Tag Archives: Bollywood

The Bollywood Formula

Bollywood has been formulaic for more than a decade now. X number of songs, one superstar, rumours of a romantic linkup between co-stars, controversy…all of these have enjoyed the honour of prime ingredient. I think I’ve hit on the current favorite:

Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan, arrival for press...

Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan, arrival for press conference of "Om Shanti Om" at the Hyatt Hotel, Potsdamer Platz, Berlin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ageing actor + Badly behaved Khan = SUCCESS!

It worked well for Salmonella Can as it has in recent times for another Khan with a penchant for megalomaniac descriptions (King Khan! Don! Badshah!)

Indian actor Salman Khan

Indian actor Salman Khan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If my Twitter timeline is anything to go by, it seems to be working well for Agent Vinod. For a safety measure, there’s also the star kid ingredient (in double) that’s been the base of every formulaic Bollywood film since the 90s.

Even if high visibility doesn’t translate to high sales (in most other sectors), in Bollywood it means a big Friday night rush at the box office. I’m told that can recover a massive chunk of the film’s costs and all else is bonus.

There’s something off-putting about this formula, for me at least. Agent Vinod was not high on my list of movies-to-watch. With this last incident, it’s just gone into never-will-watch, along with every single SRK movie after the Kunder-slapping episode. Then again, I’m probably not the target audience for these ‘marketing tactics’ and hence the products they’re selling. But since I am the target audience for the fluffy romances, the metrosexual froth and NRI movies that at least 2 of the Khans specialize in, aren’t they losing out a sizable captive audience in the long run?

But I suppose Bollywood only thinks as far as the next Friday.

Indian actor Saif Ali Khan at the 2011 Cannes ...

Indian actor Saif Ali Khan at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Missing Person Notice Turns Out To Be Kahaani Movie Promo

Here’s a poster I spotted on the walls of Tulsi Pipe Road, at Lower Parel. Think it’s a notice for a missing person? Look closely:

The text on the poster says:

Age: 31years, Complexion: Wheatish, Height: 5’11”.
Please share any information with Vidya Bagchi at

This strikes me as a really cheap marketing ploy to grab your attention. Using something as vital as a missing person notice for an advertisement, makes it so other genuine missing notices will be mistaken for promotions and ignored.

Remember a movie called Criminal, featuring Manisha Koirala, Nagarjuna and Ramya Krishanan? A leading daily carried a piece right in the center of their news spreads, reporting that one of the actresses had been found murdered. It turned out to be a promotion for the movie. That was in extremely poor taste and I think, so is this advertisement. What’s a movie that associates with the likes of Sujoy Ghosh and Vidya Balan, doing with an ad like this?

I wouldn’t expect a marketer to think beyond his/her product and be willing to go to any extent to generate buzz. But what about the channels that carry these messages? Does it occur to them that these commercial messages masquerading as actual news/information, comprises their validity?

Posters not being under the control of any one entity, are difficult to monitor. But in this case, they may be violating other laws by putting up the posters in the first place. Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Bollywood posters have been problematic. The Kahaani poster is a stone’s throw away from the Wall Project offenders.

Ideamarked Jan2012: Daler Mehndi Meets RajniPower On The January Funnies!

The first month of this year is over! The weather has turned, giving Mumbai a rare winter and a chance to bring out our scarves & jackets. I’ve blogged slightly less and had fewer written pieces to show. But that’s because a lot of my work has been behind the scenes. I’m really hoping these will bear fruit later this year. I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, here’s what I was looking at through January. Curiously, they’re all humour:
  • I’d call this “Who you are on the London tube by your sun sign”: ‘Tube Zodiac‘ (via Sensorcaine)
  • The 10 Most Common Awkward Moments On Elevators‘: A hilarious video on elevator etiquette. (via Cracked)
  • When White Guys Listen To Daler Mehndi‘: Watch the guy in yellow shorts during ‘Tunak
  • Daler Mehndi

    Image by bravesheng via Flickr

    tunak tunak tarara’. With perfect lip sync, mind! (via Youtube, link courtesy Ashwini Mishra)

  • How To Look Like Shit‘ – Put this under ‘Humour’ and under ‘Style’. Poking fun at our own worries should never go out of fashion. (via Jezebel)
  • If some of the most surfed sites were online dating profiles, what would you do with them? ‘Would You Date This Domain Name?‘ (via the ever hilarious Thought Catalog)
  • All About Rajni‘: A website that runs only when you switch off the internet! No kidding, it runs on Rajni power! (via the irrepressible Desimartini, link courtesy Jason Menezes)
  • The Tam Brahm Chart Of Progressive Food Tolerance‘: A funny look at food tolerance from the motherland. (via Tambrahm Rage, link courtesy @Suchitra Sukumar)
  • The 6 Stupidest Things We Use to Judge People We Don’t Know‘ (via Cracked)
  • I want to print & laminate this and put it up at my desk on certain days: ‘I’m Taking A Sad Day‘ (via Thought Catalog)
  • This blog got featured in the media once, with DNA carrying my ‘Bandra Is No Longer Queen Of The Suburbs’ story on their Around The Blog section.

You can catch the links as they come in and even post your own to The Idea-smithy Facebook Page.

Ideamarked Nov2011: Window Gardens, Bookstores, PS3 & Kolaveri Di

I’ve always loved November. Diwali festivities, vacations to look forward to…as I’ve gotten older, I find the end of the year packing up. The weather is crisper, even in hot & humid Mumbai. Everyone starts to let their hair down and spends more time thinking about parties, picnics & get-togethers than work. The world takes a break next month & November is all about the planning and anticipation of just that.

It’s been a packed and enjoyable November for me. I attended the NH7 festival in Pune, in its second year. A story on women bloggers featured me in a prominent way. For the few of you who remember my long-winded adventure with NovelRace, I finally managed to complete it! Whether this ever comes out or not, I can now die happy knowing that I did write a full novel. :-)

On that cheery note, here’s this month’s links. As you can see, there was a lot of link-love going around too!

  • DewarsIndia’s channel features music travelogues across India. (on Youtube, link courtesy Sangita Bhargavi)
  • Simi’s new show: India’s most botoxed, banal & brainless‘: Of course, I agree. (via FirstPost, link courtesy Lakshmi Shesadri)
  • MasterChef India: Guaranteed to cure you of any desire to cook‘: Sadly, I’m having to agree. MasterChef India has a long way to go before it can be in the same league as MasterChef Australia. (via FirstPost)
  • Window gardening for the urban-dweller longing for a touch of green – ‘Growing Organic Fruits & Vegetables at Home‘ (via Earthoholics, link courtesy Vishal Gadkari)
  • ‘Worklish’ is a way to cover up how much one doesn’t know. They why is it that we who don’t speak it, are left out in the cold?: ‘Buzzwords at office driving you crazy? 6 ways to cope‘ (via Huffington Post)
  • If your interest in astrology, tarot, dream interpretation & the predictive arts extends beyond mere curiosity, you should definitely visit Magick. The store  is currently looking for fulltime apprentices to initiate into the Wicca tradition. (via Swati Prakash)
  • If you ever wondered why the people you follow, don’t follow you back, here are some possible answers: ‘The Top 10 Reasons I Will Not Follow You On Twitter‘ (via Mashable)
  • Reviews, recipes and workshops, you have to stop by Tulleeho if you have a love of the drink.
  • India as the Indians see it – non PC humour (on Facebook, link courtesy Shweta Madan)
  • ‘5 Tips To Help You Decide How Much Of You Should Show Up On The Blog‘ (via SharingWithWriters)
  • Hail the motherland of idlis, software dreams & kitschy Kollywood songs! This month’s music craze – Kolaveri Di (via Youtube)
  • A 5-yr old post that’ll still interest Mumbai’s booklovers: ‘A Bibliophile’s Guide To Mumbai‘ (via The Idea-smithy)
  • A lovely gift from blogger to blogger – ‘It’s Not Just A Car‘ 55 word story by Manuscrypts!
  • Kitab Khana, a bookstore recommendation courtesy Anuradha Shankar.
  • A little thought on liking and love (via Slices of Time, link courtesy Rehab Chougle)
  • MICHEAL: PS3 Long Live Play‘: A fun advertisement for gamers (via Youtube, link courtesy Ashwini Mishra)

* Catch these links as they happen on The Idea-smithy Facebook Page. You can also post an interesting link of your own to the page and get featured on the Ideamarked post at the end of the month!

OverPunjification Of Pop Media Is Why My Kolaveri, Di!

A kitschy Tanglish song has caught everyone’s fancy today. Kolaveri di has practically no Tamil words except those (translated to ‘desire to murder’). Everything else is English words in that characteristic Southern accent. The song isn’t any funnier or catchier than dozens of such that Kollywood and their bretheren have been spewing out in the past few years. Remember ‘Columbus, Columbus, vittachu leave’ from Jeans? Or ‘Mustafa, Mustafa, don’t worry Mustafa‘ from Kadhal Desam? And the iconic dance-atop-bus led by Prabhu Deva to Urvasi, Urvasi, take it easy Urvasi. Why then is this song gaining meme status? Why this kolaveri, indeed?

Bollywood has been the absolute last word on Indian pop culture for the past few years at least, and woefully inadequate in providing catchy references. I don’t see any reason a movie like Dabangg achieved such cult status, other than that the audience was fed to teeth with uber-urban metrosexual stories & 3-hr commercials for star kids & their brand affiliations. A good ol’ masala potboiler with a liberal dose of ‘leave your brains at home’ had to get lapped up by the masses starved of entertainment.

Dhanush at a function in chennai

In parallel, I think there’s also been an over-Punjification of popular media. Before hitting me with a barrage of protests (and abe teri to, paneer tikkasand open letters), consider this. Punjab is just one state in a diverse country. Its language and cultural references, only a certain proportion of a heterogeneous billion. Personally, I am a little sick of references to Kapoors, Khannas and Singhanias who celebrate karva chauth, whoop Balle balle or Chak de and dance the bhangda at every festive occasion. Bollywood is admittedly run by Punjabi film-makers but I think they’ve been very narrow in their creation, considering they represent the voice of an entire nation in pop culture.

For me, Singham stood out simply because it was refreshing to hear ‘Aai shapath‘ and ‘Saatakle majha‘. Similarly Kolaveri di tickles my fancy simply because it has a guy whose name can’t possibly be Vicky Malhotra and who references something other than khanakte chudi, parandas, goris and mahis.

And here’s the song now for your listening pleasure:

Rockstar Or Ra.One?

Starved for a good story. Please, Rockstar, please, be a rockstar and don’t turn into Ra.One.

Ra.ONE Style

Adicrazy said,

Someone made a robot with all the latest technology and design, and decided that it should look like SRK? Not convincing enough. #Ra1

I replied,

Or they put him in a steel-grey body suit. Botox did the rest. #Ra1

Related articles

MOVIE-Bubble Gum: A Fun Movie To Chew On!

I’ve written a guest-review for WOGMA on the movie Bubble Gum. If you just scoffed, please do read my review. I thought so too, when I read the title and I was pleasantly surprised. The movie was the best thing about my day.

Read the review on WOGMA.

Shit, DK Bose & Delhi Belly: Are Surprises Good For The Stomach?

Over-promising and underwhelming describes much of Bollywood in the past couple of years for me. But I still hang on, regardless. There have been a few nuggets after all, the films that slipped in when you were watching out for the high rollers parade. And then there is the mystery man. The only time I remember feeling let down by him was Ghajini. But then, if the figures are to be believed, most of the country doesn’t share my opinion.

Delhi Belly is probably the next most awaited movie, what with nephew Imran Khan’s makeover from sweet-boy-next-door to hellraiser. I can’t tell if the controversial DK Bose song is just a publicity gimmick or not since the lyrics don’t make any sense to me (Papa mujhse bola, tu galti hain meri, sabun ki shakal mein, beta tu toh diklake woh jhag???). Just in case you’re the last person in the world to *not* have caught the drift, try saying the name of this song over and over again as they do in the video.

The gossip section of today’s newspaper reports that ‘a bitchy actress’ has leaked the news that a shit sample meant for the doctor gets interchanged with a box of diamonds in the movie. That made me gag for all the usual reasons including what seems like an obviously paid-for-PR attempt.

I just caught something rather unusual on the tube now. Aamir Khan walked into the middle of a blank white screen talking about the fact that his next project uses certain language (cue eyebrows raised, embarassed, shifty look). And I wondered if he was going to clarify that it wasn’t intended to offend or whether it was just referring to a certain Bengali name. Instead, the Khan proceeded to say that this film was not for children and *wait for it* people who…umm…are boring stick-in-the-muds! The three hellraisers in the video, including Imran Khan bounded into the frame, well…raising hell. The chaos ended with Aamir Khan telling them to shut the **** up.

‘SHIT HAPPENS’ flashes across the screen. Cut to a racy trailer of Delhi Belly. Gimmick or not, I am so looking forward to this movie.

Update: Suprateek tweets, correcting my impression of the lyrics, which he says are actually ‘Sabun ki shakal mein, tu toh nikla kewal jhag


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,022 other followers

%d bloggers like this: