[Okay here is another bit of fiction from the Greatbong. After all of you (well almost all) panned my last post, this is my revenge—another short story. I shall keep on writing such posts till I get positive comments.
This is also my review of the movie “Zinda”]
Sanjay Gupta, director of “Kaante”, “Zinda” and other Bollywood classics, wakes up one morning. His mind is reeling—last memory he had was a drunk evening with Sanjay Dutt, Mahesh Manjrekar groveling in front of Dubai Bhai on the phone and doing screen tests for some actresses.
But where is he now? A small room with one television set, a rack full of DVDs—it is obvious to him he has been kidnapped.
But by whom? He had given the overseas rights to Bhai, sought the “blessings” of the Balasaheb–in all discharged all the duties of a Mumbai director/producer. And yet why is he in this solitary room with just a TV set , DVDs and a plate of pao bhaji inserted through a hole in the door?
He breaks down. Pleading with his unknown captor to let him go. But noone replies to his anguished cries. He only gets regular meals of the same pau bhaji and nothing else. The TV tells him about the outside world—-and then there are the DVDs. Realizing he can do nothing else and besides he always made films based on DVDs, Sanjay Gupta starts watching these movies one by one. Putting the time to good use—he thinks.
Aaah what a treasure trove. He starts making copious mental notes of which movies to copy once he gets out, how to “Indianize” it and how to pass off each of them as his creations. But he knows not when he shall get out—if at all.
From time to time, a strange tune plays (he notes in his mind to copy that tune once he gets out), his room fills with noxious gas—the kind one smells after one too many bean burritos and he collapses. When he comes to, he finds he has been shaved, bathed and his DVDs replenished with new ones.
A year passes. And another. On the TV he sees all the movies he had plans of Indianizing being remade one by one by his one-time friends—Manjrekar, Ramgopal Verma and suchlike. All his babies being taken away from him in front of his own eyes and Sanjay Gupta powerless—confined in this hellhole. He breaks down, tries slashing his wrists with a extras DVD (the 2nd disc noone watches) but his evil captor wont even let him die.
And then he decides to strike back. No more wallowing in self pity. He tells himself that he has to keep himself alive in order to seek revenge on the man who has imprisoned him. It is obvious that it is one of his “friends” who have kept him imprisoned so that he can pass of Hollywood/Korean movies as his own and not have to contend with the master of the lift—Sanjay Gupta.
He starts thinking for the first time in his life—working on a original plot. He makes copious notes, does and redoes the script—after all he has all the time in the world. Because when and if he comes out, he needs something “original” to get into the game—something to challenge his friends who have taken the patent on copying while he rots in this cell.
Then it happens. 15 years to the day he was kidnapped he is released. He finds himself on the top of a Mumbai roof, a set of cool shades and a wad of cash in his pocket. And a cell phone. Which rings. A voice says :” You have 5 days to find out who did this to you—-that is find out who I am. I can either be a madman or someone who hates you so much that he could do this to you”.
Sanjay Gupta then embarks on a mission of singular revenge and hate where he goes after his captors. Hammers are wielded, teeth fly, blood splatter, tons of paubhaji are consumed and then in an amazingly original scene where with a director’s megaphone stuck up his ass, Sanjay Gupta takes on a roomfull of murderous clapper-boys.
And then the climax. He comes face to face with his nemesis. Sanjay Gupta is zapped. No it is not a Bhai. It is not Subhas Ghai. It is not the husband of any starlet who auditioned for an item number for his movies.
It is a Chinese-type guy—Sanjay Gupta asks “Kaun bhe tu?” (Who the hell are you?)
The evil man smiles—Sanjay you lift my movie in its totality to make “Zinda”—and publicly claim that you only took a scene. And then to top it off, you cannot even recognize me when I am standing in front of you. I am Chan-wook Park, the director of “Oldboy”.
Sanjay: And for this you ruined 15 years of my life. Ruined so many scripts of mine. Just for this one small thing? And oh for your information, “Zinda” is not a straight lift —it is an “Indianization” of your movie…..
Park: Indianization—now what’s that? Is it like taking a while loop and making it into a “repeat-until”? Or taking a variable “i” and renaming it “counter” ? That kind of originality, Mr Sanjay Gupta? Is that what’s called Indianization?
Sanjay: No no wait. I did make a lot of changes. Like you had the guy kidnapped from a police station after a drunken binge —waiting to go to his daughter’s birthday party. I made him “pretending” to be drunk so that he gets a seat in a posh restaurant where he didnt have reservations. Plus in ” Zinda” the wife was pregnant but the hero didnt know it—in “Oldboy” he already has a daughter.
Park: Oh wow. So was this change something that was your idea or was it because Celina Jet-Li did not want to play a Mom?
Sanjay(smiling sheepishly): Well that’s Indianization for you.
Park: And you know what, Sanjay. There was a reason why the protagonist is shown drunk and missing his daughter’s birthday party—it kind of sets the stage for the end….basically doing something called “character development”. Ever heard the term?
Sanjay: Mmm no. Property development I know. But character development?
Sanjay: Okay okay I made a whole lot of changes now that I think of it. Show me where in your movie the girl says “Meri ma bhagwan ke liya paratha paka rahee hain ” ( My mother is making parathas for God)—-and before you make a wisecrack I dont recall her saying that her mother is making smelly tofu for God either. And the things that Sanjay Dutt sees in his prison cell—99 Kargil etc etc are all original ideas of mine. In your movie the term of imprisonment was for 15 years, in Zinda it was 14 years—like Ramji’ s exile.
And oh, I showed Lara Dutta in a bra with her shirt ripped off—your movie had a gratuitous breast shot. Okay I accept I could not show that scene without getting in trouble with the Indian censor board—while they are fine with blood flying around, a breast shot is not kosher for the boobs on the committee.
Park: Bullshit. Hogwash. All minor cosmetic changes—mostly dictated by circumstances beyond your control. You dont know how anguished I have felt seeing “Zinda” again and again—it has been a violation of my artistic soul. Oooh the blatant copying, the same sets, the same ideas, the same gasmask—-uff it just makes me want to take a hammer and pull out your teeth.
Sanjay: Forgive me oh Mr Park. It was a small mistake—okay I accept I copied all my movies from one source or the other , however I did some work also. But I went overboard with “Oldboy”–did virtually nothing. I made a mistake. But why make me suffer for 15 years? Why?I have changed—I have made a new script…an original one.
Park: Ha ha ha. Look around you. See those TV screens. Do you see what’s going on there?
Sanjay: Mmm a movie is being shot…..so what?
Park: Ha ha again. Do you know what the script for the movie is? It’s the same thing you wrote during those 15 years. Your masterpiece. Your brainchild. It is now going to be raped…no make it gangraped in front of your eyes by those hacks you see there on the TV screen—-obviously you will not be credited for the script. It will be as if you don’t even exist.
Well Mr Sanjay, how does it feel to be on the other end? How does it feel to see one’s labors being passed off by someone else as theirs without acknowledgement? Are those tears on your face? I love them. Yes 15 years was needed Mr Sanjay to give you time to lovingly create your own intellectual baby, for you to have a bond with your creation. So that when you see its rape you anguish more. And feel my pain. And of countless other directors.
Now brace yourself for the final shattering truth.
The movie’s director is Dev Anand. Obviously he is also the hero. Uday Chopra is the second hero—you last saw him 15 years ago..now he has lost all his hair and has made the full transition to a trans-sexual. The heroine is Payal Rohatgi whose implants, in the 15 years you were gone, have lost some of the saline solution and the technical staff are all from Mithunda’s Ootie filmcrew.
How does it feel Mr Gupta?
Gupta (on his knees crying like a baby): No no no I beg. I plead. Do not do this to me. Give me back my script. It’s my life—it’s my 15 years. By the way, Dev Anand is still alive?
Park (taking a bite out of a bean burrito) : Muaahhhhhhhhh………………….Mr Gupta, sorry to say no feel-good ending here.
Welcome to the club.