Monday, October 28, 2013

Bollywood Saga

A part of being indian is the fact that Bollywood forms a big part of my life. I'v grown up watching comedy classics and dancing to Bollywood numbers at weddings. Not one family dinner conversation goes without a reference to Andaaz Apna Apna, Angoor or Golmaal.

For decades now indian movies have followed a thumb rule. Make everything appear larger than life. Bright colors, hunky actors, stunning actresses, dance, music, weddings, love, fights and everything else that makes our hearts race. Budgets of movies have now reached soaring heights resulting in Box office revenues like never before. 

Big budget movies with big returns. Theses movies are collectively called the '100 crore movies'. That amounts to $16,264,129 as per todays conversion rate!! Revenues of these movies are calculated in multiples of a 100 crores.

Theres got to be a reason how these movies do so well. A formula thats works time and again. A closer look at these movies and I noticed the similarities they share.

So here goes...10 points to make a 100 crore rupees.

1. An actor who has come to terms with the fact that his acting talent will not be utilized in the movie. He meets the prerequisites of good looks and sports six pack abs. He effortlessly delivers over confident dialogues written for his character.

2. An actress who dislikes the hero at first and then gets swept off her feet by his muscles that can tear his shirt when he flexes. A perfect village belle or a damsel in distress.

3. A script-writer who has mastered the skill of separating logic and intellect from a story. He needs to also have the added talent to add fart jokes to 'strengthen the script'.

4. A recently imported dancer, preferably from Eastern Europe or Russia, capable of lip syncing meaningless hindi lyrics. She's obviously more glamorous and provocative than the main actress and has an appropriately picked out name such as Munni, Laila, Chameli, Pinky, Sheila.

5. A song written and sung by the very talented YoYo (first name) Honey-Singh (last name). A song unfit to be sung/heard with kids around.

6. A director who can include gravity defying stunts in fights, songs and comedy. He's probably south indian, making it easier for him to understand the language of the movie he is replicating.

7.  At least a 100 background dancers, forced to suppress their skills to match the challenging belt movement steps finally mastered by the actor. For the extremely talented actors, choreographers have come up with synchronized cheek movement instead of steps.

8.  One main bafoon-ish villain with at least 10 south indian side kicks. They are brought in just to get beaten up by a hero half their size. As dark complexioned as possible, casted merely based on the size of their bellies.

9. A disclaimer that asks viewers to leave their brains at home. This is done because the director has gone through the effort of using his brains in school and understand the exhaustion it causes.

10. A well connected PR company that will make sure the cast is on the sets of every reality show on TV. The songs will be at clubs, on the radio, as ringtones and at every wedding Sangeet. There will come a point when you will catch yourself humming songs about Sheila's jawani while driving to work.

PS: If all the above points don't make enough of an impact, a false scandal ought to do it. So throw one of those in too.

This formula is then applied to an innocent viewer who  has been exposed to so much information about the movie 3 months prior to release. He feels like a social outcast for not watching the movie and then convinces himself that the movie deserves Rs 250 of his hard earned money.

Put them all together and you have a whopping 100 crore collection in the 1st week of the movies release!!

There you go.....10 rules to make a 100 crore rupees. This is what we should be taught at business schools.

My dad reminisces about Bollywood in the 70s. He calls them "my-time-movies". These movies are masterpieces with flawless direction by Hrishikesh Mukherji and Gulzar. Simple yet powerful acting by Amol Palekar, Uttpal Dutt and Sanjeev Kumar. They did what cinema today has forgotten. 4 actors, a strong script and a familiar background score. Thats all it took to make movies that I am blogging about 30 years after they's been released.  

Makes me really wonder what would happen if the movies from the 70s released now. Would their simplicity still strike us or are we all attuned to the '10 points to 100 Crores Formula' ?