Friday, December 7, 2012

I forgive you, Silly Bollywood


To differentiate from the non-Silly, right?

This is going to be a hard one.

Because first, you, Silly Bollywood, are really really long movies which can be embarrassingly satisfying when you are good and when someone has time for you.  But so frustrating when you are banal which, yes, is a clear and present danger.

And besides, when someone's not really really getting bronchial garbage but just trying not to and so staying at home one day to rest but could still get lots of very good work done, it's then, Silly Bollywood, that your epic stretch betrays the unwary and makes for more than a minor indiscretion.




Plus, not to mention, you are so terribly indiscreet. All those colors, all that music, all those tears, all those lovers caught in rainstorms, all those stylized gestures, all that dancing all the time.  Bollywood, there is no subtlety in you. Which honestly, is not really a problem for me. 

Neither do your cavalier ways with copyright and intellectual properties trouble me unduly.  Nor your set-piece formulas that play out, click-click-click, like the tumblers in a lock while at the same time straining the sinews of believability.  Whether you are locking me in or unlocking is beside the point.  The point is, you delight in cliche and wandering roundabout plot-lines -- and so do I,  unfortunately.

It's not, though, that your plot-lines are not even plot-lines but more like simplistic and yet tangled plot-knots indiscriminately  looped and relooped for maximum melodrama that really grinds me.  It's not even the way you churn them out like hot samosas.  Or if we're talking churning, like acres of butter churned from the frothy buttermilk of your being and clarified into golden ghee. 



 And please, let's not get into your questionable attitudes towards women.

Okay, not even questionable sometimes.  Violence towards women in "you needed that" slaps, violence sublimated into dance moves, sublimated into caresses, the ever-simmering mockery between men and women.  Manipulative ugly older sisters-in-law.  Bossy little-boy men.  Objectification of women.   Aging stars paired with nubile starlets. (Oh, wait, maybe I'm talking my own tinsel town there.  Sorry.)  All of which I would like to say I wrestle with and can only barely tolerate by noting the progressive improvement of women's roles as the years pass, the broadening of expected manly behavior as time moves forward, and  how I can derive some benefit as your outre forms of misogyny shed light on the subtler forms always alive and well in my own culture and besides it is always useful, and very probably globally responsible, to understand other people's cultures.

 But the problem is that none of this is the problem.




The problem is that once you start shrug-shrugging your shoulders and shouting Balai! Balai! Balai! and pointing pointing up in the air and then the jewelry glitters like dancing chandeliers and all the saris start to swirl and flutter like tropical birds and the background settings switch for no reason from Mumbai to the Swiss alps to the pyramids to a field of mustard in brilliant yellow bloom,while the beautiful shiny-haired people begin singing to each other in full-voice while also performing intensely aerobic feats of flexibility and strength -- the problem is I'm right there with you.

So, sorry.  This is one forgiveness too far.

Silly Bollywood, I take it back.  I can never forgive you.

Even I have no time now anyway.  Must get back to the last sobby half hour of Kal Ho Naa Ho (There May or May Not Be Tomorrow).

Bye-bye!







3 comments:

John Romeo Alpha said...

Computer-ji, lips lock kiya-jaye!

Lisa B. said...

I love this love letter. I don't have this particular love-object, but I understand having a love-object like this. And spontaneous dancing/singing/glorious color in a movie? The very very best.

Emma J said...

JRA-ji -- your Hindi is more advanced than mine! I'm just really good at reading subtitles though I do have a firm grasp of a few basic words (dosti=friend, aur=and, sanam=heart, kuchni=nothing, kuch kuch=something)

Lisa B -- I've been thinking since reading your comment here, and earlier . . . is the movement of forgiving a gesture of love? I mean here, because I'm playing, certainly. Always is there an element of that? Or are there forgivings that cut off love?

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