On Emotion And Bollywood Movies

Last Saturday (on the 19th of December 2015), I went to the cinema to watch Dilwale, starring the ever phenomenal Shah Rukh Khan and the beautiful age-defying Kajol. It is an excellent film. I love it! Worth every penny of my RM14, I tell you! 

I grew up watching hindi movies, dear readers.

I think my excellent EQ (haha!) is indirectly contributed by the Hindi movies I watched growing up. LOL. Me, my siblings and my paternal grandfather bonded over hindi films such as Sangam/ Bobby/ Andaz/ Yaadon Ki Baraat/ An Evening In Paris/ Love in Tokyo.

I memorised Hindi songs since I was 6 years old. Nowadays, my 4 years old nephew and 3 years old niece too can sing evergreen Hindi songs such as Leja Leja Mera Dil (from An Evening In Paris). They will always request their aunties to play that song from You Tube. “Mak Ngah, Mak Ngah….buka la lagu Leja, Leja…please.” Hahaha. 

The Indian people are excellent at expressing their emotion in films. Whenever they plagiarise other people’s plots/songs/lyrics/melodies, they make it heaps MORE. More romantic. More upbeat. More heart-felt. More fun. 

They gave it their own personal twist, owning the plagiarism in a way no other people can. 

Most people cannot plagiarise anything without decreasing the value of the product. I almost always find that the original is always better than the cover version of anything…

…Except when the Indians do it. Somehow,they make it more beautiful than the original. 

Take a look at this song “Dil Mera Churaya Kyun’ from the film Akele Hum Akele Tum. The melody was copied from the song ‘Last Chrismas’ by Wham! But ‘Last Chrismas’ didn’t stand a chance to compete with ‘Dil Mera Churaya Kyun’ when it comes to the emotion aspect of the song. 

When I first heard the song ‘Yang Sedang Sedang Saja’ by Iwan, I went “Yucks!”. But when Aamir Khan/ Mannisha Koirala did it with Tinak Tin Tana in the film Mann, I actually enjoyed it very much! 

The only time I thought Indian plagiarism failed to beat its original version was when I heard the song Kaho Na Kaho, the melody of which was copied straight from Amr Diab’s Tamally Maak. But their lost is only by a small margine, in my opinion. And that’s because Amr Diab’s voice is in a class of its own…unique, incomparable and almost impossible to replicate. Furthermore, Amr Diab in his own right is just way too good at stirring your emotion with the inflection of his voice in anything he sings. Other than Tamally Maak, you can listen to Amr Diab’s other songs such as We Malo and Amr Ain. Listen to how he did it with his voice to the point that I actually felt ‘something I don’t know what’… even though I had no idea what he was singing about. All I knew is that some singers are gifted at singing in such a way that we just knew that he is telling an important story. Amr Diab and most Indian singers are like that. Haha  (I think the Arabs are the Indians’ greatest competition when it comes to the emotion business. I cried watching Children of Heaven, for example. In terms of language, Arabic is one of the most beautiful poetic language out there. Precise yet literary. And it is not a surprise that a lot of Hindi words came from Arabic)

Dilwale reminded me slightly  of the Hollywood film ‘Mr and Mrs. Smith’.  But I sure didn’t cry watching Mr and Mrs. Smith years ago.Whereas with Dilwale, I was a watering pot! Hahah.

When it comes to appearing devastatingly tortured by intense pent-up emotion, the Indians just nail it! In a way no other people can! I can forgive the exaggerated way they display their emotion, because when they do it, it feels natural to them. That exaggerated emotion feels native to them. And therefore, it feels sincere. 

But when others do it, I just don’t get the same feeling. It feels contrived and overly done.

I could not recall any Hollywood movies that has ever caused my eyes to tear up with emotion. I am sure there must be a few in the past. But the fact that I am having a hard time recalling them automatically on top of my head means that they had never truly left that much of an impression. Hollywood movies may wow us with their cinematography, their effects, their handsome heroes and their sexy heroines. They may be good with producing action-packed movies and comedies. 

But when it comes to conveying emotion….the Indians win hands down! No question about it. Their emotion pours out from every pore of their being and you cannot help yourself from feeling enthralled that someone can feel so deeply as they apparently do….and believe so much in the feeling that they feel. When I watch their movies, I suddenly believe that true love conquers all, come hell or high water. Hahah. Even Disney fairytales have never succeeded in making me believe in a happy-ever-after.

I can list you more than 10 Bollywood movies that had me cry. I can list them easily enough without having to rack my brain. They left such an impression on me. 

1)Aa Gale Lag Jaa 1973 (Shashi Kapoor / Sharmila Tagore) – that last scene when Shashi Kapoor nearly died saving his son….Ahhh, I just can’t!  

Look at the way Sashi Kapoor acted in the song Na Koi Dil Mein Samaya in the clip below, also from the film Aa Gale Lag Jaa. You can actually feel how much he was struggling. How much he was tortured by memories of his past love. I wanted to weep for him. Of course Kishore Kumar’s excellent falsetto voice at certain parts of the song helped with the conveying of that emotion too. The acting, the song the lyrics…were all just right! Bollywood really nailed this one! I look at this video, I knew true love exist. Hahha

2)Mere Naam Joker (Raj Kapoor was excellent. He is the joker who makes people laugh despite his own sadness in dealing with disappointed hopes.)

3)Akele Hum Akele Tum (no words! Such a good movie!)

4)Mann (this is plagiarised too, by the way. But such an excellent plagiarism that I forgive it)

5)Taare Zameen Par  (regarding a dyslexic boy being bullied at school, misunderstood by everyone around him, feeling isolated by his dyslexia until a handsome inspiring teacher in the form of Aamir Khan revived his spirit. Damn…this is SO good!)

6)Sadma starring Kamal Hassan and Sri Devi. (I only watched this movie once when I was only seven years old! I still remember it to this day! The ending was so sad…it left a footprint somewhere in my soul. Prior to the internet, my childhood self could not recall what was the title of that film. I kept asking my Indian friends throughout my primary school “Do you know that movie about a woman who regressed into a child-like behaviour after a head injury….was found and taken care of by a young male teacher, and then when she regains her memory, she ends up forgetting all about the times she’s had with the teacher and leaves the teacher who had taken care of her for a few months? Alaaa….The one with Kamal Hassan and Sri Devi.” But none of my Indian friends knew and they could not tell me the name of the movie. Only recently did I find out that it was titled Sadma. I did not want to watch the film one more time despite my ability to search for the movie now that I know its title. Why torture yourself with sad emotion? With that movie, once is quite enough, thank you.) Below is the last scene of this heartbreaking film that I could not bear watching a second time.

7)Khabi Kushi Khabi Gham (of course!!)

8)Dilwale  love it! All that tortured souls dealing with pent-up emotions. The same formula to make me melt! And just listen to the song Janam Janam. Ah…..you want to cry listening to the voice of Arijit Singh giving life to the emotion of longing in that song, I tell you! He is now my favourite playback singer. (During the 90s and early 2000s, top playback singers were the likes of Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu and Sonu Nigam. Now Arijit Singh rules! But still, no singer can beat the late Mohamed Rafi. He and Kishore Kumar share the classic number one in my heart.)

9)Kuch Kuch Hota Hai / Dilwale Dulhaniale Jayengge (Not quite as emotional, but I did cry just a little bit in the middle and in the end of both movies. So I guess, it should count)

10)Pyar Ka Mausam (Starring Shashi Kapoor and Asha Parekh! The song Tum Bin Jaoon Kahan  sung by Kishore Kumar haunts me to this day! Enough said!)

11)Three Idiots (this is not exactly sad. But it is very emotional and at the same time inspirational. It starred Aamir Khan, enough said!)

So this post is a credit to the Bollywood industry that capitalise on emotion to woo international audience. You guys rock! Keep it up with the innocence of emotion without the addition of explicit sexual scenes that so monopolise the Hollywood industry. When it comes to innocent romance. we should really learn the art of it from the Bollywood stars.

Here is to many more years to come of excellent Bollywood movies!

Now I leave my readers with a video of Janam Janam from Dilwale (Damn, my heart melts!). Enjoy it! And go watch the movie, folks! You won’t regret the time spent, I promise!

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