Saturday, August 28, 2010

Stalker Movies - All Michael Jackson's Fault!!

For anyone who doesn't know, because of course the world needs to know this, I've been on a Michael Jackson kick lately (primarily for his dancing, but also revisiting his music and finding new favourites). Since I know it could be months before I manage to create the post I have in mind illustrating how his influence is still to be found even today, alive and well, albeit very stylized, in the most modern forms of filmi dancing across the Indian film industries, I have to settle for a different post for the time being. But that doesn't mean this one doesn't also hold a special place in my heart.

India's adoration for Michael, that penetrated film industries from the North to the South, just may have finally given me an answer to the tantalizing question: what is it about these stalker movies that makes them so appealing to directors, actors and audiences alike. You know, movies like Deewana Mujhsa Nahin, Arya (and to a lesser extent a few other of Allu Arjun's movies, why, Arjun, why???), Fida (thank God for the twist in this one!), and this is just what I've watched because they were starring actors that I will watch in absolutely anything, no matter how bad. (No links provided as I would advise anyone to stay far away from these movies, so I have no intention of promoting them on this blog.) There's also Dil Se (which has other merits, so I found enough reasons to love it nonetheless) and a few Shah Rukh movies that so far I have successfully avoided, and I'm sure many others that will never come anywhere near my DVD player. This theme was all the rage circa late 80s - early 90s in Indian movies.

Make no mistake, we're not talking the horror movie type of stalking, or the emotionally unstable type of stalking. No, we're talking about movies where the great guy with a heart of gold falls madly in love with great girl, but she just can't seem to see that she also loves him (but of course! How can she not love him? What's knowing someone before you love them in this day and age anyways? Isn't a man who obsesses over you the most worthy of your affection? Duh!). So she gets pursued and emotionally blackmailed in the most creative ways, until she finally realizes that she loved him all along, usually after some drama where he almost gives his life for her.

What on earth is it, I would wonder, that makes people think this is sexy, attractive or even acceptable? And while I still don't have the answer to that one, I finally found someone to blame it all on when I was watching the video to Michael Jackson's "The Way You Make Me Feel" (off the album "Bad" - 1987).

Here are the lyrics:

Hey pretty baby with the high heels on
You give me fever like I've never, ever known
You're just a product of loveliness
I like the groove of your walk,
Your talk, your dress
I feel your fever from miles around
I'll pick you up in my car and we'll paint the town
Just kiss me baby and tell me twice
That you're the one for me

The way you make me feel
You really turn me on
You knock me off of my feet
My lonely days are gone

I like the feelin' you're givin' me
Just hold me baby and I'm in ecstasy
Oh I'll be workin' from nine to five
To buy you things to keep you by my side
I never felt so in love before
Just promise baby, you'll love me forevermore
I swear I'm keepin' you satisfied
'Cause you're the one for me

A pretty cool love song you'd say, right? Ok, except for the part where he feels that in order to keep her by his side he has to buy her things, but whatever, what do I care how Michael keeps his loved ones close. But other than that, I wouldn't mind having this song dedicated to me by my boyfriend.

The problem is, once we get to watch the video, we realize that he's not her boyfriend. Moreover, she's a girl walking alone late at night (and wearing waaay too short a skirt for that kind of neighbourhood, as much as I am all for short skirts, but let's not get distracted by these details), who all of a sudden has Michael and a bunch of hoodlums all over her. And, outrage of outrages, at the end of the song, much like the Indian film heroines, she gets with him!!

And for some reason, as I was watching this I found myself thinking: can't blame her! If I had a guy dancing like Michael after me I'd probably be inclined to give him the time of day too! And that's when it hit me! That must be what all those actors, directors and scriptwriters were thinking too: if it works for Michael, why would it not work for a hero? They can dance (some of them anyway), they can lip sync to some soulful passionate lyrics, they have the looks (most of them anyway), yes, there's no reason why it wouldn't work! Ahem... Except... what looks good in a flirty 5 minute video with not much talking, gets completely ruined for me in a movie where they attempt to attach concepts like eternal love, passion, soulmates and, get this, gratefulness to this type of "relationship". So no, what works for Michael, definitely does not work for everyone else. Sorry Aamir, Shahid and Arjun...

But you know what, that's ok, because now it doesn't puzzle me anymore, from now on I can blame it all on the Michael Jackson craze! And while this could turn into a debate about the chicken and the egg (or not even, because surely the two have less in common than I like to think) I am too fascinated by the similarities to subject it to too much scrutiny. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

God I love that song!...


Anonymous said...

Since you posted Michel Jackson video, I wanted to inform about this Chiru's hit you tube video mimicking Jackson called "indian thriller".( There is story behind this video .Will let you know when I have patience )

This is a huge youtube hit. There were lots of spoof videos made (by people in different countries) based on Indian thriller video .
Check them on youtube.

Dolce and Namak said...

Haha! Yes, I've seen that one. Found it quite funny but maybe the story will help, if there's a context to it.
But I like Chiranjeevi better when he's doing his own stuff. Michael is almost impossible to emulate, so unless a dancer can borrow his moves, make them his own, and still look good (and this is the part where most dancers fail), I think most of them should stay away from it.

Anonymous said...

The movie was released in 1985 from Donga movie.
In those days there was no cable tv in India. Cable came only in 1994. So there was no media to know much about the international albums. Chiru was the only known hero who was able to dance but there were no good choreographer to showcase his talent (Prabhu Deva came much later). Chiru was a good dancer but not a choreographer. He happened to saw the Thriller album, when he was in London. He bought an album and showed it to his choreographers and they choreographed that song for him.

Anyways I like that song as Radha was in it.

One more chart-buster from good old days with Chiru and Radha

Dolce and Namak said...

Haha! Poor guy! That's a good story, thank you for sharing! happy to see that the choreographers have come a looong way since then, hai na? :D

Nicki said...

I thought I posted here but didn't. Maybe it was during that time that my computer was acting funny!

You've been thinking waaay too much, my gori dosti...but you are right.

There seems to be a stalkerish theme in Desi films. Some are overplayed, but if done well is worth watching.

I heard on the radio when it was MJ's birthday that there were so many downloads for his music...and the country with the most downloads were from India. Go figure :D

Dolce and Namak said...

Hey Nicki, I know, I never realized just how big MJ was in India until I got into South Indian movies, and then I realized that even though I had never noticed, his influence was tremendous in Bollywood too.

I know I was totally overthinking that one, but ins't it funny how the stalking theme is so similar in the movies and in the music video? :)

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