Thursday, April 3, 2008

Bh is for Bhoot

Being back at work is vair, vair tiring, and I've fallen way behind in my movie-watching. The DVDs are stacking up, mocking me. As they so often do. But last night I got to watching Ghungroo Ki Awaz, the tale of a hapless guy haunted by a vengeful ghost in a pair of jingly anklets.

This is the THIRD Bollywood movie I've seen that involved an evil uncle plotting to take over a nephew's inheritance (sometimes accomplished through murder, but usually, as in this film, by an attempt to drive him crazy). The weird thing isn't the repetition of plot ideas, because it's not like I grew up with Hollywood movies that were a hotbed of originality. But while this particular storyline is unusual in Hollywood, it would be right at home in the 18th-century Gothic novels of Ann Radcliffe and her imitators.

A case could be made (by those of a literal-critical bent) that, in a society more overtly devoted to the strength of family relationships (both emotionally and legally), the scary stories would largely involve threats from within the family circle, because that's where the real possibility of danger would arise. This is a big theme in the British Gothic, all the way up to the time of Wilkie Collins: one frequently finds powerful elders abusing their authority.

But of course, in the Gothic novel, it was usually a young woman in the position the film protagonists find themselves in. I don't have a real theory on that yet, but I'm bound to eventually...

Also, BTW, "hero" Vinjay Anand has a definite resemblance to Geoffrey Rush at certain angles, which had me screaming "Remake!"

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