Friday, 6 January 2006

Movies? Gimme a Break.... (new edition)

This is a post from my old home. Reposted yes, but with good reason. I went to a conference where the speaker said something about Bollywood being a complexed version of Hollywood. So true. At least where today movies are concerned. I live in this island in the Indian Ocean called Mauritius, remember. We're very up to date where Bollywood is concerned. Am appalled by the movie posters. Where are the sarees gone? Where is the decency gone? Where are the good poster makers gone? We used to make fun of the old posters. I remember when I was a kid in Niger, how we used to make fun of the same posters and movies I long for now. They are scarce now, the good movies.

Good movies? No wonder they don't make them good anymore. The movies I consider good apparently do not appeal to the general public, not in Mauritius nor in India. I am told that its hard enough living in misery to have to watch this same misery depicted in movies. People want movies which make them dream, make them forget the reality they're living in. For a few hours.

Chandi Bar is the name of a movie I particularly appreciated. Good. Real good. The story of every woman, black, white, yellow. Every woman who circumstances forced into prostitution. Yes, forced. The story of an orphaned girl whose uncle abused then “entrusted” to a pimp. One of her clients marries her. She now has a decent life. The husband gets killed in a mafia affair. She has two children to feed and raise. Life turns its back on her. Her son gets implicated into a crime. She has to bail him out. No money. She goes back to prostitution. Her daughter overhears and decides she'd help. Sells her virginity to the highest bidder. Meanwhile the son gets raped into jail. The mother and daughter finally bail him out. But he's broken. He kills those who raped him. Back to prison again. The movie ends with the image of this mother who tried but couldn't get out of this vicious circle. That's what I call a good movie. It was a flop at the box office in India. It was rated “18 years” here.
Dil Se is another movie which was a flop at the box office.
Why? I wonder!!!

Lagaan's , starring Gracy Singh and Amir Khan (see picture) surprised me by its success. Its such a down to earth movie and it wasn't shot in Switzerland. It's music (#1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6) is great (see picture)!

Back to today's movies. They just flabbergast me. I mean, you'd think. They are so.... words fail me but I'll give you a couple of examples:

- Make up: You have the hero (there's always a hero) who's playing a double role. He's the father as well as the son. Normally, you'd need a good deal of make up to make the young hero look older. Just a little bit. But noooooooh, noooooooooh, noooooooooh, the "maquilleur" is a very smart guy. He learned the art of making up from the masters. You only need one single thing to make the guy look credibly old. Guess what? A single line of gray strands of hair. Preferably located in perfectly visible position. The guy with her perfectly wrinkleless skin, straight bearing, bright smile, sure takes a couple of years less? more? ... huh... he looks .... huh.... never mind!

- Dress code: There is no dress code. The hero and the heroin are dancing and singing in the snow in Switzerland. She's wearing a saree (that was a couple of years ago), a mini skirt with a trunk top and high heels (this is nowadays, modernism and all). He's wearing (lucky man) a leather long jacket, jeans, boots, preferably all in black with the sunglasses.
They go to bed. He's wearing pajamas. Sensible hero. She's wearing a whole jewelry shops worth of jewels. Her face is painted in rainbow colors with the fake eyelashes, her hair beautifully coiffed. La totale!

- The stunts: they look like when my siblings and I and our friends in Niger used to play gangsters and cops when we were kids. You actually get to watch some beautifully remote controlled actions. Like a car exploding and going high. high, high in the sky before hitting the car in front and after which it was then supposed to explode and go high, high, high (they're good at making cars flying!) in the sky. So it goes like: car approaching at full speed (one of the bad guys driving of course), hero maneuvering his car masterfully so that another car is in the way. Bad guy's car is going to collide into moved-in-the way-other-car. Four seconds before it'll actually collide it explodes and does the flying stuff. It comes back down in slow motion. Camera zooms on both cars: the was-in-the-way (perfectly intact at this point, not a scratch) and the coming down car with the bad guy barbecued. Just then the perfectly perfect car which was in the way and which is stupidly still stationed explodes too. Then the ad guy's car finally hits ground and the other car. Bravo!!!!

- The Bad guys: The Leader is normally the girl's father. He does not approve of this guy (the hero is poor of course and she is rich). He sends his goons to fix the guy. But the guy is the hero. He dies not. The goons actually resurrect on spot. You just saw this guy going down clawing at his pistol shot chest and the next thing you know he's back on the ring! They are good, the directors!

- The dying: They always get to tell you all the secrets before they die. They even get to sing a 6 minutes long song before the poor shot guy gets to go to lalala land! And here, I must not fail to tell you about the inevitable operation theaters. It's always a scene with our guy or one of his buddies or relatives - because they are the one's who get to go to hospitals, the bad guys aren't that lucky, they just die. Anyway, one of these lucky people gets run down by a car. You see the doctors operating on his stomach, chest, leg. He gets hit by a baseball bat, no excuse me, its a cricket bad here, on his head. The doctors are shown operating on his stomach, chest, leg, anywhere but the head. After the operation you see the guy with a bandaged head a a little tiny bit of dark red, meant to be the blood, staining the white white bandage on the left hand side of the forehead if the hero is right handed and vice versa, so he can wince and bring his head to point of pain to convince himself that he's convincing us that he's actually in pain. He perpetually arbors a stamp of disapproval (black eye) to show how much beating he's taking in order to win his girl. The stamp does not appear into the dance scenes but comes back with a vengeance when the dance is over. The hero never dies. If he dies the heroin has to commit suicide or become mad.

- The dancing: bump and grind. Preferably in the rain. Hero running about looking at flowers, admiring the beauty of the universe. Heroin throwing herself at his feet. Hiding behind trees. Batting eyelashes. Hero beating his chest, his heart to express his love. Throwing his arms open wide. Heroin just in cue, runs forward and hugs him. They hug. He's going to kiss her but then she's all coy and turns her head so he bits her ear lobe instead and she runs to hide behind a tree and peeps out at him! Hurray!

At least I have no complaint today about the movies. They got me writing my longest post. Am not even mad at this Indian serial which generic song I actually chronometer ed : it was (the honest truth) 2:35 minutes.
And they lived happily ever after!


suleyman said...

I love Bollywood music more than the movies. The songs are really fun to listen to, and since I don't know what they're saying I get to invent my own lyrics.

I had no idea they filmed a lot of bollywood pics in Switzerland. Makes sense, I suppose, what with it being very picturesque.


Fitèna said...

Yeah, but now they're doing more and more movies here in Mauritius: the sugar cane fields, the waterfront, the beach, anything is good for a scenes. Even the supermarkets!


Adeline said...

Would you believe I dated a punjabi guy once who taught me all about amitabh buchan. The scene you picture on your blog is a scene I remember seeing at his house. I am always amazed at how sensual India seems, despite the fact that the Punjabi guy was a manipulative little child in the end... I am still a bit,ok alot interested in indian stuff.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Excellent, love it!

Anonymous said...
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