The Blog Only About Showbiz

Indian cinema, masala maar ke

Posted by jahanzaibmemon on December 17, 2007

A still from Dhoom II (TOI Photo)

That’s exactly how Indian audiences like their movies – masala maar ke.

The kinds where you go into a theatre, switch off your brain, and settle down to enjoy the next three odd hours of insane drama unfolding on the screen. Within that timeframe, you would have fretted over a love triangle, chewed through your nails over the dare-devil thrills, swayed to a few songs and dances (these days, item numbers) and of course, laughed at the comic scenes liberally interspersed in the film.

Total paisa vasool
In short, total paisa vasool either way – the filmmaker and producer laugh all the way to the bank and the audience goes back home with a larger-than-life feeling. But what is it about masala films that attract the audience so? From a Sholay to most recently, say, a Heyy Babyy or a Partner , these films have been lapped up by the audience.

Says Archana Sharma, a collegiate and a cine buff, “Watching an entertaining movie completely destresses me. The characters’ problems become mine, and I laugh and cry with them. I so love it when the hero bashes up the baddies in the end. It might be ridiculous to believe that one man can destroy an army, but what the heck, if I wanted logic, I’d read a science journal or something, na? I just can’t get over Gadar for the sheer force of the character’s larger-than-life presence.” Says 22-year-old Puneet Prakash, “My vote goes to Dhoom I and II. What racy movies! I was transported into a fantasy world of fast cars, sleek girls and slick guys. Just the place I want to be.”

And so, a masala film entices the audience to forget it’s personal problems awhile, and live out the magic being shown on the 70mm screen. Vashu Bhagnani, the producer of masala movies like Hero No 1, Coolie No 1 and Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan , says, “This is the only kind of cinema that always works. In these days of extreme stress, you want to give your audience three hours of sheer entertainment. I don’t want them to have to exercise their brains trying to decipher some esoteric message or complex social problem. They come to relax and enjoy, and I make sure they do! When I make movies, I ensure that it’s a product that will give me a profit, but for me, my audience is extremely important. My recipe for an instant gratification hit? Six good songs, 15 brilliant comedy sequences and chemistry between the actors.”

Entertain kiya jaye !
And most of Bollywood agrees that masala films are very Indian and should not be done away with completely for new-age cinema. “Ninety per cent of the audience vote is for entertaining cinema,” says TV show host Sajid Khan, now the director of Heyy Babyy . “As a director, I always want to entertain my audience, whether it is a comedy, an action film or any other. Instant gratification cinema has been there since the introduction of cinema and will continue to be a hit for a long time to come.

A filmmaker that bores his audience should be flogged!” Actor Arjun Rampal is not quite so vehement, but he’s acted in his own share of action-thriller potboilers. He says, “For an actor, the biggest gratification is knowing that there are so many expectations from you, and your movie has performed beyond all of them. The audience these days is open-minded and as an actor, all I want is to enjoy performing. It is difficult to do such larger-than-life movies, but then, the sheer enjoyment of living that role is overwhelming. I look forward to doing such roles.” The Indian cinegoer looks forward to them too – masala zyada !


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