When Immortals hit theatres last weekend, a collective sigh of disappointment became audible across the nation (at least in the metropolitan cities, where it was released). By Saturday night, film critics and film buffs were divided into two camps – one that believed that Tarsem is finished (at least as a feature film director), and another that believed that he has Mirror Mirrror (releasing next year) to prove himself again.
In short, the audience hated Immortals (okay, so ‘hate’ is a strong word – let’s try ‘rejected’ instead), and the reasons go beyond the shoddy CG, the bad acting, the terrible production design and the weak script. Listed below are three reasons that, in my opinion, contribute to the empty seats at Immortals screenings.
1. Freida Pinto – her journey so far from suburban Mumbai to Hollywood has been remarkable. She has worked with Danny Boyle, Woody Allen and a few other greats. She hangs out with the movers and shakers of tinsel town, and is a supporter of the Agassi Foundation. What she has not learned, however, is how to act. Her fellow countrymen are her biggest critics, and they cannot forgive either her false, wannabe British accent (in films and commercials), or her lack of talent. As the ‘Virgin Oracle’, who loses her virginity and thus her powers within minutes of meeting the protagonist, her role in Immortals has to be her worst till date.
2. The Gods – every Indian, irrespective of his religious beliefs, knows all about the millions of celestial beings who live in the heavens, according to Hinduism. Given that there are so many of them, it makes little sense to let one Super-God be in charge. Therefore, there is the Divine Trinity – Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer – and they are never without answers. None of the other Gods dare to mess around with this dynamic trio, thus ensuring intra-terrestrial harmony. So when the seemingly megalomaniac, clueless and confused Zeus and his paltry squad of Golden Gods (and their weird headgear) are portrayed as the guys who have no idea how to manage the impending doom, not many Indians will buy it.
3. 11.11.11. Many Indians believe that this is a lucky day. So do Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, and so does Indian director Imtiaz Ali. Tintin is as popular in India as Captain America is in the USA. Given a choice between The Adventures of Tintin and Immortals, urban moviegoers will opt for the former (and most already have). The non-Tintinologists would rather watch Ranbir Kapoor (the talented lead actor, who stars in Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar) than Henry Cavill (tables may turn when Cavill becomes Superman, but we will have to wait and watch), or Freida Pinto, or even Mickey Rourke.
As a die-hard Tarsem enthusiast who has already watched Immortals, I have only one suggestion to all – avoid the 3D version of the film.