DOING AWAY WITH TRADITION WITHOUT RAISING AN EYEBROW AND BEING PRAISED FOR IT. NOW THAT'S TOUGH! POSSIBLE BUT TOUGH!
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Bollywood Masala

Friday, December 16, 2005

Bollywood movies are not doing well abroad according to Rediff. Are there any reasons? Needless to say, Bollywood producers have this habit of bringing out similar themed movies with minor adjustments here and there and that Bollywood has time and again stolen themes from Hollywood is legendary. What else can you expect from an industry that brings out the largest numbers of movies every year? Directors & producers alike are bound to be at a loss for ideas further compounded by their already limited stash of ingenuity. I for one seldom watch Bollywood movies and when I do, I always end up discovering some form of plagiarization from some Hollywood production. Maybe it’s my fault. Or maybe I’m too biased.

Oh yes, there are talented people too but in insignificant numbers – and probably a pariah in their own industry.

Take the case of the blockbuster Black for instance. I, on the insistence of a friend, went to watch it. I had heard a lot of good things about this movie. Everything was going well till the part where AB teaches the blind girl to say ‘Water’. I vividly remember Hollywood’s Helen Keller having a similar scene. The movie was based on the life of a person by the same name, who overcame her hearing and seeing disabilities to become a great author and political activist. Back to Black now. From that point on, the enjoyment level was pretty downhill. Don’t get me wrong. The actors did a great job, particularly the kid. The direction, photography, lighting, etc. was brilliant. But it leaves you with an unpleasant aftertaste when something like that happens to you. Like they say - kabaab mein haddi.

On the other hand, I have no qualms in enjoying the blatant copycat versions.

So which Hollywood production would you like to see cooked in Bollywood masala?

My obvious choice would be Titanic. This is how I perceive the Bollywood version:

The protagonists
Rose – Aishwarya Rai, whom we shall call Mary,
Her boyfriend – Aamir Khan whom we shall call Veeru

Her fiance’ – some unknown Hollywood actor whom we shall name James.

The basic plot stays the same with the usual Bollywood garnish hither and thither. The scene in based in 1912 Bombay (pre-independent India). Mary is an English high society girl betrothed out of compulsion to British officer James. Veeru is a multi-faceted low-life. We shall add a few anti-British jibes and somehow make the ship travel to the Antarctic en route to the US of A.

Let’s see how it turns out.

Scene 1 (modern day on a research vessel)
Some scientists salvage a chest from the wreck. They open it to find some jewels and a picture (fully clothed, ofcourse) apparently belonging to 82 year old Mary.

Scene 2
Mary is brought in, who promptly recognizes her possessions. She picks up her photo and reminisces about her escapades as a youth in India.

Scene 3 (1912, India)
Veeru is engaged in a furious game of cards for a chance to sail to the USA. He wins and declares in a Mumbai dialect – ‘Tu harela, mein tickat jeetela’, picks up the tickets and heads for the docks only to find the ship has left and is a mile away. Not easily discouraged, Veeru jumps into the sea and swims towards the ship shouting, ‘Abbe ruk. Hamare paas tickat hai, hamare paas tickat hai!’ He reaches it and is hauled up.

Scene 4 (bow of the ship)
Already nostalgic, Veeru looks at India Gate in the distance and shouts, ‘Bharat mata ki jai’ with arms outstretched and a song ensues... ‘Pardesi, pardesi jana nahi.’

Scene 5
Veeru sees Mary on the First Class balcony and is bowled over by her beauty. Mary notices Veeru’s glance and quickly turns away.

Scene 6
Mary and Veeru cross paths. Veeru cooks up a conversation and has her enthralled. James notices and looks displeased.

Scene 7
James confronts Mary about her audacity to associate with Indian scum and bars her from leaving her quarters without his permission. Mary violates the rules and slips out in the darkness of the night and finds Veeru on the starboard side.

Scene 8

Veeru is teaching Mary how to spit paan into the water.

Scene 9 (Bow of the ship)
Veeru declares his love for her and shouts with arms outstretched, ‘mein Shah Jahan hun.’ Mary invites him to dinner at the First Class dining room.

Scene 10 (First Class Dining Room)
Veeru is dining with Mary and others of her ilk. Veeru has everyone spellbound by his tales. He also persuades everyone to eat from their fingers – all but James who is seething inside at his bride-to-be’s dalliance with Veeru. Later Veeru passes a note to Mary.

Scene 11 (Outside)
By now both are madly in love. Both are coochie-cooing with a song and dance… “aaj mein uppar, asman nichey” when they are abruptly stopped by James and the guards. Mary is escorted to First Class. Veeru is dragged to the cellar while hurling anti-British abuses at James. He later escapes.

Scene 12 (On the back-seat of a steamy Ambassador Mark I)
The two are locked in passionate embrace (the clothes still on). Not satisfied by the few rounds of dry humping, Veeru suggests that they go the whole way. Mary proclaims that though British, she is a sweet Indian girl at heart and departs leaving Veeru to entertain himself - “Yeh dosti, hum nahin chhodenge” playing in the background.

Scene 13
The ship is hit.

Scene 14 (Sinking ship)
Mary is on the lifeboat. Confusion abounds. In the confusion, James has Veeru locked in the cellar. Mary sensing foul play disembarks and goes on a Veeru-hunt. He is found.
Both are locked in embrace as the ship goes down.

Scene 15 (among the debris)
The two are still together. Veeru overcome by the extreme cold dies. Mary is inconsolable. She is later rescued

Scene 16 (England)
Mary overwhelmed with grief leads a life of celibacy.

Scene 17 (Today back on the research vessel)
Mary learns that Veeru is alive. He had only passed out in the water and not died. He is married and leading a quite life in India.

THE END

Now that wasn’t bad was it? Muhahaha!

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