on hype: Kollywood following IPL
entire Indian media fraternity is in full throttle
reporting, debating, speculating and forecasting
about India’s greatest passion – cricket.
That the average Indian cricket fan’s mind
has more than just a few embers in it at the moment
is an easy guess. And, the media is going all
out to fan the fire which at the moment appears
to be a pretty easy job. But, this is not about
how the media utilizes opportunities to castigate
or almost canonize celebrities according to the
fluctuating fortunes of their profession.
This is about the hollow hype that seems to be
engulfing us from all sides. Well, the Indian
cricket team is not just a bundle of hype. It
is not for nothing that it sits at the top of
the test rankings and at the second spot in ODI
rankings. But, still one does get the feeling
that the balance between hype and stuff is being
upset. There is nothing wrong with hype, but it
must come in the company of ample substance. Hype
without substance is like icing without the cake.
might be starting to sound a bit like an enraged rant
of a cricket fanatic who just can’t digest the
fact that his favorite team finished second best on
almost all occasions at the World Cup. But, this is
not a fan’s heartburn. I wouldn’t have cared
much even if the Indian team had been in the semifinals
(but that would have robbed me off the license to go
all out like this), but I find it hard to understand
why cricket(ers) are so damn important and overemphasized
in this country. Why is there so much attention attached
to the IPL and what happens in the parties at nights
and how it later made the players groggy.
And, I find it even more difficult to believe the astronomical
amounts that these players were being paid during the
45 day extravaganza, ads and sponsorships excluded.
The millions that were splurged at the auctions might
have made many of you squirm. All that would have been
fine if the end product had justified the big bandwagon
that the IPL was. In the end, all we got was a tired,
defeated group that looked like it lacked direction
and was desperately searching for excuses.
Yes, hype overrode substance. But, isn’t that
familiar in almost all walks of our life, especially
cinema. The other day, I was going through an article
that gave details about the remuneration received by
most of the big stars of our industry. Even considering
the fact that most magazines are at many times inclined
to exaggerate in order to excite, I found those figures
disturbing and disproportionate. Is a star’s salary
meant to gobble up a substantial amount of a film’s
budget? I am not a communist, nor do I have any grouse
against stars earning absolutely huge amounts. But,
if that money could have gone into the film making process
to create a better end product wouldn’t the audience
be much happier. To sum up, too much money and effort
are being invested in the wrong directions; star salaries,
huge sets; punch lines; build up; superhuman fights
and the sort which have very little bearing on the quality
of the end product.
We have handsomely paid stars and money to splurge on
all the peripheral aspects of cinema. But, if all that
ends up creating just a group of self-aggrandizing horn
blowers who cut absolutely sorry figures with their
products, almost to the point of being mock-worthy and
‘caricaturizable’- is the money well spent?
Out of all the 130 films that hit theaters last year,
there were not even 10 decent earners. How many of them
were star driven movies? I guess you have the answer.
Just like the millions in the IPL could have been better
distributed (Lalit Modi has just given a 15000 ‘Mahabharatha’
on how it was done), the huge amount of money that cinema
generates can and should be better utilized so that
we can hold our products aloft with pride rather than
stow them away, lest someone finds out and has a hearty
laugh at our expense. Please, let’s cut the hype
and focus on things that matter.
Sudhakar, with inputs from Arun.)
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