December 15, 2001
3:23 AM   Subscribe

Those looking for a new writing challenge post NaNoWriMo, can sign up to write an "original Indian movie idea," and try to win $4,000 for five pages of work. Based on the last two Indian movies I have seen, here is a collection of online resources for ideas and inspirations for the next aspiring Bollywood screen-writers.
posted by tamim (16 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
tamim: How long did it take you to compose this post? This has got to be a record for the most links ever supplied in an fpp. I've got as far as the 'i' in 'is', I think this might take me all week. Not complaining mind, more just bowing down in total amazement.

My favourite bollywood movie (I've only seen a few though, so I'm no expert on them), is Kutch Kutch Hota Hai. I really don't think I could write a five page treatment for a bollywood film though, their plots always seem labyrinthine to me, I just go to see the song and dance numbers, they're the best bits.
posted by davehat at 4:24 AM on December 15, 2001

I've never actually seen a Bollywood movie, but I am reminded of in The Simpsons when Apu shows the family one of them.

"Their clothes are different from mine."
posted by noisemartyr at 4:45 AM on December 15, 2001

damn, that's alot of links there man, was it really worth it ?
don't get me wrong, I respect, but bollywood? gimme a break.
posted by martz at 6:47 AM on December 15, 2001

I'm actually going to see Khabi Khushi Khabie Gham today. It's supposed to have some of the best song and dance of all the movies this year. Should be fun!
Otherwise, I really recommend Dil Chata Hai as a good intro to Hindi movies.
Great post, tamim!
posted by nprigoda at 6:58 AM on December 15, 2001

Standard formula for a movie targeted at the younger audience:

Boy meets girl
Boy likes girl
Boy attempts to woo girl
Girl doesn't respond
Boy finally wins girl over
Villain #1 likes girl too
Girl's father wants girl to marry villain #1
Girl refuses
Villain #1 hires Villain #2 to kill boy
Boy beats the crap out of all villains
Girl's father sees that the boy is not that bad
Boy and girl live happily ever after

Add to that the requisite 20 songs, most featuring boy and girl running around trees or on snowy slopes in Swiss.

For once I'd like to see a Hindi movie without everyone and anyone singing in it.

Standard formula for an action movie:

Rent the last ten Hollywood blockbusters, steal enough to make one 2 1/2 hour movie.
posted by riffola at 8:17 AM on December 15, 2001 [1 favorite]

My favorite part of Bollywood films is how sexually repressed they are, yet they always have the potential to more violent than any Hollywood offering. It's West Side Story, no, it's a high body count blood-lust piece, no here comes a dance number followed by veiled sensual contact.
posted by machaus at 9:33 AM on December 15, 2001

Of course, there are the Satyajit Ray films, which do not follow that formula, and are internationally acclaimed, if a bit slow: Pather Panchali, Aparajito, and World of Apu. Also the feminist film Fire, which gets a lot of academic praise, although I didn't like it.
posted by bingo at 10:39 AM on December 15, 2001

Ah, now that I've checked out more of the links, I see that Tamim implicitly covered Ray already.
posted by bingo at 11:01 AM on December 15, 2001

I just think this thread would be incomplete without some mention of Bombay the Hard Way, an excellent remixing of Kalyanji and Anandji Shah's Bollywood soundtracks from the 70s.
posted by Eamon at 2:48 PM on December 15, 2001

Also, if you're into this stuff in a kitsch sense, check out the movie Ghost World, in which the Thora Birch character attempts to get interested in Indian movie soundtracks.
posted by bingo at 4:16 PM on December 15, 2001

yay tamimy! *dances*

beautiful. absolutely gorgeous. ;)
posted by po at 5:12 PM on December 15, 2001

Might I just recommend Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, as I saw it in the cinema a while back and thought that it was a corker. The richness of the cinematography makes it a real visual treat and whilst it echoes the themes that riffola posted earlier, the depth of the tragedy takes it in a different direction entirely.

Of course, asking for an original Indian movie idea is little different from asking for an original Hollywood film. Both Bollywood and Hollywood tend to pander to the tastes of their majority audience while the stranger and possibly more intellectually satisfying pictures slip by at the sidelines.
posted by MUD at 7:31 PM on December 15, 2001

Most of the films made today in "Bollywood" are total crap. They have absolutely no original ideas, and the songs suck. The songs and dance are a very integral part of the Indian cinema, at least for the the mainstream ones. However, most of the great singers of the golden era, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Kishor Kumar, Talat Mahmood, Hemant Kumar et al have since passed away along with the great music directors such as S.D. Burman, his son R.D. Bruman, Hemant Kumar, Salil Chowdhry et al. The passing of these talented individuals, IMHO, has set the Indian film industry back decades. What passes for songs today, even with Lata Mangashker and her sister Asha Bhosle, the virtual queens of female voices for decades, just suck.

Someone else mentioned that action movies are copies of American movies. True. It almost seems like Indian film producers and studio heads just don't want any original ideas. Very rarely do director/story teller such as Mira Nair [Salaam Bombay, Mississippi Masalaa -- and even though it was crap -- Kama Sutra] get to make Indian movies. And appealing to the most common denominator is not a good excuse anywhere -- this goes for the US as well, but especially for Indian movies.

The silver lining is that today, middle class Indians -- and India has the biggest middle class in the world -- have more choices than ever thanks to cable and satellite dishes. If they can pull themselves away from the porn, they have great choices, and I hope the studio heads follow the lead.
posted by Rastafari at 11:52 PM on December 15, 2001

Seconding many thoughts above, most Bollywood fare is total crap, although there are exceptions (Everyone go see Lagaan, now!). There's a new crop of filmmakers, including Deepa Metha (Fire, Earth, and the upcoming Water) that are pretty damn good. But anyway, I digress... Coming up with a Bollywood script is like coming up with a daytime soap opera script - someone could program a random script generator that would come up with something believable.
posted by laz-e-boy at 12:31 PM on December 17, 2001

I arrived at midnight in Mumbai with the temperature still at 95 degrees and humidity and haze thick enough to slice. A ride to the Centaur hotel was highlighted by witnessing a man shitting in the street. Whilst checking in at the front desk the driver of the "free" hotel bus pounded on the nearby glass window until I finally turned to him. He pointed his finger repeatedly in his outstretched hand begging for a tip. Exhausted, I ordered Chicken Biriyani and a Kingfisher, washed my face and flopped down on the musty bed. Turning on the television with perfect timing, I caught the opening credits to the best Indian movie I have, to this day, ever witnessed. It was called "My Dear Karadi". A movie about a boy and his intelligent bear (midget in horribly constructed fur suit). I have been searching for a copy of this masterpiece ever since. Can anyone help me?
posted by sharksandwich at 5:41 PM on December 21, 2001

A classic of Malayalam film! Shark, you might look here or here.
posted by rodii at 6:30 PM on December 21, 2001

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