Shobhaa De kicks off Manhattan Short Master Class Series
Students at Manhattan Short Film Festival India 2013’s inaugural master class rip into SRK’s latest outing, with a little help from Shobhaa De.
Shah Rukh Khan might be thumping his chest in victory but he surely would have been biting his nails had he been present to hear Mumbai’s H.R. College BMM students’ critiques of Chennai Express. The students had a field day critiquing the film along with outspoken opinion maker and critic Shobhaa De, who kicked off the Manhattan Short Film Festival India 2013 Master Class Series with her topic ‘Reviewing Film Reviews’. “I am going to watch the film tomorrow so based on what you say; I may or may not watch the film! It’s a big responsibility!” said De.
While not many students had watched the film as yet, to which De commented, “Shah Rukh Khan is not going to be happy hearing that,” one student who had watched it, titled her review ‘Ready, Steady, No’. “I swear the movie was longer than the train,” said the student, reading aloud her review. She ended by asking, “What happened to Shah Rukh Khan who worked in films like Kal Ho Na Ho, Swades and K3G?” To which De added, quoting the late legendary film critic Roger Ebert, “No good movie is too long and no bad movie is short enough.”
Terming the film ‘paisa vasool’ another student said, “It was basically a typical Rohit Shetty film because there are flying cars and stunts and fights all over the movie. I won’t say it is a bad movie.” Quick to critique her own lot, De said, “You watched the film closely and you responded with all of yourself. It’s better than most reviews one reads in print!”
Educating the students on how to truly appreciate Hindi cinema of today, De said, “Don’t go by the commercial success of a movie. Make up your own mind. Or don’t even hold the commercial success of a movie against it. I know a lot of movie snobs who say that if a movie has made a hundred and fifty crores, it has got to be a lousy film. It must be a mass entertainer; it must be a masala film. There’s nothing wrong with Masala films. These are the films we really enjoy. If I were to tell you that I enjoyed Rowdy Rathore, which I did hugely or Singh is Kinng, I mean you watch it and see it in the context the film was made. Bollywood films are really telling us a lot about ourselves.”
Of course, when De encouraged the students to participate in the Manhattan Short India Women’s Freedom contest, she said, “Think of a script first, it would help!”