MiniReviews: Chronicle (2012)

Think X-Men: Origins meets Cloverfield meets Carrie meets We Need to Talk About Kevin. Difference is, all of them have Jean Grey’s powers, Carrie’s mother is a man, and Kevin has a need to record every damn thing he does. Hell of a time, except you can tell the special effects are digitized in, making the stupid “found-footage” even stupider and more pointless. All in all: 3.5/4

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The passage of an icon

The internet has more or less moved on from the theme of “Steve Jobs was the greatest person ever ever ever” and is now on “he wasn’t such a great guy after all, see he didn’t care for Chinese sweatshop workers and didn’t give to charity*”. Reams have been said about both. Here’s my two cents on something else.

Pretty much everything we know about Steve Jobs – his background aside – is professional. With the exception of his 2005 Stanford commencement speech, every quote of his has been to do with business, design or marketing strategy.  Even the anecdotes about him, positive or negative, are to do with his professional life – in the office or at the Mac Expo. Anything outside these spheres remains completely unknown, and for that Jobs must be congratulated. Given the media saturation of today’s world – something he contributed to – there are few celebrities who aren’t on some mediascape 24-7, discussing some aspect of their lives. This extends to business people as well, the most egregious example being Donald Trump. In this world, Jobs maintained an anonymity about himself and about Apple Inc. that people took as mystique. After all, who would want to hide everything about themselves, and not Facebook it, Tweet it, Youtube it or discuss it with the good people at the Today Show, Fox and Friends or Good Morning America?

Now that he has passed, we know no more about him than we did before. We know he was a charismatic presenter and design visionary. We know he reinvented himself twice over. We know he was a good administrator, and on occasion a bully and despot. And we now know it was pancreatic cancer that was killing him. That is all. Jobs took the professional limelight on occasion, and was invisible outside it.

And for that he must be respected.

PS *: What the fuck is up with that “he didn’t give to charity”? I’d like to see the people criticizing him for it raise a bajillion dollars, and then find out how much they gave away

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Because you choose to…..

Scream 3 marked the end of the Scream series, at least till this year when they made part 4. The movie, which was meant to discuss horror trilogies, was reportedly a troubled production and met with a negative reception. While not as good as the first two, it had its moments, especially the dialogue between Sidney (the protagonist) and the killer during the reveal. The (unmasked) killer has her cornered and tells her that he plans to kill her and everyone else present and then frame her for the murders, setting himself up as the sole survivor for the fame that would follow. The exchange is then as follows:

Killer: You’re going to pay for the life you stole from me. For the mother, and the family and the stardom, and everything you had that should have been mine and…….
Sidney
: God why don’t you stop your whining and get on with it! I’ve heard this shit before!
Killer
: Stop!
Sidney
: Do you know why you kill people….? Do you?
Killer
: I don’t want to hear it!
Sidney
: You kill people because you choose to. There is no one else to blame!
Killer
: Damn it! Fucking damn it!
Sidney
: Why don’t you take some fucking responsibility?

Watching the movie again, this exchange brought to mind Osama Bin Laden’s death, and the news of his private life that emerged. If his death was a Hiroshima, the Nagasaki that followed was surely the un-Islamic manner in which he had been living. For starters Mr. Death-to-America drank copious amounts of Coke and Pepsi, ordering both by the crate. Then it turned out the wall of his house had a line of marijuana growing alongside it. And to top it all off, he was found to have a stash of porn. Yessiree, while plotting to establish a Golden Age based on a book that bans intoxication and lewdness, Mr. Keeper of the Faith was getting stoned and dating Rosie Palm and her five sisters.

The why of the man has always been confounding. People at one point described Islamic terrorists as desperate people, who were driven to violence due to their poverty or otherwise difficult circumstances. Somehow, poverty made them easier to brainwash and turn into shooters and suicide bombers than richer people, who could only be brainwashed to drink Coke or Pepsi. OBL defied this explanation by virtue of his fantastically privileged upbringing. Lack of education similarly failed to explain him, considering the man had the opportunities to attend the best schools and colleges in his country. The only explanation left was the one put forth by atheists like Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins – religion in and of itself drives people nuts and makes them do stuff like this. But now we find out he didn’t quite read the fine print on intoxicants and sexual mores, though he was pretty sure where the Good Book stood on non-believers.

The only explanation left is what Sidney said. He killed innocent people simply because he chose to. Not out of desperation, not for revenge, not for the thousand reasons he or the media put forward. The next time there’s an attack and the perpetrator leaves a tape or a message talking about his suffering brothers or the imperialism of the West/India/Israel, I really hope somebody says, as Sidney Prescott did “I’ve heard this shit before. Will you quit your whining?”

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The Black Swan

What if you were part of a select group of highly competitive peers and then picked out amongst them with expectations of a spectacular performance, thus having to divide your time between an abusive teacher and an abusive parent who both keep telling you to do better, leaving no time for any life outside of your work? And what if in the midst of all this, a competitor came in and destabilized your already fragile world, causing you stress and sorrow and a weaker grip on reality? What if, in short, you were preparing for the JEE?

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5 Iconic Movies Made Possible by Spectacular Idiocy

Character stupidity is the engine that drives slasher films, rom-coms and just about every Hindi film since 2000 or thereabouts. But even iconic films, the ones that we cherish and retain in our memory, have often been made possible through their characters showing singular lack of sense. To wit:

5. “Insaaf ka Tarazu” (1980):

Ins. ka T. a.k.a “that film where first Zeenat Aman gets graphically raped, and then Padmini Kolhapure gets graphically raped too” has its fair share of stupidity. We could start of course, with Zeenat Aman being anywhere within a 100 miles of a guy who looks like this:

How you doin’?

But she is, and through contrivances everyone fast-forwarded through, she gets raped. Graphically. Cut to hysterical court scenes, where she’s promptly declared “of loose character”, abandoned by her modeling agency and boyfriend and generally brought one scene short of hanging off the fan. Some time passes, and then the same thing happens to her sister.

The Idiot Who Made it Possible: Padmini Kolhapuri
The court fails to bring Zeenat justice, on account of it being her word vs. Raj Babbar’s. Regrettably, your testimony cannot be rejected simply because you have the name Raj Babbar, or because you look like this particular Raj Babbar. So he’s acquitted for lack of evidence.

Except there is evidence. ZA’s sister walked in on the two of them, saw her sister TIED up, the looks on both their faces, and pretty much figured what was going on or would have when her sister filed rape charges against RB. So why didn’t she stand witness?

If Not for the Idiocy:
Raj Babbar would have gone to jail and hopefully met his own Raj Babbar, and the end credits would roll over the two sisters, who have obtained justice.

You mean this needn't have happened?

But on the other hand:
We would not have had Padmini Kolhapuri raped as well, about as graphically as Zeenat was. And with only one graphic rape scene, Insaaf ka Tarazu would have been some forgettable 80’s flick, instead of one of Set Max’s biggest draws, one that people looked out for in advance, so as to empty out the house beforehand.

Whoaaaaahhh... Another rape scene!!

4.”Junoon” (1992):

“Junoon” of course is Mahesh Bhatt’s iconic ripoff of homage to the iconic “An American Werewolf in London”, with tigers in place of wolves, some generic Indian city in place of London, and Rahul Roy and Avinash Wadhwan in place of actual actors. It remains the only Indian film to feature were-transformation effects (sort of), and brilliantly casts Rahul Roy as a lecherous thug who makes you vaguely uncomfortable, when he’s not transforming into a tiger and killing you.

Which is scary, the poorly designed weretiger on the right with only half its face showing, or Rahul Roy on the left?

The Idiot Who Made It Possible: Rahul Roy
Sure, you could argue that entering a forest during a full moon night, when it’s reputedly haunted by a weretiger that emerges then, isn’t the best of ideas. But such idiocy pales compared to the bigger stupidity at hand here, namely, hunting.

By 1992, pretty much any forest in India that had tigers in it had come under Project Tiger and was protected. Even deer, elephants and bears are now protected species. This forest is protected, seeing as there’s a Ranger Saab mentioned somewhere. It’s near the city, as they cut very quickly from wounded Rahul Roy to Rahul Roy in the ICU, which means there are cops around. Worse still, the man talked about hunting to a bunch of villagers right before entering the forest, meaning there’s witnesses to his actions. Salman Khan got away with all this, but bear in mind, this is Rahul Roy.

Can you find it in yourself to convict this guy?

Most importantly, the man entered the forest driving a Jeep. Do you know how much sound a Jeep makes? Enough to drive away any animal that would be worth a damn to a hunter. Really, the only creature RR could hope to run into was the weretiger that haunted the place.

If Not for the Idiocy:
He wouldn’t have entered the forest, we wouldn’t have seen this:

The movie would have ended shortly, bringing a quick end to the otherwise er… distinguished careers of Rahul Roy and Avinash Wadhwan.

But on the other hand:
We would not have seen this:

A landmark of special effects in India, the brilliant transformation scene above fully justifies the idiocy that went into its making. If not for Junoon moreover, RR would be forever etched in our minds as the (shudder) romantic lead in the less iconic but far scarier Aashiqui.

3. Deewar (1975):

Put simply, a classic and a film that defined Amitabh Bacchan as a lead. While remembered for its melodrama – largely involving Nirupama Roy – the movie has some brilliant moments of understated acting, discussed here.

The Idiot Who Made it Possible: Anand Verma (Amitabh Bacchan’s dad)
Anand Verma played by Satyen Kappu (thank Wikipedia), is a union leader who is seen leading a procession to the boss’s office over some problem. The boss, speaking to him alone, threatens to kill his family, whom he has already kidnapped, if the man doesn’t roll over and get with the program.

Put yourself in this guy’s shoes for a second. You’ve just led a hundred men, who’re waiting well within earshot, to this guy’s office. A wicket gate and wooden door are all that lie between you and them. There are lawyers and perhaps one thug, in front of you, but that’s a hundred brawny miners at your back, ready to tear everyone limb from limb. And this is the 70’s, meaning your enemy has to make a phone call on a landline to get to your family. Your options are therefore:

  1. Scream loudly for help, tell the men what’s happened when they come in, beat the shit out of the employer, and get your family rescued. Lynch the man or turn him in afterward
  2. Run outside, scream for help, tell the men what’s happened, come in with them, beat the shit out of the employer, and get your family rescued. Lynch the man or turn him in afterward
  3. Tell him you need a moment to think about this, walk outside, tell the men what’s happened, come in with them, beat the shit out of the employer, and get your family rescued. Lynch the man or turn him in afterward
  4. Sign the document, walk outside, tell the men what’s happened, come in with them, beat the shit out of the employer, and get your family rescued. Lynch the man or turn him in afterward, and make sure you tear up the contract you signed

Anand Verma though goes for hidden option (e): Bend over, sign the document, step outside, tell everyone you’ve betrayed them, and take shit from your former friends till you can no longer live in the same town for the shame of it all. Oh, and have our family suffer this with you.

If Not for the Idiocy:
Vijay and Ravi would have grown up happily in the coal mining town and joined up to become union leaders like their dad. There’d be no ‘mera baap ….’ tattooing on Vijay’s hand, and he’d have probably married some nice gaon ki gori before dying of asthma or coal dust poisoning at the ripe old age of 40.

But on the other hand:
MTV would never be have been able to spoof the “Mere paas maaa hain..” thing ad nauseum. And we’d never have had Bacchan’s iconic performance as the villain protagonist, which paved the way for anti-heroes like Shah Rukh Khan. Speaking of which….

2. “Baazigar” (1993):

“Baazigar” was the film that launched Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and the pairing of Shah Rukh and Kajol – Shahjol if you will – and showcased a universal male fantasy: doing a pair of sisters at once.

Shah Rukh’s headed for a threesome, and the only man who can stop him is a cop so sidey he gets the bottom corner. Oh, and there’s a revolver held at a weird angle for some reason

The film not only took the concept of the anti-hero to new, murderous heights, but also pioneered an iconic trend in movie history, namely the bone-chilling Shah Rukh Khan laugh.

The Idiot Who Made it Possible: Vishwanath Sharma (Shah Rukh’s dad)
Vishwanath Sharma, played by Anant Mahadevan, is the father of Ajay Sharma played by SRK. This dude is supposedly the owner of an industrial conglomerate, so you expect him to have business sense. But we see this, right when he’s introduced to us:

When a guy whom you fired and sent to jail, and who has since release been unable to get a job elsewhere, and who also lost his wife while he was in jail and thus probably resents whoever sent him to jail i.e. you, it’s probably not a good idea to let him anywhere near you, even if your softy wife is convinced by his sob story.

The lack of common sense doesn’t end there. Even if you have to hire a guy for your wife’s sake, there’s no reason to make him an exec. Give him a job on the shop floor, or make him a foreman. Hell, make him chief secretary or something – he’ll practically be white collar. The wife can hardly say you didn’t listen. But when you make him an exec, AND give him power of attorney over your business while you’re out of town, that shows a spectacular lack of business, common or any other sense. You’re practically ASKING for what happens from 7:00 onwards (same video above).

And so Vishwanath Sharma loses his conglomerate. More weirdly, the man is made beghar immediately, and has to pawn his wife’s zevraat to buy medicines for his baby:

Which makes you wonder: Does the guy even have a savings account? Or a college degree? How the hell did he acquire that conglomerate? But anyway, he walks out and dies, bringing an end to a lifetime of idiocy.

If not for the Idiocy:
Shah Rukh would have grown up a rich kid and probably done an Anjaam on the two sisters, getting away with it this time.

But on the other hand:
We wouldn’t have had this:

followed by this:

as a means to this:

culminating of course in this (and the rest of Shah Rukh Khan’s career):

1. Sholay (1975):

Sholay. That’s enough said.

Ok, I'll throw in the poster as well

The Idiot Who Made it Possible: Every cop in the movie, up to and including the Thakur

Well sure, it’s obvious idiocy to go after a bandit who’s clearly had help in slaughtering your entire family by yourself, without a plan, backup or weapons. But the real idiocy belongs to the other cops apart from Thakur.

Think about this. Gabbar escapes right about the time the Thakur heads off for vacation. When a guy breaks out of jail, he’s a fugitive on the run in hostile territory (areas around the jail). It takes time to make your way under such conditions back to your haunt. The only way a guy can do this in the time it takes someone to make a train journey to Ramgarh from the Big City (wherever that is) is if the jail he was sent to was right next to the village, rather than say, the other end of the country, where it would be strange and hostile territory.

Even if it was far away, and Gabbar was just that fast at getting home, wouldn’t it have made sense to send out a message to the local station and the villages on the lines of “Watch out, Gabbar possibly headed your way?” Imagine the lives saved in the course of the following conversation:

“Hello, Inspector Extra, what’re you doing here?”

“Bad news, Thakur Jr. Gabbar Singh’s escaped from jail. He might be headed this way”

“Gabbar? Isn’t that the guy Dad captured personally? Who swore he’d take terrible revenge on him?”

“Yeah, that Gabbar. If only your dad were here”

“Actually, he’s headed home tomorrow. Say, do you think we could be in personal danger, Inspector?”

“Yes. You know, you could all be in danger if the guy lands up at your place and your Dad’s not there. What say I send over a couple of well armed policemen to your place? Or you leave the home and take a trip with us to the nearest fortified station? And then tomorrow when your father comes, we’ll pick him up from the station and let him know. In the meantime, everyone else be extra careful”

But the above conversation did not take place, with the results that we know.

If Not for the Idiocy:
Put simply, the movie would not have occurred

But on the other hand:
The movie would not have occurred. And we would lost, at the very very least, surreal videos such as this one:

It was definitely worth the idiocy.

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Udaan: The Best film of 2010

[Disclaimer: 1. I have not seen Peepli Live, or most of the other ‘critical’ hits of 2010
2. Spoilers if you haven’t seen Udaan]

“Udaan” was ‘critically acclaimed’, which automatically gave it the kiss of death as far as viewership and the box office go. Unlike a lot of exercises in that genre though, it was a brilliant film. Here are some great things about Udaan:

1. It’s About Something:
Bad relationships. In a word, that’s what Udaan is about. It features a set of characters who all have bad relationships, and demonstrates how one can actually establish a good one. This theme takes precedence over star acts, over the need to throw in music and dance sequences, even the need for a traditionally 100% happy ending. Its cast is thus made up of character actors and newcomers, Manjot Singh (in a cameo) being the only really ‘known’ film actor. And its plot arises from the characters these people play, and their interactions.

2. It’s Real:
Most films involving father figures and corresponding troubles involved said father (played by Kader Khan, Dilip Tahil, Kabir Bedi, Anupam Kher or if the film was anywhere near decent, Amrish Puri) being either the Thakur, or some sort of Industry head (Mr. Sanghania/Malhotra/Oberoi/Roy etc.) so as to include the shot of him walking majestically down the haveli steps, either to greet the hero or angrily denounce him. Most father issues pretty much began with “I love ….”, had the hero walk out of the house halfway through, and reconcile with the Dad after saving him from Gulshan Grover, Shakti Kapoor et al. And of course, there’s a grand closing shot of the family all together in the best clothing the sponsor could supply.

Contrast Bhairav Singh (the dad, played by Ronit Roy) to this scenario. Forget majestic, the man drives a Contessa in (circa) 2010! He lives on the first floor of a seedy dilapidated house with only his sons for company. He runs a small scale factory in Jamshedpur. All this despite the pedigree of a posh school and (presumably) college education. Could this be what gives him his ego and air? In other words, could his own smallness be why he must needs tower over his children and dominate them at all times? Could those (unmentioned) failures be why he tells Rohan he cannot make it? Udaan presents realistic issues like this, with realistic outcomes. A man who cannot deal with himself cannot realistically be expected to deal with his kids. And thus we get an ending which feels real, however realistic it may actually be.

3. It’s Subtle:
Topics covered in Udaan are pretty much the territory of Madhur Bhandarkar films, which follow their own homogeneous script, devoid of thus things as characters, subtlety or nuance. But look at how Udaan deals deals with its ‘villain’, Bhairav Singh. As mentioned earlier, the man is himself small and seemingly non-significant, which goes a long way in explaining (not justifying) his attitude towards his sons. The film moreover establishes him as a caring father, when he tells Rohan that contrary to the latter’s impression, he did visit him once at his boarding school. The kicker is his next line “Tumhare principal se bhi mile the”. He says he didn’t speak to Rohan because he was out playing and looked happy doing so, which he did not want to disturb. The scene establishes him as a father who cares deeply about what his sons do, though not so much how they are. It’s more interesting given that he’s drunk at the time of confessing this.

Similarly we get mention of Bhairav’s childhood when he discusses how he would have been pounded with the factory steel if he had ever talked back to his father, and when he gives Rohan his watch on his eighteenth birthday. The watch is a rite of passage for eldest sons. Bhairav Singh has a brother who seems his opposite, calm and easy going. Could the beatings and ‘disciplining’ also be a similar rite? Bhairav’s character is established thoroughly, showing us he is as much to be pitied as reviled.

4. It’s Detailed:
The opening scenes of Udaan establish four friends as troublemakers at their boarding school.  We see them sneak out to watch a blue film at the local theatre, and get caught. What is interesting is their conversation outside the principal’s office the next day. One anticipates his father breaking his leg, another being sent to Singur to study in some godforsaken place. Manjot Singh’s character states that on reaching home, his father will simply ask him when he is leaving next. And Rohan has no idea about his father. All four, in short have bad relationships with their respective parents. Could this be why they are in boarding school? Or troublemakers? That this much detail is included in a throwaway scene (the three friends are not seen for the rest of the film) is what makes Udaan such a masterpiece.

5. It’s Poetic:
Jai Arjun Singh writes how one can see Arjun and Rohan as stages in progress towards Bhairav Singh. It’s equally easy though, to see Bhairav Singh as an overgrown child. He is moody, petulant, stubborn beyond any semblance of reason and carelessly spiteful, all negative traits markedly visible in children. Like a lot of children, he is reluctant to learn or change, and his meticulous routine seemed the hope for some eventual salvation (Brush your teeth, do your homework and say your prayers and one day all your dreams will come true) that is sold to kids. As mentioned earlier, Bhairav’s failures make him unpleasant. It is equally possible that his insistence on routine and ‘the right path’ is because he hopes against hope (like a child might) that they will give Rohan success.

6. It’s Fearless:
Udaan was brave enough to deal thoroughly with something real. In doing so, it was fearless enough to avoid stars, and so cast as teens people who looked like teenagers. As mentioned before it did away with stars entirely, made up of character actors. And most importantly, its ending was completely open ended. We know at the end Rohan has summoned up the courage to leave home and take responsibility for his little brother. We have no idea though how an eighteen year old dropout will take care of himself plus one. Whether he will succeed at writing. Or even where he will spend his next night. Its the ability to take a chance like that that makes Udaan one of the best Indian films of recent years.

[PS: The ending didn’t go well with a lot of viewers, including a friend of mine who wished they included an end message or something, to say Rohan became a great writer. Doubtless said viewers would also prefer to know that Arjun grew up to become a National Sports Champion, Rohan’s friends succeeded wildly at his restaurant and became millionaires, and Bhairav Singh tearfully reconciled with his sons just before his Steel factory went public or struck oil or something, putting everyone, including Rathod the Warden, in a grand Haveli for the closing shot. Morons]

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Bollywood and Science Fiction: Koi.. Mil Gaya

Bollywood’s biggest problem, apart from the Talebs in charge of the Censor Board (and their stone throwing “hurt-sentiment” brethren across the country) is that when making a film, everything is secondary to the Star act i.e. Star driving a sports car down Highway 66, Star singing and dancing, Star romancing other Star, Star appearing in slo-mo walks and close ups, full-body pans and so on. Given the contrivances required to bring this about, the plot as a whole becomes tertiary or quaternary. While this is not noticeable in rom-coms or say, phemily dramas, genre films – courtroom dramas, mystery thrillers, horror and science fiction – suffer big time when executed in so-called “Bollywood style” (More so considering they’re ripoffs to begin with).

Case in point: Koi… Mil Gaya, which I had the privilege (or rather the broadband) to view recently. My only memories of the film were of it being “India’s first science fiction film”, “India’s answer to ET/Close Encounters/ID4” etc. and Hrithik’s mind-blowing defense of the unusual design (i.e. different from those in ET, Independence Day, Star Wars etc.) of their alien spaceships, viz. “Why should we look to Western designs when spaceships are mentioned in the Vedas?” Watching it was similarly mind-blowing, albeit in a different sense. Here then, 7 years after its release, is a summary of the film.

[Note: This summary is in a style from this site. It’s hilarious and ought to apply to Bollywood, so why not]

KMG

INT. A HOUSE

RAKESH ROSHAN FIDDLES ABOUT IN HIS ATTIC

RAKESH ROSHAN
Eureka!! After years of sending out the ‘Om’ into space, using this oscilloscope and a satellite dish, I have received a reply. Aliens are responding to me. Come Rekha, let’s tell this to the scientists at the Space Center

CUT TO:

INT. SPACE CENTER

ASSHOLE WHITE SCIENTIST
Pooh-pooh Dr. Roshan. We, the finest white guys this film could afford, have spent years tracking transmissions with 15 PCs, a couple of Oscilloscopes, several cutouts of astronauts and a big plastic replica of the bridge from Star Trek. It is inconceivable that aliens would contact you, a non-White guy.

RAKESH ROSHAN
But I’m telling you, the aliens have contacted me, in response to my ‘Om’ broadcast. I know I work all by myself in an attic without collaborators, graduate students or anyone to oversee my research, but surely my data’s just as good.

ASSHOLE COCONUT DESI SCIENTIST
Your idea is ludicrous, Dr. Roshan, get out. That aliens would know and respond to the ‘Om’ sound is what we find ludicrous, mind you, not that you claim to broadcast sound signals through space.

CUT TO:

EXT. HIGHWAY. RAKESH DRIVING REKHA HOME

RAKESH ROSHAN
Those assholes, crushing my dreams. So what if I work out of an attic? So what if my statements violate the existing laws of physics? So what if I simply told these guys the news rather than say, publishing my data and methods in a peer-reviewed journal? They’re my DREAMS. DREAMS HAVE POWER.

REKHA
Time will tell

It DOES!! A giant UFO comes flying right out the window

RAKESH ROSHAN
Look Rekha! They’re here! I can’t believe it! But they’re here!! They didn’t believe me at the Space Center but they’re here! I’m driving this car on a highway while looking out the window away from the road, but THEY’RE HERE!!!

In a shocking twist, the car crashes. CUT TO:

INT. DOCTOR’S OFFICE

REKHA
… and that’s what happened eight years ago. Why am I telling you all this again?

DOCTOR
I don’t know. But now that you have, it all makes sense. The crash affected baby Hrithik Roshan’s brain while you were carrying him then. Even though he’s eight now, his brain is of a two year old. Its growth will be slow from this point. In short, he’s mentally retarded

REKHA
You’d think my husband would’ve driven more carefully knowing he had a pregnant woman on board

DOCTOR
For that matter I’d think you would notice your son’s mental problems much before the age of eight

REKHA
….

We awkwardly muddle about while everyone puts on gray makeup, to show time has passed. CUT TO:

EXT. REKHA’S KASAULI HOME

JOHNNY LEVER
You goddamn kids? Why do you keep throwing stones at my house? Doesn’t the fact that I’m a cop mean anything

CUTESY KID #1
Come out and deal with us, asshole. How cute and cuddly I am

CUTESY KID #2
Yep, a gang of preteens who throw stones at people’s windows and carelessly talk back to cops is cute, and not at all disturbing. What do you think?

ENTER HRETARD
I am mentally retarded. This means I talk and act the way kids do in the movies, stare wide-eyed at everything, waddle and weave when walking, keep repeating class 6 and hang out with other kids cycling, gaming, breaking glass and so forth.

CUTESY KID #3
You’re essentially an overgrown man-child who actually has an excuse for living with his Mom

HRETARD
Isn’t being retarded great?

REKHA
Hrithik, you’re repeating Class 6. Because you’re too awesome for Class 7 mind you, not…. you know

HRETARD
Noo, all the kids there will make fun of me again

REKHA
Er, you’re a clearly twenty-five-plus year old in middle school. You could be in Class 12 and they’d still laugh at you. But let me see…

CUT TO:

INT. PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE

REKHA
Come on, Principal Sir. Please promote my son. I know he’ll never be as smart as his father, or me, or anyone who isn’t suffering from traumatic brain damage, but he’ll do better if we encourage him.

PRINCIPAL
I’m sorry, but he is unable to learn, given his mental retardation. There are special schools for children like him

REKHA
Children like him? The guy’s clearly twenty-five plus

PRINCIPAL
Oh right!! One wonders just how long he’s been failing classes. Or why you didn’t put him in special school when that doctor told you he was brain damaged. Who’s the real retard here?

REKHA
The screenwriter, I suppose

CUT TO:

EXT. THE SWISS MEADOWS OF KASAULI

HRETARD and his Kiddie Pals are wandering about, singing and dancing

HRETARD
Stars and dreams and starry dreams and … whatever else. How awesome it is that we’re apparently singing and dancing songs as we make them up? You’d think being retarded would affect the creative faculties, but it doesn’t

CUTESY KID #2
Not when it’s the good kind of retarded, which means that you simply keep failing exams, like any bad student

CUTESY KID #1
That’s right kids, the mentally challenged are simply lazy, except they have this ‘retarded’ excuse

HRETARD
Long hikes with kids and no supervision, although I’m known to not be right in the head. Isn’t being retarded great?

Suddenly, a gang of asshole bikers appear. Despite being pedestrians on a motor road, our brave gang refuses to give an inch

LEAD ASSHOLE BIKER
Get out of the way. Keep in mind that despite my asshole manner, my request is in fact quite reasonable

CUTESY KID #1
No fucking way, asshole. We, kids on kick-scooters, will not only not give way to you, a motorist, but also fight the lot of you, despite us being kids and you being adults

LEAD ASSHOLE BIKER
Eh?

CUTESY KID #5
You heard him, motherfucker. Now get off your fucking bike and come here so we, by which I mean our retarded friend here, can tear you a new asshole

HRETARD
This is sounding kind of reta… er, yeah what he said. You shall not pass

BIKERS
Well, that’s it. Instead of just letting you, a bunch of little kids and your unusual caretaker, pass, we’re going to get off our bikes, and come fight the lot of you

CUTESY KID #2
Come get some, asshole

They do. The bikers approach the kids menacingly, doing absolutely nothing. This allows a bunch of preteens to KNEE GROWNUPS IN THE GROIN

LEAD ASSHOLE
Damn, these kids are so tough dishoom-dishoom sounds appear when they kick or knee us. Let’s instead chase Hrithik, the lone adult who abandoned a bunch of kids to a biker gang

They do. Somehow a man on a kick-scooter is able to stay ahead of people on motorcycles, all while moving on mountain roads. He also has the acrobatic ability to kick-scooter under barriers or over people, which his pursuers don’t

HRETARD
You’d think brain damage and so on would affect my motor skills and coordination, but no, being retarded izz great

Cops arrive and have the good sense to arrest only the guys on bikes, without even a reprimand for minor pedestrians who flipped off adult motorists. Yayy!!

ASSHOLE BIKER
Screw this, I’m going home

CUT TO:

EXT. A POSH HOUSE

Prem Chopra hugs Rajeev Verma with a tad too much enthu

RV’S WIFE
He has said, now that he’s retiring, he’s going to live where his friend does

PC’S WIFE
How touchingly homoerotic

PREM CHOPRA
Say, what happened to your kid?

RAJEEV VERMA
Oh, she’s grown up big now

PREM CHOPRA (salivating)
Has she now?

CUT TO:

EXT. KASAULI:
PREITY ZINTA drives about in a jeep, and asks the GANG for directions. They mislead her and get a ride to the film theater instead. This is HILARIOUS. The GANG then crashes a party, for the free food.

CUTESY KID #7
How awesome is it that we, kids who can afford to go to blazer-issuing schools, are also crashing parties to steal food?

In a shocking twist, they’re spotted, and have to run. More shockingly, the party was thrown in honour of Preity and that asshole biker, who’s Prem Chopra’s kid. Both see red.

CUT TO:

EXT. KASAULI DOWNTOWN:

HRITHIK is cornered by Preity and the Bikers and beaten the living shit out of. He runs home crying to his Mommy.

HRETARD
Why? Why? Why did Dad put in scenes like this. Bad enough he had to retard me up and go to the happy place behind the camera, but this is just too much

REKHA
Just be glad he didn’t have Kabir Bedi throw you to a crocodile.

CUT TO:

EXT. SOME SORT OF CLUB LAWN:

PREITY
We sure showed him. That weirdo with his weird look and inability to speak and tendency to hang out with kids.

LEAD ASSHOLE BIKER
Yeah, was he retarded or what?

(enter REKHA)

REKHA
You assholes, he was retarded

PREITY ZINTA
Damn right

REKHA
No, I mean the actual thing. He’s mentally handicapped

PREITY ZINTA
Oh damn. We thought it was an ordinary guy we were ganging up on and beating the shit out of

She makes up for this by buying HRITHIK a bike and giving him a gigantic hug.

HRETARD
(pressing up against her cleavage)
Ah…. being retarded is great again

HRITHIK and PREITY hang out a lot, while she Googles ‘cures’ for mental retardation. Turns out the cure is “To treat them with love and respectful care”. Naturally, the gang of kids proclaim her his girlfriend, even though he has no idea what that means, and neither should they.

LEAD ASSHOLE BIKER’S FRIEND
Guess what, those little kids think PREITY’s his girlfriend.

LEAD ASSHOLE BIKER
Grrrr. That goddam son of a Roshan, stealing girls from a guy who’s been at the same evil flunky role for 15 years. Let’s go beat him up, even though we know he’s retarded.

They do. And this time there’s no MAAAA. Hrithik then goes WAAAAA and accidentally hits and turns on an old computer that has conveniently been lying around his house for ages, apparently plugged in as well.

HRETARD
Dad’s old ‘OM’ computer. Ooooo what does this button do?

REKHA
DeeeeeDeeeeeee… sorry HRIITHIIIIIIIIIIK

The sound signal-wala computer sends out an electrical pulse through a TV-antenna that was somehow connected to it. Some sort of feedback pulse occurs that shorts out the whole town, kills anything electrical/electronic and even blows out all candles, just to be ominous.

REKHA
Hrithik-will-you-get-out-of-my-labauratauury!!! Damn!! That evil husband-killing OM computer. Nothing good came out of anyone fiddling with it. Why did I cart it here all the way from Canada? Or put it anywhere near a plug point so my moron kid might start it up? What now?

CUT TO:

EXT. KASAULI HILLSIDE: We see a giant, blue-tinted obviously CGI spaceship. It emerges from the clouds Independence Day-ishtyle, which is made easier and cheaper to animate since this is at night. It casts the ever-extending shadow on everyone, also Independence Day-ishtyle, which is weird seeing as it’s moonless night and the damn thing just put out all the lights. But hey, it can pick up sound signals through space so it has to be awesome, right?

CUT TO:

INT. PREITY’S LIVING ROOM.

Everyone’s watching ‘AAJ TAK’

RANDOM NEWSCASTER
Authorities refuse to believe the statements made by pretty much everyone in Kasauli about an Unidentified Flying Object, due to nothing turning up on global radars or satellite sensors. The sighting’s attributed to mass hysteria, though you’d think a town full of people corroborating each other would merit an investigation.

PREM CHOPRA
Time to decide what we should do, seeing as I’m some sort of Mayor/Collector. What do you think, Inspector Mukesh Rishi?

INSPECTOR MUKESH RISHI
We found a field flattened and scorched. And there were tracks in it. N tracks leading out of the scorch, N-1 heading back. This means….

PREM CHOPRA
There’s an alien on the loose. We could capture him for science and fame and fortune. But this must be an absolute secret. No one must know

MUKESH RISHI
You should have thought of that before including Rajeev Verma, both your wives and Preity in this meeting

PREM CHOPRA
…..

CUT TO:

EXT. HRITHIK’S PLACE. THE KIDS ASSEMBLE FOR SOME SORT OF UFO MARDI-GRAS

HRETARD
Yayyy, I’m going to go as an alien

REKHA
No you’re not. I don’t trust you anymore

HRETARD
Waaaaaaaaaaaa

He wanders around the house, sulking. An indistinct shadowy shape appears at the edge of his garden

HRETARD
Screw you, shadowy shape that I’m automatically going to assume is one of my cutesy friends. I can’t play. Here (hurls pot at shape) I’m going to bed…

CUT TO INT. HOUSE:
Preity comes over the next day

PREITY
Hey HRITHIK, what’s new?

HRETARD
This pot I smashed yesterday is whole now

PREITY
Pot?

HRETARD
There was this shadowy indistinct figure that appeared at the edge of my garden. It simply stood there and signed, so I assumed it was a friend of mine and hurled a pot at it, the pot I was going to wear on my head for a costume yesterday

PREITY
I don’t know what’s more retarded, your throwing a pot at one of your pint-sized friends, or that you were going to wear one for a costume. But this is now whole and unbroken?

HRETARD
Yes. Clearly the alien was here and fixed the pot. Let’s go look for it

PREITY ZINTA
Pot-fixing aliens? That’s beyond retarded, but sure, why not

Just before the interval, they find the small blue thing that was shown during the promos

PREITY
Wow!!

HRETARD
A visitor from outer space

PREITY
No, I mean I can’t tell if it’s deliberately staying still or is simply an immobile doll

HRETARD
A blue skinned alien with magic powers. I’m going to call you…… Jadoo

PREITY
Subtle. [Checking watch] It’s been about an hour and a half now. What are we doing next, we’re at the interval now

HRETARD
There’s enough time to put in everything that was great about E.T.

PREITY
So that’s the movie we’re ri…

RAKESH ROSHAN
No no. E.T. didn’t have you. It didn’t have Kasauli. It didn’t have the Dad already communicating with aliens, using our ancient powerful mystical ‘Om’ symbol. And it didn’t have an hour of buildup with the child character. We’re taking the concept of E.T. in different directions.

PREITY
You mean you replaced the child with a mentally deficient adult in kiddie clothes and made the film about him

RAKESH ROSHAN
Watch it, lady or you might find yourself cut out of the sequel

PREITY
Ok, let’s have ourselves some retard-alien hijinks. Although when you think about it, I’m the one not calling the authorities on an unknown species and potential biohazard. Well, if Hrithik’s anything to go by, being retarded is great

So in quick progression, the director proceeds to show everything that was good about E.T. and dumb it to beyond-retard levels.

HRETARD
So my friends and Preity know about you, the authorities are suspicious of an alien around here and you’ve demonstrated your unusual abilities and alien metabolism

JADOO
Yes, chiefly my ability to sustain myself on sunlight alone

PREITY
Isn’t that straight out of Su…

RAKESH ROSHAN
Dammit Preity, you’re going to ruin the sequel. It’s a superhero movie

HRETARD
So what now?

PREITY
Go home crying to your mommy about the spaceship and your retardation and whatnot

He does.

REKHA
Damn that original spaceship. It killed your father and retarded you up. Although considering how he was driving, it could just be the genes

 

JADOO hears all this. He then uses his alien magic on Hrithik while he sleeps

CUT TO:
INT. HRITHIK’s BEDROOM. HRITHIK WAKES UP AND PUTS ON HIS GLASSES AND GOES TO THE BATHROOM. HE SUDDENLY FINDS HE NO LONGER NEEDS THEM. JADOO HAS UN-RETARDED HIM, AND THE FIRST SIGN OF IT IS THAT HE NO LONGER NEEDS GLASSES

HRETARD
That’s right kids, only the retarded wear glasses. Let’s see, my vision’s blurred when I wear em and I can see clearly without them, AND I’m now ripped. So there, kids, to not be ripped is retarded

HE RUNS DOWN AND TELLS REKHA.

REKHA
Oh my God!!

HRETARD
I know, I’m cured now. That’s right folks, retarded is a disease requiring curing

REKHA
No you moron. That scene you described was straight out of Spiderman

HRETARD
Yeah well, this alien that the movie’s about is solar-powered and….

RAKESH ROSHAN
FOR FUCK’S SAKE, WILL YOU PEOPLE STOP COMPARING MY WORK

REKHA
Screw you, your only original films were Karan Arjun and that one where the crocodile bit off my face

RAKESH ROSHAN
Yes. Of course

CUT TO:
INT. CLASSROOM HRETARD AND FRIENDS ARE IN CLASS

ASSHOLE TEACHER
Dammit Hrithik, why are you here in the Computer Science class? You can’t do today’s assignment

PRINCIPAL
What’s today’s Computer Science assignment?

ASSHOLE TEACHER
Transferring a file from C: to F:

HRITHIK promptly carries it out, since being ‘cured’ somehow means about eighteen years’ worth  of knowledge has been zapped into his head

ASSHOLE TEACHER hangs his head in shame.

CUT TO:
EXT. BASKETBALL FIELD. Hrithik and friends emerge at what is presumably a free period. The EVIL BIKER BULLIES are also there, playing basketball, the sport of true teeth-gnashing evil

BIKER BULLY
What are you doing here?

CUTESY KID #4
What’re you doing here?

BULLY
Beats me. This is a high school and we’re clearly twenty-plus. Guess we’re not so different from Hrithik

CUTESY KID #8
Yes, you’re re…

HRETARD
Not anymore, remember

BULLY
Ok then, let’s beat him up [throws a basketball at him]

HRITHIK catches it and his muscles pop out of his shirt. He then throws it back so hard that the BULLY is thrown into the basket

HRETARD
Slam dunk

OTHER BULLY
All right asshole, it’s on. We challenge you to a basketball game, even though you’ve clearly demonstrated that you can throw a basketball hard enough to make it a weapon

HRITHIK proceeds to beat them at basketball, because being ‘cured’ of mental retardation also somehow means acquiring several years’ worth practice at a physical activity

HRETARD
That’s right folks, it’s the retarded who can’t play sports well

News of this reaches the LEAD ASSHOLE BIKER, who promptly challenges them to another basketball game. CUT TO:

INT. BASKY COURT. JADOO’s hidden in a bag somewhere, and using his magic to help HRETARD and FRIENDS, the good guys

JOHNNY LEVER
And here we are at the HERO CUP. Why is it the HERO CUP? Why was this never mentioned before? Why are kids and a guy not right in the head playing a bunch of adults? Why am I, a policeman, also acting as announcer? The answers are so HERO HONDA can be placed, and shut the fuck up respectively

The kids find that JADOO’s magic (redundancy) is doing amazing stuff to them

JOHNNY LEVER
Oh my God, the kids are flying! They’re dribbling the balls 30 feet in the air!! They’re leaping over the people trying to get the ball from them

LEAD ASSHOLE BIKER
I don’t believe it

JOHNNY LEVER
That you’re getting beaten by kids?

L.A.B
No, that this is straight out of Flubber

RAKESH ROSHAN
And you wonder why you’re stuck in the role of “Supporting flunkey”?

The kids, shockingly, win.

L.A.B
Screw you guys, I’m going home

PREITY comes over to see him.

PREITY
Wassup?

L.A.B
I’ve announced our engagement to our parents

PREITY
Without my consent?

L.A.B
I’m Prem Chopra’s son. You’re lucky that’s all I’m doing without your consent

PREITY
No, I love Hrithik. He’s unretarded now and has an alien, a producer-dad and a career

L.A.B
Nonsense, he was in Kaho Na Pyaar Hain

Hrithik turns up and beats him up predictably

L.A.B (Spitting blood)
Screw you guys, I’m going home

MUKESH RISHI turns up

MUKESH RISHI
I think you have the alien we’re all looking for

HRETARD
Who’s we?

MUKESH RISHI
Me, Prem Chopra, Rajeev Verma, the evil firaang scientists who pooh-poohed your father and some government agent

HRETARD
Oh my God, a Cigarette Smoking Man in a black suit?

MUKESH RISHI
No, that guy’s too cool for this movie

They all proceed to chase HRETARD and the gang up and down various hillsides. For some unfathomable reason, the kids and Hrithik are on bicycles. Really really unfathomable reason.

HRETARD
We must return Jadoo to his people at any cost. Though it’s weird that he got separated in the first place

PREITY
Weren’t the cops at the scene when the ship landed? He must have been lost in the confusion

HRETARD
No, that was in E.T, which this isn’t. This sadly isn’t

JADOO
Hey I forgot to mention, my powers work only through extended contact. Returning me to the ship retards you back up

HRETARD
Oh my God

PREITY
Yes, it’s a terrible dilemma

HRETARD
And it’s the first real conflict this movie has had so far

He decides to return the alien to ship, which was hitherto unmentioned and unseen. HRETARD is back. CUT TO A NEWS ANNOUNCER:

 

RANDOM NEWSCASTER
The alien is gone and HRETARD is being given a humanitarian award by the people of Kasauli for not listening to the evil scientists and turning him over, thus preventing not only mass human contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence but also the investigation of any extraterrestrial biohazards and pathogens that could even now be affecting the whole town. And they say he alone is retarded

HRETARD and PREITY are walking alone when the Lead.Asshole.Biker shows up

L.A.B
Come on guys, let’s get him

PREITY
For God’s sake, not only is he retarded again, there’s barely a minute to the end credits

L.A.B attacks anyway and is trounced, wonder of wonders.

PREITY
What happened?

We see something in the sky

HRETARD
Oh my God, Jadoo unretarded me again. Negating of course the one conflict this whole movie had

PREITY
So we’ve desecrated Spielberg’s classic AND thrown in the most misinformed and stereotype-laden depiction of mental handicaps known to man. What do you think will happen?

RAKESH ROSHAN
I think this film might just win the National Film Award for Awareness of Social Issues

Lead Asshole Biker
Screw you guys, I’m going home

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