Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dus Kahaniyan

Take any Hollywood movie, translate all the dialogues, and introduce a few item numbers in between. Of course, a lot of melodrama has to be thrown in as well, and lo and behold – you have the present day Bollywood movie. The Indian film industry (evident from its name) has become a badly cloned version of it’s more popular western counterpart. Now these directors have gone a step further, by attempting to adapt famous novels and stories. If you want to know what that resulted in, watch Ram Gopal Varma’s ‘Nishabd’, which is a classic example of such literary sacrilege (Nabokov would have surely turned in his grave).

I watched a movie called ‘Dus Kahaniyan’ a couple of days back. It’s an anthology, by a host of six directors, comprising of ten short films telling ten different original stories, and starring close to 25 different Bollywood stars. The idea seemed nice, and I was looking forward to watching it. Then again, originality is perhaps the last thing one could expect of the mongrelized and recycled world of Indian cinema. The first story itself turned out to be a horrible adaptation of one of Roald Dahl’s short stories. Needless to say, six out of the ten short films were sleazy versions of different short stories. To expect to get away with their claims of originality after stealing the entire plot and characters from famous stories, the film makers must really think their audience to be an ignorant lot. I would have let it pass if they had just drawn inspiration from some stories/ideas. They not only took the gem, but went ahead and stole the whole crown! Badly written script caused loose ends in the story to stand out, and bad direction made matters worse. On a slightly positive note, two of the stories – Rice Plate and Gubbare - were good, as the story had some substance, and the acting was also quite commendable. They were probably the only stories where it did not seem like random scenes were put together to fill in a fifteen minute slot. Half an hour into the movie, and the audience knew what to expect – all stories would have a totally unexpected and tragic ending. The script writers wanted the stories to be different, and got carried away in bringing out a twisted end at the cost of ruining the plot. On the whole, it was quite a disappointment.

The idea of putting together short stories reminds me of my theater group back in Chennai, where we used to work on a similar idea. It was so much fun, and I miss it all terribly. Anyway, if you are planning to watch the movie sometime this week, take my advice and grab a good book instead.

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