The forgotten king

The forgotten king
Highlights

I am a man of limited intelligence and even more limited focus. I get distracted too easily. The only thing which holds my attention is a well-made crisp movie. Those also are a few in today’s context. In fact, I have discovered to my dismay that not many of those crore-jingling movies have held my attention for more than ten minutes. 

I am a man of limited intelligence and even more limited focus. I get distracted too easily. The only thing which holds my attention is a well-made crisp movie. Those also are a few in today’s context. In fact, I have discovered to my dismay that not many of those crore-jingling movies have held my attention for more than ten minutes.

So I was trying to rake my brains on which movies really kept my interest hooked right from the word go. In entire 2015, there were three movies which kept me glued to the screen – ‘Drishyam’, ‘Baby’ and ‘Talvar’. Not that I did not enjoy some other movies but these three kept me totally engrossed. Then I noticed the reason too. All these three films qualify as suspense thrillers. The pace of the screenplay in these movies varies but they keep you hooked with a reasonable "what happens next" moments.

Then it struck me why has Bollywood forgotten this genre? I mean look at the advantages of a suspense movie. You barely need star power to pull it off. If the plot is good, a reasonable audience walks in on the first day, and one can be assured that the word of mouth on social media will ensure that the film will get the numbers. You do not have to ask your leading lady and the hero to go charm audiences in a mall in Jodhpur, to work the numbers.

I do not remember very aggressive publicity from the makers of ‘Talvar’. Sure they did indulge in intelligent marketing but otherwise, the movie worked totally on stellar performances from its star cast and tight suspense infested screenplay.

‘Drishyam’ had a super mix of suspense and a great performance from Tabu and Ajay Devgn, but the king of the movie was its “what’s next” plot. Ditto for ‘Baby’, before ‘Airlift’. To prove my point further Alfred Hitchcock, the man who initiated the fear of showers in us is regarded as one of our greatest filmmakers partly because he was gifted but largely because of the genre he chose to work with.

Indian cinema’s biggest evergreen classic was ‘Woh Kaun Thi’. What starts as a chilling horror movie pans out into suspense and by the time, it ends it leaves us gasping for more. Shah Rukh’s first two BO bonanzas were ‘Darr’ and ‘Baazigar’ both had heavy doses of suspense. In fact Madhavan’s biggest solo hero winner came in a movie called ‘13 B’, trust me, this suspense thriller is a great mix of horror and suspense. It worked well obviously with the audiences.

Why has Bollywood forgotten this genre? Which is clearly is a winner from the moment you choose it. First in the last five odd years particularly after ‘Ghajini’ (another ironically suspense laden movie), Bollywood got struck in two-point thought process: How many screens and how much star promotion? Audiences were thought of as dumb zombies and, therefore, you have movies which are in terms of box office weekend dharkaaris and weekday bhikaris. Second reason is because star and number of screens became important the writer and the content was totally put into the dustbin.

Hope Bollywood wakes up to this genre because it is a great win-win situation. Audiences get good entertainment. Bollywood gets its cash. Dear Bollywood makers, If you still don’t believe in the power of suspense have you forgotten our national suspense question for the last one year now –“Kattappa ne Baahubali ko kyun maara?”

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