Thursday, 25 September 2014

Is ratna pathak shah For Real?

Dear (not really) Ratna Pathak Shah,

I am not criticizing/appraising/analysing your comments "Satyajit Ray was barely tolerable" and "SHOLAY is extremely embarrassing". I am simply trashing them. So here goes:

1. Personal opinions are fine, as long as (a) the opinions are informed and intelligent and (b) we agree that our lack of appreciation of something might be a result of lack of understanding of the subject, or sheer stupidity, or simply an attention-grabbing technique. I may not like poetry, but if I say something like "Tagore just didn't know how to write poetry", that would indicate utter idiocy.
2. Both your husband—who, incidentally, shares your views on the topics you have remarked on—and you are fine actors. But comments like these only serve to establish the fact that being talented in a particular field and having a deep, intelligent, empathetic, and analytical understanding of that field are two different things altogether.
3. Evidently you have a profound Maya Sarabhai-esque "oh-I-am-so-intellectually-evolved" disdain for mainstream cinema. That is fine. A lot of us arty-farty types do. But while criticizing SHOLAY, the Citizen Kane of mainstream (Indian) cinema, you have very cleverly chosen to overlook the fact that the man who started off with Junoon, Sparsh, Aakrosh, Masoom, Trikaal, Mirch Masala, Ijaazat, Khamosh, and Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro was rather quick to criticize the very kind of movies that won him fame and acclaim and moved on to award-winning, timeless classics like Daava, Lahoo Ke Do Rang, Takkar, Misaal, Zulm Ko Jala Doonga, Tehelkaa, Kasam, Lootere, Hasti, Dand-Nayak, Lakshmanrekha, Asambhav, Bombay Boys, Jackpot, Sona Spa...while your own bio-data now boasts of Khoobsurat. Even Sonam Kapoor doesn't want to talk about it! Selective judgementalism? And why, pray, was SHOLAY "embarrassing"? Did Ramesh Sippy make an indecent proposal to you while you were watching it??

Your comments are clearly nothing more than a lame attempt to generate the paying public's interest in Khoobsurat. Sorry, it's not working. You can outrage in Anurag Kashyap/Sanjay Leela Bhansali/Mahesh Bhatt/any venerable Bong director of today's style that your film is for the intelligent ones and not the hoi polloi, but guess what? People are still sticking to reruns of the extremely mediocre, unflattering, embarrassing SHOLAY and Ray films while giving Khoobsurat a miss by a mile.

In effect, therefore, your comments are evoking nothing but scornful mirth and ridicule for your intelligence. I actually feel sad for the scribe who interviewed you and hope someone brings this post to your notice.