Abhishek Krishnan



I am confused, behindwoods column, Tamil cinema


I am confused. When we use the word ‘commercial cinema’, why do people immediately connect to movies with songs and fight sequences? If the word ‘commercial’ here refers to movies that make profit, are we being tasteless as audience, by watching only such movies or is it just my own tongue that is bad?

Well, there have been cases where bad movies have run that extra mile because of the songs and fights in their movies. I’ve been walking in and out of movie halls all my life and what I have noticed is that, whenever there is a song of a favourite hero, the people in the theatre erupt.

However, what erupts in my head right then, is a heap of questions, attached to a bell, that keep ringing, but are still left unanswered.

The flabbergasting, nail biting introduction

Heroes are often introduced in the movie through a power packed slo-mo action sequence or in a song, which is most commonly set in a hyperbolic festive mood, amid colourful dancers and of course accompanied by the choreographer of the song, who has absolutely nothing to do with the script.

Another exciting approach to lead the hero into the movie is by showing the different parts of his body, most preferably a shot of his feet getting out of a car, followed by a shot of his hand closing the door and finally his face, which leave the audience hyperventilating, not realizing that their favourite hero just forgot to lock his car.

Alas, those queries, most annoyingly, poke their irking heads out to play spoilsport, keeping me away from the joyousness.

- Why create suspense by showing the hands and feet first, when the audiences obviously know that it is their hero on screen?

- Why do the lyrics in the introduction song have absolutely no connection with the movie?

- How are all the dancers able to perform uniform moves?

I am confused.

Those performance oriented dream sequences

It is evidently obvious that songs are an integral part of Indian Cinema. However, they are, very unfortunately, used in places where they are absolutely unnecessary. They suddenly seem like those tiresome popups in computers that would have committed suicide by now, if they were human beings, for being dragged in by the cat.

The heroine smiles at the Hero and – tada - they are teleported to some foreign location for a dream sequence, dancing in front of foreign people, who stare at them as though they have just spotted a couple of aliens, trying to communicate something to the world.

The heroine hugs or kisses the hero - they find themselves in a set, whose massiveness depends on the thickness of the producer’s wallet – and what do they do there? They dance their hearts out to some random folk song composed by the music director.

Songs have become an incomprehensible necessity in films – so much that they are being referred to as foreign song, set song and montage song before they are even composed.

Now those questions begin to pick their bells up.

- Why is it so necessary to have such songs?

- Am I the only one who has never ever dreamt of dancing in a foreign location with my girlfriend?

- Why do actors have to sweat it out doing rigorous dance practice sessions when they have absolutely nothing to do with the film?

I am confused.

The non-human fighters in Mars

I sit through the introduction scene, while the others eat up their nails for breakfast. I take a loo break and also get myself a tub of popcorn on my way back, while some of them dance along with their favourite heroes. And now, I am all geared up for the action packed climax.

The hero stands facing the villain and his group of unkempt hit men – that sarcastic smile in the hero’s face makes it evident that he brims with confidence – obviously because he knows that the thugs are going to come to him one at a time. He suddenly acquires these supernatural powers that make him fly miles up in the air, run faster than the fastest cheetah on earth and make long jumps from pillar to post.

He beats the rowdies up to pulp, sending some of them to the neighbouring planet – possibly Mars. The lead villain surrenders to the hero, wincing his eyes tightly all ready to take the final stab. He then opens his eyes to realize that the hero did not kill him, but stabbed a nearby object instead, so as to avoid going to jail and ruining the life of the heroine, who cannot think of a life without him.

There you go - most people have ants in their pants as they witness a thunderous, never seen before, action packed, hair raising climax, while I sit there worried that there was not enough butter in the popcorn.

Well, the bells start ringing.

- What happens to the other hit men who are battered ruthlessly? Doesn’t the hero have to go to jail for killing them? Or aren’t they human beings?

- If people can really fly so high, run so fast and jump so long, why aren’t we doing well at the Olympics?

- Aren’t the audience bored of watching the same thing over and over again?

I am genuinely confused.

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