First of all, thank you Jyothi, Swati and everyone else who was on my case about watching Band Baaja Baarat! I had high expectations for it, and surprisingly it didn't fail me.
Bollywood seems to make only one perfect ball of glittery fluff every year, at least for my tastes. In 2007 it was Salaam-e-Ishq. In 2008 it was Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. 2009 gave me Dil Bole Hadippa. And now Band Baaja Baarat in 2010. Hm... most of them Yash Raj Films. Honourable mention to Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, but since it doesn't tick all the boxes, I'll leave it out for now. Why am I not including other rom-coms like Jab We Met Wake Up Sid and Love Aaj Kal? Because for me there is a huge difference between a good rom-com and a ball of fluff, even though I truly appreciate both. A ball of fluff will give me great colours, fun songs, good looking people in the lead, one (or several) very improbable love stories, and not much else. But the "not much else" is completely irrelevant because a successful ball of fluff will make me grin happily from ear to ear for no good reason at all. Will I think about the characters or analyse the situations to catch the more subtle meanings of the events? Nope. Will I rave about the eloquence or sharpness of the script? Nope. Am I meant to? Nope. Good, then everyone is happy!
So what does it take to create the perfect glittery ball of fluff? By the way, someone elbow me when you get tired of this expression, because I have plenty of other metaphors I can use, though I am trying really hard to stay away from words like cotton-candy, bubble-gum and other pink objects typically used to describe this type of film.
But back to the original question: What does it take? Surprisingly, all it takes is some basic science!
First of all it takes at least two good looking actors who look great in traditional clothes. Not just traditional clothes, like in Jab We Met, but in the kind of clothes that would make the rainbow hide in shame! The more colourful the better. No respectable fluff ball will ever roll without its unique gang of fashion designers and set designers that can mix hot pink, bright yellow, shaadi red, satin baby blue and every other shade of the spectrum in its brightest form and still make it look good. Proof:
Obviously the more "Yash Raj Films" we have in the mix, the brighter the colours become. Yash Raj is like Newton's prism: whatever comes in is dull and colourless, and out it comes as a rainbow!
Auditory Cortex Stimulents
I find all the studies about what makes a song catchy fascinating, and this type of research seems to be in its infancy, but Bollywood nails it so well that they must have gotten a head start in it. A good beat, plenty of repetition, easy lyrics to sing along to, and there you have it! Every fluff ball movie has at least one song that will outlast all your braincells: Saiyyan Re, Salaam-e-Ishq, Haule Haule, Dil Bole Hadippa, Diskowale Kisko, and now Ainvayi Ainvayi:
Well, not really puppies per se, but moments that feel like you're looking a picture of cute puppies playing with each other. I think I read a study at one point about why women are more inclined to be attracted to soft squishy stuff, but I promptly forgot it. I do know for sure that there is a science to that too, and these kinds of movies speak to exactly the same areas of the brain as white kittens, big eyed stuffed animals and, I guess for some people, human babies. We're not supposed to think about the selfishness of one character or about how plausible the future of another one is, and how could we when they stare at us with those sweet smiles, beautiful eyes and their hearts glued to the screen! A proper fluff-ball has to activate our hearts and deactivate our brains as efficiently as a picture of cute puppies, or else, it will not work. Because once we get down to actually thinking about the situations and the characters... but no, I won't do it. Why ruin some perfectly satisfying films for myself!
|Come on, use your brain, I dare you!|
But really what it all comes down to : Fluff!! Loads and loads, truckloads full of fluff!
What do I call fluff? Well pretty much everything that doesn't add anything to the story but distracts you in such a way that you would never want to do without it: busy sets, bubbly friends, payal sounds, crowds of people, improbable but funny situations, in short a party-like atmosphere. You know which parties I'm talking about: the ones where you spend all night chatting and the next day you only remember having had a great time, but none of the actual conversations. Or does that only happen to me? At any rate, Band Baaja Baarat, Dil Bole Hadippa and the like are exactly like one of these parties to me: no lasting substance but a great feeling at the end, and for sure I could not do without them in my life!
A good story too, you say? Nah... a decently told classic story is more than enough. Not like I'll be talking about the plot when I try to sell the movie to my friends, it is after all... another love story: hate each other, love each other, too proud to do something, too in love to do something else, tears, smiles, flirt, fights... a love story, enough said.
Still smiling when I think about Band Baaja Baarat, by the way!...
Now who will get this title song out of my head, please? I've been singing it all day, I think my neighbours are considering selling their place or at least selling their ear drums!