Friday, July 19, 2024

Bend in the End


By Pranali Batra


A comment on unconventional endings in Indian Cinema 

He is standing alone in a vast green field. He calls out to her. She (in pristine white) comes running to him and stumbles, but he catches her securely in his arms. He then professes his undying love to her and hence they live happily ever after …..


He might have been called Rahul or Prem, but what every Bollywood love story in the 90s could be counted upon for was this predictable climax, often with a soft number playing in the backdrop. However now that Indian cinema has matured, a major evolution in its trends can be detected. Mercifully, instead of witnessing the same clichés time and again, we can observe experimentation with new ideas and emergence of novel endings. As contrasted with the earlier ‘larger-than-life’ screenings, these are more at home with reality!


Interesting endings can be of various types. One such form is an unorthodox end, which is fresh and novel in its conception and redefines the conventional trends prevalent in cinema till date. A case in point is the 2012 film ‘Ek Main Aur Ek Tu’. Herein, though the hero and his love did reunite, but unlike every other soppy love story, this was in friendship!

Secondly- the beloved twist in the talewhich we earlier associated only with seasoned American novelists like O. Henry, has now carved a niche for itself in our very own Bollywood too! Nail biting ends plots and edge-of-the seat gripping endings are no longer unique to murder mysteries anymore. Rather they are fast becoming an integral part of other genres, such as political thrillers as well. The effective use of this tool can be observed in director Prakash Jha’s realistic and straightforward filmmaking, which portrays the gruesome and harsh truths of our existence as a society.

Another kind of endings to watch out for is the powerful and moving climaxes. The 2008 movie ‘A Wednesday’ is one such example, wherein the viewer is forced to reconsider his entire understanding of ethics. The film reminded us that our world is not simply segregated into black or white- there exist several shades of grey also.

Lastly, the category of unconventional endings fast catching on is the ‘open- ended’ climax. In such an end, the filmmaker does not wrap up on any conclusive note but leaves the viewer to be the best judge of the same. The critically acclaimed 2013 release ‘The Lunchbox’ is a poignant illustration of the same wherein the curtain drops right before the most crucial question of the film can be answered. It leaves you in the lurch and this is the greatest accomplishment of the film- that its viewers are unwilling to leave, their curiosity not yet satiated, their eyes still glued to the screen, hoping against hope that they’ll learn what happens next!


Earlier, non conventional climaxes could be expected in parallel cinema only. However it is gratifying to see that these relatively unexplored and innovative paths are also being treaded nowadays and are raking in moolah as well. This is conclusive proof that today’s viewers are not satisfied with just any make-believe mumbo-jumbo (like Teri Meri Kahaani which bombed at the box office).

Yes, it cannot be denied that several mindless flicks do gain commercial success as well. However, the positive evolution in the mentality of the audiences- cannot and should not be ignored by any committed filmmaker. The contemporary audience has matured and demands creativity and novelty in the plots but especially in the endings. Hence, this has become the modern filmmaker’s biggest challenge, for as they say ‘it’s never over till it’s over’!





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