Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"I Love Shahrukh Khan"

The first thing to note is: You do not know Shahrukh Khan. You have seen, on screen, the characters he has played. He is an actor, and a rather mediocre one at that. He has never even been nominated for an international film festival award, for example.

Whenever somebody (usually a woman) says they love Shahrukh Khan, you can assume that they've been had. They are in love with a manufactured good.

Nobody loves screenwriters or music composers. People mistakenly have crushes on actors and actresses because the characters they play are designed to be lovable. It is to mistake a greeting card for a greeting.

It would all be rather funny, were it not that it is leading to depression and impotence and frigidity when it comes to interactions with real flesh-and-blood human beings. How can a real spouse compete with the manufactured image of an ideal spouse?

We expect our friends and lovers to be at least approximate the caricatures manufactured by media. You may say that you do not. But you are not you, you are your influences, which more than ever are meant to morph you into a pliable consumer of entertainment and shiny gadgets. Subconsciously, you are comparing people with what you have seen on the screen.

You say, "Cute", "cool", "chic", "crass", "gross". I say, "brainwashed".

Is the body fake? Check.
Is the voice fake? Check.
Is the emotion fake? Check.
Is the expression fake? Check.
Are the situations carefully designed? Check.
Is the feeling that you get fake? Nope.
Have you been had? Check.

I think it is reasonable to suspend disbelief in a movie theater. But what if movies are the prime vector of your cultural education?

And when reality hits, and you commit suicide, people wonder why you couldn't be well-adjusted.

Shahrukh Khan is in the business of manufacturing dreams. And if you believe otherwise, may god save your soul.

10 comments:

Pankaj said...

Ironically, most of the people who follow the latest cool show, are the most active on social media, are most immersed in consumer culture - are the well adjusted. People are incredibly adaptable, or "self monitors" as we were taught in MBA. The mal-adapted are the ones who cannot change their internal compass quick enough with changing norms (a media savvy and social networked world nowadays).

Harmanjit Singh said...

@pankaj: The Gen-Y may be well-adjusted when it comes to cultural literacy in the short term, but I think the earlier generations were more realistic in what they expected from other human beings, especially their spouses.

Anonymous said...

'Manufactured goods' were always around. If it is Shahrukh Khan now, it was Amitabh, Rajesh Khanna or Raj Kapoor earlier. The earlier generation movies were no less unrealistic than the current ones. And they were equally, if not more, popular with the public.

"I think the earlier generations were more realistic in what they expected from other human beings, especially their spouses."

It would be intersting to know the basis for your conclusion.

Harmanjit Singh said...

@anonymous:

You ask "It would be intersting to know the basis for your conclusion."

I think media plays a MUCH more important role today than ever before. The amount of time spent on media-driven activities is greater than ever before in human history. That is the basis of my conclusion.

Anonymous said...

Hey, the questions you ask come straight out of the same Indian Spiritual traditons that you love to scoff at:
Is the body fake? Check.
Is the voice fake? Check.
Is the emotion fake? Check.
Is the expression fake? Check.
Are the situations carefully designed? Check.
Is the feeling that you get fake? Nope.
Have you been had? Check.

Am I the body? No
Am I the voice? No
Am I the emotion? No
Is Expression the Truth? No
Is everything preordained? Yes
Are feelings the basis of Truth? No(Heaven help if you said Yes to this one!)
Have you been had? Yes of course!!!!!

Anonymous said...

"I love God"

God is in the business of maufacturing dreams. If you believe otherwise, not even God can help you!!!!!

zrini said...

Well written. Just to be a devil's devil's advocate (since you are the devil's advocate :) ):

Humanity idealizes and progresses... all morality and nobility is thus. J.K and others have criticized this saying that this results in comparison and heartaches, but definitely this has resulted in good behavior and a move away from the natural instinctual animal behavior. Sharukhan and the movie idealizations are one such example of "what should be" and immersing in such ideals gives the mass a goal, a requirements specification though it never can get implemented fully.... what say?

Hardeep said...

The heading of this post is quite contrary to the content of this post. Its misleading!

Anonymous said...

Is'nt it creepy how the real and illusory(virtual) worlds are merging into one another?
The line between a facebook friend and a friend in flesh and blood is getting thinner and thinner.
Perhaps the Spiritualists who you so love to thrash were not so wrong when they said "The world(jagat) is an illusion(continuously changing state or mithya)".

Suri said...

We all love others for what they do, think, say, write, or dream, ideate and of course also for the art they have.

We don't love Raj malhotra or Rahul, we love shahrukh the soul of the guy dancing in a no-brains-romantic-comedy.

Unlike Raj, Shahrukh is a body with blood and soul.

May be it is true that we are loving a manufactured good if the love is for Raj malhotra who is a protagonist in the drama thats full of escapism.

"Nobody loves screenwriters or music composers" - ? Check.

We love Rehman, Viswanath, maniratnam... kalam,Gandhi, anna,..sachin, lata mangeshkar,... somewhere in the list some of us have Shahrukh too.

I don't think their soul needs to be saved for it.