No Non-sense Chayaisms from the 80s…Those filmy gods
Those filmy gods
Indian mythology unfolds vistas of ‘yugas’, with their respective stalwarts, like Rama and Krishna. Rama embodied the qualities of dutiful son and king, while Krishna with his exploits with the fair sex and some pearls of wisdom addressed to the public at large, gained popularity.But they fall short of perfection when compared to the inhabitants of the silver screen today. In this age of religious skepticism, we find it difficult to accept the credibility of Rama and Krishna. But the demigods and goodness of celluloid, rekindle the famous sentiments of faith, hope, and sometimes charity. Like true devotees, we flock to the ticket booths and buy ourselves a few hours of communion with the Almighty.
Take the hero-he is so handsome, wealthy, intelligent and, Oh! so good. He is dutiful and highly principled, idealistic and has a strong sense of purpose. Nobody can lure him from his goal, the nature of which is considered to be beside the point and left to the imagination of the mortals. Even the gods wetted their palates with ‘somaros’, but not the hero ‘I don’t drink ‘, he says with an air of a saint and we women give our men folk accusing glares.
The gods of yore had to marshal the help of monkeys and other animals to rout their enemies. But our ‘god’ can take on a whole brigade single-handed, for he is an expert in karate and judo. Even though he appears to be a lounge lizard by and large, when the time comes, he can shoot like ten Ramas, ride a horse, swim across an ocean, fly a helicopter, and also sing a song –Oh! How we women worship these ‘devas’!
But the heroines are no less. They put us to shame with their sterling qualities. They have the beauty of Rati the steadfastness of Sita, the patience of Draupadi and the valour of Chamundeswari! No standing on tables at the sight of a rat for them! They can pick up the nearest sword and fence with the demon and dance on glass pieces to save their lovers from the jaws of death, while all that Savitri had to do was to catch Yama off guard in verbal combat!
When molested by the wicket brothers, Draupadi had to appeal to Krishna, but these paragons of virtue, have foresight and wear skin-tight jeans and carry knives in their boots and defend themselves with aplomb.
The omnipresence of God pales before that of our earthly ones. Rama had to send an emissary, like Hanuman, to find out what Sita was up to. But our hero is more self-sufficient. When parted, he sings a lachrymose song and the refrain is picked up by his beloved some hundreds of miles away and they bring the song to a glorious finale after the third verse, holding hands! They chase each other playfully round a pine tree in botanical gardens and end the frolic under a banyan tree in Gulmarg. I am sure Rama and Sita couldn’t have thought up that one even in ‘Panchavati ‘!
Which brings us to the ‘rakshas’ of today-the villain! Mareech and Dhundubi could easily be spotted with their buck teeth and hairy chests not to mention foot-long nails and a heavy mace. But look at the degenerate one on the screen. He is just a degree short of the hero in looks, has a band of leather jerkined followers and a hideout equipped like the NASA. He doesn’t charge towards his victim with a feral cry as Bakasura did. Instead, chewing gum, hangs him upside down above live coals and asks psychological questions. The villain has all the bad qualities one can think of and comes to a sad end at the end of the battle. He actually dies!
The working class in the earthly paradise are not without special endowments. The ‘sakhis’ hovering round the heroine have a trim waist shown off to advantage in revealing clothes , the modest modern hair style and a swaying gait. They don’t do anything much generally and seem to be around only to giggle occasionally and look ornamental.
We must not forget the children of the gods.As youngsters, the Pandavas
brother don’t impress us one bit. They learnt archery, prostrated before their ‘guru’ and waited till they grew older to hit the headlines. But the offspring of the screen couple are much smarter. They can hold up a police inspector with a toy gun, be chased across heaths and meadows by ferocious dacoits and still not lose their nerve. They can make world-shattering resolutions at the pyre of their loved ones and grow up a day later to carry them out. They are quick on the uptake and cannot be easily coerced into cutting off thumbs, like Ekalvaya did, for the teacher’s whim. On the other hand, they can see a series of ‘gurus’ out of employment. They are, in short, lovable little devils!
Of course, we have those luscious ‘devis’ who provide a terpsichorean delight to the lesser mortals. They wriggle in “out of this world” costumes and never seem to burst a button. They appear to tempt the ‘devas’ and only end up getting a ‘slip disc’ for the invincible god of the screen is not to be taken in by these ‘Mohinis’.
Life is made up of tears and laughter, happiness and sorrows, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. Three hours, spent in the sanctum sanctorum of the local cinema, will assure one of this philosophy. But what pleases the pilgrim as he comes out of this is that God is , after all , not in some woolly cloud above, beyond reach, but is around us just a couple of rupees away, and, what is more, will also send the devotee an autographed photograph, if appealed to, through the ‘pujari’ the secretary.