Old (boys) Skool

This week's Mid-day column.

By the time this appears, Karan Johar’s new film, Student of the Year will be out and probably have been declared a box office hit, endorsing Ram Gopal Varma’s remark, made with his customary affection for KJo that it will out-hit "3 Idiots."

I don’t plan on watching this film. That’s not because it is KJo’s first without Shah Rukh to whom love has tied me for life, despite recent misdemeanours and meltdowns. I think the film will be quite ok with me not watching it, because we both know, I was not one of the people the marketing people were counting on as audience. Yaniki, it is not made for people like me. Which is supposed to be part of the film’s merit. Yaniki, it’s not for the arty farts but the ‘general public’, implying they are the majority, hence this is like democracy, right? Wrong. The multiplex going audience does not constitute a majority of the country, just the majority of a certain elite, but theek hai, to each their own.

Another, more obvious reason the movie is not made for people like me is because, I’m, well, old enough that I don’t properly remember school anymore. But I am not so old that I don’t know what young looks like.

And that’s one of the reasons I am not going to see the movie. Because I’m finding it very hard to believe in the youth of those hulking main leads of the film. If they are still in school, then they must have been flunking for several years or had two triple demotions. This is my main takeaway from the promos, other than the fact that Mallory Towers has been replaced by Hogwarts in the Indian boarding school fantasy. That must explain all that snow and two boys and a girl, just like Harry, Ron and Hermione, except more grown-up and dressed in their parents old clothes.
I’m not one of those who thinks that youth equals rebellion. It may be so for a certain section, but there’s loads of young people who wish to be just like their mummy daddies, except richer, thinner and more American. Still, the very least you expect from a ‘new generation’ is a little newness, some cool new clothes on ye olde formula.  Frankly, it’s not only the people in the film who look old, know what I mean?

The other reason I won’t be watching the film is because I’ve already seen the viral video which nails the feeling of the film with a perfect mixture of timepass, madness and incisiveness.

This video, which many will have seen by now, is called Gana Wala Song. Fresh vocals have been laid on the video of Ishq Wala Love with lyrics like Sharhrukh wala template leke, vahi pose hai karaya – Sad wala Dukh.

It’s funniest and most accurate line, comes when KJo deploys his time tested (and time-failed) trick for dressing the hero-heroine in co-ordinated colours: Jinke parents hain director, voh penhenge same colour. It’s a line that tells you that this not so much about school as the old boys from the school. A film by, for and of the children of filmi elites, happily preserving the status quo.

I laughed so hard when I saw this video, it was my entertainment for the week. So, there are other types of young people who don’t wear turtle necks in teenage, who make these funny, irreverent, unfettered pieces of work. I will wait for them to make a film that reminds me what it is to be young and go see that.


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