19 October, 2008

Cinema : The Scent of Amour

The typical social class "border crossing " love story in cinema of any language has been fun but a pure fantasy. It just don’t feel real. Lets examine this from another angle hitherto not discussed..Odour. Can this be on account of the smells associated with each class?

Throughout the fifties to the eighties, defying a class border , love-conquers-all , has been the dominant theme. In these decades the popular central character were garage mechanics, bus conductors , labourers or even street punks. Am not making a comment on the dignity of labour or occupation here.

What would a really pretty lady like Madhubala find attractive in a grease monkey ? So what, if he is a Kishore Kumar. Especially when she first meets him, in his garage, the smell on him itself would have prohibited this amazing alliance. It would have been a pity for the film though but that’s a topic for another discussion.

Rati Agnihotri loves a coolie - Amitabh Bacchan. For god’s sake spare us, make Amitabh a coolie but only a Manmohan Desai could have such a fantastic sense to have a super rich girl fall for him. I have been a train traveler and know first- hand how coolies smell. They stink of coagulated sweat and dirt from the platform. This coupled with their regular diet which is heavy in onion & garlic, would keep anyone miles away socially from them. Let alone fall for one and dance atop trains.

Smita Patil is sensuous in Chakra, but what she plays is a garbage handler a kachrawaali from the slums who lives near the sewers. However attractive she may look, one can’t imagine the idea of taking her in our arms. The unwashed smells would drive one over the edge. Thankfully there is no class transgression here.

We have a neighbor, a lady, who uses a heavy perfume. Even after she has sailed past ten minutes by, the scent she leaves in her wake can make a man faint. Imagine living with a creature like that. It’s okay when you have the common cold, else you have had it. She is affluent this lady and I come from the common class, who maybe on cause-célèbre deems it extravagant to dab a few drops of after shave. That’s my limit. The lady may find me unacceptable & without a doubt it would be reciprocal.

G.B.Shaw in Pygmalion was the guy who got it right. The flower girl with the foul mouth is turned into a lady first by Higgins. He falls in love with the lady,his creation and not the flower girl, when she looks feels and smells right to his discerning nose. In my opinion a great leveler for love is the nose. Should your nose be satisfied then love too can happen and then be believable. Unfamiliar and undesirable smells tend to put people off.

I follow my noggin and hence find these movie love situations ludicrous. Reality assaults all your senses together, but in cinema love nose it not.


Deepa said...

Hilarious! This essay is very much the Kaustubh I am getting to know :). Excellent point. You bring a whole new dimension to cinema. II wonder if heroines think about this before accepting roles "Oh no. A kissing scene with THAT leading guy? Not likely to be pleasant."

Kau Kau goes the Crow said...

Thank you Deepa....It had been bugging me for long..this aspect of cinema ;-)