Frontier Former Editor

March 6, 2009

Oh Brother, Where Art thou Caste?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7923190.stm

I’ve already been given inspiration to write – if I ever got into the screenwriting biz – a Bollywood adaptation of the Coen Brothers’ and Homer’s big screen epic, “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”

From the BBC  (be sure to whistle the first couple of bars of “Liliburlero” first . . .)

“India’s governing Congress party has acquired the rights to Jai Ho – the Oscar-winning song from the movie Slumdog Millionaire.

Party officials say the song will be used as part of the election campaign to publicise Congress achievements.

The general election in India will take place between 16 April and 13 May. Counting is due on 16 May.

British director Danny Boyle’s Slumdog, based in the slums of the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay), won eight Oscars.

‘Performed well’

Bollywood composer AR Rahman and lyricist Gulzar won the Best Song Oscar for Jai Ho, literally meaning victory.

With its catchy tune and uplifting lyrics, Jai Ho has become immensely popular with the public in India.

Congress Party spokesman Manish Tiwari told the BBC the achievements of the government deserved to be saluted and the song best explained that.

“Our party has performed well, be it in governance or in its pro-poor policies,” Mr Tiwari said.

But a senior leader of the main opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Prakash Javdekar, told Reuters news agency: “This song will ensure their defeat because it will remind every Indian that millions of people still have to stay in slums because of faulty Congress policies.” “

One of the key scenes already came to me in a flash of twisted inspiration, as Pappy O’Nehru (played with suitably restrained, yet ebullient populism by Ben Kingsley) arrives at the Congress Party rally to find that the Soggy Bengal Boys are perfoming ‘Jai Ho’ to a standing, enthusiastically screaming crowd.  

A homespun-and-turban -wearing George Clooney (he’ll probably jump into this with financing – the sacrifices we have to make for art) leans over to his sweetheart at the dignitaries table and stretches his fake beard, in a burst of comic relief designed to set the stage for an extended musical number leading into the arrival of the closet Kashmir separatist candidate (John Rhys Davies or Alfred Molina – I’m still tossing that stereotype around). The separatist unintentionally exposes his true colors and is dragged away by Congress loyalists.

O’Nehru then climbs on stage and teases his departed rival for being less than non-violent, to the laughter and applause of the audience. He then brings Clooney and the Soggy Bengal Boys to hand and exacts a public promise that they have renounced their ways.

“You will support Congress in the April elections, won’t you?” O’Nehru  asks Clooney in a stern yet fatherly way, to which Clooney ferently asserts his agreement.

O’Nehru and the Soggy Bengal Boys then line up for a pull-out-all-the-stops rendition of  “Jai Ho.”

I’m still trying to figure out how to do the lynching scene, although the Ganges at flood stage should be easy enough.

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January 14, 2008

The old man’s still an artist with a Thompson.

It’s been a cinematic month here at the FFE emporium, and a month of depressing, cynical, grisly and darkly humorous cinema at that.

Luckily for me, last week was wall-to-wall “Miller’s Crossing” on cable. Yes, I watched it three times in a day and remembered why I missed watching it so much.

One reason:

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