BHTP South Africa

I am an NRI, translated into: no-real Indian.  I follow Indian cinema in my quest to find only one million original films before humanity as we know it disappears.  I will use the term Indian cinema sparingly because I only have access to Hindi films, not Malayalam, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Konkani, Nepali, Khasi, Dogri, Garo and other languages.

I blame Amitabh Bachchan for breaking my movie fast and forcing me to go to the Killarney Cine Centre yesterday to screen Buddah Hoga Tera Baap (BHTP), directed by Puri Jagannath.  I follow Amitabh Bachchan’s blog religiously because I’m in awe of the man.

I’m a writer, so I respect anybody who blogs every day, not re-hashing content from other sites, but breaking and entering the queen’s language and enriching me with the nuances of the Hindi language.  I follow his blog for his love of motherland India, Indian history, politics, cricket, Bengal and his in-laws but most of all, his love of cinema.

I won’t say Indian cinema because Bachchan writes extensively about the evolution of cinema, how it was recorded 30 years ago and how it is recorded and edited right now.  Indeed, he respects young people’s skills in technology and marketing.  That is why I was in that dark cinema watching Buddah Hoga Tera Baap (BHTP).

Bachcan’s blog included me in the film’s pre-production, production, costuming, editing, dubbing, and post-production, editing and marketing.  I had to be in that movie theatre.  I was not disappointed.

My preferences are an open secret.  I want original stories.  One of the reasons why I haven’t written this blog in months is the realisation that Bollywood deserves its name.  Except for films such as Hum Dil De Chuke Sanaam and Ravaan, Bollywood is a re-hash of Hollywood scripts.

BHTP’s marketing visuals warned me that the gun and Bachchan’s stance will be the old story about the good guy demolishing bad guys single-handedly.  I knew that, but I had to see the film because of the blog.  It had invited me into the story long before the final prints were delivered to the cine-plexes.

Buddah Hoga Tera Baap (BHTP) is a platter of visuals.  It has a little bit of fashion, romance, violent action, tired visuals of the men in uniform, my father was a gangster but I’m a police officer story, spoilt daughters, love marriage versus arranged marriage and old age. 

The fashion part is my favourite because the marketing department did such a good job of preparing me for Viju’s great style. I saw all that in Big B’s blog.  Viju is a gangster.  That is why Karan, the ACP doesn’t know that he is his father.  Viju infiltrates the Mumbai mafia because of his shooting skills.  Nothing original there, but this Viju has his own unique style.  

Abhishek Bachchan the producer and his team have my full vote in giving Sonu Sood the lead character of Karan, the ACP.  Finally!  How long does it take to be the leading man in Mumbai?  I loved him in Ashutosh Gowariker’s, Jodhaa Akbaar.  It should have followed after that.

Bachchan’s respect for the youth is incorporated in the story.  Viju is enstranged from his wife Sita, played by Hema Malini.  Kamini, his ex-girlfriend played by Raveena Tandon represents his old playboy ways.  I don’t know why Puri Jagannath the director decided to make this character a giggly 19 year-old character.  It is quite irritating in fact.

Why?  Because Kamini’s daughter Amrita, played by Charmy feels that Viju might be her father.  Surely, her reaction and her mother’s should be different.  This is a good example of how films jolt you into the realisation that it is all fiction.  It can put you off the film. 

Buddah Hoga Tera Baap (BHTP) seems to be about old age and Viju’s character reacts violently to anybody who calls him ‘old man’.  It is only at the end of the film that you realise that it is not about that, but loving your family, your own DNA, as Viju puts it.

I’m going back to the theatre to enjoy Bachchan’s Hindi.  I did not the first time around because I had to check out the sub-titles.  I will go back to enjoy the boom voice, Hindi’s cadences and inflections.  I was once in an audience where Shah Rukh Khan had a guest appearance.  The audience in Lenasia, Johanesburg came alive when he spoke Hindi.

Buddah Hoga Tera Baap (BHTP), a feast for the eyes and the ear.  It is on circuit in South Africa.

Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness The Novel.


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