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Paromita Vohra: Truth out

I think it’s time for me to Come Out. To Tell The Truth. Mostly, I think it’s time because at this point I’m pretty sure no one will care about it.

So, here goes. I haven’t seen Udta Punjab. Or Raman Raghav. I’m confused if they have even released or not — legally, I mean.

Shahid Kapoor in Udta Punjab that released on June 17
Shahid Kapoor in Udta Punjab that released on June 17

It’s not because I don’t want to. Or have anything against the films in principle (can’t say what I’ll feel after, but let’s just say nowadays I am at pains to avoid that wearying accusation: what ya, you don’t like anything).

It’s just that I feel I have already seen the films without seeing them.

Nowadays, a film begins so much before it releases.

First, the promo comes out. There are many seriously serious reviews of the promo, which assure us the film will be great because the promo is, after all, no promo normally tries to tell you a film is great, so, obviously, a lucky truth has been outed.

Later, the plot may or may not take a censorship wala twist, but certainly tales of difficulty, derring-do and grit in real life — from near-death to bad breath, depending on the film ê will appear in the papers and get discussed cyclically on social media, followed by a few memes and opinion pieces, one of them possibly mine.

The film comes out. So do many reviews. I faithfully read all of them and discuss with friends. By then my column is late and the editor is sending me terse emails, so I get distracted by work (sick behaviour, I know).

In short, before a film comes out I feel I have been consuming the film for so long, and am so emotionally drained from thinking about it, that I feel I have already seen the film and simply forget to go till I remember, usually reminded by someone dangerously earnest and devoted to saving the world, yaniki cinema.

This person will look at me with big disillusioned eyes as if I have revealed my true nature. I don’t know why anyone would be confused about my true nature, given that I freely admit to having seen every episode of The Simi Garewal Show and Koffee With Karan. But, I’ve never seen the promos. Which may explain something.

Also, before the film comes out, many people will feel I must never see it — like in Udta Panjab’s case, Mr Pahlaj Nihalani. When it does, an equal and scarier (because they are friends or aforementioned earnest person) number feel
I must see it, or civilisation and cinema will blow up together like SRK and Manisha in Dil Se (sorry for spoiler if you still haven’t seen it because you are like me). Caught between the pressure of Publicity and Duty, I just crack and end up watching Game of Thrones.

Then the weekend orgy passes and no one mentions the film. Hardly anyone ever writes about the film because of beauty instead of duty. It’s like after the release, its place in the world is irrelevant. One day if I’m lucky, someone talks about a film with love and suddenly I feel like seeing it. Sometimes I love it. And then I’m happy.

It’s also helpful because there are no more GOT episodes left.

Paromita Vohra is an award-winning Mumbai-based filmmaker, writer and curator working with fiction and non-fiction. Reach her at www.parodevipictures.com

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