Thursday, January 15, 2009

Plump-Fog-Villain-Heir ....... a guide on how to make an award winning TRASHY movie....

The whole world is going ga-ga-goo-goo over Slumdog Millionaire. India’s ‘chatterrati’ have quickly appropriated the movie as Indian. ~pretty much the same way Kolkata claims that Mother Teresa is Bengali. Also Maradona Da ; ) ~

The queen of glib gaggle, Shobha De, wrote a painfully pretentious piece on ToI the other day. Commenting on the movie she gushes:

"It cut terrifyingly close to the bone as it took us straight into the innards of this brutal world, where wide-eyed kids lose their innocence (and their eyes) at the hands of ruthless gangsters who mutilate, maim, kidnap and kill at will."

Now, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I know a bit about it. If I didn’t, then this one line in her piece would have ensured that I never see the movie!

I don’t think that Ms Shobha has completely understood the driving reason of why most Indian’s go to see a movie. My understanding is that they go to a movie to get entertained and escape from precisely the kind of ‘reality’ that she talks of.

She even slammed the desi directors by pressing cntrl+B on her article when she said:

“And the first thought that came to mind is that it has taken an 'outsider' (Danny Boyle), to go fearlessly into 'No Man's Land' and hold up a mirror to our sordid society — the same one that looks the other way... and flinches when confronted.”

I guess it’s her desire to escape from all the trappings of a vacuous urban existence that makes her want to see more of the “other side”. Rest of India would much rather see more of the glitzy ‘India Shining’ world, than pay money to see their own lives replayed on a big screen.

Most Indian movie makers know this, and that’s why they make the movies they do.

Commercial Hindi movies would be so boring if they were to be “realistic”.

Imagine a scene where the hero walks fearlessly into the villain’s den. Typically the dialogue-baazi would be like this:

Hero: KK! Apni Maa ka doodh piya hai, toh bahar nikal kutte! Tere
paap ka pyala bhar chuka hai, kameeney!

KK: Kiski maut aayi hai jo KK ko lalkaar raha hai??

Hero: Maut meri nahin teri aayi hai KK! Aaj main tere is paap ki
nagri ko nesto-naboot kar doonga! Yeh Arjun ka vaada hai!!

KK: Arjun?! Aaj tu bach nahin payega, haraamzade!!

Typically wild applause, whistles, and hooligan like whopping ensues in the cinema hall when this scene plays out!

Now imagine if we were to be bitten by the “realism” bug. This entire exchange would be dry and insanely boring:

Hero: KK. Bahar aa….b@#*n c#*d

KK: Kown hai bey??!!

Hero: Arjun.

KK: Ruk teri maa ki…aaj tu gaya.


Where is the drama, the emotion, the surge of vendetta that’s supposed to swell up in your blood and bones???

This is the mistake the “parallel” cinema movement made. It was doomed to fail. But let by-times be by-times. Now that some amount of world attention will be on Indian cinema, following the success of Slumdog, I thought it’s important to explain the pillars of successful movie making in India to the eager global audience.

It’s a simple formula: Plump-Fog-Villain-Heir


This is about the women. India likes its women, well, Anjata-esque. It’s a sign of fecundity.

The South has taken this to the extreme and made “women of substance” a participation ticket to success.

North is in denial but it works in subversive, subliminal ways. Remember all the talk of Kareena and size ‘Zero’ last year? While the chatterrati was swooning over ‘health’ concerns, the regular viewer was cribbing: “kaisi lag rahi hai yaar. Mazza nahin aaya..”

Kareena’s weight loss was not about HER, it was about THEM.

So if you want to make a good, insanely successful trashy Indian movie, make sure the women are PLUMP. From the heroine to the dhobin to the Russian dancers, all must be ‘pusht’ and ‘tandrust’.


This is a critical one, as fog operates at two levels – the REAL and the METAPHORICAL.

At the real level, all the ‘twists’ in the plot happen in fog – murder, conspiracy, havas ka nanga naach.

At the metaphorical level, fog underlines the very basics of a Hindi movie. As one leading actor recently said, “I like making movies which have no logic. There is no plot. Leave your brains outside and come see the movie to get entertained. That’s what the public pays money for.”

Plots of successful trashy movies must be FOGGY. There can be no logical sequence. For example, a mother can breast feed a snake to avenge her family!


A good trashy movie needs a well defined villain. It’s important to paint the world black and white to avoid the everyday dull grey of ‘realism’.

So go look for the next Colonel Chikara, Dong (jo kabhi wrong nahin hota) or Ibu Hatela before you start thinking of cracking open the Indian movie market.

And try and give him a Big Hairy Audacious Goal, like “main hindustan ko barbaad kar doonga”, instead of something chindi-choresque like “jao uski maa ko utha ke le aao”.


This is important, as it involves the hero. The hero must be the ‘heir’ to something. Ideally Richie Rich like fortune, which is denied to him by the Villain.

He could also inherit and be the heir to his mother’s pledge of revenge, or his sister’s plea to avenge or his Gandhi-esque baap’s vow to scavenge through life.

Either way, he needs to be the Heir of something. It gives him reason to trance and dance around the screen for the next three hours.

Put these four things together people and you have an award winning TRASHY MOVIE. I must say that this structure rivals the BCG matrix when it comes to ensuring unparallel fame and fortune for investors.

I have flashed my light on the road to success now. Run on it and thank me later.


Y said...

you've not blogged in almost a year now :-(

mads said...

lol. I loved the 'havas ka nanga nach' bit.