An open letter to Steven Spielberg
From an Indian fan, bored stiff of Bollywood remakes
Sonali Ghosh Sen Kolkata
Aaya-aaya re. Aaya-aaya re. Aaya-aaya re. This is just me welcoming you to India by singing “Woh aaya re” in that five-note melody in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It’s been 30 years since you last came a-visiting and a lot has changed since then. We no longer watch Chitrahaar, drive Ambassador cars or…err…eat monkey brains (yup, there goes your next Indiana Jones movie). Yes, sir, we have changed a lot over the years, but what hasn’t changed is our passion for watching films. So, if you could just turn your gaze from Hollywood to Bollywood, you are waiting for a fortune to be made. Yes, sirji, like any good Indian entrepreneur, I am pitching story ideas to you. All you have to do is listen and recycle some of your old (not so old) but great movies and become a legend in Bollywood. Here’s how:
1) Remember that cute friendship film of man and alien you made many moons ago, called E.T.? We call it Krrish here and we have milked it for sequel after sequel — there’s son of Krrish. grandson of Krissh, great-grandson of Krrish…yeah, you get the drift. So, here’s my first suggestion — do a sequel of E.T. pronto and put us out of our misery of watching a 30-something Hrithik Roshan play man-child again and again and again.
2) Ohhh, and congratulations for the Oscar-winning Lincoln. It was a well-researched, well-crafted movie about the Father of the Nation. Unfortunately, it won’t work here as our Father of the Nation already has an Oscar in his khadi bag and we have grown tired of watching Gandhi being screened every August 15, so here’s a thought: What about making a well-researched movie based on the Prime Minister of India? Ahhh, but I forgot, that would only stretch to a silent movie without title cards. Boring. Very boring. But then silent films have won Oscars, you know, so think about it.
3) OK, moving on, we are great fans of Tintin here. Yes, sirji, we have grown up reading more about young blonde reporters than Indian stereotypes like Mowgli of The Jungle Book.And what could be a greater hit in India than a combination of Tintin in Tibet with Flight 714 or Destination Moon. Your forte, wouldn’t you say? — a rip-roaring adventure with aliens and space travel thrown in. There, if that is not a blockbuster, I don’t know what is.
4) And what about The Minority Report, set in the future, with mystery, suspense and a lot of chase sequences running through the script? Perfect Hindi-movie stuff. It also leaves scope for adding an item number or two to the movie. And what’s an item number, you say? Well, think Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence gyrating to a Kanye West number in a jewelled loincloth and bustier. Hard to wrap your mind around that, but you’ll get it, eventually.
5) I almost forgot Jurassic Park. By God, that would make a monster hit. An entire generation of Indians has grown up thinking dinosaurs were born in a giant theme park so all you have to do is release it again here, bring a few motorized T-Rexs and let them loose in Lodhi Garden, New Delhi. The controversy alone will make your film a member of the Rs 100-crore club.
And, if all else fails, then please make your India-Pakistan movie, add action, emotion and at least four love stories, because Saving Private Ryan has been murdered thus in Longewala and Kargil, by JP Dutta with a lot of song and dance.
Thankfully, the Bhatt franchise hasn’t caught up with you, because they are still stuck in the Kubrickesque “The Shining” phase, and before they do, make a great horror movie that can at least guarantee better special effects than what we saw in Murder 3 (or was it Murder 4?) Oh, here’s another hit-making idea – why not have a Jaws-like shark chasing Sunny Leone around a swimming pool? Superhit, I tell you, it will be.
I could go on and on, but you have so little time and so many press conferences to attend, so sleep over it on the flight back and we could discuss it once you wake up. I’ve booked a seat right across yours.
With lots of jhappis and pappis,
I remain forever,