Sigh… no good Hindi movies out. I was sort of interested in Tango Charlie, but that was back when I thought it was some kind of beach-bum comedy. Films about the existential plight of soldiers is all fine and good, but unless it looks as gorgeous as Lakshya (and Tango Charlie doesn’t), it warrants, at best, a DVD rental. Plus I hear it has a shot of Nandana Sen’s bare back, and I don’t want to be mentally scarred by that image projected thirty feet high.
Meanwhile, Samir eagerly awaits Taanga Charlie.
You’re never going to drag me into a theatre to see Zeher, not for all the Kit Kat Chunkys in the world. Well, okay, so I might see it if it’s on TV, but even then the volume’s going to be on mute while I supply the dialogue and look forlornly at Udita Goswami. Emraan Hashmi’s every dialogue will be replaced by monkey ooka ooka ookas, or else verbose passages of Latin. Whichever.
This, of course, brings me to one of my favourite things to do while watching a movie, which I like to call Cinematic Replacement Therapy. If I’m watching a movie featuring actors I don’t particularly care for, I just replace them with other actors I do enjoy watching, or else with entirely fictional people who may better suit the role when no real life actors spring to mind.
This really isn’t as hard as it sounds, and after about three minutes it happens subconsciously. So in Hitch, Eva Mendes gets replaced by Salma Hayek, Natalie Portman goes in for Keira Knightley in Pirates of the Carribbean (and poor, unfortunate Orlando Bloom is replaced by Jessica Biel, as he should be in every film), and the entire cast of Troy is replaced by the entire cast of Boobah.
You can also do away with time and cultural barriers, like having Cyd Charisse, Shim Eun-Ha and a young Gene Hackman star in Chicago, in addition to the gender-bending Orlando Bloom example above. Of course, the only possible downside of this is that one day I’m going to bump into Thandie Newton, shout, “I loved you in Die Another Day!” and have her look at me funny when I explain, “…but you were in it in my head.”
(You can do this with songs too; I haven’t heard Lata Mangeshkar since 1991.)
In the future, I predict, that Cinematic Replacement Therapy will become much easier to do. When films are no longer 2D images, but scaned and re-encoded 3D polygons and models, it’ll be as simple as highlighting the offending actor and replacing him, her or it with another actor of your choice, or even yourself in digital form. There could be a whole megamarket of cheap, 99 cent virtual avatars to populate your entertainment, with every nuance of their voice, every twitch of their muscle encoded to perfection. Films would have multiple versions, with each localised copy in the laguage of the region, enacted by the virtual actors of the region, with the music of the region.
But then I think of what such a technological advent would mean here, in Dubai, where films are censored. Would I willingly submit to seeing the next great Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherji film, locally starring… um, Shah Rukh Khan and Amr Diab?