’t have any spending limit! Even today, I am unable to afford this lifestyle despite being a corporate employee, and it’s several years since I passed out of college! I am now genuinely interested to know how many young people in India go to the college like this! Just a word for Karan Johar: the majority of college going students use government concessions and take the public transport, wear ordinary clothes (and they don’t own anything more that 5 to 10 pairs of clothes, and mind you they are hardly branded!), and don’t simply walk out of their homes!

Then, the woman, who travels all the way from Calcutta to make her own destiny, who does nothing big than find a flat, get a job, and fall in love with a rich guy! And that’s her definition of liberation/independence and perhaps Karan Johar’s ode to feminism (sic!)

What is it in this movie that makes the young people of this country go gaga over it? There are orkut scraps that say this movie is best, best and bestest! sigh, sigh, sigh! Does everyone want to ape the lifestyle of the protogonist of this movie? How vacuous and silly is this generation then? What can one expect from this crowd then? It's a quite a sinister trend for the young people to like movies as this and even A Wednesday!

I dunno from which angle I should trash this movie…the flat plot, lack of characterization, silly pace, or the utter ignorance of the reality of this country? The movie failed, failed, and failed to entertain, make one think, or even live up to the money we paid for the tickets!

Ps: Sorry folks, it’s not a review review, just an outpouring of my messed mind, thanks to the 2.5 hours spent inside a movie hall watching (actually sleeping) Wake up Sid!


Anonymous said...

Maybe in trying to wake up Sid, the director inadvertently made you fall asleep! :D


Anonymous said...

LOL...if Karan Johar reads this, he will make another movie on the (real) plot you just shared on your blog and title it as "Wake up people" :D

Jai said...

Wake up Sid (Babyfood is ready!) ... my responses were similar to the movie. I was flumoxed by the lack of seriousness, the decided avoidance of nuances and hardfacts of daily life in today's youth, the deliberate soppyification of story, the fluffyness.

Some queries/tangential thoughts that I had are these:
> how come the boy doesn't share in any of the vices rampant in spoilt brats of his kind: sexism, criminal boisterousness, alcoholism, call-girls, drugs.. . He seems to be a pure guy seeped in money? Did he drop from heaven the day he failed? how come he doesn't have any plans for his life: capitation-paid foreign degrees, expensive is it that we see this surprise bend in life: what was there before and after?
How come they just dont seem to face any trouble in anything? They just try and succeed. look for a house, get one; live in (?), fine; find a job, okay; not know what to do, get an internship; talent, photography is at hand; friends, here they are; love, just live together (!)-parents, they are fixed/non-existent(?)--nothing seems to show a struggle, a failure, distress, frustration...nothing. Things are smooth, for the taking, you just need to try.

The delivery is fine. Performances, whatever there needed to be, are fine. All actors work in their habitats. They do not need to empathize with any character. Just be themselves. The same middle-class story, life style, language.

The problems is not per se with the story, or the plot. The problem is the simplistic obscurity and redundancy of the subject. The thinness of it. You see the big brouhaha and say... this is it? Big deal.

Ta'fxkz said...

not see, but good read- will not be seeing it

Karan said...

It is coming from an industry where all heroines can sing, dance, and at times do karate. All heroes are machos, sing, dance, and do fabulous stunts.

It is not a documentary, but a light-hearted movie. The characters are fictitious. I am sure anyone who pays for tickets to go and watch this movie would understand that it is not a documentary. It cannot be one with Ranbir Kapoor in it! It cannot be best, bester, bestest for the masses!

The protagonist could have easily shared those vices rampant in spoilt brats of his kind. But, he was different and therefore the film.

What is nice about this movie is how an exceptionally rich brat, who cared only about partying, starts realizing. How he starts loving his work, how he falls in true love?

This is a brilliant movie because of its meaning and presentation.

Happy heart said...

Hi Karan

Just to answer a few of the issues you raised: Just because "It is coming from an industry where all heroines can sing, dance, and at times do karate. All heroes are machos, sing, dance, and do fabulous stunts" does it deserve applause by default? In fact, the point is, even if the movie had all the regular 'masala' it would have still been enjoyable as a no-brainer. Only that this was a cross between a no-brainer and bullshit!

Next, "It is not a documentary, but a light-hearted movie." This is not just you, but an overarching idea that people carry that, any movie that tries to pack in some reality or even remotely gets close people's real lives, it must be a documentary! Whatever happened good old movie sense? Seriously are all the movies that can be termed as good cinema, documentaries?? Somebody try define good cinema here for some of my readers!

Karan said...

@Happy Heart answer a few of the issues you raised: Just because "It is coming from ......." does it deserve applause by default?

Certainly not. But, I am sure people will appreciate the positive change shown at last. He becomes mature, he understands the value of money, and he understands love.
Probably, this can be an example for those who will always remain stinkingly rich and spoilt brat.

...This is not just you, but an overarching idea that .... or even remotely gets close ..... it must be a documentary!

Not really. Documentaries are different genres altogether. But whatever you wrote are plain facts and they are close to reality. This film shows a possibility. It is about one nice character, who probably can give some meaning to the otherwise popular phrase 'spoilt brat'.

The film is about positive change.

Anonymous said...

Jai: why do you expect intelligence and plot from a film that makes no pretensions of belonging to a certain genre?


Jai said...

Mo: Interesting. An old saint, now mostly emblematic, said once, that the greatest spiritual growth cannot be attained by a human being in isolation, but with his people, and only with others.

There is a charm in isolation, atomized living, a sense of subjective, individualistic liberation. But, then, can a bubble break away from the water that it is made of. Can a human being, in a true sense, remove the 'social' from his/her vocabulary of life. No? How do you judge a film? For its artistic worth--whether it does what it says it is doing, and how beautifully it does that. For its worth as a human activity worth doing at all, in my opinion, the art form will have to stand in the noisy court of human lives, human society. If the problems, and concerns, and issues for today's society, and by default, important for the youth in India, is how to get a decent life in first place, uhow to cope with chopping-board of a society that India is today, when more than 50 per cent of the nation is burning, and the rest is ready to burn, when fanatics are closing in from all sides, when young love is met with public lynching, what, WHAT logic may be applied to the obscenely, dangerously selective storytelling that popular, soppy cinema in India is doing today.

When there is a fire threatening my home, would I want to listen to lullabys? Or what should be said to the one who insists on selling chirpy birds when the klank of swords is what one hears all around.

You decide.

Fantasy has its uses, people go to cinemas for relief. But to restric an art form to placebos, is ruining not only the people, but also the art form itself, which, by its very nature, needs to 'engage' with human reality, in creative ways. Wake up Sid... is a cracker biscuit given to the malnourished, in my opinion.

Thank you! --- Jai

Anonymous said...

Jai: I am really flattered! I ask a question, I get an essay! Muchas gracias, as the Spanish say.

You are right. I wouldn't look at art in isolation either. Art can never function in isolation. It takes from, shapes, and is shaped by soceity. On this, I am with you.

But then we have so long made a conscious/unconscious attempt to slot cinema in this country into the banal and the intelligent or commercial and art. Why should such categorizations collapse when discussing this film alone? Of course, this is not to say I support the categorization. All I am saying is that it is there, obvious for anyone to see.

Even if such a categorization did not exist, there are certain types of cinema that feeds the mind, and certain types that feeds off your wallet! Why do you expect one to suddenly without context, help, cinematic revolution assume the functions of another?


Happy heart said...

Hey Moush

To answer the issues you raised: why do you expect intelligence and plot from a film that makes no pretensions of belonging to a certain genre?

Aren’t you assuming that a movie that’s intelligent and has a plot should belong to a genre? Isn’t it a basic requirement for ANY movie to have at least a plot? Is just having a plot fulfills the condition for a movie to be categorized as intelligent cinema? Or a genre?

Next, //Even if such a categorization did not exist, there are certain types of cinema that feeds the mind, and certain types that feeds off your wallet! Why do you expect one to suddenly without context, help, cinematic revolution assume the functions of another? //

Though this question is directed at the points Jai raised, I just wanted to add that the movie has been produced at a definite context and it captures the vacuous aspirations (upper class) of this generation, and doesn’t just stop there, the movie goes one step further and makes caricatures of the lives of the young men/women in this country! Nobody’s gonna even ask these questions if this movie was made solely for the consumption of the upper classes to massage their egos! But, it’s released in the open and largely consumed by people from middle and lower classes, and that’s where the we need to see the muck of such movies and their diabolical consequences: The creation of a bourgeoisie world //(Inspired by: The bourgeoisie compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image – The communist manifesto)//

Anonymous said...

Happy heart & Jai: (Since you both are on the same side of the debate -almost- when compared to where I am standing, my response is addressed to both of you.)

I know what you are saying. Films of any genre cannot be plot less. And that a film (and any film) has no excuse to be so either. Maybe not every movie can profess intelligence. But every movie must have a plot. I agree. Though technically, plot is defined as rising action, followed by climax and falling action. Technically, Wake Up Sid (WUS for short?) has a plot. What it doesn't have is an intelligent plot. This is again open to debate about what constitutes an intelligent plot. So you and I both have to re-examine what we mean by plot and then debate on the intelligence of plots.

Ah! I should have been clear; I meant historical context. Yes, the film does have some context. What I was talking about was the historical context, the political, social, cultural, and economic setting for a particular idea or event. We need historical context to give us a point of view from which we can decide how unique or ordinary the idea is. I am not convinced WUS has adequate historical context. I am sure you agree on this one.

No, the movie is not aimed at a particular economic class. But then rarely is one movie supposed to cater to all classes. Once in a while, there are sleeper hits which happen to cut across class barriers more as an accident rather than design. As far as I know, every director is keen on showing his vision of the world, which usually belongs to one particular class. Sometimes that appeals to all classes, sometimes it doesn’t. I would say this has to do with the talent of the director, which is why certain mainstream movies of the 80's and even 90's appealed across class barriers.

As far as the impact of the movie is concerned, ah, that is an interpretation. I don’t think a movie like WUS has that impressive a hidden agenda. You will argue about it being a part of a larger capitalist framework. That is your interpretation. You are doing a Marxist reading of the movie. It is just as valid as any other. I could, for instance, do a feminist reading of the movie, which would be just as valid. So we don't need to agree/disagree. Btw, I wasn't doing any reading of the movie. Just questioning the expectation that a movie, a popular, commercial, mainstream Hindi movie is supposed to be intelligent, have historical context, cater to all classes, AND entertain. I don’t think WUS is that Superman of movies you are searching for.


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