And fudge brownies topped with walnut bits, and covering my walls with black-and-white photographs.
If it’s one word that’s defined this past week, it’s been Chickflicks.
It all started with stumbling on Gul Panag’s Turning 30 on Youtube. Actually, I’ve been a little curious about Bollywood chickflicks ever since I fell in love with the clothes and music of Aisha. Turning 30 is no Aisha (which IMO is the gold standard for what an Indian chickflick should feel like), but it does manage to leave you with a feel-good ending, in spite of the zillion cliches and plot points that have a probability of 1/132342 of happening in real life. Or maybe because; I don’t know. But when I see someone’s random rantings on her laptop get published as a book by pure chance, I feel like throwing myself off a cliff…. maybe because some of us try and try and can’t quite get there. But that’s beside the point.
And then I went on to watch Never Been Kissed. And then Moonstruck, which frankly I didn’t like much. I really liked Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, in large part due to Lisa Kudrow’s airheady role. Followed by The Wedding Planner. I liked J.Lo in this much better than in Maid in Manhattan, though seriously, they could have picked a better-looking leading man.
Can you believe I’d never watched You’ve Got Mail before this past week? I finally did. The online anonymity and stuff seems so quaint now!
Then I went through The Princess Diaries 1 and 2. Julie Andrews is awesome, but by the time you’re fifteen minutes into the second film, you cringe at every single reference to Mia’s klutziness.I got so sick of the second movie, I checked the plotline on Wiki just to see if it’s worth enduring this torture for. It wasn’t, but it seemed like Meg Cabot’ Princess series were much more enjoyable.
Expectedly, I began looking for them. I instead found Meg Cabot’s Airhead series, and quickly read it. Nice while reading, but you want to just be done with it and throw it into the trashcan as soon as possible.
Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series is better, and more gripping and more fun. But I don’t know what it is about chicklit, they don’t feel as good as the movies! You can’t identify with many incidents described there, the thin plots irk you and dragging them across 200 pages chafe on your nerves. And what’s more, the writing isn’t good enough to compensate. And even if it is good, the style seems pretty consistent over books and authors and it begins to feel boring and repetitive.
One thing that really struck me was how obsessed American pop culture is about highschool. And proms and hierarchies and cheerleaders and jocks. And the ones set in college are all about sororities, fraternities and cheerleaders and jocks. Something tells me that’s quite a distortion of reality. Right?
And as a natural consequence, reunions are a big deal, where you hit back at the jerks who tormented you all through high school. Those sort of plots for movies would be fun, if only they hadn’t been done a zillion times already.
By contrast, Indian movies seem to be more about the time after college, when real life hits. Teenybopper romances seem to be pretty much a joke in Bollywood, with the notable exception of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, but heck, most of that movie happened when the hero had an eight-year-old daughter. (On an aside, I’m pretty surprised Kajol managed to remain single for nearly ten years after college. I mean, how come the Yavag Maduve, Ma? aunties didn’t get to her? Plus, if you lose interest in romance after one failed non-attempt, you have serious issues, girlfriend).
Movies like Ishq Vishq Pyaar Vyaar or Mera Pehla Pehla Pyaar aren’t exactly hitting paydirt in the public consciousness, from what I’ve seen. I haven’t watched Indian television of late, but when I last did, teenybopper stuff was still a joke. And I guess that reflects reality too. For the past ten years at the very least, any Rahul and Tina who might have hooked up in 11th and 12th would rather put off things till they crack JEE.
One thing I’d like to see in the Indian context though, is a remake of Legally Blonde. Now that I’d say is a good underdog story. I found it inspirational in the very least. Maybe ‘coz I’ve come to feeling strongly about girls losing out to boys on the career front inspite of having equal or better ability simply because we lack confidence in our own abilities that we find it harder to be more assertive, and that society at large does little to alleviate this, in fact does everything to aggravate it, giving us everything from Impostor syndrome to the opposite of Impostor syndrome when we move closer to success.
I’ve hardly scratched the surface of must-watch chickflicks yet. Until this mood wanes, I have to hunt and watch movies from this excellent list of chickflicks. So um, I’ll abruptly end this post right here.
PS: Apart from chickflicks, I also watched Tamizh Padam. If you have been watching Tamil films for the past 10-15 years, you’ll enjoy this one supremely. My favourite bit of that movie was when this bunch of policemen are trying to figure out where to find a murderer, and a guy dressed like Kamal in Vettaiyadu Vilayadu says “My instinct says, sir, the murderer would be in the US”, to which his superior says “We all know about your instinct, Mr. Ragahavan, you’ve gone to the US a dozen times due to your instinct already”.