Okay, the title is annoying. It is dishonest, and what the heck is luv. What language is that? But I won’t get into that right now – may be another time. There are some Indian fascinations that baffle me. More importantly, they vex me. I am not talking about individual idiosyncrasies, we all have them. I am talking about the things that captivate the countries collective soul. Things when mentioned, Indians everywhere proudly to say, “Oh I luv it.” And that my friend, is far more annoying than the title.
Indians love their movies. Most Indians thank me for saying so, oblivious to the irony. A rare few, suspicious of my tone, would look at me funny and say “So?” The absurdity is not self evident to them, and they need someone to explain to them. Let me explain then.
Indians do not make movies, ever. They make movie marathons – at least a three hour long sad saga if we are lucky. All Indian movies have essentially the same story: poor guy gets the rich girl, unless there is a plot twist. In that case the poor guy gets the rich girl but it takes one extra hour. So there is your one and half story. You have to give credit though. With that one and half story, India churns out more movies then any other country in the world. You can never overestimate Indian prowess for replication.
Repetition may breed boredom for rest of us, but for Indians it elicits enjoyment. Indians always tell me, “That is not true; there is more to the story.” Well, there is the crying mother, lovable uncle, mean dad of the rich girl, and the long lost twin brother. But are not they in every Indian movie?
If you can get past the lack of stories, the lack of any common sense will wreak havoc in the logic circuits of your brain – assuming you have them. Some Indians would justify this with the phrase “Do not think too much, this is just for time pass.” Well, munching on the roots of grass while waiting, in the middle of nowhere in the remote part of rural India, for the government bus to arrive is passing time. Contemplating the source of the stains on the wall of an Indian public restroom while constipated is passing time. Paying two hundred rupees to watch a three hour long mind numbing banal song and dance routine on a spring weekend is unadulterated masochism.
Some Indians, who consider themselves friendly, suggests: “Well if you want to enjoy Indian movies, you have to leave your brain at home.” I politely confess that with my limited evolution I am yet to develop a detachable brain that I can leave at home at my convenience. I not only prefer but also forced to carry my brain with my wherever I go. But thank you for suggesting the option. A complete frontal lobotomy may help me enjoy an Indian movie.
Unlike the rest of the humanity, Indians do not love their movies for the fascinating story, or the clever plot, or the intense drama, or even a surprise ending. They love their movies for the songs: “I love that move it has such nice songs.” Three hours of sacrifice for ten minutes of song? It is like taking the two day train to Agra and visiting the Taj just for the grass lawns. The second reason is this: “I know there is no story and it makes no sense, but so-and-so is in it.” It is either he is so handsome or she is so beautiful. Lets for the sake of argument we assume that we find so-and-so irresistible. Still dropping a diamond in the stream of vomit spewed at the screen does not make it any more palatable. Vomit remains vomit, albeit an expensive one.
Some Indians, who consider themselves intellectuals, suggests: “You must see some of the art films, you will enjoy them.” Art film is uniquely Indian. Movies in India are not classified by the traditional genres such as action, comedy, romance, thriller, or drama. Instead they are divided into two piles: art films and commercial films, the differentiation being the commercial success. Art films are so mind numbing that even Indians find them boring. One can make a fortune by using them to treat insomnia.
Yes, I have seen the works of the great directors from India; I have seen the award wining Indian movies; I have seen regional movies. And still I say I do not understand how can anyone tolerate them, let alone enjoy? I do not have to see Sholay before I say that. The latest mega budget blunder is not going to change my mind.
Is there no Indian movie worth watching? There may be. I have not watched all of them. It is possible that there are handfuls of movies that are watchable. But given that the land of billions is the most prolific movie producer, it is an absurd argument. Moreover, a few movies do not explain the morbid fascination. And I bet those movie Indians always site as a counter examples are rarely watched, if at all.
I guess when it comes to movies Indian are absurdity proof.