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!...