Sunday, January 20, 2008

Khaandan ki dastaan

All characters in this post are completely filmy, and bear full resemblance to reel life.

When Amrita recently took a look at the female characters in Bollywood films, and decided that she is better off being a hero, that got me thinking. I mean, even leaving aside monetary point of view of being the hero, you are not so better off being any other male character either.

Why, you ask? Here's why.

  1. Hero's dad/heroin's dad: Taken in general, the only difference between these two characters is whether his Y chromosome was passed on to a significant character in the film. Otherwise, you can just club these two together and nobody will notice a difference.

    If the family is poor, he is either handicapped, or retired/pink-slipped (if the director is particularly sadistic, he had to retire when he had an accident). The only acceptable professions for this character are teacher, policeman or mill worker. If the family is rich, he is a businessman and a villain, if not in traditional sense, then as The One who keeps postponing the "happily-ever-after".

    If for a change, the character is rich and good, then his whole purpose in life is to sing a song about how his family is the best in the world, and to smile when he is not crying about the same.

    Perhaps the biggest telling point about this character is that, if budget is an issue, the role can easily be fulfilled by a poster/photograph of the actor rather than the actor himself.(If the actor is really showing his age, replace father with grandfather in above paragraphs.)

  2. Bade bhaiyya (Big Brother): The only point in favour of this character is that he is not yet old enough to be casted in the abovem. role. Otherwise, he essentially performs all the duties of the father.

    He is not much better off on domestic front either. His wife keeps insisting on forgiving all the mistakes his spoiled little brother (hero) or sister (heroine) makes. Not happy with the (heart disease and other stress-related) ailments this entails, she adds diabetes to the list with her cooking. If not this sweet lady, she is a shrew who makes his life hell.

    Not content with this, a particularly sadistic director will insist on making him watch his wife being molested, or even killing him to "inspire" the hero to take revenge on the villain.

  3. Hero's friend: Aptly called side-hero, since he is nothing more than a sideshow. Mostly casted for comic relief, the high point in his life comes when he gets to sacrifice his life for saving the lead actress's ijjat (after earlier sacrificing his love for her to make way for his friend), or for taking the bullet/arrow/swordpoint intended for the hero.

    The former is frustrating since his life would have been saved if the hero would have gotten off his lazy behind 5 minutes earlier, and reached the crime scene early. The later is not any better, since that one bullet wouldn't have made much difference to the whole magazine which Hero survives 2 minutes later anyway.

    If this guy manages to survive to the climax, he gets the girl. Well, he gets the promise to be with the friend of heroine who, more often than not, was till then hopelessly in love with the hero.

  4. Villain: You know, leave out the last 5-10 minutes of the film, and villain's role starts looking lucrative. He gets to do as much (if not more) fun things as hero throughout the movie, and also doesn't have to be polite, or become "civilised" just to get the girl he likes.

  5. Hero: Even if you leave out the "ka-ching" part, still this role is great. If his family is rich, he is a spoilt brat. If his family is poor, his father/big brother/bhaabhi/mother will still somehow manage to spoil him rotten. He gets to eat all the good things in life (even if the other members of the family are starving), and turns "good" just in time to get the girl of his dreams.

    Not forgetting the fact that the shlok in Geeta about "not harmed by any weapons, not burned by fire" was written for this fellow.

Well, the short summary of all this analysis is "be the hero, be a bystander, but never ever be anybody close to the hero".

So, which character would you like to play? Is there anybody I have missed?

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken


alosh said...


You forgot the all important MAA man!
I'll take Gabbar. Thanks.

SiD said...

may be a godfather/guru to the Hero can be added to the list.. If the hero is a mafia leader, then he must have a Godfather who has brought him up when he was found stealing "roti" in his bachpan..

and you can replace the stealing act with a mandir/church if hero is a shareef one.. where in the guiding light is obvious.
they are the people who give a direction to the lives of our heroes..and are either killed by villains or sometimes by the hero himself when the heroine-motivated-ideology comes into picture!!

Amey said...

@Alosh: Amrita covered Maa, among other female characters. I was just giving the male side of the equation ;)

Gabbar Singh? Yeah, as I said, leave aside the part where he is humiliated by armless Thakur, and you got yourself a role dancing around with Helen...

@Sid: You know, I thought of the "Guru", and how he should not be confused with the professors in the hero's college (whom no one ever listens to). Maybe I should update the post even now.

I guess one more character I may add is Village Elder/Dadaji/Sarpanch etc.

So, which role would you prefer?

Indy said...

Got to play Amitabh from Sholay: - Bollywood online

SiD said...

c'mon fleiger.... how do u dare ask what role i wud like to take..
Of course I am the hero!!! :))

Amey said...

@Indy: I prefer Dharam paaji's role. Gets to do fun with Basanti, and gets to live at the end. What more would you want? ;)

@Sid: See... everybody is a hero here. Perhaps I should have asked people before writing this post.