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Archive for July, 2014

To cut a long story short

Posted by Sowmya:) on July 22, 2014

I have often wondered as to why Hollywood movies are better than our Hindi or Tamil movies. They are, at least according to me. But I have not been able to come up with a satisfactory explanation for it. I do love Hindi and Tamil movies. They were what I grew up on. I did see the occasional English movie but it was mostly the big hits like Jurassic Park or Titanic. My staple diet started including English movies only after I married an English movie buff and I watched them first under duress and then with forbearance and finally with relish.

It was then I started thinking as to why they were better. Even the not so good ones could be seen at least once without much difficulty. The main reason, I concluded, is the length of the movie. Of course, the songs are to blame for the length. But more than that it is the long winding way we take to get to the point. (something like this blog post!) The first half of most of the movies can be done away with. They don’t do much to further the storyline. Most movies have a first half in which the hero is enjoying life, falls in love with the heroine and respects his parents / has a loving home. The story begins towards the end of the first half. Somewhere 15 minutes before the interval we get a glimpse of what could be a potential problem in the hero’s life. He then faces it and quickly solves it within an hour and finishes the movie easily.

Take, for example, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge. The story synopsis would be – carefree boy meets introvert girl, they fall in love, parents oppose and finally relent. But in order to get to the point, it takes them half of Europe and 3 songs. Yeah, we get it. They fall in love and are bound to each other for the rest of their seven lives. Move on.

I saw this movie yesterday – Velai Iladha Pattadhari. It was about this guy who had an engineering degree but no job. Finally his mother dies after which he gets the passion to do something, lands a job and finishes a huge construction project despite various obstacles. Again, we spend more than an hour to know that his father and mother are concerned about his joblessness. His younger brother has a job which is even more frustrating for him and as luck would have it, his pretty dentist neighbor loves him. The rest of the story is done in a jiffy.

Wouldn’t it be a richer story if we focus on the real plot instead of the fluff? If we could spend some time with the hero, understand his thoughts and more importantly his fears. How he did stuff despite being scared of them and what it means for him to win. How he savors his victory. We could have movies almost as long as we have them now but wouldn’t they be better? Get to the point asap!

There is a popular saying for writers “Start as close to the end as possible”. Should that not be true for movies as well?





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