Independence Day: the movie; Bollywood Style

Independence day-3 Blog(800x200)On Aug 13, a large alien mother ship enters orbit around Earth. Indian authorities, spotting the ship but smarting from their recent humiliation with the ‘Chinese Spy Satellite’ debacle, immediately write it off as the planet Jupiter. Then, a brave soul, defying the chain of command and taking his career, life and reputation into his own hands, mentions that it is in fact impossible for Jupiter to be in orbit around Earth. He is court-martialled for insubordination and lack of respect but the log-book entry is amended to say ‘Venus’.

On Aug 14, the mother ship deploys several large, foreboding mini versions of itself over Earth’s major cities. Delhi is the only Indian city to be targeted. Indians the world over express their indignation at this obvious slight against the greatest nation on Earth and a rising super-power at that. “Why have they targeted ten US cities and only one Indian city?” cry defence experts on the country’s twenty or so news channels. Independence Day farm-house parties across Delhi are cancelled. There is widespread rioting, looting and much effigy-burning. With no one to pin the blame on, the people decide to focus their ire on Pakistan. The outpouring of hatred is unprecedented with some blaming our neighbours for breeding aliens. The Prime Minister lodges a silent protest with the UN through a video link where he stares at the camera for 15 minutes, speaking ‘with his eyes’. Afterwards he checks with the camera person to make sure it came out alright. “Theek hai?” he asks.

An IIT graduate, who has missed the last date for his US visa application and is still stuck in India, discovers a hidden message (which he believes to be a timer counting down to a coordinated attack) in the alien transmission while simply twiddling his thumbs. Yes, he is that good. He tries to reach out and warn the Prime Minister but is made to jump through hoop after hoop. In a last ditch effort, he tries to storm the PM’s Race Course Road residence. Unfortunately, he is summarily executed at the gates.

On Aug 15, the spacecraft sent to target Delhi has manoeuvred itself over the houses of parliament (the canteen, specifically). Without any further warning, the aliens open fire and by a strange coincidence, almost every single Member of Parliament is accounted for and present in the canteen. Its only 11:30 in the morning, after all. Everyone is vaporised; everyone, except the PM, who at that very moment is home, delayed due to a late-running ‘silent meditation’ class that morning.

With all the parliamentarians gone, there is no government; there is simply no one in charge. In other words, nothing has changed, really. The streets are now deserted but nobody notices anything out of the ordinary as it is Independence Day and in any case, most roads are meant to be closed. Fearing the country will come to a standstillthe PM decides to address the nation to calm fears and reassure people that there is still someone at the top. His TV address is interrupted as people learn that all the politicians are gone, forever. There is much rejoicing and the partying erupts into the streets.

The alien mother ship finally descends and the invaders are welcomed with garlands and sweets. Then, they are forced to eat. They are asked once, twice, several times until they have no option but to agree. A fatal mistake.

With no immunity to the dreaded Delhi belly, it is only a matter of hours. Every single alien has contracted violent amoebic dysentery and a few hours later, they are all dead.

The closing credits roll as we see the Indian PM finally finding his voice and rising up to lead the people. The film ends with him staring at the camera in his trademark ‘silent’ fashion asking if the film was alright. “Theekhai?” he smiles.

Enjoy your freedom people, you’ve earned it.

You’re welcome, Bollywood.



Chetan Chhatwal currently works as a management consultant in London, watches India’s progress from a distance, and writes a little bit on the side.

His book ‘55′ is a delightful, mad caper about growing up and surviving three tumultuous years in the hallowed corridors of Delhi University. You can buy it here:

The Penguin India Blog

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