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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

new age movies

There was this hit movie of the sixties in which the great guitar-carrying singer Cliff Richards was the hero. He sang practically all the songs, strumming on his guitar. It was a simple story of a group of boys and girls out on a Summer Holiday – yes, that was the name of the movie. The backdrop was a double-decker bus and the antics of the members of the group did not appear to be something out of this world, they were young and bubbling with enthusiasm. Nearly half a century has passed since then and, what was the rage in the West then has settled on us Indians now – practically every other movie has the same boy meets girl theory. The songs and dances continue unabated and the rich gets the poor or vice versa seems to be the accepted norms. Variations are few and far between. Our aging heroes and heroines love to play act roles of the teenagers. We are still in the fifties! When it comes to movies where violence is the theme, we still have those easily forgettable song and dance numbers that are invariably out of place. The reason for their inclusion is that even if the movie flops, the CDs of the dance numbers can make the producer break even. The promos are full of suggestive motions and innuendos and, because these CDs are released much in advance of the final product, they find readymade markets. Hence, the producers are gainers in any case. Jokers are an inseparable part of any movie: the days of type cast ones like Johnny Walker or Keshto Mukherjee or I S Johar have given way to the hero who doubles up as the joker. Similar to the heroines: once the roles of vamps were played by a select number of artists, today the heroines themselves have taken on that additional responsibility – advantage once again to the Producer: he does not have to shell out money on two counts.

Another trend that seems to be raising its head and calling for attention is redoing old time greats – we had the color version of Mughal-e-Azam. Now, Taj Mahal has hit the screen and people are waiting for Sholay. But, all said and done, remake of a hit movie of a particular period is not like remixes of popular old time favorite songs. The movie seconds will not have the appeal of the originals – good storylines can certainly have different interpretations and be presented in different ways. But, the success of the originals cannot be taken for granted for the subsequent versions.

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