This appeared in Sunday Times.....
E Bollywood Blockbuster : “Rambo, Dumbo, Scambo”
Move over ‘Amar,Akbar,Anthony’. Make way for ‘Rambo,Dumbo and Scambo’. A new zamana needs a new cult film with a fresh cast of characters. And here they are! Hollywood’s ‘Nightmare Works’ headed by Mr. Spillburger is collaborating with Bollywood’s biggest producer, Mr. Blockbusterwalla, to make a mega movie in time for an auspicious release in 2014 ( exact date , still to be fixed…. could be brought forward to 2013 at short notice, too). Auditions for minor roles are happening in studios across Gujarat, New Delhi and Mumbai. The heroes have been all but finalized. The search is on for three fetching heroines to star opposite these men. As of now, prominent female faces from West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh are vying to co-star in what promises to be the most awaited film of next year.
However, there is a small hitch in the proceedings. Sylvestor Stallone, the original Rambo, is not entirely happy with the casting director’s decision to go with a rather corpulent man from Gujarat for the macho role. Stallone’s spokesperson has voiced his reservations, particularly after a highly publicized but ‘mythical’ rescue operation undertaken by the local Rambo. “Sly prefers to do his own stunts,” said his manager frostily, adding, “Sly’s idea of musclepower is also different .” Ditto for Dumbo, the adorable Flying Elephant, who has expressed disappointment at the choice of the dimpled actor picked to play him. “ I use my own flappy ears to fly,”, insists Dumbo, who is in semi-retirement these days. Despite Mr. Spillburger’s assurances that the desi Dumbo is a darling of the masses , (children and simple folks, particularly) Dumbo the Elephant remains unconvinced, trumpeting his protests thus: “ I hear that guy walks when he should fly, flies when he should walk…. that isn’t good Dumbo behavior.” Which leaves the trickiest casting still open – Scambo. Mr. Spillburger has issued a press release declaring all auditions closed for now. According to his press secretary, potential Scambos from across India stormed into their offices demanding the role – or else! Apparently, there were so many takers, it was impossible to identify just one who’d fit the part. One of them quoted a current movie dialogue, “ Tere pass paisa hai… power hai… lekin mere pass public hai,” but still didn’t get the coveted role.
That leaves the ladies. Well, since this is a male oriented, action film, the women have little to do apart from three item songs. Mr. Spillburger is looking for heroines who can gyrate effortlessly, swing from one hero to the other, change sides, and switch partners at short notice. Those who have applied include leading ladies from regional cinema. Mr. Blockbusterwaala has issues . Said he in a terse press release, “ Our heroines are crucial to the success of the film. Audience appeal is key. They must suit the heroes. We don’t want a size zero heroine. But we can’t have local heavyweights , either. They upset the balance in a scene.” A little birdie let on that Rekha is being considered for one of the roles. Not the Rekha audiences know and love, but a brand new firebrand with her own fan following on Twitter.
Trade pundits are predicting a great showing at the box office, stating, “ ‘Rambo,Dumbo and Scambo’ will be the biggest hit of the decade. Forget breaking into the 100 Crore Club. Our target is a few lakh crores. This film will define the mood of the nation… it will be historic and iconic. It is bound to break all previous records. Never before in the history of India have so many ‘Looteras’ come together for one project…. with one objective… to make tons of serious money in the shortest possible time. There is more at stake than just fame.” Naturally, with as powerful a buzz doing the rounds, overseas’ territories sold out well in advance. All subsidiary rights have been locked in, as well. Mr.Spillburger is not worried about the rivalry between his heroes. “ In a market as big as this one there is room for everyone,” he assured distributors, adding, “Our target is one billion plus people.” The ambitious movie comes at a time when India is tottering, and the rupee is dangerously weak. Mr. Blockbusterwalla remains unfazed – “ Initial reports say the opening weekend will be super fantastic! People are looking for change. Those sticking to the purana formula will lose out to the new lot. Our movie will appeal across class and caste barriers. It’s time for fresh thinking.”
Meanwhile, a talent hunt has been launched for an actor to play the role of the chief villain. Mr. Spillburger is keen to cast a foreign player. The big question is : should he be in talks with an actor from Pakistan? Or should he be looking at an American? As of now, all nationalities are welcome! Errr… except the Chinese.