So ‘Race’ the racy, thriller, has grossed over a 100 crores worldwide, a thumping hit, its acceptance without a shadow of doubt an established fact. ‘Good going’.. I’d say..well done..as well. But wait a minute, what exactly is it that we are gloating over? The success of a film or the tacit acceptance of values it ‘enshrines’.
I have seen the film, enjoyed the spirit of its mood, liked the visual treat it offered, despite the fact that in South Africa you can place the camera randomly and you’d be sure to have captured some enticing scenery, noticed the belabored look of its actors, summarily thought it to be ‘paisa vasool’ to a large extent, thus sharing in the opinion of a large mass of the audience.
Hypocrisy and doublespeak are traits I cannot boast of having mastered . . So lets get to the point without further ado. There was a time in our filmdom when every film just as it essentially comprised of songs and dances, also comprised of a hero, heroine, villain, vamp and comedian/comedienne .
Over the years comedians found themselves hopelessly out of job with the advent of Govinda and David Dhawan’s hillarious cinema where Govindas perfect timing and innate gift for comedy made him a huge star thereby making it incumbent on almost all future heroes to now display, along with dexterity in horse riding and martial arts, dancing and finally acting, comical histrionics as well, if general acceptability, read success was to be gained.
So far so good. Humor is an ingredient that is vital to our well being.. so ‘lage raho Munnabhai’..the next Big Comic Hero with a heart of gold and a mind full of simple wisdom made his way into our lives and hearts.
To cut the chase,much in keeping with the film in question, ‘Race’ has now done away with villains and vamps as well. All the four main protagonists are characters who worship Pygmalion as the goddess of Money sanctimoniously placing the acquisition of which, a virtue to be revered and in no way aberrant, contrarily wholly acceptable. Therefore the end justifies the means..and each is endowed with a mean streak that would make the devil seem holy.
And…we have accepted this film and its characters without any major discussion, debate, dissent or discomfort. In doing this we have sans platitude bestowed our vote for a class of humans where values/ morals/ethics/ are boring words, completely anachronistic in todays times. Money is the great leveler.. it transports you to another level of being where mundane moralities snick off ones aura as if de magnetised.
This is not meant to be a sardonic take on the film whose makers correctly recognised the viability of this project and timed it perfectly. It mirrors the scenario we live in. It is a reflection of ‘us’ as we are today.. maybe hyperbolic and caricatured but that can be excused as cinematic license. Nevertheless, the fact that we do not cringe at the characterisation, instead transform it into a blockbuster, speaks volumes.
Good..Why? the ‘sine curve’ syndrome presumably, will hence come into play, in a few hundred years When ‘abundance’ of the material kind, will fail to yield peace, reverting to days of yore where happiness was a state of mind and not a bank account..this and such like truisms will come to the fore. Sweden is supposed to be the most affluent country in the world.. Do inhabitants go around with smiles plastered on their faces and peace exuding from ever pore?
Either we imbibe this truth or ..Till then… carry on ..feeding children with values that suggest ‘riches at any cost’, a rubric dictating decisions, a goal to live by.
So Race on.. to perdition.
Disclaimer: This is not a review of ‘Race’. it could have been any film with any title but a first in Bollywood where there wasnt a single redeeming character morally..So Path breaking in that sense.