South Indian cinema, until recently, was extremely dynamic. Yes sir, costume changing was done at the astonishing rate of ten per minute. With that much change happening, I think it’s obvious why no one felt the need to change the script drafted quite a few decades ago.
A typical movie had a few song sequences, fights, at least one rape scene and a few scenes demonstrating miracles- the kind God would hate owning up to.
The rape scene is my personal favorite. Apparently it was possible to complete the job clothes intact. But what really amazes me was this need the villains had to perform foreplay. Amid screams, the heroine was maniacally hugged. Then, came the frantic kissing. With women sobbing all over the world about their sorry love lives, the deluded rape victim simply refused to appreciate all this. Most of the time, the idiot continued doing this until the hero crashed into the room. Sometimes though, success was achieved, but that’s something you have to understand from her disheveled hair and his gloating face. Because, as I mentioned, their clothes were never in the way.
We move on to the fight scenes. Here, Superman was put to shame and Spiderman was utterly disgraced. With amazing will power, not to mention a thick hide, the hero walked through showers of bullets, did multiple somersaults through the air, dealt with foes along the way and landed on the conveniently positioned master villain, performed with ease feats such as breaking wooden posts and reinforced cement pillars and of course, single-handedly won against some twenty armed opponents.
Another favorite of mine is the 'hero getting framed' scene. The minuscule-brained bad guy kills somebody and disappears. The superiorly intelligent hero arrives on the deserted scene and finds the body. So what does he do? CPR? First aid? No. He grabs the body and shakes the life out of it. The aim of this seems to be to get blood all over him. Then he spots the murder weapon. That, he grabs and gapes at as his thought processes slowly equate the weapon to the murder. At this precise moment, somebody walks in. So he stands there covered in blood, gripping the knife/gun/whatever and screams his innocence. Ya. Right.
A passing mention of the dialogue is an absolute necessity. To any alarming piece of news, the heroine responded with an ear splitting scream. 'nooooooo..ooo...ooo...oooooo...oooo...oo', she went. It took a few seconds to get the ringing out of your ears. The hero responded with dignity though. His eyes became red, and one of 'em twitched. In fact, an entire side of his face spasmed. Look out people.
But any fool knows that its the climax that makes the movie. Climaxes might have been unpredictable some eons ago, but that fashion did not survive. No. Even if your IQ was below normal, you didn’t have to worry. These movies did not discriminate, they were not biased. A lot of thinking went into them to make sure that none was required on the part of the viewers. How much more consideration do you expect, huh?
On an aside, I would love to note that such movies are not just things of the past. Even in this Mani Rathnam age there are people who keep the traditions alive. Certain cult figures, famous for their anti-gravity fight scenes, lead this group. There’s no doubt about it. They are my all-time favorite comedy heroes.
Another feature I must not fail to mention is the resurrection of the aged. I have noticed slightly familiar faces, obscured by layers of cake-like make up, pot-bellies in glorious form, trying valiantly to hold on to their wigs while wooing their granddaughters' classmates. Why, oh why?!