Friday, December 11, 2009

Cliche: Jald Aa Raha Hain!

Some time back, I had listed down a series of sequences or styles that were becoming cliches. That was on the back of a few 'new age' films that were willing to explore newer themes. Of course, there were a few problems.
One, every time a filmmaker in Bollywood successfully explores a new theme, it becomes a cliche!
Two, you start missing the old cliches!

For example, one evergreen - but unsung - cliche is the hemming & hawing around a lip-to-lip kiss. It goes something like this...
The leading pair is in - what the newspapers call - a compromising position, more often than not after the hero despatching a few goons. They are murmuring sweet nothings as the hero is trying to get the heroine to do things that would allow the directors to show flowers touching!
Eventually, the hero points to a body part (say, shoulder) where he is hurt. The heroine demurely kisses him there. A bulb lights somewhere. He points to another body part (say, wrist). The heroine kisses him there as well. Now (usually with a mischievous smile), he points to his lip and indicates hurt. Bingo!
Note for directors: For best results, use at least two non-sexual body parts before the lip.

Gosh - its been such a long time since that one!

Anyway, I thought I will quickly list down some more of about-to-be-cliches that have already been seen in a few films and looking good for many more.

The Jihadi Recruitment
Post 9/11, there is a new villain in cinema and Bollywood adopts it as well - the Muslim terrorist. Sometimes he is a cardboard character of villainy and bombast, sometimes he is the chocolate boy dealt unjustly. Either way, he is about to do an awful lot of collateral damage. And he has recruited / is recruiting a group of jehadis for the suicide mission.
The cliche is the recruiting process. You give the prospective jehadi a gun and ask him to shoot an innocent target. He pauses, he sweats, he trembles and eventually takes a shot. Entrance test passed!
What happens to the body of the innocent? You see, the shot was a blank one. The intention was to test the strength of his motivation, whether it was enough to make him shoot an innocent unknown.

The Flunked Hero
What Rajesh Khanna and Shashi Kapoor were to Maa-main-pass-ho-gaya-le-beta-mooh-meetha-kar-le-yeh-kya-tum-ro-rahi-ho-yeh-to-khushi-ke-aansoo-hain-beta-kaash-tere-pitaji-aaj-zinda-hote, Ranbir Kapoor is to the Failed Metrosexual! In two successive films - Wake Up Sid! and Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year - he either flunked or passed with grace marks, winning millions of hearts outside the campuses of IIT, AIIMS and St Stephens!
He is the guy jiska-marks-kum-hain-akal-nahin and is usually forced into academics (weren't we all?), while his true calling lies elsewhere.
And of course, like all underdogs, he manages to score very satisfying victories - including for his distributors.
By all accounts and trailers, 3 Idiots seems to have three such heroes!

Intel Inside. Bollywood Outside.
The first Hindi film to mention a computer was (in my opinion - and I am happy to be corrected) Trishul. When Shashi Kapoor returned from abroad, he calls Rakhee (his father's super-efficient secretary) a 'computer' (woh cheez jisse sub kuch maloom hota hain)!
We have come a long way from that to the point that it is probably becoming mandatory for Bollywood stars to have an active virtual life. First, it was supposed to be in their real life. But now - thanks to Himesh Reshamaiyya - even film characters must dodge in & out of Facebook and Twitter.
In Radio, RJ Vivaan Shah chats on Facebook while his less-enlightened colleagues are still figuring it out (Yaar, yeh Phesbuk hota kya hain?). His relationship status is 'complicated'. His listeners complain about boyfriends on porn sites. All he doesn't have is a Twitter handle.
I am inclined to believe this casual weaving of online stuff into filmi conversation is about to become a trend.
How long will it last? How authentic will it be? Who knows? After Big B started his blog, there was an avalanche of filmi bloggers. Now, most of the posts have trickled down to near zero (unless a film is coming up) and the stars have moved on to the new hangout in town.

On that note, I will go to sleep. Keep adding to the list of cliches.

And do watch Rocket Singh. I am in the film. So are all the salesmen of the world.


Siddhartha Dev said...

In Dilwale Dilwale Dulhaniya.. SRk is introduced as " For the frist time in the hostory of our college (pause) someone has FAILED. H is Mr Raj malhotra.
Maddy in RHTDM failed(or just scrapped thru with stolen question paper & cheating notes?)

Rimi said...

How about the failing academic? About Bindu in Padosan, for example, we are told, by one irate parent to another "Is bar bhi fail ho chuki hai, ab toh uski shaadi karwani hi hai." Or similar. It's been a while that I've watched Padosan. But most later heroines tend to be the good girls in love with the bad boys. Never could figure that one out.

Rimi said...

*failing heroine, I meant.