Thursday, November 29, 2007

Remember The Titans

WARNING: Self-indulgent, pointlessly nostalgic post coming up.
Too many of my posts start with this caveat. I think I will stop saying this because I figured from a recent exercise that an overwhelming majority of my readers are 30-something nostalgia-buffs in general and Calcutta-sympathisers in specific! My dad tries to take up the average age a bit but my cousin in the US balances it out.

Okay, so I was watching Humjoli on television yesterday. Humjoli is a film on the torrid relationship that blossomed between two top Hollywood stars, while they were shooting for an action thriller. The full name of the film is Hum Jolie Tum Brad but it is usually not referred to.
Sigh - how many of you believed that? Apart from my sister, that is...
Well, Humjoli stars Jeetendra, Leena Chandravarkar and Pran. I have talked about it before as well.
The scene I started watching yesterday was the famous badminton song after which the heroine bids goodbye and leaves. Hint in the song: "Jaane do / Jaana hain..." Jeetu spouts a stream of sweet nothings. Now a bunch of goons armed with badminton racquets, approach Jeetu and taunt him. Sure enough, he fights them, twists their ankles, pokes them with his racquet and finally throws them off a bridge, which conveniently appears right next to the baddy (pun!) court.
Contemplate this: The hero romances the heroine, plays badminton with her (including an under-the-leg shot), dances in the rain, fights goons, mouths stupendous dialogues - all in the space of about 7 minutes. In the course of the full movie, he eats gaajar ka halwa, doesn't put on a kilo, defies the heroine's father, matches Mehmood's comic routine, sheds copious tears and probably gets into IIT as well. Maybe, not the last one...
AND he was not even one of the more heroic heroes!

In Aradhana, Rajesh Khanna sings loud enough to be heard by the heroine on a train, sings magnificently, impresses his boss enough to take his lover on a fighter plane (Mile High Club?), impresses his father-in-law, keeps his cool while seeing Sharmila in an orange towel, impregnates her in Attempt One, dies, gets reborn as his own son, gets shot down in Pakistan and escapes immediately afterwards!

In Shahenshah, Amitabh accepts bribe as a police officer, pummels a Olympic wrestler-sized goon, wears a 16-kilo iron arm-guard, sings songs with Meenakshi Sheshadri in hot pants, goes up in a hot-air balloon, sings brotherly songs with Supriya Pathak, drives a car in a hail of machine gun bullets and hangs the arch-villain in a court-room.

Look at Shammi Kapoor in Junglee and you know the hero is a paragon of virtue, masculinity, sartorial elegance and clean underwear.
Till about the early 90s, you had these multi-purpose heroes. Salman Khan in Maine Pyaar Kiya. Aamir Khan in Baazi. Sunny Deol in Ghayal. Amitabh Bachchan in Hum. Song-dance, melodrama, yellow drama, fighting, kiting - all in one huge paisa vasool adventure.
I think SRK spoilt the party by playing the villain. There was a thin line between anti-hero and villain. He crossed it. After that, we only had flawed heroes.
Look at SRK in Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna. He is a cantankerous footballer, who gets hit by a car and the car doesn't get a dent. And then, he limps into an adulterous affair. Contrast this with Amitabh in Silsila - another adulterous man, who first gained sympathy by marrying to save his brother's fiancee's honour. When he restarted the affair with his old flame, he made it look almost like a catharsis.
Look at Aamir Khan in Rang De Basanti. Somebody as handsome as he is can shoot the Defence Minister by spitting bullets at him. Instead, he got beaten up by a nameless constable in front of India Gate. The last time Amitabh got beaten up was by Vinod Khanna in Amar Akbar Anthony. Kishore Kumar got beaten up by Ashok Kumar. And at the worst, Dilip Kumar was whipped by Pran - at least a Grade A Villain.
The amount of effort SRK puts in a lighting a bulb for Swades is what Mithun needs to fight off the Martians and win the National Disco Championship - on the same evening.
Sometimes, it gets worse. The heroic guys are the villains! Hrithik in Dhoom 2. Aamir Khan in Fanaa.

Where are those guys who will not miss a penalty against Pakistan?
When will gold smuggling be perfectly justifiable - as long as the hero refuses drug trafficking?
How can I get a guy to sing a song with his lady love and then beat up eve-teasers in the same breath?
And in these times of economic boom, will I ever hear those words - "Maa, main pass ho gaya" - just before the mom goes in front of the dad's portrait and breaks into a soliloquy?

Damn, I so miss Uttam Kumar.
In only one movie, he acted in Othello, dribbled barefoot past seven English footballers, romanced Suchitra Sen, passed Medical with flying colours, converted to Christianity and found a pothole-free road in Bengal to drive his bike on AND sing a song.

I know all her contemporaries are cringing at this senile rambling, but Nilendu - you agree with me, don't you?


Rimi said...

One of my contemporaries, yes, *my* contemporaries, used to go to the theatre to watch the Khiladi-type flicks, and can recite Mithunda's dialogue, I will have you know. True, he is only one amongst many who shudder at the sight of Jeetendra getting ready to boogie, but we did watch Bollywood Summarised in Om Shanti Om. So there :D

(I take the 30-something comment very personally, by the way. Amra ki keu na naki?)

priya said...

hey, you missed Anil Kapoor in Mr. India! here was an invisible man whose idea of getting even was not pulling down the pants of everyone in the city.
and.... i'm twenty, and already a nostalgia buff... your posts make _me_ nostalgic, too!.. now i think i watched too many movies when i was a kid.

Sandeepa said...

Maybe you should get in touch with Farah Khan and she will take care of "maa, main pass ho gaya" and all your other requirements after the triplets(??) are taken care of

the mad momma said...

its okay DKC. Forget the kids. we oldies shall sit and watch all this over masala samosas and beer :p

nilendu said...

Nostalgia at twenties! It reminds me of a Chris Rock sketch.

"Thirty-eight is NOT young. Thirty-eight is young ONLY if you DIE at thirty-eight. "Oh! He died and he was only thirty-eight? So young". Thirty-eight is NOT young."

Dude, if you are twenty, you should not even do any read / write activities, if you know what I mean!

Dipta, I completely agree that present "heroes" are wimpy, degenerate gaffers.

What I miss are -

(1) The staple late 70-s motorboat chase, followed by one boat blowing over. These were borrowed from 70s James Bond movies. Extremely cool. I actually burnt a CD with cool hindi movie motorboat chase scenes.

(2) Shetty's torture chambers. Where two opposing walls with spikes would advance towards a hapless hero / damsel in distress.

(3) Colored smoke filling a room before / after climax.

(4) Climax scene set near / on / within mountains / caves / indescribable places. Remember "Mr Natwarlal".

(5) Chicks digging dudes who misbehave with them at the first meet. As late as "Prem Pratigya", Mithun's shout "CHUUUUUUUUUUUP" at Madhuri worked. Love it, man! That's like all married man's secret fantasy ;)

(6) Thakur rape scenes of hero's sister / sister's friend / some literally dumb heavy woman like Reeta Bhaduri, Farida Jalal etc (only those tastefully done!). These days the "leering" is almost getting reversed. How pathetic are the movies where chicks chase men in NYC with Management books closely held to their bosom. Awful.

(7) Villain = A bald guy with baritone who has a swimming pool where he lounges with a "Beer" glass in hand while couple of firang-looking babes in swimming costume swim / sit next to him.

(8) Triple hero-heroine movies - No, not "Amar Akbar Anthony". Even mid-80s had Mithun-Kunal Goswami-Chunky Pandey ones.

(9) Actual "cabaret" (not Helen, but Leena Das), original "kolhapuri" (a la Jayshree T), cheap desi bar hostess dance (again, Prem Pratigya's Disco Shanti) -- item songs in this millennium are for sissies! Please take back Yana Gupta and make sure no one above 9 years watches her. That "Babuji" was so children friendly that Devyani Choubal would have hung herself in shame had she been alive.

(10) Devotional Songs - Come on. But I miss it. I am the only one person in the world who's managed to watch "Jay Shakumbhari Ma" in DVD. This movie was so lovingly described in "Maximum City".

Even today, the song "Shirdiwaale, Saai baba...aaye hai tere..." makes me shiver.

(11) Train scenes - less and less visible in today's movies. If there is one, it's some boooooring Grand Central Station with someone as boring as Shahrukh trying to take some serious life decision shit!

Please! Give me back the train scenes from "Do Anjaane" any day.

(12) Less and less usage of words like "tijori", "laala"; dog named "moti"; place named "sitamgarh"; lady daakus as fierce as "raam kaali" or "phool wati"; and as powerful yet sublime side kick as MacMohan.

(13) A non-IT looking office like one in "Golmaal" (the one where nose hair was picked). All present day offices on screen scare the shit out of me. They all look just like the one where I am the phytoplankton at the bottommost layer.

I miss so many things. I hate most movies, if not all, made after 1997. There's just not enough fun anymore. So called camera work, cheap tourist-trap foreign "locations" and some extremely effeminate heroes (muscles don't make a man!) kill the joy of watching bollywood. The fun is gone. Forever.

indu said...

Hi Dipta,
i don't know if it is appropriate to ask you this on your blog. but iam so desperate. i have been a regular reader of our dear madmomma and am quite a fan of her writings. but i found out today that she has made her blog private:( :(. i would like to request her to allow me to visit her blog. i don;t know how to contact her. i came to your blog thru her blog , and know that u guys are friends. is there anyway i can get her email id. i would greatly appreciate it if you can help i miss those kids already :(
thanks in advance.
indira nair

iz said...

Dude. You crack me up.

Anirban & Sujata said...
This comment has been removed by the author.