Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Bollywood ending

I dont hate bollywood movies .. I just hate the way they end.
But then again looking at the 150 minutes of adventure, emotion, music, sex and drama packed celluloid life, it is pretty good a bargain for Rs.80-100 . Looking back, it is important to get it all perfect and happy at the end of the movie .. because as we know, it is difficult .. or almost always - impossible in real life. So I started watching the lesser known Bollywood movies, lest I should end up totally incapable of enjoying and appreciating the simple joys of life. Soon I grew bored of them, boredom grew into contempt, contempt into revulsion and further into hatred. ( Iam not a Hollywood movie evangelist either)

I hate the way movies glorify violence. I hate the way they bring in a perfect ending to every single two-something-hour episode. I hate the way they portray a wrong image about life. I hate the way they tell you that life is fair and everything ends well. I hate them because they say that good always triumphs over the evil. I hate them because they mix the emotions so well that people love to feel emotionally vulnerable.

For a moment I kept aside my prejudices and gave a fair look into these movies .. Maybe there is something in them that make people want for more. What makes Indian cinema uniquely different ? And why hasn't the essential 'formula' never changed over the ages ?

a) Songs in Indian Cinema
More than an additional source of revenue for a movie, the songs that come with the movies are more of a historical residue. ( Songs featured from the time man began to speak in the movies. ) There is a song for every occasion- be it a funeral, birthday, festival .. or my favorite - the judaii scene. It will definitely take another research why Indian movie goers cannot live without 5 songs in a movie. But for these songs .. there would never have been a better teen pass time called Antaakshari - What better way to entertain yourself when you are on a four hour journey with 3 girlfriends of yours ? ;)

b) The catchy dialogues ( usually re-used a hundred times)
These can also be used as a quick guide to understand the context if you have missed the previous 3 minutes of the movie.

"Mein tumharey bachey ki ma banne wali hu" ( usually accompanied by very loud background music .. )
context : The duo have an illegitimate affair and the lady is pregnant , .. usually the guy is unwilling to marry and the lady is unwilling for an abortion.

"Kanoon kay hath bahut lambey hothey hein " -

context : The much wanted criminal is finally nabbed by the cops ( can go upto 25-30 years of chase and being in the hit list). The scene might usually be that of an old but influencial and powerful criminal ring leader being handcuffed by a very law abiding and 'clean' policeman with 3 or 4 constables overlooking , and old Mahindra jeep in the background. This might be soon after a bloody confrontation between the two sides ( usually with lots of bullets zipping across and the death of a couple of cops )

"Kuthey ... Mein thera khoon pee jaonga"
Attributed to Dharmendra??. The next scene is definitely going to be violent.
Another reason why the dogs in India ( esp North India) are malnourished.

Tumney Is Khandaan ki izzath ko mitti mey mila diya.
Literary translation : ( You have mixed the Family izzath ( supposedly a strong binding agent ) - with the local sand. ( Didnt you know the chemical formula for the binder was a family secret ?? .. you duffer !)

Yeh Shaadi kabhi nahi ho sakthi .
context :
1) either the rich son tells his dad about his intention to marry a poor girl. ( or vice versa ) or ...
2) during the muhurat of the wedding, some old nobleman dives in to the wedding scene and just as the bride is about to be garland'ed' .. he shouts ... "Nahiiii .. Yeh Shaadi nahi ho sakthi" ( everything stops and the camera zooms in to the elderly mans face )

c) The length of the movie.
Take this : Sholay was 3 hrs 25 minutes .. Lagaan was 3 hrs and 40 mins and LOC Kargil was 4 hrs 15 minutes !!!!!!
Do we really need a 3+ hour escape from reality to entertain ourselves .. really? But looking through the list of the longest movies, I get consoled that not a single Indian movie features in the 10 longest movies. ( longest being a Chinese movie , running time : 27 hrs ! )

d) Absolute lack of variation
Barring the occasional diversions from the norm, we have our 'ready-made-templates' for the actors - Movies are made for the actors. Sometimes the story lines are made with some actor in mind. Can there be a Hrithik Roshan movie where he does not have a dancing number ? Johnny Lever cannot handle ( never ever ) a serious role. Pran is always a villain. Sunny Deol is always angry and hot blooded.

But then again ... an Industry as big as a nation, watching a Hindi movie over the weekend is not that bad an idea.

Trivia :
Of the top 20 All time earners in Bollywood ( adjusting inflation) , there were only 3 movies made post 2000 . - Gadar, Dhoom 2 and Munnabhai-2

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