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A Case for Bollywood's Unique Stories

Comments  Comments [ 0 ]    By Gurprit K. | 30 April 2015 | 9:03pm


Perhaps movies that stand out are buried under remakes. Or perhaps we simply don't appreciate what should be appreciated. In all fairness, let it not be said that nothing is ever applauded. Bollywood's creativity with titles, for example, has always been celebrated. A title that reads Phata Poster Nikla Hero is arguably very unique. There's also little chance that you have heard something quite like Do Ladke Dono Kadke anywhere else. Ever. Less celebrated, though, are the stories themselves that are often criticized (quite unfairly) for using recycled plots and themes. It is most unfair and hardly true. Recycled trash?! Certainly not; but let's have a look at some noteworthy movies.

Take Heropanti (2014), for instance. Nothing quite spells fresh better than the sparkling whistle tune, which is as distinctive as everything else in the movie. This movie here wanted to incorporate issues such honour killings and love's place in a patriarchal society, and so it does by focusing on muscles more than characters, by making the hero single-handedly beat up a few people, and throwing a stern father and a few hateful uncles over the place, none of which we have ever seen before. At one point, the hero makes it clear that he does not wish to elope with his lover. Who would have thought? In the end, the father is convinced and gives his blessing to the young couple. This definitely isn't Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995). No, not at all. Yes, we have moved on and so should you.

In the same vein, Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania (2014) too deserves a close look. This too definitely isn't DDLJ. This is no longer 1995; the film establishes that fairly well since the leading lady drinks faster than the boys. She is also quite frank when she says, "main shaadi karungi toh Kareena wala designer lehnga pehen kar karungi, warna dulhe ko tata bye bye kar dungi". (If I marry then I'll wear Kareena's designer lehenga, else I'll say tata bye bye to the groom.) She is quirky, yes. It matters little that her marriage has already been arranged to a NRI guy she has not seen. What a shocker given the social media age. We haven't seen this kind of characterization, certainly not in this setting. To be sure, there is a stern father, who gives his blessing in the end, which is heart-warming. On the rare chance that it rings a bell, you should cover your ears. To nit-pick is to miss the point. These are our blockbusters, after all!

Another such successful venture is Khoobsurat (2014). The prefix "Disney" is often used with the title, which definitely is not common. It illustrates its uncommonness further with its script. A beautiful working class woman, who is a bit quirky if anything, falls in love with a handsome prince, who happens to be engaged to another woman. He is a little serious and quiet; to be sure. Opposites attract and then there are the dance numbers. The movie is effervescently funny and indulges in dollops of sweet nothings, which sets it apart. Bollywood rom-coms are a rarity.

This one isn't quite a blockbuster, but it certainly stands out among the crowd. Tevar (2015) is a force to be reckoned with. It stars Sonakshi Sinha in the very refreshing role of a damsel in distress. She likes to wait for a man to show up and fight for her. Isn't that charming? The movie is serious business, though. It does away with the subtleties of Bollywood cinema with shots of guns and knives. There are song and dance sequences but the true heart of the movie is in its very serious and unique dialogues. Nothing illustrates it better than when a character utters "jo chane khaate hain woh badam ke paad nahi maarte." Go watch it. The movie is quite something.

Action Jackson (2014) too is something of a marvel. In fact, the ingenuity in the film takes your breath away at times. The hero can destroy enemies single-handedly, but the violence here is delivered in double measure because Ajay Devgn plays a double role. There is a scene where a woman is tied to a chair and is being beaten, but her fear is tossed out of the window the moment AJ, her saviour, drops by and saves her. It takes brains to come up with something quite like this. The movie is brimming with sexist tones, lots of macho-ness and violence, proving that when a reputed choreographer sets out to direct a piece, the result is something you have never quite seen before.

It would be fair to say that Bollywood, in fact, regularly churns out very distinctive and unique movies. To extend a Margaret Mead quote to Bollywood (as ridiculous as that sounds), perhaps it can be said: Every Bollywood movie is unique. Just like every other Bollywood movie.

Writer: Tanisha N.
Editors: Shreya S. and Jenifer A.
Graphics: Saraa K.

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