Hava Nagila!

Everything does pass, and we can endure and we can survive!! – Rahul Dravid

In company of 20th Century Foxes….

Like all good Chennaiites, I am normally a tamil movie person. I love tamil movies, the masala, the songs and the way they are taken. But I like Hollywood too and I feel there are some things we can learn from them.

Screenplay is at its best in Hollywood. Narration is quick, crisp and very gripping. In some cases, the stories themselves are different and shown in an entirely different light. Watch Matrix or Inception and you will be blown away by the concept. The movies are extremely intriguing and very intense. Even a light hearted romance is intense in its own way. Watch A Walk to Remember. They try to capture the audience’s attention in a very short span of time and hold it till the end of the movie. They do not deviate at all. They are not afraid to tell new stories or to tell stories differently, to try new technology or to spend more money. They make movies in many more genres than anywhere else in the world. They are not scared to blow up the White House or to criticize the Church.

They keep things simple. In an Indian movie, an accident would be shown like this: The road is shown, man is crossing road, truck is coming fast, man crosses, truck comes, man crosses, truck comes, man crosses, truck comes, music blares, big crash heard and vision of lot of blood split, sad music played. In a Hollywood movie, man crosses road, truck comes and hits him and he is shown dead.

In case of a heart attack, there is no clutching the chest, no opening the mouth, no wide eyes, no gripping wife’s hand, no looking upwards and no falling with a thud. The death is not dramatic. It happens rapidly, in an instant – like in real life. Things are kept where they belong.

There are no lengthy dialogues and less philosophy. Dialogues are pithy – they convey what they have to convey. The timing is perfect and the delivery is excellent. The words chosen are absolutely wonderful.

No one throws out of context quotations like Padmanabha Iyer “Disease, Doctors, Drugs, Devils and Death”. A picture should speak a thousand words. A moving picture already speaks more – why have too many spoken words also? Makes perfect sense to me. Watch V for Vendetta, Independence Day and A Few Good Men for good dialogues.

And what to say of the actors! There is no over acting, it is very real and subtle. Hollywood surely has the best actors (and I don’t just mean male and I don’t just mean those who play lead roles). They have the ability to connect with the audience in a fresh sort of way every time. Example: Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Carribean, Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

They are the best in every aspect. Stunts are good – there is a lot of unbelievable stuff here too but then it is done better. They aren’t compulsory displays of heroism. Watch the Bourne Identity series for good stunts. Most music is original and gives you the right feel. Some of the compositions just stay on in the mind – Titanic, Chariots of Fire and James Bond are good examples. There is less gender bias – women are part of most things that make Hollywood good. There are many movies which have women in central characters – there is no woman who comes for just 4 songs.

There is no separate comedy track. Humour is blended into the movie. It just flows through as required – either situational or dialogue oriented. “I am not Jewish.” “Relax, nobody is perfect.” – is one of the best! Special effects, graphics, animation, animatronics – they are the best in the trade.

They too have negatives. There is a lot of profanity of course and a lot more sensuality than any Indian film can dish out. And if they want to show torture or filth, they will really show all facets of it – had enough with Quentin Tarantino.

All this apart, the one thing I admire most about Hollywood is that even when they experiment, they NEVER forget the audience. They make movies in such a way that the audience understands it, in such a way that it reaches even those who don’t know English. I believe that movies are/ must be essentially made for entertainment. No actor/ director in Hollywood is heard saying “I made this movie for myself”. If a film fails, they are not heard complaining “The audience’s taste isn’t good”. They accept their failure and try again. Our so called intelligent movie makers forget the audience and blame them too when their experiment fails. This differentiates Hollywood from others. And this is why I think they are extremely successful. The pundits of our film industry could learn from them.

The last few months spent in the company of 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Village Roadshow and Dream Movie Makers, et.al, made life less painful for me. The world of the Godfathers, Spielberg, Sean pronounced Shaun Connery, Johnny Depp, Star Wars, Julia Roberts and Zeta Jones has also done for me what no one else could – kept me company through the roughest ride of my life.

Entertainers do deserve their salary!


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This entry was posted on April 24, 2011 by in Thoughts.

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