As of late, I have been watching a lot more Bollywood films than I usually would at home (And that’s saying something). In my viewings, a few patterns have started to emerge – film techniques and plot lines that come up in just about every movie. Not to say that I don’t love Bollywood – I totally do. But for all of my fellow die-hard Bollywood fans, I decided to compile a list of them, along with their frequency ratings. Let me know what you think.
The Zoom-In: This common Bollywood film technique is usually used to heighten the tension and bring the viewers a much closer shot of the pained expression on the actress/actors face. This CAN be a good thing, if used tastefully, but more than often, in your stereotypical Bollywood, it is NOT. I’ve seen zoom-ins so close you could see the mascara flaking off the heroine’s over-made-up eyes.
Frequency rating: EVERY. SINGLE. MOVIE. (Guaranteed.)
The Instant Replay: This particularly painful effect is more of an emphatic one. I have seen it used to emphasize all kinds of scenes, such as a phone call, a house exploding, an intense conversation, a girl flipping her hair over her shoulder, a guy walking into a restaurant, three guys running through a gate, and many others.
Frequency rating: Just about every Bollywood I’ve ever seen.
The Mysterious Indoor Wind: It’s the climax of some deep and moving scene. They’re staring into each other’s eyes fervently, finally admitting their love. It’s all very deep and moving, but unfortunately, this is all interrupted when you realize that, although their hair is whipping dramatically, they are, in fact, inside.
Frequency rating: Depending on the genre of the movie and the length of the heroine/hero’s hair, it will most likely be present.
The Slow-Mo Spin : Inevitably, at some point in the movie, the female lead will, without a doubt, spin around in slow motion – usually while wearing some long flowing sari or skirt. Because that’s what love is all about.
Frequency rating: As I said, inevitable.
The Violent Hug: This fairly spontaneous embrace can occur between any members of the cast – two estranged lovers, the mother and daughter, two brothers, anyone. Usually it’ll happen right after some strange and semi-shocking plot point is discovered, or just because one of them is sad for some unspecific reason. The two characters will body slam together at such an incredible speed the audience will, most likely, totally not see it coming.
Frequency rating: Not as common as you’d think…depending on the genre of movie you’re watching. Be on the lookout for this awesome happening.
The Slow-Mo Staredown: What do you do when it’s love at first sight? (or second or third sight?) You gawk at them to the point of being totally creepy! Naturally, so important an event can only take place in slow motion. The one (usually the guy) stares at the girl while she giggles and flips her hair around, accompanied by a slow romantic soundtrack.
Frequency rating: Hilariously regular.
The Psych-Out Kiss: As Bollywood is famed for its lack of lip-to-lip kissing, the couples have to make do with hugging. More than often, they’ll look like they’re about to actually kiss….and then psych out with a peck on the cheek.
Frequency rating: If there’s a strong romance plot, it should be there.
The Dream Dance Sequence: This is the part of the movie where one half (or all) of the romantic couple is fantasizing about their soul mate. Usually some very strange things take place, with the two of them dancing around in some weird, unbelievable scenario – the rain, the 50’s, a train station, or whatever pertains to their particular fantasy. These are pretty entertaining, as sometimes you’re not really sure if what’s happening is part of the plot or not.
Frequency rating: Fairly common, in an awesome and exciting way.
There are so many more of these classic techniques – The Barely There Sari, The Spontaneous Dance Sequence, The Gorgeous Girl, and the unforgettable Cheezy Fight Scene – but they all kind of speak for themselves. So the next time you pick up a Bollywood, be on the lookout. Happy watching!