Hindi cinema has given us 100 years of non-stop entertainment and as we look back at the countless ways in which life was made better by films, we noticed that certain formulas made words on paper become the epic cinematic moments we remember best. Check out our list of A-Z fundas used to make movies for a century!
A - Allah (aka Bhagwan, Christ, Wahe Guru, and so on)
The divine is so much part of being Indian that films without the God element are unimaginable. Be it the love between 'Amar, Akbar, Anthony', or the religious fights between Ram and Rahim, Hindi cinema eulogized God and religion to no end. Dramatic oaths taken in temples, romance in churches and pleas made to Allah to return Anjali are all familiar scenes that showed off a pious (and desperate to please all) side of our filmmakers.
B- Betrayal Filmi stories were incomplete without the title character's hunger for revenge in a number of blockbuster hits and this need for vengeance was often a product of broken trust. Betrayal was portrayed in reel among friends, lovers, family and even business partners. While some issues were put aside years later as misunderstandings, others made characters enemies for life. Among lovers, betrayals were never easily forgiven nor forgotten and often the spurned lover even sometimes came back to haunt you 'bees saal baad'! Either way, you could always curl up to watch one of these and be assured of a good evening spent.
C- Chamatkaar Black magic, miracles, supernatural thrillers, magicians... Hindi cinema was no virgin to the lure of the inexplicable. While horror and supernatural thrillers experimented with the dark side of magic, miracles by God in films were equally common. Witches and sadhus were mystic messengers in stories of yesteryears, and continue to make appearances in films these days.
D- Daaru Nothing gives our actors liquid courage like a strong drink. Famous drinkers like Johnny Walker, who incidentally was a teetotaller, played pivotal roles in movies. Actors like Dilip Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra later made drinking a more acceptable affair onscreen. Cut to present day, where even our ladies (read Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif) are not averse to knocking back a few on reel (Check out some Bewdi babes of Bollywood!). Like reality, secrets poured out in films too thanks to daaru, often bringing twists in the storyline too!
E- Eloping Hindi films gave lovers lines like 'Jab pyaar kiya toh darna kya', 'Jab miya-biwi raazi toh kya karega qaazi' and more, to help them gather the courage to choose love in the face of opposition. Countless dramatic sequences showed lovers who ran away from their homes when their affairs were frowned upon. Religion, caste, family feuds, money and other factors mattered little to boys and girls madly in love. And if you need tips, there are plenty of balcony escape scenes in our films to draw inspiration from.
F- Festivals The vigour of festivals have formed the perfect settings for film scenes throughout 100 years of cinema. Besides enjoying festivities, actors have fallen in love, committed crimes, sang songs and even located lost kin in thronging crowds gathered for celebrations. India is a land of festivals, and Bollywood sure showed us how to enjoy them.
G- Gay culture While early portrayals of gays in films were stereotypical, the film industry has also attempted 'serious' characters that swing the other way. Flamboyant, colourful and feminine men were often supporting characters that helped the lead in the plot. Lesbian love stories are still struggling to find acceptance in film consciousness and gay characters are more caricatures than actual people, but there's been a perceptible shift that is encouraging and commendable
H- Herogiri The quintessential hero resonated with his audience only when he had the personality and charisma that crowds could look up to. He had to be a figure to love, with faults and virtues alike. He had to inspire and move his fans and be a role model. 100 years of movies gave us numerous cinematic idols that stood the test of time.
I- Item numbers Films today are incomplete with these titillating additions, but back in the day, item girls were usually seen in roles of cabaret dancers or evil seductresses and were more part of the story than their modern day counterparts. Munni, Sheila and Babli are more an eyeball attracting gimmick for films now, but it's also a role that the top league actresses fight for!
J- Jasoosi The element of mystery and investigation created memorable stories and characters in films down the ages. Agents among the police, informers, gang members and even the mundane detectives for married couples spying on each other formed crucial 'kahaani mein twist' points in films.
K- Kameenapanti From kids to teens to veterans, swearing became fashionable thanks to onscreen idols spitting out expletives with style on the silver screen.
L- Love Without love, there would be no films. The joys and sorrows of love has proved the perfect fodder for sagas. As Indians who live for 'happily-ever-afters', Hindi cinema used every trick in the book to make the boy meets girl routine into something fresh the audience could savour. And we may lament that films get too clichéd, but cinema is simply a reflection of the lovelorn madness of real life.
M- Maa There's a powerhouse of energy behind this three-letter word. The rushing emotion that wells up for mothers often moves even the most dispassionate audience. Mothers played the center of many sons' lives in films. They were best friends to daughters, sacrificing, loving and doting figures that rarely do wrong
N- Naach Dance is an art form that made legends out of actors over the century. Govinda, Madhuri Dixit, Prabhu Deva and Mithun Chakraborty among others, became cult figures thanks to their moves! Classical dances were an integral part of an actor's skill set in cinema. While the 21st century actors shake a leg more to faster beats, the charm of dance is missed from the good old days.
O- Operation Theatre Operation theatres created many a nail-biting scene where parents, lovers and children fight for their lives on the operating table. The fervent prayer in the hospital temple as grim-faced doctors struggled to revive patients is a scene so common, we had to make mention of it.
P- Patriotism Bollywood has patriotically referred to the nation as 'Mother India', a sign of highest regard for the country. Freedom fighters have also been put on a cinematic pedestal, be they those who fought for our independence or those who protect us daily at the border.
Q- Qurbaani The art of sacrifice was glorified to no end in filmi stories. Giving up love, friendship, money, status and other earthly possessions for the 'greater good' was a concept lapped up by cinema watchers. The underdog won hearts easily, and the sacrificing figure was always one worthy of admiration
R- Rape scene Countless masala flicks in Bollywood were only complete when the heroine was involved in a sordid rape scene. In some, the villian was beaten to pulp after a screaming fit by the heroine brought the hero crashing in. In others, the woman was dishonored by a lusting villain. Often, rape was used as punishment or an act of revenge.
S- Songs An average of five songs in most films ensured that you will always find a tune in Bollywood to describe any real life situation. Songs on love, life, death, friendship, comic situations and heartbreak are a usual feature in films.
T- Trees Trees were less of a prop and more a symbol in cinema down the ages. Sitting under the foliage to study, romance, write poetry, nurse a broken heart in song and even have a public hanging as a sign of disgrace, were various situations that trees acted as pillars of support to.
U- Usool, aadarsh and other virtues The Hindi film hero was always a virtuous man, who never broke his word and always fulfilled his promises, even at the cost of his personal discomfort in certain situations. Even gangster figures were shown as loyal, honor-bound men!
V- Villains Recounting 100 years of cinema is impossible without making mention of the bad guys! Beating up the villain was always a high point in the hero's character trajectory in the film. Although they did all the dirty work, they never got the girl, always died or were shamed into hiding, but usually were the most colorful characters with the best lines!
W- Weddings Big, fat Indian wedding scenes are another mainstay of our films. There are always a few sniffles in the audience as the hero & heroine tie the knot. Weddings have also been the perfect stages for drama thus making them no different from real life affairs!
X- X-rated scenes 100 years of cinema has come a long way from initially implying kisses using flowers. With time, scenes became more explicit, and were no longer considered sleazy and now they've become an 'integral' part of the script!
Y- Yaari Friendship is among our favorite relationships, and Bollywood has given us bromance and dosti-flicks galore. Actors gave and took lives for the sake of friends onscreen. The struggle to choose between love and friendship formed regular fare in Hindi cinema.
Z- Zombies As the celebrations for Hindi cinema hitting a century near, 2013 gave Bollywood a new offering - zombie movies. Could our audiences be ready to lap up gore and cannibal behavior? The movies never stop surprising us, and so we'll have to wait and watch!