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By Feb 21, 2013 • The News Pages

Mixed reactions after director's announcement

A popular Bollywood director has apparently taken up the daring job of working on a commercial “masala” movie that will surprisingly have (wait for it) not a single item song.

He confirmed this yesterday: “Though this film’s purpose will be to entertain, it will have a coherent and intelligible plotline, and will employ no item songs. We are being really careful about how to build up the action, because now the viewer has learned to gauge and predict exactly when an item song will make an appearance. We must not lead them on, but at the same time maintain their interest.”

Apparently, this move was inspired by the idea that item songs may actually be demeaning towards women. Without an item song, the movie will require a detailed and logical script—something that hasn’t been ventured into before.

“It will be difficult,” continued the filmmaker, “because we will have to actually frame and detail a plot. Our audiences are not really used to this kind of thought-provoking progression in films. Logical twists and turns might befuddle them. So we have to be really careful about how we go about it.”

This rather strange decision has led to mixed reactions from society at large:

Moviegoers and theatres: One would imagine that viewers would be displeased about this decision, but even if they are, they didn’t let on. A 20-year-old engineering student was more concerned for the filmmaker himself: “We’re at a stage in moviemaking where even serious genres like crime utilize item songs. How will this movie be able to survive if it markets itself as entertainment but then shows no item songs?” It was just a coincidence that this engineering student was male.

Would the film survive without an item song?

Would the film survive without an item song?

Single screen theatres are apprehensive. The owner of a theatre said, “Movies must have something tasteful for viewers to work at the box office. We are doing very well nowadays, since most movies either have inane action or—the other side of the spectrum—item songs. Let’s hope that this movie has senseless action scenes or at least some slapstick comedic lines.”

Moviemakers: A fellow filmmaker who is commonly referred to as the “baap of entertainment”, responded thus: “Item songs are nowadays used to build up the buzz around a movie, often being used in chunks in the trailers, where you get to see stray glimpses of the songs. It contributes a great deal to garnering viewers’ interest. Not having an item song at all will act as a buzzkill for those expecting a full-on entertainment movie.”

Policemen: A policeman we spotted coming out of a movie theatre, with uniform and all, insisted on us listening to his side of the story: “In a way, item songs are safer than other intimate scenes! Our Hindi movies are going the wrong way now by showing intimacy. It encourages couples to get frisky in real life—often publicly—and then people blame us for ‘moral policing’! We are also forced to conduct raids at nightclubs and such because of this, but it is again brushed off, since moral policing is viewed wrong in the eyes of our modern society.”

The Pope: Surprisingly, the Pope, who still has people contemplating the real reason for his resignation, has also heard of this news. He had this to say: “I’m slightly familiar with item songs, and I think I can say that they are shot and scripted in such a manner that one can forget his own morals. I welcome this move and encourage the whole of Bollywood to follow suit.”

Our lawmakers: Our politicians spouted some gems as usual. One of them burst out, “Lack of item songs will only lead to an increase in the viewership of pornographic material—something that is against Indian tradition and morals. I hope these filmmakers come to their senses and rethink their decision.”

There was a counter-view to this, as another observation went thus: “Who can blame all the crime in our country when we have such songs themselves depicting loose morals and instigating more unsavoury behaviour? It is like leaving your treasure chest open but still expecting no one will steal! Who’s the real culprit? I’m glad this movie is happening.”

Another politician we caught admitted he was too busy, and had heard only snippets of this news. But he did display his pithy wit: “Let them chopper—no, chop; let them chop out these songs. They are just harbouring a misogynistic mindset.”

Critics: Meanwhile, some film critics are wondering if the brains behind the movie will think of another method to put in what they call “soft porn”. “Item songs are increasingly becoming a medium for soft porn, encouraging viewers to become voyeurs. This is what rakes in so many eyeballs. With the absence of such songs, we can’t help thinking whether they’ve developed some other method to relay the same… stuff. Remember Piranha 3D?”

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