Rowling told us a story:
“Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 releases this Friday – 19th November. For all the ardent, magick-ed fans of Potter and gang, this is one big day. What we’ve read over a period of time with much anticipation, emotion and eagerness is finally going to be splashed on screen and prove to be a visual treat. I happen to be an enthusiastic fan. I do. But more often than not, I come out of the theatre disappointed, at the adaptation of the story. Make no mistake; I said ‘adaptation of story’ and not the ‘adaptation of the book’. If you’ve read Rowling this might make some sense to you, and if you’ve not – what the hell have you read in life dude! (Though, hang on, I’ve got something for you too, as this paragraph ends) Back to Potter, though. For instance, in my opinion, when they made the movie of the 6th book – the much loaded one with tit-bits of information on how to vanquish You-Know-Who (‘the villain’ Potter-Ignorant public) and the heart-wrenching death of the most-loved character in the book: Albus Dumbledore – I think they just fizzled out on the ‘story’ aspect. If you were an ‘outsider’ (someone who hasn’t read the book) you wouldn’t know how important a Horcrux was. You wouldn’t know how Harry lost almost everything when Dumbledore died. You wouldn’t know what to feel, what to anticipate from the finale. (There is a lot to look forward to.) This was because, somehow, they did not stitch up the story that the Half-Blood Prince carried with it. They concentrated some precious minutes during the movie filming Ron smooching Lavender and vice-versa. Totally avoidable. They could have used those minutes to explain properly what a Horcrux was. Or maybe, show Snape in a less-dimmed light. They could have used it to spin a story such that those who have not read Potter would grasp. Although, I must admit, the adaptation of the book in terms of visuals was mind-blowing. Have you seen the scene when Harry first jumps headlong into a Pensieve? Man! That is some adaptation! Hollywood, Potter fans bow down to you for re-creating Hogwarts the way we created it in our heads. But, I sincerely hope, that they’ve captured the essence of the 7th book better this time. I know Ron and Hermoine will express their love for each other in this one, but please, don’t waste 10 whole minutes on showing how their hands meet while they’re sleeping in Grimmauld Place! (Potter is supposed to be looking for Horcruxes for Rowling’s sake!) I want to see the story in its entirety. Yes, I know the thing about a movie not being better than the book, but what the heck!
“The universe is made of stories, not of atoms.”
- Muriel Rukeyser
How long has it been that you’ve been told a story? STORY. Those that fill your hearts with warmth and make you feel all good inside, even if they are sad stories. The ones that inspire hope. The ones that make you smile. The ones that make you cry. The ones that make you laugh. The ones that trigger your emotions such that you see in the form of goose bumps on your skin. The ones that make you wonder. The ones that make you want to dance. The ones that make you want to fall in love. Books. Movies. Songs. All of them are well-equipped to narrate stories. All of them do just that – tell a story. When made properly, I have to add.
“Why should people go out and pay money to see bad films when they can stay home and see bad television for nothing?”
- Samuel Goldwyn
And that is one department which, I think, Hollywood has got bang-on right most of the times. They don’t make movies. They tell stories. They do. They may get beaten by an Endhiran. But they beat us with an Inception. They will never be able to make a Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. But we will also not be able to make a Marley and Me. They might never, in their wildest dreams, be able to make a Houseful. And we will never be able to make a Rush Hour. This is because at every level, they tell us a story. We, very often, are never able to do it. I am not saying Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge is trash. Damn me, if I said that. I’m merely pointing out how they narrate and we just make a movie for the heck of making one. For infusing it with some dances. Some action sequences. Some songs, which are integral to a Bollywood movie but…wait, I’ll come to that. And for the sake of having something to do. I do hope that we move on to telling stories.
About the songs bit. Let’s take it case by case.
“Dil ke mere pass ho inti
Phir bhi ho kitni door
Tum mujhse mai dil se pareshaan
Dono hai majboor
Aise me kisko kaun manaye…
Din dhal jaaye…”
“Barf giri ho waadi me
Aur hasi teri goonje
Ooon me lipti simti hui
Baat kare dhuwa nikle….
“Jaan hatheli pe rakh lo
Aankoh se moti chakh lo
…Mohabbat hai Mirchi”
-I don’t know who has the audacity to sing this in some movie
“Sabse pehli shaadi thi
Yaaron jahan me jisne ki
Usko pakdo, maaro peeto
Galti usne ki…
…Paani mile na maaro aise jagah.”
- God knows who in Action Replay
Do you notice the degradation in lyrics from Case 1 to Case 4? Whatever happened to poetry? What happened to saying sometime meaningful in a song? What happened to rhythm and comeliness? As if dealing with the lack of a storyline wasn’t enough, this is more torture to endure. I think Bollywood is wasting a lot of precious money, energy, electricity, make-up, water, sets, wood, steel and a lot more in trying to make a movie. What’s more, they’re selling false hopes to people that they can be actresses. What the hell is Deepika Padukone thinking and doing the same role since, like, forever. She’s been the i-am-independent-I-don’t-need-love-but-later-i-come-to-my-senses-and-i-go-running-back-to-my hero act! She’ll be doing the same thing in Break ke Baad, just you watch! And Bollywood, if you tell me again how a guy and girl fall in love, in the, say 1950’s, I really think you should shut shop. Honestly. What’s the big deal about falling in love anyway? It happens in our daily lives; all the bloody time. You don’t need to change the setting, the clothes and add a sepia or black and white tint, and then show how hormones rage. I mean, come on; get a life! I mean get a story.
You and Me
“God made man because he loves stories.”
- Yiddish proverb
Life is full of them. Stories, I mean. Each of our lives is a story. Everyday is a new chapter. And everyday has a new hero. Sometimes the hero is your mother. Sometimes, your father. Sometimes, the hero is the chocolate cake. Sometimes, and in the case of Mumbai, many times, the hero is a ‘whole city’. It makes for a story worth listening to.
Sometimes, you fall in love with a person. Sometimes, with an idea. At others, with a place. Sometimes, you fall in love with your friendship. Sometimes, you fall in love with the trust you have with your partner. And sometimes, you fall in love with love. It makes for a memorable story.
Sometimes you dance to your parents’ tunes. Sometime to your child’s. Sometimes to your boss’ tunes. Sometimes you dance to music; when made well. Sometimes, you dance to your partner’s tunes. It makes for a reflective story.
And sometimes, your grandfather walking with a stick narrating a story, within your own story, is the special appearance. This makes for a story that makes you clap.
Stories are all around us. Everywhere. We just need to stop and listen more often.
Bollywood hope you’re listening!
Hold me in captivity, keep me spellbound
Treat my eyes with festoons, and jokers with new crowns;
Make me fall in love, and bruise my heart so it is gory,
And while we’re at it, let someone watch;
We’ll be telling him a story…