David (chute) was right I made it up. After watching rnbdj (a mouthful) I thought I remembered pauline kael had spoken about a genre called “Imitation of a classic” she hadn’t I mis remembered(made it up. whatever). Susan Sontag had invented the term “camp”.
Rab is not camp. It comes damn close .
It is a film made by students of the 70’s pre amitabh films (of shammi, Shashi and sharmila) that trys like heck to find the elusive sixty year old with whom the theme would resonate , much like as if a hollywood whizkid made a highschool film about greasy italian kids making fun of geeky classmates….and set it in an indetermined time in this millenium.
Is there a market for faux nostalgia films? Like most faux …things, it depends on what faux is giftwrapped-bundled with. here , there is just straw..and straw men…which is why , innend the film fails.
There is no Sacrificing Suri in real life, any more..that’s mythology from the partition when Punjabi government servants were intense vespa scooter driving lovers. There is no sublimating Taani any more. They are now santro driving Puppies that hang around indiagate and nirulas playing rang de basanti songs loudly displaying too much money and too many claires accesories trinkets they picked up from sarojini market..and this has always been true….
So where is the value in writing (faux?) epic poems to nonexistent characters that noone in the audience can identify with any more? Aditya Chopra is attempting the impossible. he’s trying to create a captive audience from a distantly remembered romanticism…
And trying to get Shahrukh khan to credibly romance a heroine twenty years his junior. They do this all the time in the South. (every hero has a heroine twenty years his junior in the usual south Indian popular flic).
The plot device only works with a liberal dose of dream sequences, and suggestive symbolism, and a crossover into fantasy and escapism, though. The audience clearly needs to get the signal that this is all in lascivicious good fun. the teenager in the audience has to let her fantasies go to the forty(seven) year old in a way where there is no reality anchoring her thoughts. The Forty year old clearly needs to see that the girl is not from next door….and he can drop his societal taboo of developing sex thoughts about younger members of the extended family.
Failing this, the film becomes camp…made by an outsider….that doesn’t understand the real audience watching for something to identify with.
and Thats the rub.