‘Pink’ is a textbook example of the pitfalls of making a film as a star vehicle v/s making a film to tell a story. Increasingly, mainstream Hindi films are only about the stars. I guess the producer and director spend so much time and energy chasing the star to agree to do their film, that when they do get the star, they must milk his/her presence on screen. So most films concentrate only on the tracks of the stars, or star, and make sure that they are in every frame of the film. After all, you are selling a brand, and so the brand has to be in the foreground in each frame of the film. Subliminal allusions are passé. The star is after all only a product, a product that sells.
So, ‘Pink’ which presumably is the story of 3 young working girls, flat-mates in Delhi, charged with the assault of a young man who allegedly molested one of them, becomes instead the story of a manic-depressive retired lawyer with a terminally sick wife who takes charge of the girls’ case and fights it for them, while they flounder around helplessly, inarticulate and only emotional in their responses.
Because the story has to lead up to a grand performance by the star, it does not allow a natural, organic unraveling of events, a close examination of characters and their motives and their contexts, leading to a natural, organic climax. Instead the story telling is contrived, creating false tension and a disputable suspense with the overuse of background music, and far too many cuts. The pauses added to create gravitas presumably also balance more in the favour of the star than the characters whose story has been hijacked.
So, what you get is not mise-en-scene, or the dynamics of different characters, courage that swings up and down with pressures that build up, contradictions within a character, the story itself. What you get is the star telling you at the end of the film, in his perfectly pitched voice what the story was all about.
Edited to add: I don’t have a problem with mainstream films. Or even stars for that matter. We have made good films with stars earlier. In the mainstream. The problem is that these days most of the films become only about the stars, at the cost of the story and the film. And I think it does injustice even to the star. Nobody can be a good actor on their own, without a well balanced script and cast. A well written script is a much better vehicle for a star, don’t you think?
Time to repost one of Teja’s drawings from the Star series.