Bollywood – the first thing that jumps to mind is Hollywood. The name was derived by the clever and subtle juxtaposition of the word ‘Hollywood’ with Bombay, the nerve-centre of Indian film industry. Basically, they cut off the first letter, slapped on B, and bingo – we have lift off. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Indian polity, Bombay was renamed Mumbai a while back. Fortunately, no one thought to change the moniker appropriately. ‘Mollywood’ simply does not have the same ring to it.
Here I present a step-by-step guide for anyone interested in the intricate process that goes in to the making of Bollywood movies. Especially, the sophisticated system employed in choosing and implementing a script.
Step I : Watch a Hollywood movie – preferably an action movie with muscle bound hunks oozing machismo.
MEMENTO was a ground-breaking Christopher Nolan film that used a narrative technique never seen before in cinema.
Step 2 : Get inspired. Unlike other film industries, this is the easy part. All you need is a DVD player with pause function, and some paper and pens.
MEMENTO was about a guy with amnesia who plots revenge against the guys who killed his woman, and tattoos their names on his body, so that he doesn’t forget them, as he kills them one by one.
Step 3 : Convince a muscle bound film star to do the movie. They will usually have seen the original and are easy to please.
The photo shows Surya, who starred in the Tamil-language movie Ghajini.
Step 4 : This is the most difficult part – Indianize the movie. This involves adding several song n’ dance numbers featuring bimbos in gravity-defying outfits, and convincing the half-crazed audience that the dance sequences are central to the plot.
The movie Ghajini is about a guy with amnesia who plots revenge against the guys who killed his woman, and tattoos their names on his body, so that he doesn’t forget them, as he kills them one by one. There are a number of flash-backs, to the time when his woman was still alive, and they would sing and dance in the rain, in exotic locales. The movie was a big hit in the state of Tamil Nadu.
Step 5 : Release the movie, and attend an interview where you talk about how you were inspired to do this movie by a book you’d read, or some tragic childhood experience.
This is the poster for GHAJINI – the hindi remake of the Tamil Ghajini, which was a ‘watered-down-to-the-point-of-homeopathy’ copy of MEMENTO.
Step 6 : Weather the storm that comes your way from critics calling your movie ‘stupid’ and ‘contrived’ and ‘plagiarized’. When someone confronts you with the original movie, and calls you a shameless pillager, face him with dignified silence. It helps, if you think about the ferrari that you are going to buy.
If any of you film buffs thought the poster of ghajini looked familiar, now you know why.
Step 7 : Once you are done receiving the accolades you richly deserve for a movie well made, step away from the limelight. Scour the IMDb, for any new films featuring muscle bound hunks oozing machismo. Did someone say COLLATERAL? Naah… Already remade into – wait for it – THE KILLER.
Anything and everything is up for grabs here. Nothing is sacred in Bollyland. Except COWS.
Step 8 : Repeat step 1.
The best part of this flow chart is that it completes an infinite loop, and you need to stop only when you die.
Of course, being human, you may get bored eventually. Then move on to production, and let the young guys do all the heavy lifting. Or, better still, start a film school. Nurture young minds, and train them on the delicate process of ‘art-lifting’.
Shown in the picture is Priyadarsan, the undeniable king of ‘art-lifting’. Today, he sits on the board of Kerala State Film Development Corporation. He is planning on opening a film academy in Kerala.
Honour among thieves : Once a foreign film is ‘acquired’ through the legal process of ‘staking claim’, then the person really does own it. After the makers of the Tamil Ghajini turned it into a block-buster, rights to the movie were purchased by Bollywood producers for a hefty sum. Never mind that they never owned the title in the first place, or that neither Christopher Nolan nor Jonathan Nolan saw a penny of the profits.
Honour among thieves is important, because without it, we become honour-less thieves. That is not the kind of example we want to set for our kids.