Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Not so subliminal. Bollywood was on Crack.

A couple of days back, I was sick at home, coughing away to glory and frankly in a lot of pain. That's when I decided to watch some old Hindi movies, to take the mind off of nuisances. You know, stuff like runny nose and back pain. What started off as an innocent time-out activity; ended in a cracked up bat-shit grisly realization.

Now if you are someone who grew up in the 90s, mid-afternoon Z- Cinema movies will remind you of family dramas and odd love stories. Some very interesting plot twists like when the Naukar becomes the real son, and the real son becomes the sorry-who-are-you-son!  Oh, and of course the jobless (but pass) hero, who is cursed and ridiculed by all as ‘awara, nakamma’ suddenly becomes the messiah of the entire community (the ones who once ridiculed and threw stones at him)... Ok, chuck the stones part.

Or, you know the one where the villager Bahu suddenly becomes ultra-cool and so-much-better-than-your-ordinary-Bahu when she starts speaking in English (because she too turns out to be B.A pass from Oxford university) in the final few ground-breaking scenes.

I learnt this in Oxford

So, you get the drift. We've all seen them as kids right? and at some point laughed out loud for the sheer reason that these movies exist. (don't get me wrong, I love watching b-grade Bollywood stuff, just for a good laugh). But the question I want to ask is - have you seen them lately? As a fully grown adult sitting in 2014 have you seen these movies?

Yes I know they are funny, tacky, unoriginal and juvenile at some stages & we all know that; but the real nightmare was the fact that none of these movies had any freaking idea as to how a boy is supposed to behave in order to meet and woo a girl. All the love stories or sub-plots of love stories are delusional, derogatory or just plain loony. Seriously, I saw three movies back to back (all 90s) and not a single one of them had a sane projection of how men and women meet and behave in real life.

For all I know, they worked as subliminal messaging and may have scarred us beyond repair. So, while some blamed the chow-mein and some blamed mini-skirts, I too need to put the blame on something & this seems sustainable. Way more sustainable than the rest of the theories.

So, coming back to the main plot… There I was, warm water with honey in one hand and remote on the other, I cursed, cringed and gasped at scene after scene/song after song of a popular 90s movie: While it continued to mess with my understanding of basic social etiquette and fuck with every meet-cute story I’ve ever seen or heard.

Sorry, am I invading your personal space? I didn't think so too.

Enter our protagonist who is single-handedly raging a righteous war against corruption in the community. He suddenly sees a beautiful girl in a crowded bus. Reason enough I guess. And there - his entire fucking plan of saving the world goes upside down. He breaks into a sudden song (to make it slightly more logical, it was a dream sequence), to win stranger/soul-mate’s heart. 

Oh! And did I mention that he felt it was perfectly acceptable to drum (aka the tabla) on the heroine/dream-girl/unfamiliar person’s butt just to prove his love and affection even more ...  he did in fact... in the end… win her heart.  Un-fucking-believable. 

He ran after her through the streets with a bagpipe (Devil knows why) claiming his love for this lady he has just seen some ten minutes back. Also, singing his heart out and literally molesting her with disgusting dance moves, that can only be described as groping, seemed an appropriate ice-breaker to him at the time.

Oh Wait! I was supposed to be saving the community from a drug-lord, 
but first, lemme rub my cheek on this pretty mama’s waist.

The girl in question is visibly scared. Wait ... I’m saying, that she has been told to act scared in the first one minute of the three minute song. And then she has been told to start looking embarrassed, and out of this blushing embarrassment, a strong look of love should become evident. Yep, that’s what the director must have forced her to do. My mind will only accept this reason and this reason only. Otherwise, I have very basic 'being a human-person' type issues like – how can embarrassment be a precursor to love? And hence – not proved.

So, imagine this. The seed was planted in an average young boy’s head long back. A young boy, in the year 1996, comes back home from school and (let’s assume has no access to cartoon network) starts watching Z-cinema. Comes across this movie in particular, and what lesson did this young mind grasp? That, nothing says ‘I will love you with all my heart’ like following a girl around day and night. Slightly scaring her is also good. It’s just going to turn into a smile in the next few minutes.  Just keep touching her, following her, whistling and singing to her incessantly until she gives in and falls madly, deeply, and helplessly in love with you.  Bollywood would make it happen. Bagpipes and soap-bubbles. Just Magical.

                                                          How Romantic... bumping into you like this... #Manly

In the next movie the ‘awara’ hero thinks that the best way to win his dream girl’s heart is to be bold. Let’s just kiss her in front of a crowded street just to seal the deal. Leave her with no option but to fall in love. I mean now that she has publicly been kissed, what other option does she have? (You know, apart from our dashing jobless, middle- aged, supremely hairy hero).

Now if that wasn't true love, I don't know what is.

So, to summarize – the message they were driving home was that girls will fall for relentless weirdos whose sole aim in life is to inappropriately touch you and whistle at you when you pass by. Of course women must conform to these rules, because these guys have hearts of gold and will love you till death. But first, let them tease you a bit, the rest will fall into place like any other glorious love story. 

                                               Of course, NO doesn't really mean no...  It means "I luurvve you"

Personally, I think the writers were on crack. In a country where men grew up to movies like this, no wonder they felt the need to grope every woman they desired. Or whistle at every female they felt could end up as their real life heroine. In any case, the ‘blame game’ is the favorite game of the nation. I mean we’ve heard enough theories about enough reasons as to why Indian men do what they do. So, add one more from my end to the list. 

I also want to say that the cure lies with the MIB and their flashy thingies. Just wipe the memory of the 90s clean and we will have a country of respectful men, who are nice to women. I mean no one is born letchy & creepy. Right?

But then there is this character.

Made it big, by attempting to rape heroines on screen. FACE-PALM. 


  1. At least someone is thinking about the reasoning. All I hear about the guys who "manhandle" women is "he is a creep", "hang him", "execute him in public". Even I myself had that feeling couple of years back before I thought that everything has a reason and we need to understand that. Indian media needs to talk more about "why" then "what". More money needs to go into grants for psychology rather than engineering and space shuttles. I am hoping our new PM will bring this change. On another note, I hope the cough is gone and you are feeling better.

  2. U missed the 3am zee cinema movies and the dances ;)