Sunday, January 22, 2006

Say, are you game for some Satire?

{Also cross-posted at the Indian Media Bash Blog. Read Here }

For MAD magazine fanatics like me, everything in those pieces of satire is like pure gold! But believe me, the humor of MAD does not appeal to everyone. From “Alfred E. Neuman’s” various avatars to the “Letters and Tomatoes Department” and from the “The MAD Movie Satires” to the unforgettable “Spy Vs Spy” bloodbaths, all of them are unbelievably cruel. Cruel in the sense that, they go all out to make the life of those being parodied, unbearably funny. The caricatures of celebrities are not only realistic, but the situations they seem to be portrayed in, are very relevant to their “personalities”. Ya, I mean I know most of you are thinking that that is what they are supposed to be doing, but somehow I feel that after RK Laxman’s cartoons, no other cartoons seem to be able to convey the humor with a punch like those found in MAD.

The Gods of Movie Satire and everything else!

The features where they have cartoon parodies of the latest, famous movies, TV serials, and political events are just hilarious. Some of my favorites are from the Kicking the Hobbit Department: “Bored of the Rings” and from the Serge in General Department: “MAD look at Jackass”. One of the most memorable recent issues of MAD I read was the “The Official Unofficial History of MAD” [Thanks to a friend whose copy I borrowed and have still not returned!]. It carried the chronological history of how MAD developed and in a sort of “Forrest Gump-ish” way connected the important happenings of the 20th century with the issues of MAD. The bit about how Bill Gaines, the editor of MAD in 1987 skipped lunch for a week and by doing so saved Ghana from a famine has me in splits ever since!

Cine Blitz has Gone MAD?

Now back in India and to some interesting notes about our desi magazines, I found that Cine Blitz, the film magazine from the Mallyas [I did not know this, but the credits say that Mr. Vijay Mallya is the chairman] has a section on movie satire which is a ditto copy of the MAD version. I generally don’t page through Cine Blitz or Star Dust or any other movie magazines when I am in our club library, because most of the people there give me a nasty look, thinking that I am wasting my time ogling the glossy pictures of filmy babes, apart from all that’s on TV anyway. But today, seeing that Time magazine was already in the hands of someone else, I decided to page through a couple of these magazines. I pity the people who spend time writing articles in these magazines, I doubt if anyone reads them anyway. [Note to editors, magazine owners and others: This previous comment does not in anyway indicate my disinclination towards writing such articles if they are offered to me.] Everybody is so busy paging through the glossy airbrushed pictures of film stars and models that I doubt if anyone reads beyond the first two lines of the write-ups. Anyway, coming back to what I was saying before, Cine Blitz it seems now carries a movie satire piece with cartoons.

I found that I actually was reading October, 2005’s edition of Cine Blitz and it carried a parody about Aamir Khan’s movie Mangal Pandey- The Rising. It had caricatures of Aamir Khan, Amisha Patel, Rani Mukherjee and other cast members of the movie in goofy Mangal Pandey situations. I found that it also carried a joke similar to what I had conjured up in this post, about how unemployed dancing girls will find jobs in movie item numbers.

Satire in Indian Media

Well, this piece in Cine Blitz was nowhere as good as what is found on MAD, simply because it was not wicked enough! But satire and parodies in our Media is rather sparse according to me. Yes we have Shekar Suman with his Vajpayee imitations, NDTV’s puppet show, Double Take and a few others, but most satires are not of any mentionable quality. We are not such a satirical people as the Americans are [which is good] and many have complained to me that they don’t want to feel guilty by reading trash like MAD, but some laughing at ourselves will do us no harm. As I write this piece, the Apsara Award show is being aired on TV and I find that the event organizers too have come up with an attempt at satire. I must say, Ganesh Hegde and Diya Mirza’s parody about the hit movie songs of 2004-2005 looks like a good attempt. The comedians of the Great Indian Laughter Challenge also do a great job. And if the popularity of that show is any indication, it would be that we can afford to laugh a little more at MAD like satires and not feel guilty about it!

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