Fanciful and Unrealistic – Bollywood’s Oft Repeated Storylines

All of us accept the fact that there are many aspects of Bollywood films which cannot be questioned. We just recognize them as part of the melodrama which is Hindi cinema and even though they are highly implausible, we accept the perennial strong heroes, the fragile women, the creepy villains, etc., etc. There are few themes which keep persisting, and some day, hopefully, they will cease to be a part of every other Indian film.

Missing children:

They all lose their children at some mela or a national disaster and after three hours of convoluted events they find them again and there is one great reunion scene as part of the climax. Waqt, Amar Akbar Anthony, Yaarana all of them were great films – but the theme was the same. Have you ever heard of this happening in real life? The larger the family, the greater the twists and turns to the story, and the more predictable the ending.

Idiotic Heroes:

Yes, you read right. All of us know that if you see a corpse somewhere, do not go near it, and do not touch the murder weapon. But none of our ill-fated stars seem to be aware of this fact. They will touch the bloodied dagger, they  will walk around the crime scene and of course they will have no alibi for the time of the murder. Honestly, the story-writers make our heroes look like illiterate country bumpkins, with no basic common-sense.

Clueless policemen:

If our heroes are idiotic, then our policemen are worse. They always arrive too late, they do not see what is obvious – at least what is obvious to the audience and they take an amazing amount of time to arrive at the right conclusion – that is if they ever do that. They are either too violent or too arrogant, or they do not have the basic knowledge of criminology or they behave like comedians through most of their investigations.

Secret Marriages:

So many of our romantic pairs get married in temples which have no priests and where there are no witnesses to their marriage. Where do they find these temples – every temple that I have been too has too many priests and too many hanger-ons?  And of course, our lovely pure heroine is likely to get pregnant and sure enough no one will believe that she is married – and here comes another long and complicated story! Only lately we have begun to see films where sleep-overs have not released in an addition to the population.

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Rani in a Sadar Avatar

Bad Disguises:

Remember Dil Bole Hadippa – have you ever seen such a feminine looking cricket player as Rani Mukerjee in her avatar as a young boy? How is it possible that no one guessed who she really was? This is not the only instance where there have been bad disguises, except maybe Kamal Hassan in Chachi 420. In almost every film where they have tried o do a cross-over disguise, they have failed badly.

Group Dances:

The moment the hero or heroine decide to give us one of their song and dance routines, a large brigade of dancers joins them. Where do they come from? And where do they vanish after the song is over? Frankly even if the heroine or hero decided to do a solo dance performance, it looks fairly unreal and rarely seem to be a seamless part of the main story. Now, of course we have the inevitable “item” numbers. Scantily clad beautiful dancers do add to the appeal of a film – so I really cannot complain too much about them!

Unbelievable cures and recoveries:

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Aamir in TZP

There should be an ethical ban against these aspects of stories. They give rise to false hopes among the people who suffer from these problems in real life. Films like Taare Zameen Par and My Name Is Khan are different, they give you a realistic portrayal of problems such as Asperger’s and Dyslexia, but Ghajini , in their attempt to show a happy ending, showed us a path which only few can traverse. Amnesia being cured suddenly, patients coming out of comas at crucial moments; these seem to have become staples of Hindi films.

I do love Bollywood films –at least some of them – warts and all! But occasionally I do feel the need to leave my brains at home when I go to see a Hindi film and try very hard not to question the rationale behind the stories. One of these days I am going to get to see a film where the story is down-to-earth and realistic and where I can connect with what is happening onscreen as some part of my daily life.

Further Reading:

Disability Sells

Movies with a message

Bollywood classics

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