The scoop on how technology is helping Bollywood get to the billion figure mark with alarming regularity…
Bollywood. An opulent set of a large haveli abutted by sunflower fields on one side and the Swiss Alps on the other. Inside, everything’s covered in white cloth, except for a table in the centre, with the industry’s biggest names seated in a huddle.
A baritone voice boomed across the table. “I’m sick and tired of our films being compared to Hollywood’s technical wizardry all the time. Why should it always be about their technology, digital marvels and software simulations? What should be done to add technology to Bollywood?”
“I’ve brought in a couple of young computer guys who have a few suggestions…” a senior director mumbled. “Ok, we need technology that will give us access to any song, movie, plot, script or story that we might take a fancy to,” a producer winked as he proceeded to brief them. “And we should be able to search across 130 languages.”
The pair began its presentation. “We’ve been put through a crash course of the 100 kitschiest Bollywood blockbusters and have spotted the areas where technology can be of the greatest help to you.”
“We’ll begin with an audio application called Shazam,” said the first techie. “Just install it in your mobile, turn the application on and hold it near an audio source — it will automatically identify the song and it’s all yours.” “You mean we could take any of it and be… suitably inspired, right?” the famous lyricist wanted to know.
This tendency to ‘copy left, right and centre’ had already led to an abbreviated use of the expression — copyleft, a term which meant that every piece of work was freely available to be downloaded and open to modification. It was Bollywood’s contribution to technology, but then, the world was not yet ready for such shocking revelation.
“Incredible! And what if I know the tune, but don’t have the song with me?” asked the music director. “You could use Midomi. Hum the tune into the mike — the application will instantly find the complete song. The other option is Musipedia — a virtual keyboard will appear on your screen and you can play a tune on it. The original song will be located at once.”
“What about scenes? We love to lift scenes as well, you know...” stated the writer. “There is AnyClip, a website that has categorised scenes according to genre, year of release, actors, whatever...” The second techie continued. “You can even enter a line of dialogue and it will help you identify the movie.”
“We make around 1000 movies a year — we can’t write the stories for all of them, you know...” the maverick moviemaker trailed off. “You could enter key words such as ‘boy meets girl’, ‘brothers separated at birth’, ‘lost and found’ or ‘love triangle’ in Jinni.com or IMDb — it’ll throw up several plots and storylines for you to choose from,” the first techie added.
“What about complete scripts? There are times when one needs to rip off complete scripts,” said the head of a leading production house. “IMSDB would assist you on that. Musicals, award-winning scripts, family drama… take your pick,” said the duo.
“But the future is all about Rs. 100-crore blockbusters — can you ensure that?” enquired the lead actor. The duo shrugged. “You could launch a start-up and hire us.” “How will that help?” asked Team Bollywood.
“Even if your movie doesn’t sell, your start-up will — you are sure to make your billion.”