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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