“Jaws”: Bollywood Style

Well, I finally took the time to sit through a movie from India called Aatank, which is essentially a Bollywood version of Jaws and has become somewhat infamous because of a couple of hilarious clips posted on Youtube. Maybe one of these days I’ll realize that I’m an idiot and the main purpose of posting these clips on Youtube in the first place is to spare people from sitting through the entire friggin’ movie! To top it off, there is apparently no version of Aatank available with subtitles, so I watched the entire thing in Hindi from beginning to end, often having no clue what the hell was going on! However, I consider sitting through these films as a badge of honour for myself and even if there had been subtitles, I STILL probably would have been confused as hell! On our Shouts From the Back Row podcast about movie adaptations, I talked about about how superior Jaws was to Peter Benchley’s original novelization because the book was filled with tons of pointless soap opera-esque subplots about stuff like infidelity and the mafia, and Benchley often seemed to forget that his story was supposed to be about a shark. Well, if take those problems and multiply them by a hundred, you’ve got Aatank. There seem to be a zillion characters and subplots in this film that are almost impossble to follow, and you see very little of the actual shark. It doesn’t even makes its first appearance until nearly an hour into the film, but it does so by interrupting a Bollywood musical number!


Okay, I’ll admit, that was almost as awesome as Samuel L. Jackson’s death scene in Deep Blue Sea. Aatank was released in 1996 and I couldn’t imagine why they felt compelled to release a Jaws ripoff over 20 years after the fact. However, rumour has it that most of Aatank was originally filmed in the 1980s, but they ran into production problems and didn’t actually finish the whole thing and release it until over a decade later! Whatever its production history, the mechanical shark in Aatank is one of the most laughably bad special effects you’ll ever see, but all in all, if you watch these clips, there really is no reason to seek out the entire film unless you’re a masochistic curiosity seeker. *awkward pause* Guilty as charged!

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