They bring us a smile when sadness overwhelms the heart. They inspire possibilities, when hope hits a brick wall. They enable us to escape the drudgery of the moment.
But there is a peculiar phenomenon that emerges in cine watching. After you leave a movie hall, for a while its influence dominates your behavior, resulting in you acting in, what should never be interpreted as ‘your own accord’. This is called ‘The aftermath syndrome’.
Research has not been able to quantify the exact time period an audience takes to recover from this celluloid stimulus. In some cases it could be minutes; on the other hand the entire lives of some people, could be correlated with the influence of certain movies they never quite got over. For instance one famous theory of Plato might have been hugely swayed by ‘When Harry met Sally’.
Just to illustrate the point, what follows are examples of how one might expect to be seen acting after watching some famous movies.
Titanic – You will find yourself sneaking up behind unknown pretty women, grasping their arms just around their elbows and thrusting them perpendicular to their forms, mouthing inanities like ‘I am the king of the world’.
Dethronement is just a second away and usually manifests itself in the form of a stinging slap. If you are lucky that’s the end of it, cause hell hath no fury like a woman grabbed from behind.
Trishul - You will insist on calling in an ambulance to accompany you everywhere. Other than making your navigation through traffic faster, which is an extremely short term point of view, chances are you will need it yourself, once people discover there is nothing ‘big about your B’s’.
Saawariya – This one is rather obvious. You will henceforth drop all vowels from your sentences, especially in the company of the opposite gender. And you were thinking?
James Bond movies – You will tell all ‘thambi’ waiters, you want your tea ‘shaken not stirred’. You will think every woman fancies you, even if your personal hygiene level, matches that of an abandoned jock strap. You will insist on dressing in impeccable three piece formals, even if you are playing the office Kabaddi match. Lastly you will always introduce yourself as ‘Surname’ followed by ‘Name Surname’.
DDLJ – You will find yourself running after trains once they have started, with your hand flailing, as if to grasp that of an imaginary lover. Other than missing every train you need to catch, an unnecessarily harsh side effect, is the ‘taplis’ you will have to endure from Mumbai’s finest, as they hang out of locals looking for all such time pass opportunities.
Rajnikanth movies – Well what can I say? You will endeavor to push the very limits of human achievement, like trying to rustle up a tornado by picking up your ‘mundu’ and swirling your leg in a circular motion so that the dust beneath rises up in furious obedience. You will even picture your visiting card going across the room, and slapping everyone on the other side senseless, thus ending all meetings comprehensively in your favor.
Gaddar – The world is not against you. At least not until you rip off the one community tap, which supplies water to the hundred odd households in your residential colony.
Main Hoon Na – Excessive use of this statement can double your work load in a matter of seconds. Given the devious nature of your coworkers in the corporate world, they will be more than willing to dump their burden on you. And you will even profess to hear mournful songs playing in the background as that happens.
Jackie Chan movies – You will start climbing over gates in that trademark ‘two step’ maneuver, this even when all you have to do is push them open. However after a few testosterone driven attempts, you will automatically retire, for fear of permanently damaging your testosterone producing devices.
These are only a few cases in point, but you get the drift.
So beware the next time you watch a powerful movie. Beware the next time you feel entertained. Beware the next time something starts striking that chord.
At least now you will know why people will be giving you those funny looks when you are making your way home.
And you can thank me for it.
Vinay Kanchan is the author of ‘Lessons from the Playground’ & ‘The Madness Starts at 9’. He is a trainer in the art of creative thinking and a brand ideation consultant. He is the patron saint of Juhu Beach United, a footballing movement which celebrates the ‘unfit, out of breath working professional of today.’ He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook or Twitter (@vinaykanchan5)