Dubai-itis is the term I use for that low, frustrated feeling that sets in almost immediately after I return from vacation, to suddenly realise that I live in a flat, hot, congested city where people dress up to go to shopping malls. Any place that makes me miss even the most tedious aspects of a city like Bombay (the chaos, the infrastructure or lack thereof, the garbage and the idiots) is noteworthy.
My escape often comes in the form of a trip to the movies. I begrudgingly overlook the snip-snip of the censors and the twenty minutes of brain-killing advertising, and do enjoy myself. The pre-fab box multiplex model that cinema has transformed into doesn’t damper my spirits (I am, in fact, thankful that for now at least the projection and sound quality is better in multiplexes), and once the lights go down I’m a sucker for the experience.
The worst weeks, then, are when there is nothing worth watching. I’m finicky that way; I revel in cheap entertainments, so nothing is going to convince me to watch No Country for Old Men (yes, I think Fargo is vastly overrated… but I also think O Brother, Where Art Thou? is underrated) no matter how much people rave about it. The fact that Subhash Ghai seems to have turned over a new leaf and is now actually delivering coherent cinema (in the form of Black & White) may sway others, but if anything this new turn of his is not weird enough to warrant my money (because Yaadein had a reference to ‘Poisonous Marine Worms’ and we all know you can’t top that with sensitive post 9/11 Terror vs TLC).
Then there is of course the big, shiny new 10,000 B.C. (and shouldn’t it be more PC by being called 10,000 B.C.E?), which doesn’t in the slightest pique my interest, and I’m a fan of the original Stargate movie! I suppose the reasons are plain and simple: the movie is just not sexy enough. Camilla Belle may be quite fine looking, but she’s no Raquel Welch. Also, frankly, the movie doesn’t look bonkers enough. Where are the giant lizards? Where are the giant sunny-side up pteradactyl eggs? Where’s the fun?
And that, I suppose, is part of what I mean by ‘sexy’; in this strange race to make every movie relevant, to have a message and a moral (and 10,000 B.C.‘s seems to be some kind of ham-fisted rejection of false gods let’s get all the various races together to beat the crap out of the guys with the good architecture), big movies have ceased to just be fun.
And fun is very sexy. Just ask Raquel: