Have You Seen That Movie?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

“Watch this movie! Don’t miss! Absolutely must watch! Mind-blowing, breathtaking, hilarious…”

If you write these words on Facebook or Twitter again, I will hide you or block you along with all others who have been flooding the newsfeed with the frequency of a wife's nagging at her husband on a weekend. Cool off, I'm just kidding.

It rather reminds me of a folk tale in which a petty thief who gets his nose chopped starts yelling that he can see God. Inspired by his revelation, many more people lose their noses, and then to save face, they too say that they can see God.
Katrina Kaif and Akshay Kumar in De Dana Dan
Jokes aside, I am a big fan of Hindi masala movies. What I like most about them is that even in the absence of a plot, the actors ham it up brilliantly. And these movies are so unpredictable—you sit down to watch a slapstick comedy and might end up crying—similarly a seemingly tear-jerker or horror movie might leave you in convulsions. The choreographed song and dance routines filmed at exotic locales, even if unrelated to the story, are the icing on the cake. In my short lifetime, the dress code and props of the dancers have changed from ghagra-choli and pitchers to two-piece bikini and feathers.

These days the producers release the icing long before the cake. And oh, the gossip about the relationships, the tantrums, and the verbal conflicts among the stars! They are the cherries on the iced cake, which are released even before the icing. Cherries are a rich source of antioxidants. Long live Bollywood fans!

When I started this blog, movie reviews were also in the scheme of things, but I couldn’t afford to watch the latest movies in theaters. I even asked a friend, who never misses any Hindi or English flick, if she would like to contribute to my blog. She replied that she would rather watch a couple of more movies than waste her time on writing.

Ranbir Kapoor & Katrina Kaif
After saying that, her heart melted and she lent me a dozen Hindi movie DVDs that she had got from an Indian grocery store as freebies. As a result of her generosity, we had a Hindi Film Festival at our home during the winter break.

Our daily ritual after the dinner would begin with, “Which awesome movie are we gonna watch today?”

“Yay, I love Ranbir Kapoor… I love Katrina Kaif…” Or whoever it was that starred in that particular film.

“Bollywood movies are the best. We are the best. India’s gonna be a superpower! Down with the Oscars. Indian films do not need Oscars, though, we would go crazy if Indians won, or were nominated, or even found a tiny mention in the foreign media.”

In this way, we would inaugurate and embark on our three-hour Masala Cruise. Heed my advice folks, if you watch a movie in the right frame of mind and with an intention to enjoy, you will definitely have a good time, but if you start with cynicism and skepticism, you will only see faults and miss out on the thrilling experience.
3 Idiots

My only complaint is that I am not allowed to talk while watching. Now, just as I can not listen to a song without singing along in a full voice, I can not watch a movie with my mouth shut and hands bound. I like predicting the dialogues and the actions, and I am overcome with a strong urge to update others with what’s going on in the real lives of the actors, but then I get angry stares, sharp nudges, and impatient admonishment from my left and right just because I sit in the middle.

During our film festival, the world at large was exposed to Avatar flu, and those who got infected, impulsively began spreading the virus. As luck, good or bad, would have it, someone thrust a free ticket on me, and I had to suffer the film in sympathy with everyone else.

If you think Avatar is the biggest blockbuster ever, you don’t even know what a blockbuster is. The real blockbuster in the history of motion pictures has been, the one and only, the original, Jai Santoshi Maa (Hail Mother Santoshi) released in 1975. It was the ultimate make-believe without being propped up by extraordinary sets or special effects. We cried at the plight of Satyavati, threw coins and flowers whenever the Divine Mother, hitherto unknown, appeared on the screen, and spent many nights perched on the far end of the boundary wall of our house, listening to the sound track, which the cinema operator played for the benefit of the outsiders. I can still sing all the songs from that film, verbatim.
Jai Santoshi Maa
And how can the world forget the advent of chain letters. I learnt my Hindi alphabet writing scores of letters in praise of Santoshi Maa for my terror-stricken neighborhood aunties at Lakheri, Rajasthan. That incident served as an inspiration to me when I opened my first email account and tried my skills at composing the fancy, godly chain emails, thus acquiring a hold on the English language. These days I am inventing "93% won't copy and paste this, will you for just one hour" status messages for the Facebook users.

What both these blockbusters have proven is that good people can be saved only by supernatural intervention. If the magical Woodsprites—the tiny, floating, dandelion-seeds-like objects—had not landed on Jake Sully, the Na’vi princess Neytiri would have put ‘the end’ to the story on their very first meeting. Similarly, without the divine daredevilry of Santoshi Maa, Satyavati would have died of the atrocities meted out to her by the scheming in-laws.

All of you nice people out there, always remember that such rescues by supernatural entities happen only in fantasies or mythologies not in real life. Therefore, if you are a terrestrial creature, tread carefully; if you are an aquatic, don’t swim against the tide; if you think you are an avian, please don’t jump from a building or a tree, instead be pragmatic, rush to see a psychiatrist.

And to those who disregard Hindi movies as silly and juvenile, do some introspection. Isn’t there a child in your heart? These movies are made for people with metal age of nine years, so that they don’t have to stress out while trying to relieve their stress. The grey matter has to be saved to solve or create the various other mounting troubles. Life is not that simple for Indians.

To lighten up the atmosphere, I present you with an innocent twitter exchange between one of our childishly cute film stars and an equally charming bestselling author of the ‘3 Idiots’ fame.

Genelia D’Souza: “Just read the book 2 States, fantastic, loved every bit of it, Chetan Bhagat sure is all heart. Brilliant experience.”

Chetan Bhagat: “Still getting used to the idea that something I wrote held Genelia’s attention for hours. Finally, my life has meaning. Thanks, Ms G!”

Chetan Bhagat: "Almost all celebs are people to me now, except Genelia, am fan #1. Do you know if you put an ‘o’ between GD u get God, right?”

Genelia D’Souza: “Hey, Chetan.. Whooooaaaa.. Thanks a ton.. That’s like some compliment.. Have jumped and yelled and screamed!”

Dil to bachcha hai ji, thoda kachcha hai ji! Have you seen that movie, Ishqiya? Gotcha! It hasn't even been released yet.


  1. Having Hindi Film Festival at Home is a great idea. LOL. Thumbs up.

  2. The only downside of reading your blog is that I get stared upon by collegues who think I am a nut case who laughs out loud while almost falling off the chair!!

  3. Cool!! I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks Neeraj, thanks Puja for the uplifting comments.

  4. hilarious...just made me realize that I no longer should be ashamed to say i enjoyed a bollywood movie...after all its the age of my inner child(9yrs) and doesn't represent my mental age.

  5. glad, i found your site, you will soon join the league of my fav blogs(think gkhamba, krishashok, vigil idiot et al).
    But the real reason is including jai santoshi ma(think "gunda" review by "the great bong").

  6. Yayy!! I am glad too that you found my blog. Thanks, Zapata!! Oh, and you have an exclamation mark in your name! That's cool :-)

  7. Your blog is a real stress buster . I am loving it :)

  8. hehe awesome start to the post!!
    and truly indian movies do not need Oscars... really nice to find u here writing about movies :P
    I am also movie lover...do check my blog too

    1. Thanks Nishchal, will check out your blog!!!


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