Pastiche of pointless clichés: Was the ‘Kisna’ muse missing or too dishy to be missed, asks Govind Mishra

Subhash Ghai seems to be caught in a labyrinth comprising a number of grandiose wishes and designs in Kisna, losing his way hopelessly in the mess, allowing the movie to meander from mythological archetypes to historical eavesdropping, to modern-day media masala. He seems also to have been caught between the desire to woo the dollar/pound rich NRI audiences and the eternally emotional desi dewanas, stuck on the infallibility and grandeur of anything akin to ‘Geeta’ and the romance of Krishna-Radha-Meera triangle.

The heavily-accented firang ladies Antonia Bernath and others are supposed to, one reckons, pull at the pursestrings of NRIs. Meanwhile the rope-climbing, often-dancing, god-fearing and man-loving Isha Sharvani, by getting married to the hero towards the end of the movie, is supposed to please desi viewers with their idea of poetic justice and concept of dividends for devotion. Forget the fact that the hero’s heart (also his flute and, one suspects, his music too!) remains in the safekeep of his true love in London.

Vivek Oberoi in the role of Kishna, as all other protagonists in the movie, is given one-dimensional, tin-type character, nay archetype, to flesh out. This poet writes one poem (we have evidence) and suddenly emerges as an unparalleled sword-wielder, killing dozens in a minute, without any prior notice in his character or life that he had it in him to do so. So much for the poet and warrior definition. The archetypal Meera (prem diwani) Isha Sharvani keeps dancing and gyrating her heart and muscles out, but one feels the storyline could have done without her. No disrespect meant, for all her hard work, she is breathtaking at times.

The other leading lady, Beranath, has a much more meaty role with greater emotive opportunities which she has carried through commendably well. Reminiscent of Brook Shields in her ‘Blue Lagoon’ dishabille, the young lady portrays a character that comes across as human.

The missed opportunities in the movie are what gall one. The film has neither used the opportunity of a period drama, set in the heartrending months leading up to the partition and independence of India nor has it touched the heartstrings as a wholesome love affair. The character of Amrish Puri had such diabolical or patriotic possibilities, depending on the choice, while Om Puri could have done more on the humane level to enrich the movie. In any case, his small bit at the prince’s palace was a very welcome comic relief in the movie.

The dialogues often came threatening close to grandiloquence, a la Bhisma Pitamah of ‘The Mahabharata’. Come on Mr Ghai, folks were old fashioned in Uttaranchal in 1947 alright, but they were not spouting such confusing religious sermons, not in such ‘pariksha’ style. One is willing to suspend disbelief, provided one gets some pleasure, at least an imaginative excursion!

Pleasure comes only in the form of a pleasant music score, panoramic cinematography and some daring choreography. But all this unfortunately does not help in creating a cohesive, rewarding whole. One does not suspect Ghai, unlike Mr Amir Khan and company, of having been aiming for the Oscars with this movie, but certainly of eyeing the rich foreign distribution channels more as a safety measure than anything else. But perhaps, just a good movie, irrespective of its locale, history or racial type succeeds. Ask Kurosawa.

SuperBowl spectre returns for Janet!


A year after her startling Super Bowl wardrobe “malfunction”, Janet Jackson is headed to another Super Bowl event. Attorney Willie Gary announced that Jackson will attend his celebrity scholarship party in Jacksonville on February 5, the eve of the Super Bowl. The Black Family Channel is sponsoring the party. During a halftime performance at the Super Bowl in Houston last year, Jackson’s breast was exposed on national television while dancing and singing with Justin Timberlake. She said it was an accident. The game was seen by 90 million viewers and CBS was fined a record $5,50,000 by the Federal Communications Commission. Gary did not return phone calls seeking comment on Jackson’s appearance. The event is open to the public by pre-sale tickets only. — AP

Ex-beau says Garner disliked ‘Elektra’


Hollywood actor Michael Vartan revealed that ‘Daredevil’ star Jennifer Garner believes her latest film ‘Elektra’ is “awful” but she had to do it because it was in her contract. Vartan, who briefly dated his ‘Alias’ co-star in 2003 and still maintains a friendship with Garner, said the actress told him the ‘Daredevil’ spin-off was not her proudest piece of work. “I heard (‘Elektra’) was awful. (Jennifer) called me and told me it was awful. She had to do it because of ‘Daredevil’. It was in her contract,” Vartan was quoted as saying. Vartan, who dated Garner for a month and a half, said that he does not mind seeing pictures of his ex-girlfriend with her current beau, Ben Affleck, even though he still loves Garner “to death”. “Why would it be weird? I don’t know Ben. I don’t know how happy they are,” he said. — IANS

I feel like a Hindu now, declares Sting


Rock star Sting has declared himself something of a Hindu and an addict of India, in an e-mail interview with Friday’s Hindustan Times ahead of two concerts. Gordon Sumner, who performs for tsunami relief on February 4 at Bangalore and February 6 in New Delhi, told the daily he loves the country. “In a sense I am more of a Hindu... I like the Hindu religion more than anything else at the moment. I have become addicted to India... I would want to spend the rest of my life discovering your beautiful country.” The performances are being billed as the first full solo concerts by Sting in India. DNA Networks, which is staging the shows, says all the funds will go to assist tsunami victims in India where more than 16,000 people died in the December 26 tragedy. To coincide with the concerts, Universal Music is to release a special limited edition of the 2003 album, ‘Sacred Love’. The album features Ravi Shankar’s daughter Anoushka playing sitar in ‘The book of my life’. — AFP

Swank — a true boxing pupil!


“My best champion is Hilary Swank,” glows Panamanian boxing coach Hector Roca with pride, setting the Oscar-nominated actress above 13 fighters he’s helped turn into world champs. In ‘Million Dollar Baby’, Swank plays Maggie Fitzgerald, a boxer trained by Clint Eastwood, who also directs the film. The film has been nominated for seven Academy Awards, and Roca plans to travel to Los Angeles to see if his star pupil wins the coveted best actress Oscar after already winning a Golden Globe for her performance in the film. The story of Roca’s involvement with the film began when Bruce Silverglade, proprietor of Gleason’s gym in the New York borough of Brooklyn, received a call to train the actress, already an Oscar winner for her performance in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. Silverglade immediately thought of Roca. “I chose him for Hilary. I got a call from her people and they arranged for her to come over and when she was in she sized up the gym and she sized me up and at the same time I sized her up and chose Hector and it turned out to be a nice match,” Silverglade said. “She started boxing like a real boxer.” — AFP

Vivacious voices

Himalayan News Service, Kathmandu:

Combination II”, an exhibition of paintings and sculptures presented by Aarya, Menuka, Chandani and Renuka as ‘Petals’, was inaugurated by Basudev, vice-chancellor of Royal Nepal Academy and Krishna Manandhar, campus chief of Lalit Kala Campus, on January 26. This is a second endeavour by ‘Petals’, a group comprising four undergraduate students of Lalit Kala Campus.

The exhibition is a veritable illustration of the persuasive powers of art. Aarya, Menuka, Chandani and Renuka have amply demonstrated their deftness in recreating artistic expression with consummate finesse. Aarya, who used acrylic oil and dry pastel in her paintings titled ‘Life’, and ‘Natural Beauty, concentrates on beauty as perceived in life. Renuka has used oil, water colours and dry pastel in her paintings and they depict “Phases of Life’ as the title suggests. Menuka’s terracotta sculptures are titled “Cactus’ and ‘Affection’. Cactus represents the predicament of desolate women and since the cactus is without its thorns it suggests their vulnerability. Chandani’s terracotta sculptures are based on a theme: ‘elements of existence’.

Almost all the paintings reverberate with the voice of vivacious artists championing for peace and harmony amongst fellow human beings and at the same time seeking an end to violence and brutality visited on women. They question the status of women in a predominantly patriarchal social structure. The exhibition is open to all from January 26 to February 1 between 11am to 5pm.

Face of the Week:

Name: Nirmal Bhattarai

Age: 21

Education: BA, ongoing

Height: 5’ 7”

Weight: 71kg

Complexion: Fair

Hobbies: Travelling, singing, watching TV and net surfing

I hate: Smoking and backbiting

I love: Partying

Favourite sport: Cricket

Favourite cricketer: Shoaib Akhtar

Aim: To be successful and serve the nation

Address: Kumarigal - 7, Kathmandu, Nepal