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


  1. enlightening .. for sure :)
    After reading the post Bollywood seems like a 'pimped up' version of these plays :)

  2. Isn't it? I think it's awesome as an idea for a spoof on Sanskrit drama or something! :D

  3. ok..
    had a tough time translating the hindi, but i am sure i got it almost right.

    Now i know why bollywood always defies logic.

    But i seriously wonder HOW rajnikant defies physics !!! you shoud do a research on that too !