Whenever we, as Indians, mourn the lack of good films, we are told that we have great expectations. That we should just appreciate the handful of Indian films that stay true to the art form and shut up about the rest. It is however difficult to forgive the industry for using copyright violations, crass sentiments and a bipolar stance on sexuality to bring Indian cinema to its knees.
And the producers for towering over its sullen figure, with their front-zippers down, sporting a dirty smile and holding a sign that says – No biting please. Sure, entertainment is subjective and what is good for the goose can taste like gunpowder to the gander.
Unfortunately though, Indian filmmakers can follow certain commandments to achieve moderate levels of success. Here are 10 of them.
(1) Thou shall confuse romanticism with sexism. Please ensure that men objectify women and negate their identity as functional members of society in the name of chivalry. And the women must treat men like they are battery-operated and sexually-frustrated sociopaths. If love can be blind and crazy, your protagonists can be self-loathing misogynists.
(2) Thou shall milk harsh Indian realities far worse than Danny Boyle ever could. Also take notes from The Big Bang Theory on how to be racist towards India and still have us talking about how lovable the white guy is.
3) Thou shall make sure that the villain is dark-skinned because India is the most racist country in the world. People with facial deformities can also be hired to shake the hero’s confidence in the penultimate brawl.
(4) Thou shall be tickled to death by transgenderism and homosexuality for no reason other than that the average Indian is genuinely aghast at even the slightest deviance from what their great-great-grandparents once understood about gender identities. Diversity be damned, there is unity in discrimination.
(5) Thou shall be super-sensitive about religion. Every Catholic has a priest to confide in and uses the sign of the cross to reiterate his faith. Muslims either blow stuff up or become best friends with people who fight with Muslims who blow stuff up. There are also more pigeons than people in mosques. Everyone else is a Hindu. Temples are Internet chat rooms for frustrated lovers with conservative values. Secularism exists too but only in saffron-clad people with white powder on their foreheads that gives them mystical powers of logic and reasoning.
(6) Thou shall ignore the laws of physics, biology, geography and moral science during action-filled sequences. You can do make heroes do stuff with cars that frustrated kids might think about doing to butterfly wings. Every sidekick must flop sideways, like a fish reconsidering a tai chi posture, before finding a glass pane or street vendor cart to put himself through. And people can bleed from their mouths for the strangest reasons. Even when not a single punch a thrown. Also, thou shall arbitrarily unleash the Captain every now and then.
(7) Thou shall take giant dumps on the importance of education by hammering it in, especially during communist-lite climaxes, that morality is the opium of the illiterate. Also, rich people are bastards. It has nothing to do with the ratio between the haves and have-nots in India. It’s just that their daughters are pretty and unattainable.
(8) Thou shall ignore the current trends in sound mixing and visual graphics that even local businesses are utilizing to create digital marketing material. Instead rely on amateur old school animation and Microsoft Paint.
(9) Thou shall plan ample screen time for product placement because those who appreciate good cinema are too antisocial and too cheap to spend on movie tickets anyway.
An extra commandment by a blogger with funny bones – the regular Indian girl…
(10) Thou shall always portray that “respectable” mothers are always subservient to their husbands, don’t spend on self, work in the kitchen all day (all this even if the husband is a zillionaire) and that the non-respectable ones are those who work/earn, wear pretty clothes and put on pretty makeup. The latter always put their children on the back-burner because well, they “chose” career.
Cinema Unparadiso – a personal appreciation for exploitative world cinema which died in 2013
(Photographs – Chennai)