The 7 Keys to Bollywood Filmmaking

Bollywood exists solely because nothing it produces would fly in Hollywood, a place that greenlit films like Epic Movie and Elektra.  Arguably there are a number of cultural differences between India and America that can justify a different approach to filmmaking, but let it be known that most Bollywood films have literally no justification as they are clinically insane in pretty much every way.  My apologies to Bollywood filmmakers and fans who disagree, but it’s the truth.  And there is an abundance of proof.  If you’re in the market for making your own Bollywood film, here are a few pointers to get it done right.

Use Lots of Action, Only More Insane

Watch this scene and then try to stop your brain from liquefying from the logic-defying awesomeness of what’s occurring.

The key to a good Bollywood action scene is to focus entirely on what would be most awesome, not what would be.  Things that are suck.  Things that are awesome don’t have to suck because they happen and it’s insane in every way.  Why does that car fly?  Why?  No one knows.  How does that guy’s arm come right off?  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that, if you’ve never seen this scene before, you probably just thought “Holy shit!” and rightly so.

MergeThings That Exist, But More Insane

This movie here is described as a cross between Terminator and the Matrix;

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Did you see any of that in the Matrix or the Terminator?  No you didn’t.  The key to proper Bollywood rip offs is that you watch a movie and then maybe drink some secret Mumbai peyote/pruno brew that lets you see things other people can’t see and know things other people can’t know.  And then you start writing your screenplay from there.

Your best bet for merging films in Bollywood is to simply take the ideas of the films as you understood them when you were completely wasted, and then add more guns and fire.  Also a dance number or two, since boobs are persona non grata in India.

Steal Things, But More Insane

Remember how much you loved the Incredible Hulk movie?  In India, apparently they really did love it, and so much that they had to make their own in a way that was more relatable.  After all, who in India understands a skinny American scientist with daddy issues becoming a green rage monster?  Instead, they have a skinny nerd who loves some girl and gets picked on by everyone who then becomes an even more poorly rendered CGI rage monster.  It’s amazing.  Amazing that someone would make it, and amazing that it’s not somehow actionable.  International copyright law is a tricky thing.

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You’ll notice that, even though this is just a trailer, the significant point in this rage monster seems to be the result of a shiny potion in a fish bowland some thugs with a hawk beating this guy in the ass with a polo mallet before pantsing him.  The pansting is the trigger, actually.  That’s some emotional depth of character.

Use Nature, But More Insane

Everyone loves a good shark movie, Jaws taught us that.  Here’s how Bollywood handles sharks;

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That shark just attacked a helicopter in a scene that looked totally real and was gripping thanks to all the suspense, right?  Of course.  Now you may be thinking “wait, hasn’t North American film already mastered this level of shark-related idiocy with movies like Sharknado and Sharktopus?  Hell, isn’t there a movie when a giant shark jumps from the water and destroys a plane mid flight at least 10,000 feet in the air?”  The answer to all that is yes and no.  Yes those movies exist, but no, no one has mastered this level of idiocy yet.  Here is just a fine example of where Hollywood, or at least the editing suite in the basement of a guy in California, and Bollywood have just had the same beautiful dream – a dream where implausible movies about sharks that in no way reflect nature at all can entertain us.

Rip Off Video Games, Only More Insane

The stalwart of any good video game, especially from the 80s, was the boss fight.  You could tell you were fighting a boss because he took up way more of the screen than your character, and maybe was flashier than you in some way.  This scene sums it up nicely.

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You’re definitely going to want to include at least one boss fight in your Bollywood movie, so people can definitively who the hero is and that the story has been wrapped up. And like any decent Double Dragon fight scene, the boss fight should involve some maneuvers that don’t make sense and probably wouldn’t even really hurt in real life, but do look like they’d be impossible for a normal person to pull off. 

Make Use of Science, Only More Insane

Science is fun because it accounts for all things in the universe, including chemistry and physics which are very useful in an action movie setting.  Explosions, weaponry, technology, all of this is thanks to science!  Yay learning.  Unfortunately, science also has boring rules.  For instance, did you know things usually blow up for a reason?  Boring.

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Stick with the end result of science and work backwards.  You want an explosion?  Or maybe all the explosions?  Use those!  Then let someone else worry about why all those cars blew up.  We’ll be on to the next scene because those rollerblades are moving fast and what are we, forensic explosion technicians?  No time for that BS.

Don’t Forget the Insanity

Here’s a scene that makes no sense;

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Critics could spend years dissecting everything about this that stomps on good taste and logic and probably still be no closer to explaining the entire plot of the film or why you should  never see the whole thing.  Is this another Hulk rip off?  Why is he orange?  Why did the gun make him invisible and yellow sparkley?  Why so much concern over his brief moment of apparently orange nudity?  Why does he breathe like a chubby kid who just ran uphill and how many drinks do you need before you can design something like than in a computer animation program?

Long after the scene ends, the questions will keep coming. That’s how Bollywood works.  It’s not that they make good movies, they make movies that cause kinks and pits in your brain as you try to suss out what the hell just happened and that’s what keeps the industry alive – they’re memorable because your brain can’t let them go, like a Rubik’s Cube that replaced colorful squares with dipshittery and dancey fight scenes between grown men in dresses.  Try as you might, you can’t shake their hold and soon enough you’ll watch another one just to see if it makes any more or less sense.  The answer will likely be yes to both.  Weird, huh?