Back in the 1970s or thereabouts, a group of energetic script writers in Indian cinema cooked up a spicy dish called Bollywood masala. This went on to become such a hit that it was devoured all over India. And it still does.
The basic ingredients were simple – boy meets girl, they sing and dance around trees, the bad man snarls and does his bit, the comedian interrupts and all ends well in a melee of fist and blood.
But what these script writers, in collaboration with pot-bellied producers and directors did, was to add some real spicy stuff to the ingredients which never ceases to amaze.
Forget about the sexual innuendoes, the suggestive hip gyrations and not so subtle sexual poses. They were repetitive and omnipresent. What these fine minds in Indian cinema did, was to let their imagination run riot and how.
Here are a few selections from their menu which are nothing short of mind-boggling and make you believe that there is a God.
Blind Faith: It started with Amar, Akhbar, Anthony, possibly. The mother of the protagonists turns blind. Then as the film climaxes, there is a miracle. A light from a temple weaves across the air and enters the eyes of the mother. God be praised, she can see now. The filmmaker is in a win-win situation here. He hopes for luck by introducing his favourite deity in the film and has the audience gasping at the miracle.
Shake of Life: This was a common occurrence in climax scenes. The hero is dead, prayers are not being answered and there is crying all around. Then the heroine goes by the bedside, screams for her hero to come back, all the while shaking him violently. And he returns to life. Other variations include professing undying love into his ear and singing a bhajan.
The Cure for Frostbite: This is a sound and appealing alternative to known medical treatment. The protagonists first sing and dance in the snow. Their prolonged efforts end up with the heroine lying stone cold with frostbite. There are no doctors. The hero has only one option. Strip the heroine and have sex to warm her up. This gives the filmmaker an opportunity to show permissible amounts of skin. Next day, the heroine wakes up, finds that she is in her birthday suit, and yells – Kaun mere kapde nikala? The hero coyly admits. The heroine now feels the full impact. To give more substance to the plot, a child is born out of wedlock.
Fighting Wild Animals: This is vital when all avenues to extend fight scenes are exhausted. Throw in a lion or a tiger and let the hero get on to it with bare hands. Snakes in glass tanks have also been used for extra effect. In Azaad, Dharmendra fights a tiger with bare hands. In Aatank, he takes on a shark effortlessly.
Defying Gravity: Sir Issac Newton must be thankful that he has passed on to the blue yonder, as his theory of gravity is proved wrong regularly in Bollywood. Jumping onto high walls is mere child’s play. High jumps of upto 20 /30 feet are accomplished like an Olympic veteran. Rajnikanth is the master.
Snake Bites: Snakes are popular. Snake bites are common occurrences and there are two cures. Either the hero/heroine sucks the poison out and faints and then romance blossoms. Sometimes other snakes appear from nowhere, usually after a prayer, to suck the poison out and neutralise the body as an innovative variant.
Bulletproof Raja: Tamil superstar ‘Captain’ Vijaykanth is about to be shot by the villain. He stares. The villain reaches for the gun and fires, the bullet hits the hero’s chest and bounces back to kill the bad man. Mission accomplished.
Hungry for Love: The Prabhudeva-Nagma starrer Love Birds takes the cake. During a bedroom scene, the hero gets inspired while singing sweet nothings. While the heroine feels a bit turned on, the hero produces eggs from nowhere, breaks it on her navel. Lo and behold. The eggs sizzle into an omelette on her navel. Clever, isn’t it? Applause..