Saturday, February 18, 2012

Made in India


We had been to a Bollywood movie a couple of days back and had this on my mind since then. It is not that I liked the movie so much, rather something about the movie which stirred the thought. I just couldn’t put my thoughts together but it bothered so much that I even thought of going to the same movie again to find out. I did not go again but it just occurred to me what it was about the movie that I had been thinking of. The movie is completely made in India. “What’s up with that?” you ask? Well, can’t really explain, but this was bothering me the last few days.

Bollywood movie are very unusual if you think of. The movies will have Indian stars with typical Indian melodrama but mostly set in a foreign location. Some common guidelines they seem to abide are –

Ø  The neighborhood where the movie is set, will mostly have folks speaking Hindi; who dance to celebrate Diwali and Holi

Ø  There usually is a character who speaks Punjabi and who is fond of food

Ø  If there is a villain, he/she is either incredibly intelligent or amazingly stupid; beyond Gods comprehension; reason best known only to the film director.

Ø  The hero and heroine on their part drive a good car and do clown dance in a shopping mall or a parking lot. "Now, why do they want to dance nonsense in a shopping mall or a parking lot in a foreign country?" you ask? Hmm.. Question for the director.

If in a rare storyline, the hero and the heroine are shown struggling to make a living, say by begging, they still get to dance on a restaurant table in Europe, of course in a dream sequence. Very rarely a movie is made which breaks these set barriers, and the one I saw recently was one of those.

And all this doesn’t just stop at the movie halls. Even those dozen movie award ceremonies are starting to get hosted in a foreign country these days. The funniest part is when the host says “Namaste” to a supposedly foreign audience. From there on, every star who comes on stage to receive the award, thanks the foreign audience. And then we have the local cricket leagues who play each other,  but in a foreign country, citing security reasons. (This topic is the subject matter for a different discussion.)

Do not get me wrong here. I do not have a problem with our movies made in a foreign country. But let’s not overdo it please. We have hundreds of beautiful locations and spots within India where our heroes and heroines can dance. It’s only our fellow citizens who will laugh. That is still ok. Make movies in each of those states in eastern India, even names of which are not known to many within the country. I think our government could also do something here. If it can levy a huge tax for an imported good, say for a car or even petrol, why can’t it levy the same kind of a high tax for a Bollywood movie not made in India?

All said and done, finally it’s the film makers’ money and the actors’ pride. It’s their wish where they want to make a movie or which parking lot they want to create a scene at. Hope someone someday soon, puts some sense in our film makers and shows them what all in our country remains untapped.

~Narendra V Joshi