5 Things You Can Learn about India from Their Action Movies
Part of being a decent human is attempting to understand and empathize with the many different cultures and societies that surround us. And what better way to accomplish that than by watching their most hilariously confusing movies and extrapolating out a set of unfair, ridiculous stereotypes from them? I've already done it once, and I learned a very important lesson: Never go up against a Christian when death is on the line. Now I'm going to apply the same absurdly faulty logic to understanding another huge portion of the world around me: the Indian subcontinent. Sure, it's an impenetrably dense network comprised of a billion people and untold thousands of heterogeneous subcultures, but I figure we can probably get the gist of it from this fucked-up musical about killer robots.
Physics Need Not ApplyFirst of all, I should clarify that this movie, Enthiran -- a three-hour musical epic halfway between Bicentennial Man and RoboCop -- is a Tamil film. That's a region in Southern India with many of their own unique beliefs and styles, and it's a very different thing than Bollywood. For example, while both Bollywood and Tamil place a lot of filmic importance on music and dance, the latter places equal importance on the kick-to-flight ratio of dudes with shitty mustaches. Seriously, you can't pass the salt in a Tamil movie without accidentally sending somebody's creepy uncle hurtling through a window. For example, here's one of the disposable slapstick comedy characters getting fist-catapulted across the room in the very first scene: That's how the movie introduces itself: by launching a series of screaming tech support missiles across the room. And you'd better suspend that disbelief from the ceiling, friend, because
Time Holds No Meaning
Enthiran is a hell of a long movie. Like I said, it's a three-hour musical epic, and as we all know, adding the term "musical" to anything makes it at least four relative hours longer. But even the term "epic" is not doing this monumental bastard any sort of justice, because in addition to the unwieldy run time, there isn't a single slack nanosecond in Enthiran. Characters move fast, talk fast and walk fast, and if you want crap like atmosphere or time to process, then you're a disappointment to your grandparents; why can't you be more like Ishwar? He has two doctorates, three jobs and four ulcers, and he just turned 12.Every shot in
"W-wait ... what? I was just on a beach. Where the fuck did you come from? WHERE AM I RIGHT NOW!?"So when I say it's a three-hour epic, you need to understand that means three Tamil hours, which translate to American chronology in roughly the same ratio as dog years. This is 20 hours of movie shoved into 168 frantic minutes. Watching
Love Like You've Never Been Hurt, Rape Like Nobody's WatchingThere's only one main female character in
I have no dick, and I must ...But it's the scene with the dimwitted farmer that really hammers home how casually rape is doled out in the universe of
"Hahaha, you should've seen the look on your face when he tried to forcibly penetrate you!"
What the Fuck Is a Context?
Enthiran thinks "context" is some sort of intraprison messaging service. Whereas Bollywood movies will often segue into relevant musical numbers, Enthiran will slam on the brakes to make you watch random music videos at the drop of a Haatim (that's the mustachioed fellow who just got booted through the cinder block wall behind you). For example, what happened after our heroes escaped the attempted rape by Indian Lennie Small back there? I mean right after -- what was the very next frame that followed that scene? Why, this right here, of course:
"Wait ... no, we were on a rural Indian back road and you -- this isn't even fucking Africa! WHAT HATH SCIENCE WROUGHT?!"The movie cuts away, mid-manic-PTSD laughter, to a musical number about the highest mountain in Africa and how it's crazy that this chick is totally the same thing as fruit. Because
I literally could not tell you which is which. I think I may be white-blazer-blind.Early on in the film, the affable robot, Chitti, embarks on a wacky, cartoonish task to capture a mosquito, which he accomplishes -- obviously -- by speaking Mosquito to it:
Now here he is starring in a cutesy music video about innocent love with a cast of dancing Cylons.
Now here he is popping a man's head like a blood pimple.
Roughly 90 percent of this movie is written and performed solely for young children who love sci-fi/fantasy, and the other 10 percent is random sex crimes and gruesome murder. It's like if
There Are No Rules
Yes, he is surfing that man down the highway. Why ever do you ask?The madness of
That was just straight up bad in the general ass area. By shunning such archaic constraints as "reality" and "coherence," the fight choreographers were free to reenact whatever bizarre impulse popped into their heads, and the end result is fantastic: It's like the collaborative work of Bruce Lee, Stan Lee and a 5-year-old with a mismatched set of action figures. Chitti first engages in a painstakingly arranged kung fu battle, then he gets flung from the car, so he sprouts Rollerblades out of nowhere, activates his magnetic boots and sprints sideways along the entire length of a passenger train
You have now seen everything. Die in peace.In short, this movie is the best thing that I, or anybody else, has or indeed ever will see in the aggregate of human history. And if this masterwork is at all reflective of the society that produced it, then I am forced to conclude that India is a terrifying, time-skipping, physics-defying amoral chaos dimension. Which ... sounds pretty much right, actually.
You can buy Robert's book, Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead, or follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Or you can join together with him and help build a giant puma made out of pasty white dudes to defend our nation against the rising Chubby Indian Voltron threat.
For more from Robert, check out The 5 Most Mind-Blowing Moments from Indian Action Movies and 5 Bad Economic Indicators for the Criminally Insane.