I watched Bahubali the other day. The amount of money pumped into the make-believe Telugu-Tamil bilingual, also dubbed into Hindi and other languages, by its makers is impressive. It is beside the point that I feel the storyline is wanting in some key areas such as a compelling storyline. Bahubali made me visualise my great-grandson — whenever he comes into the picture — watching a movie like this in the futuristic ‘new-age’ cinema of his times.
In the ‘new-age’ cinema, the credits would show an array of overwhelming unisex robots and cartoons. Robots will be the villains and the cartoon caricatures protagonists, interchangeably. The locations will be utopian. So, it will be mighty hard for one to associate a particular place pictured in the movie with any particular geographical entity in the world. So, it could be the Mars or any other planet, as the guess of the viewers goes.
Secondly, the ‘new-age’ producers are not inclined to take undue risks, since in the last generation they were bogged down by various writs and complaints on account of presumed or real slurs — political, social or imagined ones picked from scenes, sound bites or in passing references. The slurs involved religion, caste, region, gender, etc.
And so, the titles given to the movies are merely some vague numbers. Earlier, they used to be words, phrases or even full sentences and suggested some convenient meanings and thus, the same were invariably used to blame the producers for being politically incorrect or outright slanderous. These days, movie storylines are deliberately made very silly and yet, contain a novel theme.
However, the plot will be unrelated to any goings-on in the real world, be it the savage activities of the Islamic State or deadlocked parliaments.
In the ‘new–age’ cinema, emotions have no room in the interplay of characters. A handshake is a mere wave of a flag or shaking of some other object on the sets. If it is moved at all, it amounts to a kiss. If the flag is placed on firm ground, say on a glass plane in the bar or a hotel, it means there is scope for certain deeper relation like dating or consummation of marriage between the lead characters inside the halls or bedrooms.
What is contained in the action scenes is left to the moviegoers’ conjecture that is in accordance with their subjective regional feelings. The director has nothing to do with the storyline or its faults and the same is sworn in a certificate before the opening scene.
Comedy is by and large absent. If the audience need some laughs, they take a bottle attached to their seats and lift it carefully. They will have to direct the nozzle to the face and press the button for release of laughing gas. The viewer then wears a mask and immediately laughs his/her head or heart out, lest the neighbours’ privacy is affected or, worse, they take offence at such public displays of emotions.
Lo, the tragic emotions are released by yet another bottle, now glowing in green, and kept on the left side of the seat. It contains the good old glycerin. Thereafter, the viewer will put on a helmet with a black visor, so that none in the front row or back even suspects him/her of crying. (Be it one’s spouse in the next seat.)
Reviews are never published either on the net or in print. Censor boards give no certificates for exhibition since all films are Universal by default.
One or two films might be certified for ‘Parental Guidance’, only for children or newcomers to know the way out of cinemas, that too, in case of extreme emotional outbursts. Next, viewers’ ratings are conveniently gleaned off Facebook walls to decide the best movie, best lead robots, best lead cartoons, best sound bites, among others.
After watching the movie, my great-grandson would record his impressions on a console at the cinema exit. He drives home and would not tell the story to his wife, since the plot is confidential.
Moreover, he does take an oath at the box-office or on the booking portal. His wife senses the rating by her husband after looking at his damp shirt and funny face. She goes to the show to check and record her own impression of the flick across her husband’s funny face.