Sunday, August 3, 2014

No Nonsense Chayaisms from the 80s…How movies mislead?



How movies mislead?
   I am very angry with the producers of films or should l say story – writers? They give us such wrong notions about life and people … and worse, tell us stories which make us expect too much from life! As a teenager, l was a real film addict and sat through almost all the ones that were released in the local theatres. What gripped my imagination were the romance and the idyllic picture of married bliss. I watched these with stars in my eyes. The heroine was Oh! so lovely and the hero so dashing.  The seven steps they took around the fire were so majestic..  the flower bedecked room awaiting them… the giggling friends hiding under the bed…the moon sailing so serenely in the sky … the hero lifting the veil off his wife’s face … the shy rejection of his advances … the tender song. My eyes would well up with tears of anticipation …when will l have the same beautiful moments? My heart would whisper.
Ah! cruel, reality! How different from the make – believe world of what l saw in the films. Weddings in real life are seldom so romantic. At least, not mine. As we went round the fire, the pujari kept hurrying us as he had to preside over another wedding and all my bharatnatyam steps had to be cut down to a trod behind my hubby, who was more worried about his dhoti  riding up his legs. There was no decorated room waiting for us and as for the moon, it happened to be a particularly cloudy night. And my husband turned out to be the most unmusical man I have come across. I am sure this is the story of many a woman who agrees to marry after seeing the screen version of a wedding.
Let us see what happens after the screen wedding. The wife is woken gently by the husband who has brought a cup of steaming coffee for her. She then lays out his watch, pen, socks, hanky etc.  He whistles while he dresses and as a final touch of wifely concern, she slips on the coat for him.  They walk up to the door, tenderly looking at each other .She waves to him while he throws her a flying kiss and drives off.  She then dances around with a pillow and hums to herself.  The telephone rings and it is the hubby from the office, whispering lovey dovey things into her ears. Some even sing into the phone.
Now, how many true life husbands and wives have all the time to do things like this before going to work?  In most cases, wives don’t have time to lay out their husband’s knick – knacks as they have to make breakfast, fill up water before it stops and get the food ready before the dabbawala comes for it. As for ringing up from the office. They only do so if they have forgotten something or want to warn the wife about bringing someone for dinner.
Then, comes the great day when the wife blushing and coy, picks up the knitting needles and the husband lets out a cry of joy.  The other variation is the pickle eating scene.  They are overjoyed.  Here again, the screen cheats!  Generally it is the doctor who makes the announcement in a deadpan voice that you are expecting and the hubby only looks relieved that it is not cancer!  All that bit about his chewing his nails or smoking like a chimney outside the labour ward is non-sense. The real life wife goes to her mother’s to deliver and invariably the guy is playing cards in the club or seeing a movie when the news of his child’s birth reaches him!
So much for the romance of matrimony and motherhood.  Meet the screen people. The mother, she is either a deadly woman with poison flowing in her veins or such a sweet one that ants love to cluster around her.  She is either sewing clothes to educate her sons or giving them thousand rupees cheques every morning. She is either coughing before a choolah or attending plush kitty parties.  There is no ‘normal’ mother.
The father is a shade worse. He is so strict that you would think he is a retired jailor or so soft that you would like to eat him out of a cone. He drools over his daughter and gives his son such stern looks that the guy is reminded of Shiva’s third eye. Surprisingly, the father in the films is invariably a rich tycoon with more money than is good for his health, which is the reason he dies.  He generally shouts too much which is why he has a heart problem.
Then, we have the maid. No woman in her right mind will employ anyone looking like the screen one. She wears the latest dresses and her hairstyle will cost her at least three month’s salary. She wriggles and wiggles when she wipes the floor and a real life wife would run and buy a vacuum cleaner instead of having a dame like that around.

The kids of the screen are too funny to believe. They talk like mini-philosophers and sing like Mian Tansen. They bring separated parents together and teach all adults the value of truth and honesty. Have you ever heard of a child going to school and studying? That can only happen in real life!
Why does it always rain unexpectedly? In Madras and other places, you only hear about people hankering for rain. Yet, in films it comes down, especially after a song and there is always a cosy little cottage abandoned for the purpose of providing shelter for the drenched pair. They spend a few hours there and lo! She becomes pregnant.
 But all this tamasha is nothing compared to the villain and his hide out. His ‘adda’ is better equipped than the NASA and except having men from Mars doing his  bidding, he has all sorts of weird characters chewing gum and saying ‘yes boss’ every-time he orders them to go and finish off a couple of police men or kidnap their children.

Look at the houses on the screen. Staircases wind their way in a spacious hall filled with antiques and expensive things. Just as bizzare is the poor man’s hut .There is no via media. Either the heroine has a roomful of clothes or she has only tattered sarees. The hero is either lounging in a big bed with satin covers and brocade curtains or he is sleeping in a public park.
  Cinema, they say, is a part of life. But which part I‘d like to know!
Yet, why should we grumble? We see enough of misery and suffering around us. What we want is a little escape from it all, into the land of flying goddesses and angelic children. We want a make – believe world and we get it for just a couple of rupees.
But the only thing that l cannot forgive the films for is this business about the wife helping the husband into his coat and he telephoning her from the office to coo into her ears. These fantasies must be banned. They are harmful to the existence of a happy married life!