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Monday, December 05, 2005

inseparable pairs

Comedians used to come in pairs – Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy (106 films), or Bud Abbott and Lou Costello (36 films), or Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (10 years, 16 films). The famous cartoon character of the pair of Tom Cat and Jerry Mouse are treats for tired eyes even in this the twenty first century.

There have been several celluloid pairs of Bollywood and Tollywood namely Raj Kapoor- Nargis, Dilip Kumar- Vyjantimala, Suchitra Sen - Uttam Kumar. They kept the people mesmerized for quite a long time. In those days, lead pairs along with the story and music had a lot of say in the success of the film. The final film that hit the halls on Fridays would be a serious affair where a group of dedicated persons worked together to present a masterpiece that is remembered even today. Dependence on such pairs have vanished, they have been marginalized. Those who invest in this form of business want the cash boxes to be ringing continuously, sorry – today there are no cash boxes, it all works on swipes of the credit cards. The amount automatically gets into storage and instead of giving the audience the same faces to gloat over, they have discovered that variety pays greater dividends - change of taste comes from a change of face: each face is a gamble. When it clicks, the producers add frills but seldom continues with the same pair – they keep on experimenting with dress codes, with taboo relationships or even with newer locales, sets and action that leave the viewer flabbergasted.

This system opens up opportunities for the stars to explore their market potentials elsewhere. Today’s world is one of cutthroat competition, no holds are barred and expectations are always high. Hence, the glorious days of a fixed set of hero-heroines have been shelved.

Our Indian film scenario had several memorable pairs of music directors like Shankar-Jaikishen, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and a pair of writers in Salim-Javed who gave us all those super special dialogues that used to be delivered by Amitabh Bachhan. Here again, these have been transformed to a world of singles who sky rocket to fame and nosedive to perish unsung.

The final word remains on pairs with the one seen while playing ‘teen patti’ for high stakes – its chase has sent many a person to his doom.

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