Orange (Bhaskar, 2010)
Rewatching Magadheera recently reminded me of a couple of relatively important facts:
1. Magadheera is still freaking AMAZING and I really, really do need to get around to reviewing it someday
2. Among the stacks of unwatched dvds that characterise my immediate surroundings, I have Ram Charan Teja's other 2 films: Chirutha and Orange.
So here's another insight into my decision-making process: despite being aware of a somewhat...negative buzz surrounding the film, I chose to watch Orange...because orange is my favourite colour.
It turns out this is a really stupid reason to decide to watch a film. I suspect this is a lesson you can also apply to Blue.
Apparently, the idea behind Orange was to give “Mega Star” Ram Charan Teja a break from his massy image following Magadheera, slotting him instead into a Bomarillu-type relationship focused film, this time: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back. HAD I KNOWN THAT I WOULD HAVE SKIPPED IT – not because I have anything against romantic films, but because I HATED Bomarillu. Orange is from the same director AND has Genelia trying to reprise her perky Bomarillu character type. Only with more shrieking mania. I swear to god, the moment Genelia opened her mouth in this film, I wanted to stab myself in the face. (Cherry is fine with what he has to work with, by the way – he emotes, he dances, he kicks butt and even has moments of self-referential glory: “Do I know how to fight?” WINK WINK NUDGE NUDGE and he looks every bit the stylish urban Mega Star … it's just that he's SO much more fun to watch in a better film).
The film opens with graffiti artist Ram (Ram Charan Teja) having an emo meltdown and destroying a huge graffiti portrait of his ex-girlfriend Janu (Genelia). A policeman (Prakash Raj) arrives and tries to discover what the problem is – why this kid has gone batshit crazy. Ram proclaims himself “the greatest lover in the world” and starts telling the long story of how he met Janu, and how it all went wrong. It went wrong, long story short, because Ram's policy from the beginning was to be completely honest with Janu, including his firmly held belief that he could not love one person for his whole life, and Janu couldn't deal with that. SHE WOULD RATHER HAVE A BOYFRIEND WHO TOLD HER PRETTY LITTLE LIES.
My extremely personal reasons for watching Orange to the bitter end:
- Prakash Raj in a policeman’s outfit
- Turns out I TOTALLY know one of the back up dancers in the first song and come on, 6 degrees of seperation etc. I HAVE DANCED WITH THAT GUY IN MY LOUNGE, hence…I’m one degree from dancing with Cherry, right? RIGHT? TELL ME THAT’S HOW IT WORKS. (So I totally watched it to see if he popped up again after the first song. Sadly, no).
Guy in the red t-shirt about 40 seconds in.
- As the film descended rapidly from cracktastic bad to bad bad, I held out vague hope it would come back around into hilarious bad again. That BORING was just a blip. Sadly, my optimism went unrewarded.
- Ram Charan Teja TOTALLY looks like a guy I went to school with, so I felt mean switching the film off, having a soft spot for Cherry. Even though: DUDE. WHAT THE FUCK.
The frustrating thing about Orange (apart from EVERYTHING, including its meaningless, nonsensical surtitle “Love In Fall” - UM... WAS THE FILM SET IN AUTUMN AT ANY POINT AND I JUST MISSED IT? ARE YOU USING “Fall” to mean something obscure I AM COMPLETELY UNAWARE OF?) is that there IS a vaguely interesting concept buried in there, underneath a shabby mistreatment. It basically means that this film:
1.Starts out entertainingly bad: think overwrought emotional melodramatics from graffiti artist / wildlife photographer Ram (Ram Charan Teja) and nonsense like the existence of lions in the Australian wild (on the outskirts of town) being used as an aphrodisiac. Oh, and a fight scene with the twist that all the hooligans have different coloured aerosol spraypaint cans...and aren't afraid to use them.
2. Before it veers rapidly into just plain dire: numerous, mind-numbing repetitions of the same confusing, frustrating conversations on the film's bizarro theme: Ram believes love is a short term only thing; Janu (Genelia, in her most irritatingly shrill role to date) believes that love is for life. And instead of agreeing to disagree, or finding partners who have similar outlooks, the two just have the same arguments and make each other (and the audience) miserable for THREE LONG HOURS, because the narrative – told as an extended flashback from Ram's pov - is so clumsily presented that the point – Ram's whole “love is a short term thing” - doesn't make ANY SENSE until the last few minutes of the film. As a bonus side effect, all men end up looking like lying, cheating, cynical relationship-avoidant assholes, and all women end up looking like neurotic, needy, jealous, relationship-obsessed psychos.
Genelia makes two faces in this film: manic crazy eyes or pouty sulky bitchface
The problem is that the central idea, when it FINALLY makes sense (if you even get that far) could actually make a substantial, interesting, modern film. What Orange tries to do (yet manages to bury under piles of misogyny and incessant repetition of the SAME GODDAMN CONVERSATION) is get us to examine our own ideas about love. Ram's ideals don't allow him to tell lies or change himself for the sake of love: love should last as long as it lasts while it is healthy and good. Telling lies, making changes for someone else – in Ram's view, any compromise is going to ruin the perfect love, so the love – thus the relationship – must end. Janu, on the other hand, believes love HAS TO BE FOREVER. There are examples of her outlook that basically illustrate Ram's point...so...Ram is the hero (and yet again, women are made to look like insane idiots): e.g. Janu's friend discovers her boyfriend is cheating on her when he sends her a text intended for his mistress; Janu appeals to Ram to use his unflinching honesty to fix the situation somehow but he points out that they could just break up. JANU NO LIKE SOLUTION. JANU THINK LOVE FOREVER!
Who is right? Neither of them really – Ram is basically in love with himself, and destined to end up alone forever, the way he's going; Janu is a perpetual child-woman who is infuriatingly obtuse about all aspects of human nature, wide eyed in horror to think that someone could possibly think she's an idiot for wanting to pick a husband out of a hat and think that the love will be instant forever love. But there are enough interesting little moments and situations that prompt you to consider the two extremes, the ways we approach thinking about and finding love, that the cackhanded way this film handles it is immensely frustrating.