Sunday, July 30, 2006

Whats in a Movie!

When I was in India, I used to watch the Bollywood flicks with disdain, excepting a few good ones. My main point of grouse is that the added masala, the song and the dance sequences seemed to make the movies unrealistic. I then used to hop onto English channels and watch a Hollywood movie and admire the near-to-truth sequences that it consistently portrayed, and wondered why Bollywood keeps making movies that really does not show the true picture of life. After all, no Indian newly-wed starts singing in tandem and dancing in synchrony in a new country to the amazement of gaping foreigners!

Then I came to US and watched English movies every other day, and the admiration of Hollywood grew. I made a list of 'Great Movies Seen'! I read reviews and ordered DVDs, making the best use of libraries! Occasionally, with a few desi friends prodding along, I used to go to some Bollywood Hits for a change. The 'Keep-your-brains-outside-theatre' phenomenon, I realised, works very well! And I felt, thats how its intended for and thats how it shoud be!

Perhaps it was the monotony of the realism, of being shown who we are and why we are and what really goes in Life. Perhaps its the colourfulness that is splashed all over big budget Indian movies. Perhaps its the dearth of Bollywood movies that I had seen. Whatever may be the reason, but suffice it to say that, after 1.5 yrs in US, I started perceiving Bollywood movies in a totally different light.

I realised that, although realistic, fast-paced movies are good, equally good are the movies which are not so realistic. A movie, at the end of the day, should be something that an audience comes to see and enjoy all three hours, and should leave the cinema hall with a smile on the lips. It is a time when people should stop thinking who they are and what they are doing in Life. Infact, one should just stop thinking and go to movies!! For, the truth is always bitter, and a movie is, after all, an entertainment to take your mind out of the rigmaroles of day to day life.

It should portray of a Hero who is invariably handsome, quick witted and well to do; a Hero-ine who is exceptionally beautiful, who leads the dance sequences and with lots of charm; the colourful song and dance between the two flirts; the falling in love; the differences, be it with parents or with themselves; the ultimate conquering of the inevitable and the holy union of the two. This, taking as a whole, will be pretty much a Bollywood movie. There will always be a side story going in parallel which will be equally interesting and sort of keeps the audience wanting for more, like a humourous character, or a silly character, or a supporting role, or the undertone of career. Be that as it may, these movies will be a sure-fire success. Very few have been highly successful in movies with a story-line other than the aforementioned one.

For a person seeing such audio-visual treats away from the metro where the story-line is based, the movie appeals to one. He can relate himself to being what the Hero is, for that is what movies do. It provides a larger-than-life persona for the characters enacting those roles and the audience wants to be the hero (or the hero-ine). He is not rich enough, but he entertains the idea of being opulent. He suddenly finds himself backing the character playing leading roles to win over what apparently is the Evils of the World. And since, invariably, the Good wins over the Bad, the Cinema Halls finds itself bidding adieu to people with smiling faces. After all, all is well that ends well.

But then, going to the core of a movie making process, one hardly questions nor fathoms what goes on behind the camera. Lets consider, for example, the title song of the movie Salaam Namasthe. [The idea behind this blog is due to the 5-min sequence of this title song, and hence the example!] Agreed, that the theme of this movie is not original and is taken from Nine Months. All the same, it needs, a musician, a lyricist, a choreographer, a cinematographer, the fashion designer, the make-up man; scores of actors and actresses, the two main leading roles, the director, and many many more, to perform their respective duties, not just to perfection, but to be highly creative and with an integration of extreme harmony amongst one another that matches with any other skilled Engineering design.

The musicians should compose a lyrical, swining music; the lyrics should match with the atmosphere of the movie; the cinematographer should capture the beauty of the nature; the choreographer should invent steps not just to match with the music but to try to start off a new genre in itself; the fashion designer to come up with trendy clothes for each of the sequence that lets out the oomph factor; the make-up man to make faces always look good; the multitude of side-roles involving low-paid dancers to work in synchrony with a smile on their face, despite the problems at home, and the two heavily paid lead roles, making it all look like they are the best.

At the end of it, its just five minutes, give or take a few. All for entertainment of the masses. To give a cheer on the lips. To make one forget one's miseries. To make one dance with the music. And its worth every minute of it!

Kudos to the Movie Makers!

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