Games films play

It’s incredible how a minor change to one’s routine — like paying a visit to the neighbourhood playground — can make you part of fascinating experiences. At a corporation ground near Valluvar Kottam after sunset, I saw a unique game being played by slum kids. They’d take their position about 10 yards from a light pole, and take turns to hit it with stones. Every time somebody made a tong, the others would explode into applause. Perhaps because this game was about throwing an object and trying to hit the target, I was instantly reminded of Michael’s (Suriya) hobby of ‘bottle odaikkardhu’ in Aaytha Ezhuthu , which is about throwing a bottle in the air and hitting it with another.

It’s important, of course, to air a WWE-like disclaimer about such games: do not try it at home… or anywhere you know there may be people. But this isn’t the most dangerous game out there, of course.

Reportedly, there are students who, in trying to imitate Aamir Khan’s beer drinking game in Rang De Basanti , have fallen to their deaths from the top of Nahargarh Fort in Rajasthan.

A friend sheepishly admitted to trying for the longest time to repeat what Shah Rukh Khan does in a scene in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai .

The scene in question has him playing basketball with Kajol, and performing a bank shot with the hoop behind him. I think it’s safe to advise those trying this shot to wear a helmet. If it is anything like the advice on government hoardings, it’d read something like, “You may be short or tall, but you must protect your head from the basketball.”

Sometimes, such games in films become so popular that they are even added as prefixes to the names of actors. Comedian Soori, for the longest time, was unenviably called ‘Parotta Soori’, on account of the scene in Vennila Kabadi Kuzhu in which he eats 50 parottas to win a bet against the owner of a fastfood outlet. I’m glad he didn’t have to eat puris in the scene. ‘Puri Soori’ would have been quite comical.

The ‘game’ became such a rage reportedly that parotta stalls in interior Tamil Nadu adopted the idea. I think it’s safe to conclude nobody won that competition.

Inglourious Basterds showed a fun variation of the game, ‘Who Am I?’ which involved sticking the piece of paper with your character’s name on your forehead. You should try it — it’s a lot of innocent fun. Meanwhile, Indian films tend to stick to harmless games — like ‘Antakshari’, for instance. I remember one particularly difficult stretch of Lesa Lesa, where the characters go on and on with the game.

At one point, I was genuinely concerned that the scene may go on forever. Like being in a haunted house and getting stuck in a staircase that only leads to itself.

While about horror, it’s impossible not to mention ouija boards (numerous horror films and even the recent Tamil film, Demonte Colony ). I know not one person who hasn’t sat in a dark room with friends and tried to have conversations with ghosts. There have also been games like statue ( Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam ) and pani puri competitions ( Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi ). While I don’t think anybody over the age of 10 years should be playing the former, the latter could be worth a shot.

The one sport millions wish they could play is Harry Potter’s Quidditch. I mean, who wouldn’t want to fly around on a broomstick, throwing quaffles inside hoops? Interestingly, countries like America and Canada have found novel solutions to play the sport nevertheless. In Michigan, for instance, people run around with broomsticks attached to their trousers, while the snitch is guarded by a trained runner who has it hanging by a velcro strap. I’m not making this up; I’m Sirius.

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