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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Congratulations on your purchase of the Howrah Bridge

Now that Slumdog Millionaire seems all set to replace Titanic as the least deserving winner of the Best Picture Oscar, America has lived up to its nickname of "Jesusland", by displaying an ability to forgive transgressions that the messiah himself would be proud of[1].

Having lavished praise, awards, and money on a movie with atrocious acting, cringe-worthy dialogues, a plot that bends disbelief beyond its event horizon, characters with the depth of a chullu and a script more packed with cliches than the Virar fast during rush hour; white people have proved that colonial guilt makes better goggles than beer[2].

Shortly after that, the first Bollywood movie to be released in the US by an American studio - Chandni Chowk To China - took Hollywood by storm. With borderline racist characters, brainless action, separated-Kumbh-mela twins and potatoes, it seems to be just the throwback to a more shameful time that Americans were craving. The movie is currently at number 13 on Rotten Tomatoes list of movies released in 2009, based on critical reception, with a healthy 46% positive rating.

Never one to let a trend pass by, Bollywood producers are lining up movies targeted at the most uncritical audience they have ever had[3]. The first title to begin production is Yash Raj films' Akbari Lota[4]. The plot details are hazy, but the title suggests that the movie will make references to India's medieval history (with the possibility of garish "period" costumes designed by Neeta Lulla), and will involve a macguffin that is commonplace in India, and is closely linked to human defecation; but completely unfamiliar to the paper-wiping world. The movie will star Amitabh Bacchan as an over-the-top Akbar, and Aamir Khan in a studiously underplayed role as a call-center worker with a hidden talent for riding elephants, and gentle bowel movements.

A sequel is already in the works, even before this surefire hit is completely. It is tentatively titled Jehangiri Anda: Son of Akbari Lota.

[1] - While it is certain that the great man would have forgiven the makers of the movie, his smile would have flickered a tad.

[2] - Its relative impact on unplanned pregnancies is yet to be measured, however.

[3] - Since India's literacy rate crossed 25%, that is.

[4] - With apologies to Annapurnanand Verma