Now that India has accomplished the amazing feat of getting a space vehicle into orbit around Mars ahead of China and Japan and for much less money than what Hollywood spent on making Gravity, it’s only a matter of time before Bollywood produces its own space saga but at a fraction of the cost.
So what would a Bollywood movie set on Mars be like? Pretty much what most earth-bound Bollywood movies are like (although to be fair, the industry has come a long way), and it goes something like this:
The tandoori red landscape of Mars. The camera pans to find two astronauts — one man and one woman, tending to their mini spaceship.
All of a sudden, they break into a dance number, bouncing around the rocky terrain of Mars while lip synching to an unbelievably catchy tune. 100 back-up Martian dancers appear out of nowhere for some exquisitely choreographed dancing, all dressed in traditional Indian garb.
Dance number ends, cut to the astronauts making love in their spaceship while the windows fog up with their passion.
9 MONTHS LATER
The woman gives birth to twin boys. No sooner are they born, however, than an ugly looking Martian shows up and abducts one of the boys, who is now destined to be brought up by the Martians. For the avoidance of doubt, this is now officially a ‘twin brothers separated at birth’ story line.
21 YEARS LATER
The woman looks adoringly at her boy, who is now a grown man. The father has died and so mother and son are exceptionally close. But he has dreams of becoming a cop, and even though he can’t bear the thought of leaving his mother alone, she insists that he go and pursue his destiny. So he goes.
Meanwhile, the entire Martian community has resorted to a life of crime (as all foreigners do in Bollywood movies) and the other boy is fast becoming the most ruthless criminal around, bedding every Martian girl he can find and dancing Bollywood style every fifteen minutes. He also converts to Islam for no good reason than to widen the audience.
This sets up the Second Act of the movie as the two brothers hurtle towards each other, destined to collide as cop and criminal.
OVER THE NEXT 20 YEARS
The two brothers clash repeatedly amid an endless collage of explosions, gunfire, pretty women in saris, fast space cars, and space mansions. There is no point to any of the action, of course, but that’s part of the charm. The main thing is that the brothers don’t know they are brothers and are intent on destroying each other.
Enter a sassy, modern, Martian woman (in a nod to the feminist movement) who the cop falls in love with. Their affair transcends all cultural and biological boundaries and ramps up the tension between the human and Martian communities even further.
When the woman discovers that she is pregnant, she pleads with the cop to give up his dangerous obsession with defeating the criminal underworld. But he is a real mard (translation: man), and to prove his manhood, he decides to finally destroy the entire Martian underworld in the mother of all raids.
This sets up the Third Act of the movie, which is a Mahabharata style epic battle between good and evil.
A mega-battle ensues with gratuitous special effects. After all the fighting is over and all the Martians and humans are dead, only the two brothers remain on the battlefield. In the background, the pregnant girlfriend, who is now completely irrelevant since she has served her purpose in the sexist story line, continues to beg her alpha-male boyfriend to make peace, but to no avail.
The two brothers decide to fight each other to the death. Since fighting with weapons would be too cowardly, they strip off their shirts to expose their ripped abs, and prepare to kill each other with their bare hands. The dramatic tension builds even as a Martian storm starts whipping the dust all around the protagonists. Meaninglessly macho dialogue and insults fly back and forth between the cop and criminal as if they mean to murder each other with their words.
Then the actual fighting starts and it looks like one of the brothers might win, but just before he can kill the other, the old mother (who had disappeared till now) comes running out of the dust storm, screaming for her babies to stop!
They both freeze and look at each other, confused. The mother explains that they are brothers and tells them the whole story. The cop is shocked and the brother brought up by the Martians tears up instantly, realizing just how badly he’s needed his mommy all these years…
The two men forgive each other and embrace. Music swells up and it looks like all will be well – except that suddenly the mother falls to the ground, shot in the chest! Standing behind her is the Martian underworld’s deputy king, a really slimy guy who secretly wants to become the king of the crime syndicate and is now prepared to kill his boss to get the throne. The brothers are incensed as their sweet, beautiful mother dies in their arms and vow revenge against the culprit.
But the problem is he is not alone. Not only has he betrayed his boss, but he’s also betrayed his planet, inviting the inhabitants of Pluto (a very thinly veiled reference to Pakistan) to come and colonize Mars.
Massive spaceships from Pluto with heavy weaponry now appear in the sky and rain down laser beams to kill the two brothers! In front of them, the slimy Martian gives an evil laugh and tells the brothers that after they have been vaporized by the spaceships, the Plutonians will massacre whoever remains on Mars, rename the planet Snickers, and install him as king.
But despite their impossible situation, the brothers now find strength in the bonds of family and make up their minds to destroy the evil scourge that has beset their beloved planet. They take each other’s hand and leap 5,000 feet into the air, hitting the first spaceship with their fists until the hull breaks open and the spaceship comes crashing down. The brothers too come back down to earth (still holding hands) and pick up the guns lying next to the dead Plutonians from the spaceship.
Now armed, they start firing away at the remaining spaceships, two brave shirtless men standing against an entire army, every muscle in their body rippling as they take out the Plutonians one by one.
When it’s done, they come back to the slimy Martian, who is cowering by a rock. But instead of killing him, they slap him silly until he passes out, and then walk over to the cop’s girlfriend, who starts rubbing the sweaty chest of the criminal brother lustfully before realizing it’s the wrong twin…
The good guys have won and Mars is saved! And what better way to celebrate then for the brothers to do another song and dance number, only this time with the entire cast of the movie, including the dead Plutonians, dancing in the background behind them.