ELEMENTS OF A MASALA FILM: MOST ‘PERCEIVED’ REVENGE ACTION FILMS BEGIN LIKE THIS!

The main protagonist, or the hero, has his origin, his home, in a nondescript place – a village, a small town or a place where police (law and order) are like non-existent (or have been effectively co-opted).

Father of the hero happens to be a simple family man who is incorruptible. He never compromises on values of universal honesty and preaches and teaches his children the same. And he finds, in his wife, an uncompromising partner for the same.

The family background is modest but the family is mostly idealist and happy with content family members. Even if the family is shown financially not doing well, the family values of universal norms flow through every member of the family.

Conditions are shown that make the hero’s father take on the villainous elements – the antagonist and his lot. Either he is a honest police officer who doesn’t allow them to work or he is an honest man (of any profession) who somehow is proving hostile to the interests of the gang of the rogue guys.

In quick succession of orchestrated (and expected) events, the villainous elements get upper hand, killing the hero’s father or creating a situation where the father is forced to take his own life.

Now, there are three possible scenarios on it – scenarios that are widely used in most masala movies:

— Villains collude with the villainous policemen and hatch a conspiracy to kill the father (or a similar figure). The film set-up shows sacrifice of an honest man ‘as an honest man’.

— Villains collude with the villainous policemen or other people to defame the honest man to the extent that he is shown forced to take his own life.

— Villains collude with other villainous elements, prove that the hero’s father is a corrupt and criminal figure and kill him in Kangaroo sort of justice.

And it all happens in front of the hero – in his childhood, in his teens or even in his grown-up/mature years – a hero that is shown incapable of doing anything but crying on this turn of events.

The events that force the family to relocate – to a place depending on the plot of the film. Days of peace are shown turned into days of hardships.

The hero’s mother is shown to remain honest while his son evolves – either into a good guy or a bad guy or an anti-hero (with elements of both) – with ‘revenge’ as his main thrust to take the story forward. Some plots have more than one son. In that case, though both sons are good human beings, they follow good or bad paths to fulfil the mission – to exact their revenge on the perpetrators who started a chain reaction – a sequence of events that ends with their doom in the film’s climax.

The internal family struggle for values that comes with this relocation forms the mid-course narrative of all revenge based action packed masala movies – the evergreen genre of the Indian film industry.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

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