Will Self, August 15 2014, BBC News Magazine:
"...As our avid chatter increases in volume red spots begin to appear on our pale cheeks. And as we cough and splutter the news of our latest acquisitions, so it occurs to me that unless we can find a cure for this malady soon it will have eaten us all up, just as we will have consumed all of Mother Earth's bountiful resources. All that will be left is a gigantic stomach, floating in space, its visceral manifold gleaming weirdly in the cold, indifferent light of the stars - stars that are quite unable to feel any sadness for our demise, because they're too busy consuming themselves. The great French writer Louis-Ferdinand Celine entitled one of his novels Mort a credit. This is sometimes translated into English as Death on the Instalment Plan, but a better rendition might be simply Consumption."
Since its release, I have never watched HAHK in its entirety. (By the way, I have still not watched a single film in entirety of either Madhuri Dixit or Salman Khan, leading stars of HAHK.)
My brother and I went to a Pune cinema (Mangala) to watch HAHK c1994. We left the hall at the interval when Pooja came rolling down the stair case.
We were so bored almost from the start that we were looking for an excuse to leave the hall, we found it in that tragic accident.
I can't stand the film or any part of it even today. However, I do NOT agree with arguments of Mr. Atul Deulgaonkar (अतुल देऊळगावक), henceforth AD for this post, on the film in Loksatta dated August 10 2014.
In a round about manner, AD blames the film for some of the major ills he sees in Indian society today!
"२० वर्षांपूर्वी 'हम आपके है कौन?' या चित्रपटाने हिंदी चित्रपटांचा फॉम्र्युलाच केवळ बदलला नाही, तर अवघे भारतीय जनमानसही त्याने कवेत घेतले. श्रीमंतीचे उथळ प्रदर्शन, 'संस्कृती'च्या नावाखाली थिल्लर गोष्टींचा अतिरेक, दाखवेगिरीचा प्रचंड सोस आणि सामाजिकतेला सोडचिठ्ठी ही सगळी या चित्रपटाचीच देन आहे. याचदरम्यान भारतीय समाजात आणि त्याच्या मानसिकतेत जे बदल घडले, त्याची सुरुवात या चित्रपटाने करून दिली..."
(twenty years ago HAHK not just changed the formula of Hindi films but embraced the entire Indian psyche. Shallow display of wealth, extremism of silly things under the name of culture, huge thirst for exhibitionism and riddance of sociality are all gifts of this film only. Meanwhile the changes that took place in Indian society and psyche were triggered by this film...)
Brendan O’Neill has said: "...Today it is those who pose as pro-science who are most likely to treat natural events as being caused by individuals’ behaviour, and who are most likely to argue that catastrophes can be predicted and potentially offset through a secular form of eco-penance. They even claim that earthquakes are caused by climate change, as evidenced in recent headlines such as ‘Climate change will shake the earth’. They would probably have blamed the Lisbon quake on consumerism, just as religious folk blamed it on sin..."
When AD blames a 'silly' film for major ills in our society, he reminds me of such 'folks'. I am not disputing either the ills or their monstrous nature but just arguing that HAHK was NOT a harbinger of consumerism in India. The film is not that significant. The ills AD describes are real but defy simple reasoning.
Just about everything that AD faults in this raging article happened or was happening or would have happened with or without HAHK. HAHK did little, at best marginal, difference to the course of history of consumerism in India.
Consumerism predates HAHK by many decades, indeed centuries.
Joshua M. Zeitz claims in The New York Times, December 27 2003: "...Finally, the ever-rising influence of consumerism and advertising after 1900 chipped away at the Victorian-era culture of asceticism and self-denial, in effect legitimating the pursuit of pleasure..."
Peter N. Stearns claims: "...We now know that, while there was new surge around 1900, modern consumerism predates the industrial revolution..." ('Consumerism in World History: The Global Transformation of Desire', 2006)
For me, HAHK is a bad, gaudy film that I probably will never watch but it was just holding a cracked mirror to our society. It tried to entertain like most Hindi films do. Nothing more, nothing less.
I don't think it either makes any comment on consumerism, the way Sir Bacon's picture above does or promotes consumerism. I did not like it but hey, millions others DID.