Chandru and I had met for coffee today, and we were wondering about what fad a Bollywood movie set overseas would inspire in 2012 (after all the Tomatina nonsense in 2011).
At this point, Chandru said that the Music Academy (the one on TTK Road) should get someone in Bollywood to do a movie about Carnatic music. Barely had he said this than we look’d at each other with a wild surmise, and agreed that actually we should be the ones to make it.
So. This is our movie. We shall faithfully stick to the cliches, er, template, er, tropes of the sports movie genre. It will be like every other sports/ competitive event movie ever – Chak de India, The Karate Kid, Sister Act, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar – except with Carnatic music instead of sports.
Our underdogs will be three guys and two girls (or two guys and three girls, depending on availability of stars) in their teens. Each of them, in their preteens, rebelled against the oppressive and straitjacketed tutition that their traditional Carnatic music teachers were putting them through. Then, all of them found themselves drawn to the mentor figure.
The mentor figure is loosely modeled on Krish Ashok. He acts with disdain for Carnatic purists who frown on experimentation and fusion. Eventually he gets so frustrated with them that he trolls a kutcheri by going up to the stage while the performance is on, and then breaking into an unsolicited jam with the performers. On the bagpipes. Everyone is so shocked and outraged that only one thatha and one maami actually notice that the bagpipe jam is in the same raagam which the guys on stage were putting. But their observation is drowned out in all the outrage by the so-called rasikas. The bagpiper is than made an outcast from the Carnatic music scene and he becomes embittered.
Fifteen years later, he finds these other rebellious kids and takes them under his wing. He teaches them Carnatic music from the concepts, instead of just making them mug and practice endlessly. Like Mr Miyagi got Daniel-san to internalise blocks by doing wax-on wax-off, this mentor makes the vocalist have an epiphany about vocal range by making her scream and shiver in #chennaisnow. And so on and so forth.
While the Margazhi season is on, the mentor tells them to ignore the season itself and focus on the bigger goal – the International World Music Festival, which is being held in… it’s being held in whichever country or city’s tourism agency is willing to strike a deal with the movie’s producers, dammit! So while the mean Carnatic prodigies who bully our heroes are getting condescended to by The Hindu’s reviewers, the heroes themselves fly off to said International World Music Festival. This is kind of like how in The White Feather, Sheen gets over the disappointment of not being allowed to box for the house by going to Aldershot.
Unfortunately, their luggage is lost by the airline (that is, whichever airline that did not strike a deal with the movie’s producers. How do you like them apples?) and they land up at the festival without instruments. They panic until the mentor inscrutably tells them to make music with whatever they have.
There is then a battle of the groups sequence with European classical, reggae, Asian instrumental, jazz groups performing until finally our Chennai heroes come up and unleash jazz fusion Carnatic world music. The gathered metrosexuals orgasm over it. They win the Festival and return like heroes to Chennai, and the Hindu puts them on the front page of Metro Plus.
At the end, the mentor is reintegrated into the Music Academy, our heroes win the awe and fear of former Carnatic music bullies, and unresolved romantic tension between the mridangamist and the vocalist is finally resolved.
People with money who want to invest in this surefire blockbuster – please do the needful and contact us.