Monday, September 01, 2008

DVD synopses

While casually eploring the catalogue at the public library, I hit the page for a DVD of Pratiggya, a 1975 Dharmendra starrer: Here's the synopsis from the listing: Dharmendra secretly goes under cover and gets revenge on the person that took his childhood and family away from him. "Secretly goes under cover"? As opposed to "loudly"? Makes sense if you consider movies like Haveli, in which Marc Zuber spent his time telling everyone he met that he was an undercover cop and that they shouldn't tell anyone.

Bollywood DVDs have long boasted some of the most entertaining synopses. A trip to the local Indian grocery store can prove rewarding as you scan the paragraphs on the backs of the numerous covers on the shelves. Laced with sentences that betray an uncomfortably weak grasp of English grammar, idioms and vocabulary, the synopses often end by posing a set of questions to the reader -- these aren't questions of the kind that plague the existence of a PhD student but questions that are more on the lines of teraa naam kyaa hai basa.ntii?.

A few samples exist in the archives of this basket of bile: Aag Se Khelenge, Trimurti). There is, however, always more grass in the field where that cow came from. Consider the synopsis of Baaghi, which includes the nugget: [...] Sajan along with his friends rescues his love from the brothel and feels happy about it (also note have Kajal becomes Kajol by the time the synopsis is done).

We end with the synopsis of Naaraaz, which revels in the strict cliché stereotyping, high concept character development and the catastrophically convoluted tapestry of coincidence that passes off for plot in Bollywood.

NARAAZ is a strange love story of two friends who are from opposite backgrounds.

We are thus introduced to the concepts of foreground and anti-foreground; since these never attain the appropriate quantum states in Bollylore, such buddies rarely destroy each other, despite the presence of a temporary mandatory conflict.

DEVA (Mithun Chakraborty) is from a low caste poor family and due to this kind of background, he is an angry person.

There's a sample of the abuse of the material conditional; low caste implies kashT and someone who's very very frust. gariibii implies gussaa. It must also be noted that well-off low caste people don't make very good subjects in Bollysagas.

There is a dramatic confrontation between the two loving friends who are both angry with the society following opposite paths.

That bit hints on the Dilemma of Societal Divergence, a theme common in numerous reeling excursions served up by the Bollyfilm fraternity (sorority too, whatever).

There's more where all this came from. But the archaeology of the asinine must wait for another day. In the meantime, the plots of Bollyspiced dishes, often complex enough to discombobulate the best experts in correlation and chaos, deserve their space. But that too must come in good time. Bhuvan Panda said it right: bhuukh ke binaa bhog swaadishT nahii.n lagataa. It's time to bring on the hunger first before the meal is served.

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