The Hindi “movie” industry is one in which paradoxically everything else matters, except for, of course, a credible storyline of the film. This includes the right celebrities who can do everything except actually getting down to “act”, a high end production banner, exotic destinations, groovy music and the most important of them all –a ridiculous item song proclaiming how the village belle went naughty (Read: Jalebi Bai, Chikni Chameli , Munni Badnaam, et al).
So if you’re someone wanting to make a Bollywood flick, you just got to have these ingredients in place and somehow build a story around it. And the beloved audiences too don’t really care about being stimulated intellectually as long as they have a firangi heroine for an eye-candy. Oh, and if you’re still worried as to how will you ever build up a story –here comes Hollywood to your rescue! A story that is
copied inspired by some Hollywood movie; and you’ll
be good to go. And despite all the copyright infringement charges, your movie
is surely going to garner enough publicity to make it work at the Box Office. Yeah, plagiarism is a grim reality of
Bollywood, but then again, you wouldn’t expect much from an industry who was
too lazy to come up with a decent name for itself, ergo replaced the ‘H’ in
Hollywood with a ‘B’.
Our Indian film industry might not care much about a good script, but they do care about a few clichés being passed on from generations. Creating a Bollywood pot boiler? You got to have these clichés in place, or you’re not doing it right.
1. Macho-Man + Demure Woman = The Ideal Couple
Despite numerous contemporary movies breaking the mould (thankfully so!), there was a time when Hindi movies just couldn’t seem to get enough of the flamboyant man jisne “maa ka doodh piya hai” who fell in love with the ever so innocent “sanskari” girl blushing away to glory. The male lead is the He-Man of sorts, delivering constant blows and punches on the hundreds of henchmen and inexplicably managing to win the fight. Wait. This is Bollywood. Rules of nature/Newton/gravity do NOT apply here! And the girl standing in a far away corner just shouts “nahi…bas karo…ab chodh bhi do!” while no one pays heed to her wailing. And when the girl puts ointment on our He-Man's wounds after he wins the fight, it is his turn to start wailing. After which they dance around trees, get married and have lots of babies together. After all, life is incomplete if you don’t get married, isn’t it?
2. Two flowers swaying into each other = A kiss
THIS is an industry that once refused to acknowledge any sort of physical contact between the man and woman. No kisses/foreplay/or that-three-letter-word-which-we-are-too-cultured-to-say-out-loud were allowed. Shaadi se pehle galat kaam karna equals to apne maa-baap ka moonh kala karna. That was when some smart-aleck came up with the idea of using nature to propagate whatever is happening to the audience. So when wind wafted two exotic flowers together, it usually denoted a kiss. Today those flowers are replaced by Emraan Hashmi. Honestly, we preferred the former. And to show that the husband and wife slept together on the night of their wedding, the guy just had to bring the dupatta to the girl’s head and lift her chin up with his fingers. Rest is left up to the audience’s imagination. Now go figure.
3. Shahrukh Khan
A young man from Delhi came to Mumbai to try his luck. He went on to become the “King” of Bollywood. And also a cliché. Yes, I said it. The man has become nothing less than a cheesy cliché in every Bollywood flick where he sways his arms whilst lip-syncing terribly corny songs about life, love, love lost and love finally found again. And he repeatedly does it irrespective of whether he plays a superhero or the boy next door. There was a time where it seemed that the key ingredient in every successful movie was SRK. (The horror!). What was more horrifying was that those movies actually worked. There was some sort of SRK-fanaticism floating around which might have started to decline due to the King of Bollywood’s multiple detainments at the US Airports. We are not judging.
4. Synchronized Dancing
Many people perceive Hindi movies as larger than life, melodramatic sagas that always have happy endings amidst bursting into erratic dance routines with random people willingly standing behind the lead pair and moving every limb of their body in perfect sync. They are right. Because everything can change EXCEPT Bollywood’s fascination with turning every intellectual movie into a joy-ride musical. In a typical Bollywood flick, you can walk around a street, railway station, a mall or even a public restroom while singing aloud about your “adhoori prem kahani” and no one cares because, well, it’s Bollywood! Singing out loud about your grief/happiness/anger is only what’s normal. So in Bollywood, ninety per cent of an actor’s hard work and diligence constitutes of getting those dance moves correct. And if you can’t get those right, then you have absolutely no chance of getting into the league of A-list celebrities of Bollywood, my friend.
There are always, of course, other clichés like the rich heroine and the poor hero, kanoon ke lambe hath or the compulsory and inevitable happy ending. Tada! Your Bollywood potboiler is ready. Welcome to the world of Hindi cinema!
Image source: bollywoodbrowser.com