Monday, March 26, 2012

The Origins of Bollywood

I have solid proof that the plots and the extensive drama in Bollywood all comes from Sanskrit Drama. Don't believe me? This is one of the most famous plays in Sanskrit Literature written by Kalidas, one of the most notable Sanskrit poets and playwrights ever.

Abhijnana Shakuntalam: A sage (Sage1) is enticed by a nymph (Beedi jalaile jigar se piya, jigar ma badi aag hai!) and as a result, they have a daughter. Sage1 is furious that his izzat was lootoed by a celestial nymph and goes away leaving the child behind. Nymph can't take the little girl with her to the heavens and so, she is left abandoned in the forest. Sage2 comes and sees the little child and decides to take her home. Nymph-child grows up to be as enticing and lovely as her mother.

20 years later: A handsome king comes to the forest for hunting. He sees the nymph-child who's now a beautiful nymph-child-woman and promptly falls in love with her. (Tujhe dekha toh yeh jaana sanam, pyaar hota hai deewana sanam, ab yahan se kahan jaaye hum? Teri baahon mein mar jaaye hum!) They get married in the Gandharva fashion (which basically means they have sex without letting anyone know that they are "married".) A few days later, he has to go back to his kingdom urgently. So, he gives her a ring as a souvenir and promises to come back to get her. (Can you picture a Shahrukh Khan saying: Yeh anguthi meri aur mere pyaar nishaani hai! Ise sambhal ke rakhna. Main jaldhi vapis aaunga aur tumhe mere saath le jaaunga.) Why he can't take her with him at this point is a pointless question to ask. Like you don't ask any logical questions in Bollywood, you don't ask them in Sanskrit drama either.

Sage3 comes to visit the ashrama. Nymph-child-woman is busy thinking about the King and doesn't see him. He is enraged and curses her that the person she was thinking of will forget all about her. She is scared and explains her situation to him. (Aisi kadi saza mat dijiye, Gurudev! Main bas apne pati ke baare mein soch rahi thi! Pata nahi kaise honge, kis haal mein honge, khana khaya hoga ya nahi! Kripaya mujhe maaf kar dijiye!) He concedes to lessen the punishment and says that when the King sees an important souvenir that he had offered her, he will remember everything again.

Nymph-child-woman leaves the forest to go to the King. All the plants and animals are sad to see her go and give her farewell presents. (Picturing a song here?) But when she comes across a lake, she loses her ring in the water. She reaches the King's court and the curse kicks in action. He fails to recognise her. She comes back. (Tujhe yaad naa meri aayi, kisise ab kya kehna? Dil roya ke ankh bha aayi, kisi se ab kya kehna!)

A fisherman finds the ring inside a fish's belly, recognises the royal symbol and goes to the King. As soon as the King sees the ring, he remembers everything (Mujhse yeh kaisa anarth ho gaya, bhagvan! Main use kaise nahi pehchaan paya?) He immediately goes back to fetch the Nymph-child-woman, who now has a son. And they live happily ever after.

See what I mean?

I have several examples like this one which will prove that Bollywood plots originated in Sanskrit Drama (Vikramorvashiyam, Mrichhkatika - to name a couple.) An interesting topic for a paper or a conference, methinks. :P What do you think?

*Image courtesy: Google images

Friday, March 16, 2012


1. Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends.

~ Theseus, A Midsummer Night's Dream.

2. Love is merely a madness, and I tell you, deserves as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do; and the reason why they are not so punished and cured is that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers are in love too.

~ Rosalind, As You Like It.

3. Alas, that love, so gentle in his view
Should be so tyrannous and rough in proof.

~ Benvolio, Romeo and Juliet.

4. Men have died from time to time and worms have eaten them, but not for love.

~ Rosalind, As You Like It.

Shakespeare sure had some right notions about love.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The "We should..." Syndrome

How many times have you all heard "We should blah, blah, blah..." and then ended up doing all those blahs yourself?

I am so tired of everyone constantly telling me "We should..." Next time someone says that, I'm going to get a dictionary and show them the REAL meaning of "we".

Recently, a cousin: We should do something special for (another cousin)'s b'day.
Sure. I planned her party, made her gift, got it printed AND paid for it all. Where was the "we" in it?

Worst part: since this is family, I "shouldn't say anything. Just be careful of such situations next time." My parents are the worst doormats ever outside our house. And inside, they teach me how to be the world's worst doormat.

This has happened so many times before, I'm tired of it. Thankfully, this time, at Sanskrit department, when my friends told me "We should plan something for Second Year students' farewell party.", I was on full alert mode. I didn't open my mouth and kept it shut until all the tasks had been assigned. Obviously, if I don't open my mouth, I can't look over-enthusiastic, making people think it's okay to pile me with work. So, now, I just have to write a play in Sanskrit and the others are taking care of food, songs, invitations etc.


Anyway, I'm smarter than I thought I was. I wrote a mime. :P

P.S: I realise it's the first time I'm writing about Sanskrit Bhavan or anything related to Sanskrit ever since I started learning it almost a year ago. Wow. Both Sanskrit and this blog need more attention from me!