Sunday, 25 January 2015

Why I love Bollywood- In Celebration of the Mediocre Films

We all rhapsodise about the good films. And bitch incessantly about the bad ones. Everyone knows about Lagaan and Jaani Dushman.
Yet there are other perfectly ordinary films that nobody really cares about. Which have stellar moments, where you can see that the writers/ director paid attention, applied thought.
In no particular order, and with no pretensions of being exhaustive, my favourite sequences from these films are as below.
(Please feel free to add yours in the comment section)

·         The Opening Sequence in Hasee toh Phasee
It’s a wedding. Douchey boys are engaging in the sexist pursuit of rating girls. And then Siddharth Malhotra rates Parineeti Chopra as an eight. Still sexist , you would say, except Parineeti plays a chemical engineer from IIT, in spectacles and a boy cut. The eight is on the basis of a stimulating conversation he has with her. The unthinkable has happened. You just met a likeable rom-com hero.
·         The rescue sequence from Ek Villain
She is a shrill, manic-pixie do-gooder. He is a brooding anti-hero. She makes him go to a retirement home to kidnap an old man (where he has been dumped by his evil children) so that he can be reunited with his elderly girlfriend. You have started rolling your eyes.
And then the sequence in question-where the rescue is orchestrated in the backdrop of Amitabh Bachchan’s Shaheshah playing out at a movie screening. It helps that Siddharth Malhotra has the right physicality. But you have to admire the director’s cheekiness. Get the ultimate brooding anti-hero to do the heavy lifting, while the pretty boy…well…looks pretty.
·         The via-Agra song in Yeh Jawani hai Deewani
Okay fine, I just called YJHD mediocre to curry favour with the cool kids. I loved the film through and through. But even the haters have to appreciate the genius of the song with Madhuri Dixit and Ranbir Kapoor. It exists in the film…just because. Just because it would be fun to see Madhuri match steps with the son of the hero she has been cast opposite in the past. Just because the audience was bound to love it. And more cynically, just because…it was a way to sell more tickets.
·         The treasure hunt in Student of the Year
Crowd-pleasing scenes used to be usual fare in Hindi films before our directors grew up and decided to tell real stories. (Examples are the antaksharis in Maine Pyar Kiya and Mujhse Dosti Karoge, the special appearance of Salman Khan in Dhai Akshar Prem Ke, and the shenanigans on the ship in Kaho naa Pyaar Hai). The treasure hunt in the school with inane clues and frenetic running around was a reminder of how film-makers used to get family-friendly eyeballs in the nineties.
Want to guess who my favourite student is?
·         The road sequence in Mujhse Frandship Karoge
Yes, there is a film by that name. Yes, I paid money to watch said film in a multiplex. The leads (in the precarious we-hate-each-other phase before they move on to the I-think-I-am-in-love-with-him/her phase) are travelling by car. To fill the time, she starts humming English songs, and he jumps in to sing their Hindi versions. At one point they sing ‘Neela duppatta, peela suit, chali chali tu dil ko loot’, and it’s English original (which I had no idea, existed).
·         Salman Khan’s cameo in Phata Poster Nikla Hero
Salman Khan’s reaction when thinking about working in the sequel to Andaz Apna Apna: “Aamir ke saath kaam karna padega…”.  *Pained expression*. Pure gold.
Even part from the cameo, this is recommended for Shahid Kapoor fans 
·         Ranveer Singh and Ali Zafar’s pillow talk in Kill/ Dil
The two are staring at the stars with Singh sighing about people turning into stars after death. Zafar chimes in…”Haan, inmein se toh kitno ko humnein taara banaya hoga”. The two are contract killers by the way.



  1. Only because you asked for it.

    I appreciate this post all the more because I was JUST binge-reading Baradwaj Rangan's reviews and I think you and he are kindred spirits who should meet some time and discuss your pure, simple abiding love for Bollywood.

    You still can't convince me to spend money on Kill Dil.

    Please write a part-2 to this post.

    And blog about Kutch already!

    Also, I realised I'm a hopelessly unobservant movie-viewer. I saw Mujhse Fraandship Karoge recently and I never picked out that scene, though now I remember it.

    This was my favourite line: "Okay fine, I just called YJHD mediocre to curry favour with the cool kids." I saw it a few days back and liked it because of what you had to say about it. :)

  2. Point by point reply:

    You shouldn't have publicly talked about my pestering. I have a few other readers who don't know what a chape I am (yet).

    It's more like he is the guiding light, and I am the follower, but yeah okay :p

    It's Kill/ Dil by the way. And it comes on t.v every weekend now.

    Part-2 will come. I am thinking about making a 'Why I Love Bollywood' series. But then my good intentions often come to nothing. Let's see.

    The guy in Mujhse Fraandship Karoge is from Hindu. Only reason I watched the movie in the first place.

    Yay about YJHD. Now more people need to be convinced about the merits of Phata Poster...