I'm good enough, and I'm smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like me, even though I don't understand the appeal of Hera Pheri.
Clearly, overall, I just don't get it. And that's okay, because I'm not from Maharashtra and I don't speak Hindi and sometimes I respond poorly to wackadoo movies in the languages I do understand. But that's no fun to read, so here are a few things I did get (or at least I think I did), for better or worse.
I like when people are willing to be goofy, and this movie had that in spades. Having only seen Tabu in serious roles, and Sunil in fake-pretend serious roles, I was happy to see them being silly here.
There's a song teleport to South Africa, and it's rich with...um...well, theme-park exoticization of "other," I guess you'd have to call it. I know that turning people who are different from oneself into caricatures is universal, but I'm strangely comforted to see the evidence that westerners aren't the only people who do it. So get your Gunga Din on and boogie down!
You know I love this shirt, especially when you get to see all three of them in it. Even though it's just Akshay, I liked this picture because the oodles of white fabric give him a sort of angelic look, and the happy face and heavenward gesture complete it. It's like he's saying, "I know, isn't it fab?!? The big guy upstairs has a simply divine knack for costuming!"
Now that I have a little experience in the matter, I find it wildly amusing that we're supposed to believe that this room
is inside the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, the tower of which is clearly shown just before we cut to this dance number. I was lucky enough to stay in four Taj hotels in India and spent many blissful hours in their lobbies and restaurants, and none of them would be caught dead with an interior like this. A fake-pretend tribal safari bar is so not Taj. The one in Delhi has a restaurant, Machan, that's wildlife themed, and it was much, much classier (and not owned by Videocon). (I seem to have gone into librarian/educator overdrive here, with all the links. Sorry about that.)
This is just funny. For those of you who haven't seen it, this is part of the same song as above ("Tun Tunak Tun"), and though the movie offers no explanation of how - or why - glow-in-the-dark hockey goalie masks fit with Indian fake-pretend African dancing, boy am I glad to live in a world in which they somehow do.
No. Just no. Stop portraying women being turned on by animals. It's gross. It was gross when Budweiser did it with Spuds McKenzie, and it's gross when a writhing woman has a writhing snake between her legs. It's also just lazy - I mean, gee, I wonder what a snake might represent? This is also the kind of thing that makes me concerned for the fate of male-female relationships (or at least mine): is this imagery attractive? alluring? or even interesting? Do men want to see their female significant others fondling (or, even more ew, being fondled by) snakes? Because if so, I'm done with the whole enterprise. Maybe I'm just feeling worn down by the club scenes in my song DVD (see yesterday's post), but normal women aren't going to live up (down) to this (should categorically refuse to try). Like me for who I am, not for...this.
(And yes, I have some issues. The larger question of how women are portrayed in media and popular culture is really interesting to me, and I think it's important, but yes, I'll readily admit I'm feeling really inadequate compared to a lot of what I've seen recently, even though most of it is laughable and not in any way me, and that just makes me mad, that I can't quite write these things off as "only a movie." I would actually be really interested to know what people think about how women are portrayed in Bollywood, but maybe that's too intellectual a post to start in the context of Hera Pheri.)
Okay, now I'm going to go watch Muriel's Wedding. It always restores my faith. Maybe I'll cast the Bollywood remake while I'm at it.