THE picture above, which was supposedly taken during the recent Star Awards, reminds me of an event I covered some years back.
It was also an awards show featuring Maricel Soriano doing the big opening number. And guess what she did: A song-and-dance number a la Catherine Zeta-Jones in “Chicago”!
Despite lip synching to the sound of her own voice as she sang and danced to “All That Jazz,” Maricel left me with a disturbing picture that I couldn’t help commenting on when I wrote the piece the next day.
I wouldn’t have minded had Maricel performed the number during one of those weekly variety shows. Although not a great singer, the “Diamond Star” has proven herself to be a consummate dancer. But that wasn’t the point.
Even if she outperformed Catherine in her rendition of the film’s big opening act, there was no escaping the fact that one of the Philippines’ biggest stars was aping a foreign actress on a night supposedly dedicated to honoring the best works in Philippine movies.
What she did was a slap on herself and her colleagues, including those working behind the cameras. The saddest part was she and her collaborators seemed totally oblivious about it.
If that was a sneak peek on how our entertainment people think, should we still wonder why only a handful of our locally produced films and TV series gain global recognition?
As human beings, we may all be connected despite our religious and cultural differences, but that doesn’t give artists an excuse to willfully copy other peoples’ works. More so on a night that supposedly pays tribute to the country’s best films.
Now comes this selfie featuring Aiai delas Alas and company doing what Ellen DeGeneres and her gang of A-listers led by Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper did on Oscar night recently.
I posted the link on my Facebook wall, and my friends were almost unanimous in saying how “cheap” the act was. Not a few channeled Cherie Gil and her immortal line as Lavinia, the ultimate villain in “Bituing Walang Ningning”: They’re nothing but “second rate, trying hard copycats.”
The inimitable Jude, in reference to the record-breaking number of retweets Ellen and her friends set, even declared that the local selfie could muster only 15 retweets: “The artists retweeted their picture twice.”
A lone dissenter who happens to be one of the country’s best celebrity photographers came to our stars’ defense: “I wonder how they (Ellen DeGeneres and her colleagues) would fare if they have the same set up as ours??? I still believe we have good artists in all fields.”
I agree, but if you ask me, good isn’t good enough if you continue to consciously copy at the expense of originality.
My response: “Yes, we’re good, but I believe it’s our copycat mentality that’s holding us back. It’s not bad to be inspired or to draw from others’ works. But to consciously rip them off? We will never be good enough if we continue to ape a giant like Hollywood. We have to chart our own course like what the Indians did for their Bollywood for us to grow, excel and gain the attention of others.”
Why settle for being good when we have all the potentials to be great?