Devar 'Oscar' Magan

Kamal in Devar Magan shoot

Was watching Devar Magan yesterday on the SUN. It was as gripping as it was on the first watch. Also yesterday we had a visitor who kept saying that Devar Magan would have grabbed an Oscar in the foreign film category if not for the silly mistake that was made. Kamal Hassan, the Devar’s son didn’t shave his head and his moustache after his father’s demise and that was considered as inappropriate by the Oscar recommendation committee. Because as the Devar community custom, a son should tonsure during the last rites. I know that this is a silly hearsay that we keep hearing.

He was probably not aware of the dynamics behind Oscar recommendation and the lobbying that happens to make the Oscar committee to watch a movie. We saw that happening with Aamir and Ashutosh for their Lagaan. But it stunned me that he was so sure that about the fact(?!) and kept harping on that.

Few other situations that this rumour was in circulation were – Kamalhassan not shaving his armpit hair as a male dance in Salangai Oli( this hair issue seems to come in rounds), Tinu Anand using his dead father’s pistol in Mani Ratnam’s Nayakan as pistols should not be given to the family of dead policemen.

I ask the same question again, why do we need to send movies for Oscars Awards and also expect it as an critical acclaim for Indian movies. Moreover such excuses for not be awarded an Oscar seems to become a serious joke.

12 thoughts on “Devar 'Oscar' Magan

  1. Hi LG,

    I completely agree with ur views LG.I don’t know why ppl always expect a stamp from foreign countries(esp. US), though each and every Indian knows that is good.If they don’t get that then they point a dumb reason for that.(as u hv listed)

  2. I also watched the movie, and I shud say that Kamal increases one’s faith in method acting. If only I were a girl…I would have left my home town of Madurai long ago …to marry Kamal, that is…and by now would have found my way into Kamala Ben’s kotha. 😉

  3. I basically think that south indian cinema needs a oscar nomination (and ergo a foreign stamp) just to be recognized and for the industry to get a boost from that. As LG rightly said, lobbying plays a major role and I am not sure that the majority of the really good film makers down south are capable enough to sell their wares the way Aamir and Ashutosh did. If main stream Bollywood movie makers had the same talent (in addition to the money) as some of the serious movie makers down south, we’d probably have more Lagaan-esque performances at the Oscars. Till then, we’ll have to be satisfied with the odd showing at Locarno, Toronto and Venice. Gosh, even Cannes has been hijacked by Bollywood money :O Imagine…

    Why should you look at the Oscar as a stamp of approval? I mean, a lot of doors for Chinese film makers opened up only after Crouching Tiger. We shldnt trivialize it as a stamp, rather it should be recognized as a way to paint the right picture about India. Its about economics as much as it is about razzmatazz. The Oscar buzz generates more business for the movie in the international market, leading to more money influx for serious movie makers, leading to better production values and scripts and hence better reception internationally. South indian movie makers dont look west ward at all. There’s an untapped market in the west and its time that the film makers tap into it.

    Btw LG, that’s an interesting picture of Kamal applying final makeup touches on Nasser’s face. I have heard (and vaguely remember a Hindi Entertainment section article that said so) that the first subject for Kamal’s make up lessons from Michael Westmoore was Sylvester Stallone on the sets of First Blood ( i think it was First Blood II)! IMDB says that Michael Westmoore worked on the makeup for Kamal on Avvai Shanmughi and Chachi 420, though i always thought Indian was also another of Westmoore and Kamal’s collaboration.

  4. Talking abt the foray into Hollywood, saw Aishwarya Rai’s interview in CBS 60 minutes yesterday. No words can really describe how awful she sounded and acted in the interview.

  5. Lazy,
    I followed your link to the post on “Oscar”.

    Training Day(for which Denzel got the academy award) was a pretty average movie. And Denzel has churned out so many other performances which are way better than the Detective Alonzo Harris he played. Philadelhia, Glory, The Hurricane come mind readily.

    Tom Wilkinson in “In the Bedroom” easily gave the best performance that year – 2001.

  6. Jammy, I only hope you got married to kamal 😉 But do you think Kamal is a method actor. I felt he was a spontaneous one like Shivaji. Nasrudhein Shah is a good example for method acting. He comes from that school of thought.

  7. The Oscar buzz generates more business for the movie in the international market, leading to more money influx for serious movie makers, leading to better production values and scripts and hence better reception internationally.

    Anti – you put that well. I agree there about economics behind oscar but we have that even without Oscar nominations, our movies have been recognised. The point that I am worried is that, some people and the producers are in the maya that Oscar is something like a shangri-la and after you get it you are at the top of the world.

    I would be happy if only our producers and directors are bothered about giving good movie in a shoe string budget instead of aiming at only Oscars. It is an unwanted deviation just like your first crush in school. Didn’t you feel it is unwanted now ? 😉 same stuff antiiiiiiiiii

  8. TOL, sometimes rai is too bad. The last time I liked here in an interview was during the show ‘ Walk the Talk’ in NDTV.

    But i still can’t believe she made it to CBS 60 minutes.

  9. Nilu, Agree with you that training day was a mediocre but i was happy(in 2002) that he got re-cognized finally. And if you see the post I am not happy that Morgan Freeman hasn’t grabbed the oscars yet. he was nominated for The Shawshank Redemption, Driving Miss Daisy and ofcourse the amazing performance as a pimp in Street Smart.

  10. Second you totally you on Dhevar Magan – without any doubt it is a classic….and everytime I watch it, I am bowled over by the preciseness with which Kamal chooses actors to play even a very small role.. For example, Madan Bab, Kaka Radhakrishnan and Thalaivasal Vijay wouldn’t be the first names that would come to ur mind when u think of their roles but after watching the movie, u feel as if no one would have done better justice to it..And Ilayaraja’s music was mindblowing…

    Reg: the Oscars, I agree with you that too much is being made out of a highly politicised award…

  11. The easiest way to an Oscar is to have an identifiable ‘struggle’ that will appeal to hollywood. This isn’t just being cynical. Indian ‘struggle against oppression’ movies are usually very hypocritical. (for eg. Lagaan was pretty bizarre that way. Aamir Khan patronizing the ‘untouchable’ spinner who completely forgets his unchanging caste status in the face of British oppression.) Kamal’s struggle movies are even more pointless.
    Hollywood maybe cheesy but they are not stupid.
    As Anand has noted, the Oscar brings International Visibility, and the quality of movies winning the award has been consistently good. This year, “Motorcycle Diaries” or “Hotel Rwanda” will win.

  12. Hi Geek,
    It has been a while. Being a Kamal Hassan fanatic, could not help commenting on this post.
    First of all, methinks you got the facts wrong. If I am right, Devar Magan was indeed India’s official entry to the Oscars the year it was released. Why I remember it so is because Balu Mahendra was on the committee that year and was angry that the committee did not nominate “Roja.” He even gave interviews that it was wrong to have nominated Devar Magan.

    Anyway, that is a point to check!!!

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