Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dancing scriptwriter (an old post I dug out!)


Hindi films with their colour and vivacity have held a great fascination for viewers for years. Perhaps more than the actual plot and theme of the film it is the music that constitutes the core. Nowadays, things are much slicker, refined, and in many movies, realistic! But I refer to the earlier times when movies forced us to suspend our disbelief to an unimaginable degree. Tales of love and hatred, joy and sorrow, grief and rage were all spun within a garish display of clever lyrics, agile dancing, and preferably set amidst the Swiss Alps...the acoustics must be better there! Ever since I was a child dance has been a passion for me. Even though “filmi” dancing is not one of the more refined genres of dance, the imagination of the choreographer as he or she envisions the song is intriguing. How do they do it? If one were to write a script for the filming of a song what would it be like? I am not a scriptwriter or a professional choreographer but I sometimes like to amuse myself by penning down the whole song and dance sequence, as I would envision it!
Take for example a song from one of the movies made in the early nineties. At that time shooting at foreign locations was not as popular and hill stations were a good substitute for the Alps! It is a wonderful day with the sun pouring down the hillside and the lush tea gardens are a sight for sore eyes. Amidst this scene of natural splendour a chase will take place as the dashing hero pursues the beautiful heroine relentlessly up and down the sloping hills and swears his undying love for her. Since it is the early nineties fashion is at its most ridiculous best with the hero sporting a pair of white tapered pants and a multi coloured sweater which would put a neon road sign to shame! His hair is shorter at the back and has this strange tendency to grow longer as it approaches his fore head resulting in a huge puff which can double as the bill of a baseball cap and protect him from the sun! And when oh when will they realize that shoes without socks revealing just that tad of ankle is not attractive! The young heroine is equally charming, her hair in a mass of curls whose unruliness add to the irritated look on her face as she tries to shake the hero off. She bounces along the slopes in what can only be described as a frock that you see eight-year-old girls wear to birthday parties! However one must not dwell so long on the hideous fashion sense of the stylist and move on to the actual song.
Music starts with a loud bang and the whole scene of natural calm is thrown into chaos as the chase starts. Before I forget no song is complete without the extras that envelop the hero and heroine and break into frantic dance steps. They must also provide the very essential background “roo roos” and “la la las”. Without them the song just lacks that certain pizazz! The hero breaks into song...”O jaane jaana zara ruk jaana, tune mujhe jaana nahin”.(As he sings this he thrusts himself violently at the heroine with sharp pelvic movements on a one two one two beat and with his hands spins her around while she screams). “Sab kuch kehna magar yeh na kehna kee mere peeche aana nahin” (Along with back ground dancers who emerge from behind the tea bushes he breaks into a quick side step and step ball change all the while clutching his heart). “Mein tere peeche aaoonga, apna banaoonga, jaayegee bach keh kahan” (Here the hero and heroine face each other and dance together. The movements are brisk and staccato giving the appearance of them being electrocuted) “Deewana mujh sa nahin, oh ho ho deewana mujh sa nahin” (Here the scene is one of collective effort as everyone dances, hero, heroine, and the extras. They shimmy which is a delicate step that needs practice as only the shoulders and upper torso are used in sharp alternating movements of putting one shoulder forward and then the other).
The song continues in this fashion with the hero, heroine and extras racing up the slope, breaking into shimmies and thrusts, running down the slope and gyrating a little more there. Of course the heroine only melts at the end of the song where the frantic tempo slows down and gets a glazed look in her eyes as she observes the man of her dreams singing and dancing his heart out just for her! The movements become slower and now the extras slowly encircle the couple twirling around them and enveloping them. The music starts to fade away as the refrain echoes repeatedly....”deewana mujh sa nahin”. The constant repetition of these words finally have an effect on the heroine and as the music finally crescendos amidst twirling and the echoing refrain and the all essential “la la las” she collapses into his arms with a look of pained ecstasy. The look is probably from exhaustion from the frantic dancing as they both heave and sigh to the final cymbal crash. Phewwww, falling in love is definitely not for the out of shape!

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