- Karthik Narasimhan
I have been unable to sleep over the last few days. While mean people might think it is just jetlag, the truth couldn't be farther away. The truth is, I can't sleep because I am worried. Very worried.
Blogging seems to be an activity with a very limited lifetime, and quite a few people are retiring rather early. Burnt out, bored, tired, whatever. As I toss and turn, I know that some day in the future, I will have to call it a day. And when I do, what would I leave behind? What will I be remembered for?
You see, dear reader, I am worried about my legacy. I am also slightly concerned about dozing off at work tomorrow, but let's set that aside for a minute and talk about my legacy.
After giving it a lot of thought (three nights, no sleep) I think I have figured out what I need to do – I need to transfer my considerable knowledge of almost everything under the sun (except Konkani classical music) to people. After some more thought (one night, no sleep) I have decided that the best place for me to start this process would be movies.
As I write this, visions of numerologically correct movie titles that say “Thanks to Stochhasticcca” or “A Klassic Koncieved at Karthik's Blag” cloud my mind. Maybe someone from Hollywood'll pick up these lessons, and when she wins an Oscar she'll say “I owe it all to Karthik”, as tear drops roll down her cheeks, fall on her neck and continue on downwards. Nice. Why did I not think of this earlier?
I will sleep a little and then come back and start off with the first lesson in the Stochastica Sinema School Series.
I am up now, and visions of that lonely tear drop still linger. Tempting as it is to start off with the acting school for women, I will selflessly start off the first lesson with tips on writing good punch lines for Indian movies.
But the truth is, if you don't know how to write good punch lines, you will never make it big as a screenwriter in any language but Hindi. To be successful in Hindi, screenwriters need to make it big in Hollywood first. And oh, before I forget, the acting school for women will meet next week, soon after I get my haircut.
Let's start with a question.
A fat man is beating up fit people. Unable to bear the overpowering strength of his flab, the fit guys have no option but to try and electrocute the fat man. But he is stronger than that, so the moment the wires touch him, the power station that generated the electricity that dared approach the fat man explodes. Spectacularly.
The fat man turns to the fit guys, and tells them, “Don't be shocked! I can shock electricity!” He then swishes his hands, turns around and walks away in slow motion – the camera focusing on his fat ass. [Navin, you know now.]
What did he just do?
Answer, students, is that he just mouthed a punch line.
A punch line, to start off with a formal definition is:
1. A pithy piece of gibberish.
2. Spoken by mostly fat men in lead roles, but there are exceptions.
3. The point of which is to (appear to) highlight the virtues of the speaker.
4. The speaker of the line is the subject. (In other words, fat man on himself).
Another example of a punch line would be:
“If you try to touch a woman when George is around, George will turn into a man and turn you into a woman.”
Notice that George is the speaker, and the subtext of the sentence is that George would castrate the toucher. This technique of referring to oneself by one's first name is quite popular and is employed in every other punch line. It is something you should file away for future use.
We will close this part of the lesson with a few more examples. Please try writing some more at home, and test them out by saying them out loud in crowded places. If you get into trouble, sue me, please.
Whenever people are in need, I help them. I can't help doing this.
God might forgive you for this sin, but I will never forgive you. May God forgive me.
A type of punch line that is less frequently used is the pithy sentence about nothing. These are mostly spoken by the hero to a skimpily clad girl. After this sentence is spoken, the girl usually falls in love with the hero.
For a woman, not wearing mini-skirts is the only way to skirt trouble.
If you wear a dress with a plunging neckline
On you bad men will want to recline.
On them lies no blame,
for you have no shame.
The amount of trouble you invite is inversely proportional to the amount of clothes you wear.
This is only for classy movies, I think. Will work in A centers.
If your blouse is always cut high
and you act shy (by lowering your eye)
no man will open his fly
this is not a lie.
This one is poetic, so please email me before using this in your movie.
After the girl falls in love, she will proceed to dance with the hero on the alps, clad in a bikini. It is quite important to not have your leading man speak any punch lines now.
We are almost at the end of our lesson, folks. The last type of punch line is similar to the first type, except that some leading men don't feel comfortable talking about themselves all the time. In such cases, we have a comedian mouth the line and this gives us the latitude to make it even more outrageous.
Lo and Behold!
Brother will turn sand into gold;
the young into old;
He will never be sold.
If you make women cry,
Brother will take a pan
put you in there and fry
you until you turn tan.
Nice observation, student number 1. Yes, indeed, a comedian should always call the hero brother.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the end of Stochastica Sinema School Lesson #1.
Before you leave, remember this: I am an electrical fire. Even water cannot touch me. Let me go back to sleep now.