Thumbs up to dumbed down?

Apr 13, 2014, 06:35 IST |

I’m writing a book. Moron 1 asks me, “Accha who’s bought the movie rights? Karan Johar?

Rahul da CunhaI’m writing a book.

Moron 1 asks me, “Accha who’s bought the movie rights? Karan Johar?

Yash Raj?”

I’m aghast — “Uhm, first of all it’s a book, I’d like for the publisher to publish it first. And some readers to hopefully read it. Not everything is Bollywood oriented, yes?”

Illustration/Amit Bandre
Illustration/Amit Bandre

Moron 2 informs me, “Arre, everyone writes books so they become movies. Look at Chetan Bhagat, genius ya, Kai Po Che, 3 Idiots, now 2 States, all made into Hindi film hits”

Moron 3 asks me, “What is the plot of the book, tell me in one sentence?”

“Well it’s not a plot-driven story, it’s a kind of a stream of consciousness narrative...”

Moron 1 interjects, “Nahin nahin, it won’t work, no one will read, too intellectual, too high funda. People today want simple, leave their brains at
home-type stuff.”

I stand in a sea of inanity, while intellectualism lies in shreds around me.

We’ve dumbed down. Simple-minded entertainment has become the opium of the masses, we don’t wanna put in any effort to appreciate the arts.
“Who are the intelligensia?” our new- age creators seem to ask with disdain, “A bunch of pariahs, flies in our mindless ointment?”

So Rohit Shetty makes the churlish Chennai Express and anchors a TV programme where B-Grade celebrities combat cockroaches — I appreciate that in this moronic world Mr Shetty commands respect. After all his Shah Rukh-Deepika-starrer netted R200 crores. But in sharp contrast, we have no time for the existentialist questions Rajat Kapoor raises in the seminal, Ankhon Dekhi. Time it was that while Sooraj Barjatya titillated, there was always a Saeed Mirza who made us think. The latter and his brand of cinema has no market or mind space anymore. Even a film like Queen, while it uplifts, is supremely unlayered.

“Story kya hai?” has devolved into “Star kaun hai?”.

When did we exhume the parallel movie? When did we kill the deliciously complex paperback ? When did we abolish: “It really makes you think?”
Intelligent fare has been cremated and depth of thought has been RIPed.

So we embrace the shallow, flirt with the frivolous and serenade the superficial.

Higher learning has morphed into Lowest Common Denominator.

And why has this happened? Have attention spans diminished so we seek instant gratification? Or is regression the mantra for the new progressive age?
Statements such as, ‘Nahin chalegi, nahin bikegi, too boring, too slow yaar, moti baat kya hai’, who decided?

I can’t headline the thought, I want to take my time telling the story, not précis it. I want to be sensual but not in an obvious Sunny Leone item number way.
I want to create art, so voyeurs, and viewers alike, are left with work that is immortal not necessarily immediate.

Surely we can’t be mute to such dumbing down?

Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at rahuldacunha62

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