With “Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince” coming up, I am reading up on my HP lore, as I am wont to do. And as my history with fantasy series probably warns you, I started thinking how Harry Potter series is another example of how Bollywood Masala genre is much more pervasive than we give it credit for.
“How?” you ask? (OK, I asked the question for you this time. Next time around though…) The series has:
Crazy villain, his lair, and dressed henchmen: Hey, Lord Voldermort’s got noseless face with slit eyes. His Death Eaters dress in long black robes, cover their faces with masks, and have got snake tattoos on their forearms. Can it get more masala villainish than this? (OK, it can, see below).
Plus, I know Malfoy Manor appeared late in series, but it has live peacocks and dungeons. What more do you want in a lair?
Comic sideplot: I dare you, show me any comedy team who can beat The Weasleys, Fred and George. And then you get other Weasley brothers throwing in their two bits (Ron, anyone?), and we can make it a family business.
College romances: Hero’s bumbling friend falls in love with his nerdy friend. If hero’s friend has a sister and she lives till the end unmolested by the villain, the hero is bound to end up with her. Hero falls for the college beauty queen, only to realize he truly belongs with the girl next door. Have I forgotten any Masala stereotypes?
OK, so it is more school romance than college one. But then, a. western kids and/or b. today’s kids age quicker and have girlefriends/boyfriends in school.
Oh yeah, a moon-earth-sun kinda situation, but it is more due to magic gone wrong than intentional, so I won’t count it.
Parental sacrifices: You can actually watch HP dubbed in Hindi, with both Harry’s parents going “Nahin, mere bete ko mat maro”, without feeling that you are watching something foreign.
But still, something is missing from this story to make it a full-fledged Bolly-masala flick.
Lost twin brother: Any good masala film has to have a lost twin.
Here’s how it would play out: When Lord Voldemort tried to kill Harry, his twin brother Larry (is there any other name rhyming with Harry?) was picked up by some Death Eaters. They raised him as their own, put him in Durmstrang, and raised him on the pureblood supremacy doctrine. They also named him Ambrosius or something like that, which probably didn’t help him any more than his original name.
Years later, he came across Harry while fighting with the Death Eaters. They recognized each other by the identical scars on opposite sides of their faces. Larry then sacrifices his life in place of Harry.
Unless he has a “good” girlfriend, in which case, he is redeemed by fighting for the good side.
“Love” sacrifices: OK, Ginny is Ron’s sister, and The Hero does not sacrifice his love for his sidekick (not at the end, at least). So, we can have Ron and Harry fall in love with Cho Chang (or how about Fleur, if it must come to that), before realizing who their (respective) actual love is.
Item numbers (“Weasley is our king” does not count). Malfoy Manor has rotating tortured prisoners, but no dancing vamps.
Now let me scrubs the images of Bellatrix and Narcissa dancing from my head. But till then, have I missed anything?
- The Great Eagle Has Spoken