the dvd film synopsis as comedy routine

© 2003-2004

   If you've rented a Bollywood DVD lately, the title of this short ramble requires no explanation. But for those of you who haven't, consider the synopsis on the back of the official Eros DVD package for ARMAAN (2003):

"Armaan is a family drama that allows one to explore the complexity of human relationships and exposes the vulnerability of individuals in those relationships and the choices made by them."
   An impressive display of verbosity, no? But what is it actually saying? Well, straight off, the innocent video store browser knows she's in for an unusual and stimulating movie: one featuring individuals involved in — gasp— human relationships! What a novel idea, you say. But wait, it gets better. Not only does the film feature characters in relationships with other human beings, it "exposes...the choices made by them." Armaan, it seems, is the stuff of high drama indeed.
  But who are these fascinating characters who live such unique and exciting lives? Well, one of our main characters is Dr. Sinha, who "dreams of running a state-of-the-art hospital in which patients will be given indiscriminate treatment, despite having to struggle with the harsh reality of each disease daily." Indiscriminate treatment? So, ginger ale for everyone, from the SARS patients to the hemophiliacs?

   Ac-tu-ally, Dr. Sinha is a humanitarian who wants to take on patients indiscriminately, regardless of each patient's financial status — but if, for a moment, you thought ARMAAN was the tale of the Indian Dr. Kevorkian, congratulations: you've just had a "Bitten by the Blurb" moment.

   Frankly, it's these moments which make us at BollyWHAT? so fond of Indian DVD companies. The quality of the transfer might be crap, the picture might pixelize at odd moments, and the orchestra might drown out the dialogue. But these priceless blurbs keep us coming back for more. If you think ARMAAN's blurb is bad, just check out the following:

From the official EROS DVD of Dil Se (1998):

Ancient Arabic literature classifies love into seven different shades...
HUB....their eyes meet, it is like a touch....a spark...Attraction. Okay, we get that one.
UNS....the touch of the eyes was as if, it was infatuation Getting hazier...
ISHQ....the flame of her body is felt, his breath starts Starts igniting?? Who is this guy, Puff the Magic Dragon? Somebody get a fire extinguisher!
AQIDAT...Reverence...she touches him like whisper, as if silence is mixed in her eyes....he prays, knelt down on the floor, a little consciously & a little unconsciously... Silence mixed with what? Punk rock? Also, "a little conscious" ? Is the boy drooling at the mouth? comatose? asleep? No? Then he's conscious. End of story.

This next blurb is so bad that one internet vendor posted a disclaimer on his site to state that the synopsis was copied verbatim from the manufacturer's DVD cover.
Keep in mind while reading it that "pagal" means "crazy."
From the official SKY DVD of Ek Aur Vishpot (2002):

Hero of this film is honest muncipal commissioner, who is very strict about his rules & regulations. The villian belongs with the evil deeds. Their illegal construction are destroyed by our hero with the help of law & order. The villians plan in such a way our hero taken into the court. Court declares that our hero is pagal and taken to mental asylum.

In the mental asylum, he observed three characters (Anjan Srivastava, Kiran Kumar, Anees Khan) and escaped from the asylum. By mistake Asrani (Mad Doctor) joined in the mission, our hero uses all the four mads like weapon and all the mad characters kill one after another. If pagal kill a person, no punishment.

Finally hero again taken to court. Hero argued in the court:

1.If I am murderer, I could not be Pagal
2.But the same court given the judgement that I am a pagal
3.If I am a pagal I am not a murderer.
Judgement still awaited.


  Generally the errors that make these blurbs so bizarre are due to someone having literally translated from Hindi to English. (Armaan, we attribute to an overzealous Henry James fan.) The true mystery is why, when there are countless Indians for whom English is a first language, the companies can't hire an English-fluent copy editor.

   Then again, most of these DVD companies operate out of the US, Canada, and UK, where almost everybody speaks English (including, we've no doubt, most of the company employees). Thus a few conspiracy theories have arisen to explain the DVD manufacturers' insistence on gramatically bizarre blurbs, the most popular of which holds the blurbs to be cryptograms created by a covert Indian intelligence agency to communicate with its undercover operatives abroad. So, next time you're in the video store and someone looks over your shoulder to read the blurb on the DVD you're holding, stay cool. You may just be doing your bit to help save the free world.




This filmi ramble was
written by Meredith.

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