Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The idea-raising campaign

The other night I was trying to watch an abomination of a comedy called Mere Baap Pehle Aap. It made me somewhat sad and pensive. It made me wonder what happened to good old storytelling in Hindi films. What happened to originality of thought, and most importantly, whatever happened to the healthy Bollywood tradition of wholesome plagiarism? I look at the releases of this year, and they are a very sad bunch. The Mumbai Film Industry is having a bad day at office.

So here's something I thought of doing. Something close to my heart. Now, I may not have revealed it to a lot of people, but I've wanted to make movies all my life. Yes, I'd also wanted to meet Santa Claus, but those were really early days. The moviemaking wish has been a consistently strong one ever since I learnt to put my fingers together and frame a shot, which was pretty early too (I was all of 15 I think). As I grew older, I learned to appreciate that writing an original screenplay and directing it is too much hard work for anybody's good, unless you are Quentin Tarantino, who I knew I wasn't (Y'know, for a brief moment there, RGV thought he was, but then, everybody now knows the score.)

So here's what I'd do instead. I'd settle on playing the movie producer. My duties will include selecting an working title, an original story idea, deciding on the chaps to direct and play the characters and hopefully find finance for the party to begin. (this will be the tough part, but here I'm counting on my blaudience, whose number now threatens to touch double figures. But I brag, and digress...)

You can say my choice of story inspirations are shallow. To which I shall say, "Oh yes I'm Shallow Hal, what the fug is your problem? Who wants to watch DEEP anyway? "

Without further prelude, then, dear friends, we present the line-up of the first 5 ventures from Digdowndeep Productions. Don't get fooled by the frivolous tone. These are serious business proposals, worthy of top-dollar investments. These five original films have been long time favorites, and I'm ready to bet on their viability in an Indian adaptation. I'm sure there are countless other Hollywood and European films waiting to get inspired by. But these are, to my mind, like infant orphans screaming their hearts out begging to be adopted. We'll start at the shallow end of the pool, and gradually go deeper.

1. Ane Wala Pal (Next)

There's the thing about the future. Every time you look at, it changes. Because you looked at it. And that changes everything else.
This is a sci-fi, and not the 2050 sort. It seems the character played by John Abraham has the magical power to see two minutes ahead into the future. Into his own future. When he meets the Jiah Khan character, his abilities dramatically improve. a terrorist group gets involved in the story, and all all sorts of excitement ensue. For further details, visit imdb. To be directed by Abbas Tyrewala. (I'd have loved to rope in Shekhar kapur, but I want to finish it before 2050.) The film will be equally viable with Emraan Has me and Neha Uberoi, but it will have to bear the dubious Bhatt tag.

2. Achambit ( Bedazzled)

Fair? Who do you think you're talking to? I don't recall anybody ever accusing me of being fair before. I think I'm insulted.
A deal with the Devil. Going hilariously wrong. I don't believe anybody else in India can look and walk the role played by Liz Hurley other than Malaika Arora Khan. Casting her is 80% of the job done. The male lead will be up for grabs. My preference is Shahid Kapoor. Aftab Shivdasani would fit just as well, but lack the presence and the innocence. Sohail Khan will do the honors at the megaphone for two reasons. He' s had experience in supernatural comedy with the disastrous Hello Brother. And he might be comfortable in directing the devil, 'cause she's family. The love interest? Somebody giggly and stupid. Genelia if Shahid plays the lead.

3. Gattu Parmeswar (Bruce Almighty)

Hood: Okay Cool, man, the day a monkey comes out of my butt is the day you'll get your sorry.
Bruce: What a coincidence, because that's TODAY.

Man is unhappy with God. God meets him and hands over his reign. Just to show where it pinches. Who do I want to play Jim Carrey? Let's see, Govinda did a first rate job in Kiyunki main Jhooth Nahin Bolta (Liar, Liar), but the Chi-Chi of today won't look credible. Akshaye Khanna does decent comedy, I'll only have to get him a decent hairpiece. The only other choice is Akshay Kumar. While he has the gift of timing, he may not be adequate in the motormouth blabbering department. Then again, there's Arshad Warsi. Looks to me the most suitable.
For Jennifer Aniston's role, I would take Ayesha Takia without hesitation. But we need somebody with a smaller rack. For that one scene, remember? Well then, Aarti Chhabria it is. Competent and underrated.
Amitabh as God? Of course that would be the most unimaginative choice. We'll try Nana patekar instead. he even looks a lot like Morgan Freeman.
And no other director for me please. Has to be David Dhawan.

4. Machhli Jal Ki Rani Hai ( Like a Fish out of water)

It's different. They don't make films more different than this. A heist for, of all things, a rare tropical fish. Cynical plotters. A femme fatale. Bloodbath. The meek inherits the earth. Bible couldn't have been more profound.
Important thing here is to choose our femme fatale. I'd leave the spot open for Monica Bellucci's character. It'll be a toss-up between Kajol And Sush. Kajol, a tad easy on eye make-up. Sush, with a bit of a makeover, to look her actual age. Whoever has the dates. Needless to say it'll be the role of a lifetime for both.
I'm not too choosy about the hoods. One of them should be Naseruddin Shah. And the meek fish expert, the protagonist? Rajpal Yadav, anyone? Remember Main Meri Patni aur Woh?
Nobody in Mumbai can make it better than Sanjay F. Gupta. Let's not look any further.

5. Kahan Ho Malik? ( O brother, where art thou?)

They have a plan, but not a clue.

Three jailbreak fugitives. A stashed away treasure. A fast-paced road movie. American deep south in the '30s. Backdrop of racial strife, religion and an upcoming election in backstate Mississippi. A plethora of colorful characters. I don't know how my Odyssey will be Indianised. But I do want to get this movie made in Mumbai.
We'll have to think on the lines of the freedom struggle and Hindu-Muslim riots. And at the same time, make a classy, fast, light-hearted and fun film. Tough ask. We might go to Vidhu Vinod Chopra and ask him to take charge. He should also bring on board his immensely talented director Rajkumar Hirani. Vidhu did a great job with 1942, he should be able to replicate it here. Or we can approach Vishal Varadwaj. Since he's been so good with Shakespeare, Homer for him should be home turf.
I don't care much who play the characters. I only want Saif to play George Clooney's role. Suave and rakish at the same time, Saif can.
Who will provide Soggy Bottom Boys' Music? Who will sing "Man of Constant sorrow?" Well, the issue will be settled at leisure.

That, then, will be my gift to Bollywood this summer. Anyone wishes to make such gifts is most welcome. We are about to start a campaign to raise the maximum number of story ideas. If you are reading this, if you're into films and Bollywood, and if you keep a blog (too many ifs?), you must also think of doing a tag. In fact I can readily think of three people, Amrita, Arnab and Ramsu who'll easily make a more handsome contribution to our campaign.


Amrita said...

LOL!! That would be something, huh? Actually that's pretty darn brilliant - as long as we're gonna be served dross, we might as well order what we want off the menu. Truly moviemaking for the masses. Sign me up!

Also - you saw Mere Baap Pehle Aap? And then you talk about me watching TPTM?! For shame.

Partho said...

Nobody, I repeat, nobody can sit through MBPA and live to tell the tale. I could only get as far as scene 5. That too because Priyan still had some goodwill left over.

Welcome aboard! BTW, I can't really agree to "dross". Half of our greatest films have been direct "inspirations". I only observed there are many such good inspirations lying around.

bongopondit said...

I have often thought on similar lines while watching a Hollywood/'foreign' film (great minds and all that....) - especially, most of the romcoms could easily be made into regular Bollywood fares.

But, how about a copy of 'Infernal Affairs'/'Departed' or is the underworld genre done and dusted in Bollyland ?

Partho said...

I didn't watch the original Cantonese but Departed, yes, it has great potential. The challenge will be:

-Not to kill it with item numbers
-Place actors for Jack and Leo
-Keeping the visual stark and striking without making it too dark, the way Scorsese plays it.

Off the cuff, the only halfway decent desi underworld films I can remember were Company and Shootout at Lokhandwala.

BTW, romcoms are always getting copied. I would like to watch something like Definitely, Maybe getting lifted.

Anonymous said...

Nice post!

How 'bout a Ramsey Brothers type remake of Mask? I mean, who does face masks better than they do? :)

I'm fairly certain they'll remake The Departed soon enough. The smart money would probably be on Sanjay Gupta producing and/or directing the remake. If he makes it, my guess on the casting would be: Sanjay Dutt for Martin Sheen, AB for Jack Nicholson (it could well be vice-versa), AB Jr in the DiCaprio role and Vivek Oberoi in the Matt Damon role. Neha Dhupia (or maybe Neha Uberoi) might get Vera Farmiga's role. I figure anyone in the Mark Wahlberg role would screw it up, so it doesn't matter who they cast in it.


ps: Oh, and by the way, Gattu Parmeshwar is apparently already on its way, titled God, Tussi Great Ho! and starring Salman Khan. You have three guesses on who plays God, and the first two don't count.

Partho said...

@ God Tussi Great Ho : Oh, how could I overlook that one? Wouldn't they go with the most unimaginative choice, like always?
LOL@ Ramsay Brothers' Mask. Their masks somehow don't allow for any kind of speed, though, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

No they don't. But the funda of The Mask is that it makes the guy act out his innermost desires.

So, what if you had a guy whose innermost desire was to be a grotesque monster in a Ramsey Brothers movie? Imagine the guy lurching around with gooey green make-up dripping off his face and wanting to dance with Cameron Diaz in a padded bra while singing K. L Saigal songs mixed with hip-hop. If you can manage so far without barfing, now imagine the villain to be a guy who wears the mask and turns into SRK singing Humko hum hi se chura lo....

Eat your heart out, RGV. This is a horror movie.


ps: I'll leave you to decide who wears the padded bra in the aforementioned scenario -- we've come this far, we might as well crank the wierdness up another notch.

pps: Too much? :-D

Partho said...

We want Mallicka Sherawat!
We want Mallicka Sherawat!
Okay so she won't really need the padding B-)