It was a dark and stormy night. A special blend of insomnia and boredom led to my randomly flipping channels and landing on Zee TV. Yes, the cable company provides it now, so I can get my daily soapy fix of large-hearted daughters-in-law and their even larger joint families, if I should so desire. However the powers up there were feeling particularly kind towards me, so the D-I-Ls and M-I-Ls in the world had reconciled and decided to go shopping or do something equally pointless, so I was mercifully spared the finer nuances of interpersonal family relationships. Instead there I was, happily parked on the couch, looking at the finer nuances of the eye-candy of Mumbai.
Bollywood Tonight — the standard look-see into the happenings in Hindi filmdom, sneak previews of upcoming movies, interviews with starlets .. you know, the usual blah. So this particular edition had a preview of Vaastu Shastra. Scenes from the movie, interjected with comments from Ramu, followed by interviews with Chakravarthy and Sushmita Sen and so on.
On that note, isn’t it interesting how horror was a joke of a genre in Hindi films until not too long ago and acting in a horror film was akin to hammering a nail into your career’s coffin? (yes, the pun was very much intended) But now thanks to RGV, its actually become cool and hatke to star in them? Horror today no longer instantly brings images of Ramsay Brothers spookfests like Purani Haveli, Aakhri Cheekh, Sannata, Shaitaani Ilaaka .. well you get the picture. All real movie names by the way, didn’t make any of them up. Starred Deepak Parashar as the hero too, no less. All those who actually recognized the name of this chap and grimaced at the image it conjured in their head may please accept my sympathies.
Now that I think about it, this chappie had quite the career graph — debuting in Aap To Aise Na The (1980) known primarily for the tu is tarah se meri zindagi mein shaamil hai number, dancing the disco in Armaan (1981) of Bappi Lahiri’s ramba ho samba ho fame, loser husband of Salma Agha in Nikaah (1982) and finally being a standard fixture in Ramsay Brothers’ ventures. Made his mama proud, this boy.
And so we finally get to the real purpose of this blogpost. You didn’t think there was one, did you? Hah! Fooled ya! So the interviewer asked Sushmita if she believed in ghosts and Madame Sush replied — Yes, I do. So the interviewer, naturally curious, asks — is this just a publicity stunt, are you just saying this ‘cos you’re starring in a scary movie? So S came back with an interesting response — I believe in ghosts just like I believe in God.
Got me thinking .. if one can believe in God without the need for scientific proof that he/she exists, simply based on faith/hope/belief, why then do we look for proof to believe in the paranormal? Divine powers are as supernatural and unexplainable by physical and material laws as the occult is. So does the faith then simply come from the premise that God is good and all of the occult is dark and scary? What if there was a friendly ghost? (Remember Casper?) Would one be more inclined to believe then?
Why do ghost-believers often get mocked, but God-believers respected? Is it because the faith in God gives us the assurance that someone up there is looking out for us, giving us hope, whereas the belief in spooks doesn’t enhance our life in any way? Isn’t belief then, just a matter of convenience, at least to an extent?