Saturday night was Independence Day. Surprised…just the movie. it aired on primetime on some movie channel. A huge alien craft with some smaller versions of itself came to graze on our atmosphere. They positioned themselves over important cities and monuments and blew them to pieces. Finally Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum flew out and destroyed the ship and liberated Mother Earth. All in all a routine Hollywood flick. An American movie with American characters and set in America.
If the same movie had been made in what is very unpolitically termed as “Bollywood” then we would have had a comedy show. It wouldnt last a week at the theatres. Indian movies must have songs and dances, dream sequences, rona-dhona, a sad and battered mother, a very patriotic/dedicated son, his sweetheart, a comic and a turncoat..give and take a few.

Run-of-the-mill Indian movies are all about families and human interactions and marriages. Sometimes serious, most of the times mundane. Yet the serious never feels serious enough. The settings, characters and dialogues all seem unrealistic. The last movie that I enjoyed was “Dil Chahta Hai”. Three friends in urban India. Short and snappy dialogues. Everyday situations. Controlled acting. The next movie by the same director is a war-film called “Lakshya”. If its half as good as the earlier one then we’ll probably have a depiction of patriotism hiterto unseen in the country. Most films about wars or about the armed forces are an overdose of patriotism. The characters mouth sermons about the motherland and duty that sound ridiculous after sometime. “Sarfarosh” was an exception. Same goes for family dramas…. sermons and lectures and songs and dances.

Not going into any comparision..viewers have accepted a double standard about Western and Indian movies made upon the same subjects. A Hollywood movie should be matter-of-fact, terse and subtle while our very own versions should be loud, with a barrage of dialogues and colorful. Off-late some hardhitting works have come up which can match the western standards. “Satya” may not be “Godfather” but its nearly as good. I hope more such stuff comes by and soon.

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