Sunday, October 01, 2006

What happens when the president is kidnapped and nobody knows?

[Note: if you haven't seen Asambhav, this probalby isn't going to make the teensiest bit of sense. You might want to skip over it. But if you have - and heaven help you - read on.]

I know. I know, and I'll tell you all about it. Because I'm the Indian President in Asambhav, Veer Pratap Singh, and this is my story. (And yes, earlier this year I was the Defense Minister in Rang De Basanti - you'll see why I wanted a different job after you read what I went through.)

You have to understand something. My role in the Indian government is largely ceremonial, so when I asked my advisors to arrange a vacation for me and my darling beti Kinjal (who just finished at Harvard's, I'm so proud!) in Switzerland, we figured we'd have no problems at all. But no sooner do we check into this hotel on an island near Locarno - I'll admit, I'd thought the Swiss would have pulled out all the stops for the Indian president, given how much movie industry business we throw their way, but this place was about on par with the Mohan International in Amritsar, although our room did come with a nice beige desktop computer and a few CDs - than the phone lines are cut, the mobile network is down, and my two guards get shot in the hallway. Next thing I know, I'm being shoved around by greasy-haired men with scary-looking guns who tell me that they do the dirty work so the people they work for - and I'm not entirely clear who that is, exactly, some larger political or terrorist organization, probably relating to Pakistan, if I had to put money on it - can keep their hands clean. And then he says am I going to help him out with that. I mean, yeah, I guess, they've got the guns. But like I said, I'm largely ceremonial, so I don't really know if I'm going to fetch the kind of ransom they want. But whatevs.

So they keep me on this island for, like, days, and I never get to change my clothes. And then this idiot shows up pretending to be a reporter, and he's got some bubble-brained chippy with him as his "photographer," but I don't think there's much going on when she clicks the shutter, if you know what I mean. Eventually I'm able to convey to Rambo through a series of meaningful looks that he needs to take a closer look around, that all of these people are not what they seem, and that he should pass the salt - which, after lots of eyebrow-furrowing, he realizes means that sometimes white granules are not what they appear and that there are some drugs involved with this mess too.

And then something really weird happened - maybe there was something in the water. I'm just sitting there, minding my own business, when all of a sudden there's a line down the center of my field of vision, and my view has been split in two. And it just kept happening, again and again and again and mostly at random, seeing lots of different views of basically the same thing all at once, and at first I had thought the bad guys had drugged me, but everyone kept complaining about it, saying it made them dizzy and confused and that they wanted to curl up and take a nap to stop the madness.

So then guess what happens! You will never guess who shows up next. I overheard one of my captorss on speaker phone with a voice that sounded really familiar. I thought it was Brigadier Shekhar Sharma - you remember him, he's Major (or is that Wing Commander?) Ram Sharma's dad - one of my country's finest army operatives, so I assumed he was coming to get me out. But no, he's in on all of this kidnapping/drugs/money scheme too, and I'm, like, "What are you doing [Boom!] in this mess?" (But just in my head, 'cause they didn't let me talk to him, obviously.) I really don't know why he was involved. He's so much better than these guys. He should be off doing something useful and worthy of his experience, like coaching deaf kids in cricket or something. He'd be really good at that.

Anyway, all these peole with guns are running around and beating people up, or dancing [Boom!] in some transportation-themed nightclub or other, and sometimes I could see the "reporter" kicking and punching some pieces of wood while looking really shiny and surrounded by flames, and frankly I have no idea what the army is up to if that's their best man. Then some of the bad guys went to this dungeon thing, and they had a big party and a belly dancer on a fountain, and sometimes the fountain had leaves in it, even though it's inside, but other times it didn't, which I thought was kinda sloppy work on the part of whoever was in charge of that fountain. And later everyone went to either a castle or an airfield, where my daughter was pretty much the only useful person around, 'cause she shot a bad guy without even flinching! Oh, and get this: India's Swiss ambassador [Boom!] [Boom!] [Boom!] was in on it too! I need to start a formal inquiry into how we appoint these people. It's not a good thing to have your political appointees double-crossing the nation, you know? Especially in a country that sees a lot of Indian traffic. Like, what would have happened if that ambassador had tried this stunt with Shahrukh and Kajol or something? Bad news. Bad.

The good thing about being largely ceremonial is that you can't be held responsible for anything like this. Plus most of your time is spent [Boom!] cutting ribbons and waving. I was just really glad to be back home in one piece, especially when I found out that the terrorists/drug lords/Pakistani militants/freelance kidnappers/international pop stars [Boom!] didn't get the ransom money, and that that one embasssy staff member, who a few yeares ago used to spout off cryptic fortunes, stopped with the couplets. That was getting old.

13 comments:

the vestige said...

you sure have qa way with sarcasm... well done... wondering how you found an island in Locarno... swiss is land locked...

you could also take a kick on KNK...to mww it seems like a high school skit with a 30 crore budget...whta more can you say about a movie if it begins with a football match in a city where they dont play football...

good work though

Beth said...

Vestige - thanks for ommenting! And believe it or not, Locarno is on lake big enough to have an island, Lake Maggiore. See?

babasko said...

I don´t recall any islands close to Locarno, where my husband proposed to me on the lakeside, New Years Eve 1999/2000...but then I might have overlooked it due to weepy eyes ;-)

Beth said...

No, they don't seem to be too close. At least 5 km away or so, judging by the map? I've been looking at pictures online and I think the filmmakers must have used Isola Madre as the "here is the hotel on an island!" shots, although imdb doesn't list any islands as filming locations, so until I get a screen capture, we'll just have to assume it's one of the several islands in Lake Maggiore.

And Babasko, what a lovely story! I'm teary just thinking about it! Sanjay will have to work hard to top that!

Maja said...

Best. Review. Ever!
They forgot to mention in Veer-Zaara that Veer spent some of his time being the president of India and getting kidnapped by terrorists on Swiss islands. Such small details do tend to get overlooked and forgotten, though. (I got so confused when I saw Veer Pratap Singh in the post that I had to go look up the film on IMDb to see wth is going on. Sheesh.)

babasko said...

ok, i can top that and get you reaaaally weepy: we did not have anything to drink at that moment but there was an old italian couple sitting on a bench next to us and they found out what just happened and offered us some of their spumante. and told us that they were happily married for over 50 years and wished us the same.
now how´s that? :-)

Anonymous said...

I was wondering about Veer Pratap Singh as well... :)

- Rachel in NS

Sharon said...

lol.

though i haven't actually seen asambhav, i did hear of its insane use of split-screen from the AOM review.

"curl up and take a nap to stop the madness"? it was that bad?

Beth said...

I had totaly forgotten about Veer Zaara's Veer's name. Weird! Maybe "Veer Pratap Singh" is the new "Raj Malhotra"?

Sharon - yes, it's that bad. Someone asked me if it was good bad or bad bad, and I vote bad bad. I can understand taht a person could really want to stare at Arjun or Priyanka, but there are better places to do so. Stay far away from this movie. The split screens are completely out of control.

Aparna said...

Mind blowing!!! What a review...I enjoyed it...

Todd said...

Okay, okay, you win! Netflix has it. It's on the queue.

Beth said...

Aparna - Thanks! Very fun to write.

Todd - I await...BOOM!

bollywoodfilme said...

Oh my god!
I have seen Asambhav too and thought about writing a review but noo...
THIS was the best review about a film I have read! I love that sarcasm in it <3
(sorry if I made some mistakes but I'm not an english person (: )

Nice greetings from Germany :)
I have also a bollywoodblog but I guess that I'm not that good as you are :(
http://bollywoodfilmeundmore.blogspot.de/