Friday, February 13, 2009

Drona

Gather 'round, children, and hear the wondrous tale of the Girl Who Watched All of Drona!

Decades ago, in the prairie heartland of America, amid torrential rains, a girl was born. But not just any girl. For lo! she was destined to undertake a quest few had managed: to watch, in entirety, a film...in a tongue she did not know...from across the seven seas...from the future: Drona! Unaware of her fate, our heroine ambled through vast expanses of films, plucking Shashi-like blooms and reveling in Rani rays of sunshine. Until one fateful day, when she read of a new film, something unlike Bollywood had ever produced before, something that set loose a disenchantment and unhappiness across the movie-loving lands of Filmistan. That night, sleeping fitfully, she was haunted by a familiar yet distant narratorial voice that insisted she had been chosen for a special task. She must watch Drona, she must try to figure out what went wrong, and she must, above all, find something of merit in it, at least in the hero himself. "No...no...!" she cried out in her sleep. "It's only playing in Chicago...gas is $4 a gallon! I cannot do it!" "Then ye may wait for DVD," boomed the Voice, "but ye must complete this task!"

Days, weeks, passed, and the mysterious dream slipped from her mind. But just as unexpectedly as the dream had come, it was brought to mind again in a flash of blinking lights as the Voice once more rattled through her head. "An arena of cheering fans can't be wrong," she thought. "The Voice must be trusted. But where will I find the Silvery Saucer? It cannot be obtained in my college cow town!" Only by heeding the lure of the text that appeared, at random, constantly, in the Glowing Fruit did she learn to consult the Bottomless Source of Films. Neither rain nor sleet nor gloom of the Voice in other incarnations could prevent its acquisition!

The Silvery Saucer safely in hand, she began her quest into the unknown. But alas! out of the darkness sprang a fury of voices, waylaying her progress. "Silence, harpies!" she cried, jabbing the air with any button she could find. After endless minutes of struggle, and only with a magic combination of Pause! Stop! Menu! Play! could they be vanquished. She proceeded into the darkness.

One after another, she was confronted with seemingly impassable, implausible scenes.

A man so cheerful and kind becomes so glum!




A woman so angry wins his heart!


A villain so comical manages to threaten the safety of the whole world!

The defenders' fortress - full of fast cars and strong men! - is so easily violated and destroyed!



A major star and classic Ma is dressed in such ill-fitting costumes!


A well-established force of good is used for evil!


Ominous soldiers look familiar!


Crashingly boring, literal depictions illustrate the steps of the monomyth!


Exotic flavors are so whimsically evoked!


And yet allies did appear amid all the trials. So surprised was she at their presence that our heroine almost did not recognize them as friends. But friends they were, providing encouragement and inspiration to continue.

Interesting scenery!



The beloved Abhishek trying his best to be Fred Astaire!


An enchanting, beautiful City of Secrets!


The Secret-Keeper worked amid giant books!


A woman fought! In clothing that visually suited her combat!


Gorgeous usage of colors underscored how off-kilter the world had become as the villain seemed to triumph!



The villain was at times so weird that he seemed much more menacing than he would if he had simply been purely malevolent!

Did Kay Kay Menon not channel Richard E. Grant in a most astonishing way? He was fab! Also, discuss: was the statue of Jaya as effective as Jaya herself?

Our heroine was tempted to abandon her quest. Oh, how she was tempted. Tempted by visions from some other film, some other time, some other world!

How could she choose this interminable, inexplicable quest over such a temptation!

But somehow she persisted, struggling on through the passionless hero, magic pyramids, and Very Special Grain of Rice until she faced the ultimate ordeal. This film, for which she had already given up so much of her brain, her heart, her soul, her weekend, now challenged her to the most arduous fight of all: she must accept that the elixir of life is guarded by...oh, children, it pains me even to recount this to you. It is guarded by this:

The secret of the universe has been bedazzled by a 9-year-old with a love of ponies and hot glue.

"Nahiiiiiiiin!" our heroine cried out in disbelief! "I can take no more!"

But then she remembered the Voice, and its echoes called her still forward. "You must continue," it said, "for the sake of the good citizens of Filmistan. They need you." So onward she stumbled, accepting in turn a horse with a purple birthmark, the Warrior Woman forgotten in favor of an awkward, uninspired, boys-only battle,

near-deaths overcome, boring flash-forwards grudgingly admitted, and unwanted sequels implied.

Her reward for this journey, these trials,this suffering?


"Mmm, that's nice," she said, still in a daze from what she had suffered. But the image faded, and she gradually awoke from her trance. "Woe! All my efforts have not succeeded!" she cried out to the Voice. "I cannot explain to anyone why this film failed so spectacularly! I cannot define the problem with any single element! I know only that they were combined into an Epic Mess!"

"Ah," replied the Voice. "But you have come away with Real Understanding. You have learned IITS and to beware of those who ply it. It was not the Stars that ran this mighty vessel against the rocks - 'twas the Director."

"The Director," she whispered.... "The secret is the Director." And thus she was once again at peace, her hard-won knowledge safely tucked away, where she would remember it, ready to accept its guidance and wisdom henceforward for evermore.

Or is she?

An excellent hero myth site is here.

21 comments:

a ppcc representative said...

KAY KAY MENON IS IN THIS?!

bwood-fan said...

Wow... Kay Kay looks weird.

Love your "review", but have to ask... is it one of those "so bad its good" movies?

Beth said...

PeePCCs - YES! He is the BAD GUY. He is the best thing about the film. I am completely serious in my comparison to Richard E. Grant - it was uncanny, in both looks and villainishtyle.

bwood-fan - Yes he does.

No, I wouldn't put Drona in that category, exactly. I can't say it's actually good, but I didn't hate it. It's just very, very unsuccessful, despite having some great ingredients. It didn't cohere for me at all.

Banno said...

Are you sure that you have not become Drona after seeing the light? And that the Big Bad Villian wont be after you now? So that candy box was the end of the film? I didn't reach that far.

Bravo, brave woman!

bollyviewer said...

Bravo, Beth. You've bravely gone where no other blogger has gone before and come out with wits and health intact! Now you deserve a medal and some Shashi...

And I think Jaya's statue is quite as good as the lady herself. True the statue cant speak like her, but it cant repeat her sartorial err... splendors either!

Darshit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Darshit said...

And...the Oscar for Best Original Sreenplay goes to......
Beth.....(drumroll please...)

(trophy is hidden somewhere in deserts of Namibia...in candy box..covered by Blue petals........guarded by priyanka's childhood friends :-D

Go Beth Go..

And a Bravery Award too....
(i too deserve it for sitting in theatre for 'whole' movie !!)

Nicki said...

Interesting take on the movie. I was so scared to watch the movie cause of the negative feedback. Now, I may re-consider. :) Love the review.

Beth said...

Banno - I am not sure, now that you mention it. I kinda hope I'm not Drona, because then I'd have to give up my mad love for Abhishek, wouldn't I? Too familial, or something?

I think I could handle Riz. I'd let him do magic tricks as long as he wanted.

I love that you walked out of this. I'm not sure I would have done any better in the theater - I got to break it up into chunks in the safety of my own home.

bollyviewer - Hee! I know Filmi Girl watched and reviewed - and didn't hate! - the movie as well. I can't recall who else took it on.

Jaya was really not good in this at all. Not as bad as she was in the Unforgettable Tour, but still....

Darshit - Thank you thank you! Oddly I did see a blue rose at a gas station this week - and did a double-take!

Nicki - I honestly didn't hate it. Parts of it are enjoyable - good, even. But not the whole thing. :)

Anarchivist said...

And when people in the future tell the tale of the Ultimate Drona Blog, they will remember the Name of Beth the Mighty.

Okay, now I totally need to see this.

memsaab said...

Shabash, Beth!!!!!

Kay Kay looks like he's channeling Ed Grimley. Or maybe PeeWee Herman. In any case he doesn't look scary.

Lurple said...

In an unusual turn of events, I shut this off and didn't finish watching it. Kudos to you for not only watching the whole thing but actually writing something other than "OMFG THIS MOVIE IS TERRIBLE". :)

ajnabi said...

This movie sounds like excellent blog post fodder; I can't understand why few have been as brave as you, Beth.

OMG, Jaya's clothes! Why would she allow them to dress her in that?

Amey said...

Drona is one of those movies which you hate because they could have been much better with some small effort. We seriously need a "good" fantasy Hindi movie (not counting Dharam Veer, Ajooba, Rajkumar and so on)

eliza bennet said...

Drona is the second film which I felt for the baddie - even though it was an overacted baddie, he was better than everyone combined.

Priyanka's fight scenes were pathetic, same with Abhishek - and the funny thing is, it is not hard to make an actor look like a good fighter these days(HK people do it all the time) I have read that Priyanka took lessons but those were not evident in the film. Also she had that terrible wide eyed look ALL THE TIME! If you like Priyanka do yourself a favour and watch Dostana or something, anything else.

What every potential good visuals were simply ruined by the director, who obviously had no idea on what he was doing. If he had found money to make this film, he should have spent it for some lessons on basic mise en scene.

The title character was neither believable nor sympathetic. You know I cry at the drop of a hat (I cried at B&B, that should tell you something) and the tragic sufferings of this guy only produced a yawn from me.

Guys, this film is "waste of your time and money" bad. Seriously. It is so boring and unimaginative that you can't even laugh at it.

I can recommend Drona only and ONLY the people who find Abhishek hot -the reason I have seen this wreck- and no one else. Even DUS is way, way better than Drona.


This review deserves a better film.

Beth said...

Anarchavist - Hee! That's what I was going for!

I think you do need to see it. Maybe you can figure out what went wrong with it.

Memsaab - Shukriya! And yes, he does look like those two as well. It's quite an effect. I found him really disconcerting at times - and at others sort of lovable. I'm not sure what they were going for.

Lurple - You too? Wow. Another one bites the dust. So what do you think went so OMFG terrible? (Not that I don't understand how you arrived at that - I just can't figure out what exactly is the matter with this movie, other than a general sense of "almost everything.")

Ajnabi - Agreed - there is much to report on!

I have no idea. Poor Jaya. She looks awful. She deserves better in role and wardrobe.

Amey - I hope people will try again - there's much promise!

eliza - I didn't hate Priyanka's fight scenes, actually - though I know nothing about movie fighting, so I wouldn't really know good movie fighting if it dishoomed me in the face.

I did find Drona himself sympathetic, but more in the "I feel bad for him" sort of way than the "I root for his success" sort of way. He just looked so sad and glum - and things happened to him, rather than him really doing much. Badly written, and whoever decided Abhishek should never smile or express any kind of interest or enjoyment was wrong.

So should I see Dus, given my Abhipyaar?

eliza bennet said...

Beth DUS was really really bad. Approach at your own risk - actually it is better to watch the title song/opening credits - which are better than the whole film.

I love action films so unfortunately can not really enjoy the "action" part of Bollywood.

Z said...

I can NOT believe this!!!! I am a true blood Indian (ok ok I was brought up in Nepal in live Virginia) but you get the picture. This is one movie even my "I watch anything bollywood" buddy told me to NOT watch, even the promos!
Seriously, I bow to you wondrous woman.....(or maybe a salute with the heels clicking)

Shweta

Magdalena said...

Very well written! Fun to read, even though I loved the film :)

Thanks for the absolutely gorgeous screencaps!

Lurple said...

Beth- that's pretty much how the film is; it fails in every area, without being comically bad in an entertaining way. Boring, poorly put together, without the effort that that often makes Bollywood films fun.

It just sucks.

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