When Shit Happens …it makes for Box-office Success!


There’s a hot, new movie that has hit Indian multiplexes. It’s called Delhi Belly and it’s a movie that seems to have caught the imagination of young Indians. A comic caper about what happens to three friends who are at the wrong place at the wrong time. So basically… ‘shit happens’. You can hear howls of laughter in the darkened movie hall as the characters find themselves in over-the-top situations, spew foul language with shockingly inventive turns of phrases. The dialogues and the situations are disgusting and somewhat amusing at first. Go figure!

The filthy language is so inventive that it’s almost like a private joke between friends. Take for instance one of the songs in the film which goes “Bhaag, bhaag DK Bose” (Run, run DK Bose). Now, DK Bose is a fairly common name and DK Bose is used as a metaphor for a loser. So, is there a character called DK Bose in the film? No. I watched the movie and I still didn’t get it. And only after I googled it, did it hit me…DK Bose is actually a Hindi swear word in reverse!! Oh boy!! Fart jokes, f-word, and an entire sequence involving poop (double eeks!) to justify the tagline for the movie! Funny? Well, not after a point.

The bad news (or good news from a purely business point of view) is that the movie is a certified ‘hit’, having recovered its cost in the first weekend of its release. I can feel a Delhi Belly 2 coming up soon. And it’s quite likely that for a successful sequel, the jokes will be about lurid sex and semen. Surely, there is more to screenwriting than creative use of four-letter words and relying on shock value? Truly… shit happens!

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About Adite

Author & Screenwriter
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4 Responses to When Shit Happens …it makes for Box-office Success!

  1. Once again, you’ve made me want to see a movie. You’re really good at this.
    Best. Elisabeth

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  2. Eleni says:

    And also a great title! I personally don’t find bathroom humor funny, although, I must admit, I laughed throughout most of Dogma, which literally had a poop man. Looks like Indian cinema is influenced by American style tastes. It could be a good thing or bad thing depending on one’s idea of what it means to be a positive influence. I have my own opinions on that one, However, I keep my opinions to myself because I don’t want to hear shit!

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    • Thanks for your comments Eleni and Elisabeth.

      Everyone has his/her own ideas of “funny”. It’s often said that comedy doesn’t translate across cultures… and yet Hangover is among the biggest grossers of all time. The premise of Hangover is so universal that there’s no way they could have gone wrong with that one. A screenwriter friend who works in Bollywood (now in Singapore) had this to say about my Delhi Belly review:

      I loved watching this film. If Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro was made today it would have been on this line I suppose. Times have changed. So do have our films. The beauty of the film is in its characters – so real, so precisely worked out. They are so ‘today’. Even the mockery of a situation works well with the audience. Brilliantly written, acted, shot and directed. I am a very small time writer. I wish I could thought of a situation where orange juice can take place for water when there is none at the toilet. I am sure my good friend Adite and many others are making a face if they are reading me but I just shared my reaction. I am going to watch it at least once more. I don’t know if its unwarranted to draw comparison between this film and say a film like 3 Idiots. I found 3 Idiots very pretentious. I found Delhi Belly honest. Kudos to Aamir for encouraging such a script (I am sure he has added tons to it), Abhinav Deo, Ronnie Screwvala and others! — Anirudya Mitra

      Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is one of those classic, cult comedies (made in 1983) and still works today. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaane_Bhi_Do_Yaaro.) A great comedy, according to me, is one that not just transcends cultural differences, but also works across time and generations. Being funny (or even contemporary) doesn’t mean you have to be gross!

      Any more thoughts on what’s funny are more than welcome! Cheers!

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  3. scriptlarva says:

    Hi Adite,
    Havent seen the movie but I get your point. But it is all about shock value. The market is so much crowded with products that every one is resorting to every kind of trick to lure the audience in the first week. But let me tell you, if you do it again and again, it becomes ineffective. If a Delhi Belly 2 uses the same trick, it may not work at all.

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