Pareshaan For Cinema: The Layman’s Step-by-step Guide to Understanding, Appreciating and Discussing Cinema Intelligently

Warning: Long and oblong post.

Main ‘sh’ ko ‘sh’ bolta hu.

So what? Sabhi ‘sh’ ko ‘sh’ bolte hain!

Arre tere ko kaishe shamjhaaun? Shtupid ash hole…. 

There are two kinds of people who inhabit the earth.

One, the clever, articulate, bourgeois, intellectually gifted, laterally thinking, vertically pissing, upwardly mobile and fiesty geeks who really understand, interpret and dissect Cinema down to its silky underwear, and the other, crass, vernacular type, bookwormish, obtuse, girlfriend-less, tongue tied exasperating idiots who turn stiff and woody at the mere mention of Woody Allen or Quentin Tarantino. Now, if you too are one of the latter breed (as I am one I suspect), you may well have to forget about ever getting to sit in the same league with those who appreciate and discuss, with disarming nonchalance, the subtle nuances, analogies and symbolism of world cinema and are stared at with awe and reverence.

What a shame! Are we then only fit to rot in a hole dug by RGV during one of his horrifying disaster shoots which gets filled in due course with Salman’s stout poop dropped from Katrina’s vanity van?  Tch! tch!.

Nyet! Non! Ka-ddu!

Sample this. Most of us watched Kaminey. Only a handful of clever, articulate, bourgeois, intellectually gifted laterally thinking, vertically pissing, upwardly mobile and fiesty geeks understood the movie in its fierce totality. Most of us dumb-asses who watched Kaminey and came out gasping were railroaded into believing that this was a grandiloquent, timeless, ageless, toothless classic of Indian Cinema; an earthshaking, sky splitting, head banging, spectacular, kickass movie that changed the rules of filmmaking forever.  Those who did not exactly feel like shaking their assets (heads, butts or booties) in consonance with the above theory were considered to be committing blasphemy of the most unholy kind. So we had no choice but to believe what the pious texts preached and the worthy blogs blogged, and worship the deities in toadyish reverence.

Not that there is anything wrong in it. Kaminey was good to watch, but what I say folks,  is that those of us who feel periliously handicapped when it comes to understanding and discussing cinema, should shrug off the stinking rug of slothful hesitancy and get serious about mastering the artful vocab of cinematology (I am not sure if such a word exists). For God’s sake, stop being a nincompoop at the coup and brace yourselves for a coup de grace. From now on, I urge you to watch every movie with the intent of tearing it apart at the alter of blogs. If you like what you see, heap lavish praise on the director in the most ornate of technical words. For God’s sake, do something. Speak out. Trust me, those who hang like formidable thunderstorms on the horizon of movie blogs are as human as you and I. Let me assure you, we too can become really clever, articulate, bourgeois, intellectually gifted, laterally thinking, vertically pissing, upwardly mobile and fiesty geeks with a very deep understanding of celluloid chemistry and slug it out in the open with considerable valour and chutzpah. Yes! We too can! But some toil first.

Shaala…..c-h-u-t-z-p-a-h kaishe pronounce karte hain? Chooshpa? Chu*-spa? Dhatt…..kya choo*iyapa hai!

Okay guys. No more nonsense. Here’s a list of some must learn words that you must learn to fortify your grasp on the subject of cinema. These words are the secret ingredients of all review curries. Sprinkle them here and there, add a dash in the beginning and in the end and enjoy the flavours wafting around.

1. Linear and Non Linear Narratives – This is one of the most fundamental phrases in the business of appreciating cinema.  Most good movie reviews use this at least two to three times. A non linear narrative is a description of events with a firm and unwavering disregard for sequence. In a linear narrative, the hero eats a plateful of spicy chowmein, burps, farts, kisses his girlfriend and goes to the loo to relieve himself.  In a non linear narrative, you hear a loud flush, someone farts, hero kisses his girl, enters the loo, burps and then is seen eating chowmein. It’s all there, you just have to have a keen sense of judgement to appreciate the turn of events.

2. Escapist cinema – Among the words liberally sprinkled by acclaimed critics in their articles, the word ‘escapist’ stands out in rapt erection. All fantastic, unbelievable and deceptive acts of jiggery-pockery carried out by the hero, like clinging to an aircraft’s tail at ninety thousand feet, pummelling a dozen baddies to pulp in ten seconds, frolicking on the beach with twenty nubile nymphets in revealing swimwear and all acts by Rajinikanth, Dharmender and Chuck Norris come under the banner of escapist cinema. I once went to watch an English movie with my girlfriend which had a lot of truly unbelievable sequences (the movie had a lot of unbelievable sequences, not my girlfriend).  A knowledgeable cinephile sitting next to me casually remarked that this was a fine example of an escapist movie. My girlfriend probably overheard. “Who pissed?” She asked next.

3. Jump cuts – One of the most astounding technical developments of the previous century, jump cuts owes its name to the unique act of weilding the scissors while trying to cross a floor swarming with fierce red ants. The results of such an exercise is singularly breathtaking, to say the least. With deep cuts at the most strategic of places, the scene acquires a refreshing staccato flourish. RGV shows a lot of jump cuts in his horror flicks. He cuts loose, you jump out of your skins.

4. Art Film – Once considered to be the cornerstone of all coffee table discussions on the evolution of cinema, this term probably has got its sheen knocked off in this era of multiplexes. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to remember the word, for all genuine reviewers do get this recurrent itch to use this word in the textual foreplay of reviewing. But first, let me define what an art movie is. An art film is a movie which invokes deeply aesthetic thoughts (as opposed to commercial movies which provoke anaesthetic thoughts, i.e., the kind of thoughts which make you go numb and dizzy). While commercial movies give you a high on glitz, art flicks twiddle your psych’s innards and fill you with an overwhelming desire for scratching the abstract. Let me give you a lucid example. You must be remembering the famous VICKS jingle ‘galey mein khhich khhich’ which used to be aired on Doordarshan once every five minutes or so, once upon a time.

“Galey mein khhich khhich, galey mein khhich khhich

Kya karoon, kya karoon?

VICKS ki goli lo, khichh khichh dooor karo”

Now, this is the quintessential commercial movie. There is the throat, the hapless heroine. Then there is the baddie, the soreness, And finally the saviour, the hero, VICKS, who kicks some ass here and some ass there and genereally gets to screw the soreness, forcing a round of applause from you. Compare this with the following –

“Chaddi mein khhich khhich, chaddi mein khhich khhich

Kya karoon, kya karoon?

Beech ki ungli lo, khhich khhich door karo.”

This, is the quintessential ‘art’ cinema. The ‘chaddi’ here, is the soul. Ethereal, white, pure, undefiled. Hiding within it the macabre contortions of hell and its hideous fumes. So when the fumes become vicious and irritating, you get this overwhelming desire to scratch your soul deeply and savagely, with all your might. It’s then when the saviour arrives on the scene. The ‘beech ki ungli’ (middle finger). What follows is pure, unadulterated bliss. The storyline is quite like the commercial ones, only the representation is starker, and immensely powerful.

There are many many more such florid expressions which you are likely to discover while reading worthy film reviews. Words like ‘genre’, ‘surrealism’, ‘retroactive continudity continuity’, ‘cross cuts’, ‘dark comedy’, ‘parallel cinema’, ‘anachronism’, ‘retrospective’, ‘cult film’ etc., among others in a vast sea of cinematic glossary, the length and breadth of which is beyond the scope of this monograph.

And if you really wish to read some of the best movie reviews that I have ever read, it’s here.

Shaala..bahut bol liya….ab chup kar….

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12 Comments on this article. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Aditya September 14, 2009 at 10:37 am -

    dada ki jai ho !

    Some paras went straight over my head…

    But the silly reviewer in me laughed out just too loud on chaddi ki khich khich and escapissed…

    and now abt kaminay…it was plain boring…i even lost count on my yawns..


    RI: Hahaha. I remember we discussed about ‘yawn rog’ at length not so long ago 🙂

    • ~uh~™ September 15, 2009 at 11:34 am -

      I remember. I also remember that Yawn rog was a kind of Gupta Rog, spread by Yawna Gupta. Adi should be quarantined with Ms Gupta in a deserted island where he can happily eat prawns and count yawns.

      • Rofl Indian September 15, 2009 at 11:50 am -

        Who will count the yawns? Adi or Yawna Gupta? Har har har

      • Aditya September 15, 2009 at 12:15 pm -


        tere bachche jiye…
        tu fule-fale…

  2. Tarun Goel September 14, 2009 at 10:45 am -

    What was this?? :O :O
    I guess the central idea of this post was Kaminey or may be using highly intellectual words which at least I could not understand. 😛
    Poor me 😛

    RI: I guess I was gripped by a bout of psychosis yesterday 😉

  3. spikeace September 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm -

    Mast post hai Mr.doc! Nice analogy of vicks and chaddi and soul and khich khich. Thank you for simplifying the nuances of movie lingo for us lesser mortals.

    RI: Spike you know better. I’m a novice as far as lingo and lingerie is concerned 😉

  4. doctoratlarge September 14, 2009 at 9:48 pm -

    A critique of critics

    RI: Quite a critical condition, do you suggest?

  5. allthecrap September 15, 2009 at 9:35 am -

    even I thought kaminey was average movie…no ‘great cinema’ here..nice post…but bit hi-fundu!!!

    RI: The movie had loads of absurdity, cleverly tucked within flashes of brilliance.

  6. ~uh~™ September 15, 2009 at 10:51 am -

    Great effort- if only laymen like us could understand the spiral way of story-telling where the protagonist is captive inside a time loop and the sequence of events repeats within a time-space paradigm…..meaning, the events within the sequence of repeats, the protagonist is captive, the paradigm story is told as a spiral narrative, where the protagonist is spiral inside a time loop space,the sequence of events are captive, told inside a story-space paradigm and it repeats the same space again. [Keywords- protagonist, time-loop, spiral, story-telling, paradigm, space time,captive]

    You have taken much pain, but some people have really worked hard on this subject. See this portal and the sub-links loaded with references, illustrations, definitions, critical analysis, trends etc etc. Don’t miss to read the page of Kurosawa, bad movies, difference. [ Wish such organized sites could be created for Bollywood]

    You have missed to mention the third kind who inhabit the earth, who were born with celluloid can in there *(you know where)*. Thus came shit Cinema.

    Thanks for the promotion. My Prahasan for Cinema needs it 😉

    RI: Yeah. The Third Kind. They do exist. And that story above. That’s the story of Mate-risk…! Ditto 😉

  7. Whatsinaname September 16, 2009 at 10:28 pm -

    Ooops looks like someone or something has got your goat big time. I am still reeling trying to grasp the outburst 🙂

    RI: Hahahaha! Trust me…this was entirely unprovoked

  8. abhishek September 16, 2009 at 11:25 pm -

    mast brilliant intellectual vertical pissing wali bakch*di likhi hai…maza aa gaya padh ke.

    RI: Dhanyawaad 🙂 Jab fultoo bakch*di hi karni hai to pen ko kya condom pehnana? 😉

  9. bharathiganapathi December 3, 2009 at 10:01 pm -

    love the title Pareshaan for Cinema….Ise PFC pe nahi bheja aapne???
    It takes a doc to dissect and analyse like this…
    Lage raho aap..hanste rahe hum…

    RI: I don’t know if they’d make out anything of this nonsense. Worth trying of course. Thanks for suggesting 🙂