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Our movies (Indian) are chock full of hard hitting dialogues that have the front benchers and the balcony-sitters alike whistling, clapping or sometimes sagely nodding in agreement. That spells success for the story writer/ dialogue writer and the makers of the movie in general. Some of the oft repeated ones ever so popular with the crowds leave me amazed at the ultra low level of grey cell activity in the brains (I seriously doubt if we can call them that) of dialogue writers, directors who do the creating and the general public who do the lapping up of it all.

One such typical scene (from Malayalam movies) that comes to mind is the way the dialogue delivery goes in a scene where the husband and wife are having a royal row. Who is in the right or wrong is of no consequence here. The usual scene involves a tiff of some sort resulting in the wife preparing to walk out of their home in a huff. Next step is where she proceeds to pick up the baby, having already piled the clothes into the mandatory suitcase while the quarrel had been in full swing. Even as she, the wife bends down to pick up the child, the husband stops her with an imperious command. Get ready folks, now comes the all important dialogue.

“When you entered this house you were empty handed. Now that you are leaving you can leave empty handed as well.” Shush folks!! He doesn’t mean the suitcase!! How could you even think that??

Hello!!Excuse me!! Are there any intelligent folks reading this who can spot the gargantuan flaw in this argument?? If so raise your hands.

I have so far seen only dumb ones who never seem to spot the giant hole through which not one but a herd of elephants can easily fall in this presumptuous and preposterous statement uttered. You should see the dumb audience happily and sagely nodding and agreeing to this filmi dialogue. One can almost see even in the darkened movie hall, the Amars Akbars and Antonys, not to mention their precious mothers carefully tucking away the lines for future usage when wife/daughter-in-law may threaten to walk out.

What of me?? I am usually fidgeting in my seat in the movie hall. It is all I can do to not throw some red bricks (not that I usually make it a habit to go to movies with red bricks in my hand bag, but tough times call for tough measures!!) at the dumb female on the screen and hope one finds its mark ‘thunkkk‘ and wakes her up enough to let her ‘think’ (Ahhh! That all important acivity!!) of an apt reply to that. Answer the man you fool of a woman scream my grey cells. Yeah, I do have a pretty bunch of them jiggling around in my brain, thank you, unlike the empty headed bimbo on the screen!!

“Ask him woman!!” I silently will her, “Aaaaaaaaaaargh! How stupid can you get?? Can’t you even answer this silly question whose answer a first grader would find out in a jiffy??” But all that dumb woman does is stare hurt and offended at the supercilious hero or the cruel mom-in-law and run out sobbing uncontrollably.

The Amars Akbars Anthonys and their respective mothers in the audience are one contented lot at the way the woman has been outwitted. Now they can all go home and await the day the Big Fight erupts in their house and the woman says, ‘I am leaving’ to promptly repeat these pearls of wisdom. Of course I am not discounting those other smarter ones who will prudently refrain from mouthing this filmi dialogue as he/they will then be left literally holding the baby, a bawling one at that.

Dumb woman and dumb audience!!

Now wait a minute. What do I mean dumb woman?? She is only the character in the story being played out on the screen. Let’s talk about the creator, the idiot who thought up the story and gave words for her to mouth and the makers who faithfully copied the scene on celluloid. The dumbos par excellence! Sigh!! They sure are one happy lot, going snigger snigger all the way to the bank to deposit the moolah that they have collected in giant suitcases for entertaining us with such inane dialogues!!

Of course this story will fall into a bottomless pit if the wife in the story is allowed to ask, “Oh yeah?? Oh double yeah?? I did not find any ready made baby here when I entered either!!” or perhaps like a friend of mine suggested, “Oh yeah?? Alright then. Keep the baby. Good luck. Ta.” To carry the story forward in the dumbest manner possible for dumbos the dumb dialogue delivery is essential. I sure would like to see a movie in which the woman gives the original replies quoted above and would love to see where the story goes from there. Sigh!! For that we need intelligent dialogue/story writers and even more intelligent audience!!

A tall order, what??

First posted at sulekha.com

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