Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Keep the Boll(ywood) rolling

So a few weeks ago, one of my Chinese colleagues told me, "Oh I caught a bit of Munnabhai MBBS on Central over the weekend. It was funny!"

I paused to absorb that information. It meant two things.

1. Contrary to my belief, Central – also known as crappy channel with crappy shows - does show good movies.

2. Here was a perfect conversion opportunity. It was time for missionary Sayesha to get to work.

"Did you watch the whole thing?" I asked.

"Nope, I didn't."

"You didn't watch the whole thing?" I tried hard to say it without gritting my teeth amidst visions of myself kidnapping thousands of Singaporeans, tying them to their chairs in a large theatre and forcing them to watch Bollywood movies back to back for a week.

"No, it was already half-way."

Hmmm... I forgave her.

"Do you want the DVD?" I asked.

"You have it??" She sounded excited.

"Of course I do." I said coolly.

"YES PLEASE! I'd love to watch the whole thing. It looked very funny from what I saw."

The next day I got her the DVD. She returned the DVD three weeks later. She had not only watched it herself, she'd made her sister and mother watch it too.

"Oh, if you liked this, you should watch the sequel." I gently suggested.

"There's a sequel??"

"Yup. And it's funnier than the first one!"

"Really? The first one is hilarious!"

"I'll bring you the DVD tomorrow."

The next day, I passed her the DVD. She loved the movie so much she even wrote a review on it on her Facebook. This morning she told me she was buying her own copy of both movies. I beamed like a salesperson in an electronic goods showroom who had just sold 13 high-definition LCD TVs on her first day at work.

Yesterday, I saw another colleague's comment on the first colleague’s review, saying something like, "Ooooh I should borrow the DVD from Sayesha too! I watch Bollywood movies once in a while. You know, the best Bollywood movie I have ever seen is Asoka! Have you seen it?"

I stopped in my tracks when I read that. It was time to call in the troops.

Asoka? Asoka? The movie where the only thing more moronic than the sword-wielding long-haired SRK was no-lipstick-but-a-kilo-of-kaajal Kareena with her silly antics in the water? I'd like to find out who lent her Asoka. Come on - own up!

Troops, if people out there are thinking that Asoka is the best Bollywood movie ever, you're not doing your job properly, damnit!

So who are these troops I am addressing with such deep anger and agony?

It is the Bollywood brigade.

As many of you are aware, Bollywood is my full-time religion. (Cricket is another contender, but it's a part-time religion because I’m not faithful to it all the time.) And I'm glad to say that I am not alone. Just like any over-religious freaks, we too are passionate about it to a mind-numbing degree. You can call us missionaries. We do have a mission – to convert as many people as possible into Bollywood freaks. I fancy myself as the President. *looks coyly at her nails*. And if you want to know how I got to the top, I have a story for you. This gal right here – one of my bestest friends - was inducted by yours truly. She is Chinese, and has not only watched 76 new and old hindi movies and reviewed all of them on her blog, she even took hindi lessons! She has seen movies that I have not seen! Unpleasant truths aside, she is to date, my biggest success story.

And there are many more like me all over the world, selflessly doing their bit without expecting anything in return. If this is not passion, what is? *shoutout to all fellow missionaries* We don't know one another but we're all striving towards the one common purpose in life – world domination by Bollywood. We're like Alcoholics Anonymous. Except that we're high on Bollywood movies.

And here I present to you, our ten commandments. It is important for each of our new members to fully understand and absorb the holy commandments before they go on their converting spree.

Bollywood produces movies by the truckload, of which about 20% are watchable, 10% are good, and 5% are very good. And I am being kind here. Most Bollywood movies are bad and the sooner we accept it, the better we will be at our job. In fact, some are so bad that they make 'Van Wilder – the rise of the Taj' (*pauses to wince*) appear like Academy award winners. The important thing is to use the right filter and drain the rest away. Henceforth, the term Bollywood movies will only refer to this filtered stuff.

Commandment #1: Thou shalt admit publicly that Bollywood produces a lot of crap before you embark on your mission - for that will grab your market's attention.

Bollywood movies do not discriminate. No matter which nationality, caste, creed, gender you belong to, they will entertain. You do not need Einstein’s IQ to understand them. Sometimes, you do not even need to understand hindi to understand them. They treat everyone equally, and anyone can understand them. Use this as a unique selling proposition, but be diplomatic - don’t tell your victims that even someone as dumb as them can understand it.

Commandment #2: Thou shalt market Bollywood as the neutral force the world needs.

Hollywood makes short movies, most of which do not have songs. Bollywood faces some resistance here from people with low attention spans. One strategy is to introduce the songs first and get them to appreciate why Bollywood is so musical. Then slip in the fact that each movie is 3 hours long. And oh, with some people, the "the songs are for toilet breaks" strategy works. Use whatever they will buy.

Commandment #3: Thou shalt know your competition well and strategise accordingly.

Know your victim… err… target… err… I mean customer before you lend the first DVD. Do not induct someone with ‘Vivah’ if his/her favourite movie is Fight Club (the one with Ed Norton, not Dino Morea)! Do not pass Lagaan to an American who thinks the only sport in the world is baseball. Know the Iqbal types from the Kal Ho Na Ho types. And oh, love it or hate it, you can't ignore Karan Johar's contribution to hindi cinema. It is important to note that while his movies can be the glue to keep some kinds hooked to Bollywood, they can also make someone run away so fast you won't even know what hit them. The placement of Karan's movies in the platter is crucial. Understand the nature of your client before making the first attack. Once they get into it and Bollywood grows on them, you can get experimental.

Commandment #4: Thou shalt think before you pick.

Play up the modernisation of Bollywood to the cynics. Rarely do you see movies any more where the hero and heroine jump out of their window in a slum in Mumbai and land in Switzerland to sing and dance (unless of course, it’s a dream sequence, then it’s forgiven). Rarely do you see movies any more with lines such as “Nahiiiiiiin, yeh nahin ho sakta!” and “Main kisi ko mooh dikhaane laayak nahin rahi!” and “Kutte kameene, main tera khoon pee jaunga!” The directors are getting smarter, the actors are getting more and more talented, the humour is also getting better and is not confined to making fun of accents from different states of India any more. And we have had some real gems in the last decade or so. Not to mention some of the oldie classics.

Commandment #5: Thou shalt champion the cause using the right examples.

Target the NRIs, especially those who have never been to India, but are curious about it. Get ‘em hooked. Get ‘em emo. Tell ‘em how Bollywood keeps us NRIs connected to India. That is not a lie, by the way.

Commandment #6: Thou shalt make ethical use of emotion to get your point across.

Never criticize Hollywood when trying to sell them Bollywood. Especially if they are hardcore Hollywood. Use the ‘It’s different’ strategy. Give them time. The hardcore ones are the last to admit that they cried when Farida Jalal tied Hrithik’s shoe laces in Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham. Let them be as long as you know in your heart that the conversion is complete. Let the sleepover effect take effect. Let them be. Pretend to lose. Don't hang around. It's the ones who still roll their eyes at the mention of Bollywood after all your efforts who will hunt down the DVDs and secretly watch them behind closed doors. Of course, do acknowledge that there are some who just can't be converted. Do not waste your time on them. Be professional when making your exit though, just 'thhhrrrrbrrrrt' at them and move on. There are plenty of other fish around.

Commandment #7: Thou shalt not waste time on those who do not deserve it.

If you’re going to India for a vacation, offer to buy them DVDs. Tell them how much cheaper it is compared to buying them at Bombay Talkies or Mustafa. If they get 'em, they’ll watch 'em. Do ensure that the subtitles are of a good quality. If the subtitles suck, to a non-hindi speaker, the movie will suck too. And oh, do spread the word that Video-Ezy carries hindi movies.

Commandment #8: Thou shalt travel for the holy cause.

Don’t be overenthusiastic in your DVD-lending mission. Lend the next only when you get the first back. Firstly, because they may never come back to you otherwise, and secondly, you gotta maintain the class and credibility of the cause.

Commandment #9: Thou shalt act pricey should the need arise.

If you run out of movies, admit it. Do not start lending movies like Asoka and all just because the convertee has exhausted your ‘good’ collection faster than you expected. If there are no good movies left, wait it out. Go back to Commandment 1 and think of all the crap. Remember, the gold will rise above the crap.

Commandment #10: Thou shalt always maintain the standard of service.

If you would like to be a part of this great cause, you’ll be pleased to know that we are currently hiring. Please send in your applications, stating your name, age, number of Bollywood movies watched, favourite movie and level of obsession. If you have the passion and the right attitude, full training will be provided.

Help spread a good cause.

We will achieve the ultimate nirvana when people start thinking that Hollywood is Bollywood with an ‘H’.



50 comments:

satish said...

GOLD IT IS

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

SILVER IT IS.

satish said...

bhai, you cried wen u watched that scene in K3G!! bhai CRIED??!! bhai market mein ijjat down ho jaayegi. i was expecting a more action-packed approach to while whole bering abt the revolution. I say ki woh LA ki pahadiyon mein joh H O L L Y W O O D likha hai wahan ke H ko uda ke B lagaa dete hain???

anyway apne baare mein kya bataun main. i cud be the filter tht you wud need so urgently. i have watched all the crap movies tht u can think of.

satish said...

while whole bering abt the revolution --> whole bring about the revolution thing

satish said...

bring -->> bringing

yeh bhagwaan! utha le!

Sayesha said...

#Sattu,
At least you said something else (many things actually) after claiming gold. :)

#Ipanema Gal,
Happy birthday! :)

#Sattu,
Bhai is not afraid of admitting her feelings. That's part of what makes her feared by all. Muahahaha! :D

//I say ki woh LA ki pahadiyon mein joh H O L L Y W O O D likha hai wahan ke H ko uda ke B lagaa dete hain???

Kyun re? Apne India mein land area ki kami hai? Hmmph! :/

//yeh bhagwaan! utha le!

Hahahaha! Uff tu itna adorable hai na ki bas! Every time I think aaj isko gang se kalti karne ka, you say something Sattu-ish and save yourself. :D

Nidhi said...

Arre...ur bollywood prem is quite inspiring...apun bhi thoda religious hai bollywood ko lekar...bole toh har weekend ek movie toh nipta hi daalta hai theatre mein jaake :)
Haven't read the post fully....but I surely will help in spreading the message (and yeah...cudnt help glancing at last line....ekdum raapchik tha) :D

Sakshi said...

If you can convert me - you can claim success.
I hate bollywood crap. Hate it.
But I love the Indy cinema, we have such talented script writers, cameraman and all we produce is dancing around the trees and melodramatic bullshit. UGH.

Bivas said...

Well...filters...sometimes one has to watch something crappy to classify it as such and forewarn the others...me hv played hat part quite a lot...funny part is...i still end up finding something gud in the movie (unless its utterly crappy like 'Shaadi No.1')
Waise H hata ke B lagane se hi nahi chalega...hum pawanputraland se hain...poora kaa poora pahad hi utha laate hain ;-) (The power of Hanu-Man is after all much more than batman/spiderman) ;-)
Talking of real gold in Bollywood...I still love Anand, Pyaasa, Chalti Kaa Naam Gaadi, Mili...and the list goes on...
Bombay Film Industry (technically spkng) Zindabaad!!!

Kalpana said...

Absolutely hilarious - you have such good sense of humor.

PizzaDude said...

Oooooh. Was looking to join something just like this :D

Bollywood Zindabad

The last line is a killer!

aequo animo (advocatus diaboli) said...

if i just apply ur commandments, may be i could watch a bollywood movie after several years, perhaps. :)

Iday said...

I am willing to be a convertee and u know my whereabouts. So if u hire someone from my location, let them know here is a chance to attain nirvana ;)

rt said...

gud post!!! :)
Bhai aur itna scientific approach to conversion - deadly combination!

shub said...

last line was a killer! :D

Sayesha said...

#Nidhi,
Hehehe! Sabas! Naam rosan kar Bhai ka! :D

#Sakshi,
I have two words for you - commandment 7! HMMMPH! :/

#Bivas,
I sooooo totally agree! There are so many elements that it's hard to dislike EVERYTHING in a movie movie... hehe! :P

#Kalpana,
Hehe.. thanks! :P

#Pizzadude,
ZINDABAD ZINDABAD! :D

#aequo animo,
*dismisses aequo under commandment 7*

#Iday,
Hehehehe... US mein toh truck bhar bhar ke hain mere recruits! :D

#RT,
Hehehehe! :P

#Shub,
Hehe! Tujhe pata hai - I recruited Pizzadude today, and guess who is his first victim? Muahahaha! :D

starbreez said...

Yes, the order in which you watch the films is incredibly important! In my endeavour to 'educate' others, I've made the mistake of starting the same way you 'started' on me, with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai -- only to realise that the Karan Johar contrivances in that movie require quite a suspension of disbelief!

So, here's the formula I've adopted since then: 1st Parineeta, because it's a feast for the eyes, has a 'classic' Indian storytelling feel, but never goes too far with the conventions.

2nd, Lage Raho Munnabhai -- the original Munnabhai was a bit of a letdown cos of the songs, and had a lot of slang-specific jokes; I prefer the second cos, not only is it one of the best Hindi films I've watched, it's got heart and soul, and it's 'standalone' -- you don't have to have watched the first film to understand or be interested in the second.

After that, maybe DDLJ. Gotta get SRK in somehow! (In which case, Main Hoon Naa may be a better, more up-to-date bet, since these days SRK is rarely as sweet as he is in that, but more suave, and a bit scary.) (But not having watched Chakde India or Om Shanti Om, I may have to reserve my judgement on the representative SRK work.)

I've received a few requests for Devdas from my current colleagues (yes, I've been 'educating' people in HK too...) -- Aishwarya Rai has been a siren to moviegoers on the 'outside', I can tell you that. And getting into Cannes, no matter how meanderingly, gets you noticed.

Oh ya! Mira Nair, while not a true-blue Bollywood-type filmmaker, makes for a gentle introduction too, especially for the more jumpy types who want 'credibility'.

I've used way too many inverted commas in this comment. Which turned out a bit long too. Cheerios!

starbreez said...

One more thing! Bollywhat.com is a highly informative site for the budding Bollywoodee -- recommended without reservations, except for the hour it'll shave off your life.

kashika said...

Oh boy, there's someone who's so passionate about Bollywood despite not living in India. I am so proud of you, Sayesha. Keep up the good work, u'll be rewarded big time for this, u mark my words.
More and more people here (India) are discarding Bollywood and have started worshipping Hollywood. I dont deny tht its good, but nothing can ever beat Bollywood. NOTHING.

Er...did i mention I loved your post?

PS: Blogrolled you, hope you dont mind :)

Fleiger said...

Oh, I remember when our clients in Germany told us that they had seen (dubbed) K3G on the television. I think that was the only Hindi movie they ever saw.

Can anybody salvage those people now?

imaginista$ said...

agree with pizzadude...the last line is definitely zero cool :)

Sayesha said...

#Starbreez,
Hehehe! Yeah I 'handled' your case smartly - knew you could handle KJ movies in stage I itself. :P

Thanks for such a looong comment, reminded of our endless discussions about movies... man did you HAVE to move out of Singapore? :/

ps: Aish Rai looks damn good, but can't act for nuts! But you're right, she can be used as a USP at times. :)

#Kashika,
Hehe! Thanks! Totally agree - nothing beats Bollywood! YEAY! :D

#Fleiger,
Hahahahahaha! Like I said, not everyone can stomach KJ at stage I. You may be able to salvage the situation by lending them Dor, Ahista Ahista, etc. :)

#Imaginista$,
Hehe! Thanks! :D

Sanket said...

Hey, why did u remove 'Bewdas got fultu talli'? I loved that! You have to come up with something wittier now :)

shub said...

aye hai! new tempalte-shemplate and all! congraaats! treat treat!
and GOLD! on that! :P

asha said...

hi,

long time no comment from me. but all yr post have been read. check each night diligently for a new post.

aaj blog ka look hi badal daala. i keyed in your blog address and when the conifers popped in i thought ke hum galat jagah pahunch gaye... yaane ke padhne ke pehle hi fultoo...

anyways. nice fresh look and a good omen to me as we plan to visit the north and the mountains this diwali....

cheers!

asha

crazy said...

Bhai, the template is fresh but it doesnt give the 'bar'-effect. Kuch karoo !!

The bartender bhai said...

#Sanket,
Thanks for pointing that out yaar! Viv was helping me change the template and we forgot to change that. Have done so now. :)
ps: I love 'Bewdas got fultu talli' too! Wouldn't change it for anything! :)

#Shub,
Muahahaha! Inhouse IT guy zindabad, huh? :D

#Asha,
Hey, long time no see! Haan yaar, look badal diya, long overdue. :D
Have a great Diwali vacation!! Apun Singapore mein sadne wala hai! :'(

#Crazy,
Hehehe... you caught it when it was 'still in progress'. That picture was only a dummy. Now it's done. :D

Swati said...

not related to the post......... the changed page looks cute and is a shooter [;)]

Sanket said...

Wow, I love the new look! :)

Amey said...

Hmm... unfortunately, those people were clients, so we were not so "close".

And I liked the idea of leaving them with the image of India where people live in palaces and get home by chopper ;)

kashika said...

wo-oh. new look and all. very nice. i thot i had landed on somebody else's blog. nevertheless, its looking very cool.

lucky u, viv helps u do all this tech-y work. i m bloody technologically challenged and too bloody young to have a tech-savvy husband. :( :(

satish said...

bhaaaaaaaaaaaaaai!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tejal said...

Really cool template n really cool pic :D

Adorable Pancreas said...

What about resident Indians? I have to translate every other line for my friends while watching a Hindi movie. At least it's better than the time I convinced one to watch Amélie with me.

Sandew said...

oye please change the background color. It hurts the eyes, and does not go with the banner pic which is awesome i may add. Where is it newzeland ?

aequo animo said...

Blue, Sayesha Bhai, Profoundly blue :D

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Bhai kya masst theme lagaya hai!! Ekdum chha gaye aap to! :) Bherry good!!... lage raho!

Now I need a bloody Mary! :D

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

awesome new look to the blog! but i'd suggest a more contrasting colour for the side panels. (the blue is too alike to the blue in the header bar)

nice name also! where is that sahil boy who fought about the name of your blog once?

Angelsera said...

hey nice new look to the bar!

Kroopa Shah (Kr00pz) said...

Love the new look. Love it, love it, love it!!

Bivas said...

nice new look...and the new headers in the side panel are cool [:)]

rt said...

heyee....quite a refreshing look....

Sowmya said...

Awesome template! And loved the title "Sayesha on the rocks".. Hehehehe.. "On the rocks", it seems :D.. cant stop giggling :D

-Sowmya

Sowmya said...

But I'll miss the "alternate green n violet" pattern of your fonts :(

And I forgot to mention "Good Job, Viv!" in my previous comment :D

bellydancer said...

Wow really nice picture! Is it a lake in NZ? Its beautiful :D I also want to borrow dvds from you!!

Ab said...

pic is good.... but th old template was better, IMAO :)

Sayesha said...

#Swati,
Thanks! :D

#Sanket,
Hehe! Meee tooo! :P :P :P

#Amey,
Commandment 7 then? :P

//And I liked the idea of leaving them with the image of India where people live in palaces and get home by chopper ;)

Haha! Awesome! :D

#Kashika,
Hehehe! So now you know what kinda guy to look for! ;)

#Satish,
Sattuuuuuuuuuuuuu! :D

#Tejal,
Thanks!! :D

#Adorable Pancreas,
That's another reason for people to learn hindi! :)

#Sandew,
Really?? :(
Hmmm... I've decided on the colour blue, but I'm still playing with the shade... let's see.
ps: New Zealand, yes! :)

#Aequo Animao,
YAS! :D

#Sudipta,
Thanks!! Bloody Mary comin' right up! :)

#Ipanema Gal,
Yeah, still playing around with the different shades of blue. :)
ps: I called the Sahil boy today and told him his old flame is missing him on my comments space! :P

#Angelsera,
Thanks! :)

#Kroopa,
Hey babe! Long time no see! :) And thanks!!!! I love it too! :P

#Bivas,
Hehe... thanks! Chalo at least someone appreciates my corny headers! :D

#RT,
Thanks! :)

#Sowmya,
Thanks! :D

//But I'll miss the "alternate green n violet" pattern of your fonts :(

Whoa! You're probably the only one who noticed that! I'll miss it too! :(

#Bellydancer,
Thanks! Yeah, NZ. :)
ps: Will pass you some DVDs soon!

#Ab,
For a minute I thought you wrote LMAO - Laughing my ass off! I was like - this dude is laughing his ass off at my template? :/

What is IMAO? In my something opinion? Annoying? Amazing?

The_Girl_From_Ipanema said...

also, a fottu of sash sitting on the rocks and smoking sutta would go better than the pwetty pic with "Bartender bhai"

Janefield said...

rofl @ sutta smokin bhai on the rocks!!! :P

and the blue font on blue background is not so easy on the eyes :(

otherwise, the new look totally rocks!!! (pun) :P

aliens infotech said...

is a images your best nice

regards
Hrithik Roshan