It was after three gruelling days of prayer to Swami Nithyananda that God finally appeared before me. “What boon do you seek?” he said. “And hurry up, I have this thing with Jaggi.” Getting over my initial surprise that He wasn’t a She, I replied without hesitation.
“I want to be reborn a ... er ... South Hero, My ... er ... Lord.”
“You sure?” God said. “Don’t be hasty. I am God. If I wish, you could be reborn as Mukesh Ambani’s driver, the touch-up guy at Victoria’s Secret shows...”
“I’m absolutely sure, Prabhu,” I said. “I have put years of thought into this.”
“Could you give me one reason?” said the Almighty.
“How about I give you 10?” I said. “In no particular order, though.”
“I am listening,” said God, looking at his fake Rolex, a gift from a
“Well, for starters, I’ve always fancied the idea of being bathed in milk by loving fans.”
“Seriously?” said God. “It’s no big deal. Sticky, actually. And the *#*!s water it down.”
“Then, I have always wanted a family whose sole purpose is being the supporting cast to my life. Appearing en masse in the large living room of our mansion in the middle of verdant fields, standing approvingly in the background as my awesome life unfolds, and disappearing discreetly when I’m singing with the heroine in Prague or Vienna as Western civilization looks on in bewilderment.”
“True,” said God. “That is a good one.”
“Actually, there’s my next reason,” I said. “Under the current scenario of travel restrictions for us brown folk, who but a South Hero can go to exotic locations, dance on busy streets with east European background dancers, wear outrageous clothes, hold up traffic, without being shot in the patootie with a bazooka?”
“Good point,” said God.
“Then the retirement thing. The post of South Hero is the only one where one retires only when one dies. In fact, thanks to advances in the field of CGI and taxidermy, maybe even after. Rumour has it that one South superstar who had a Sankranti release actually died three years ago. They are hailing it as his best performance yet.”
“Next?” said God.
“The heroines.” I said. “They get younger and younger and younger. It’s brilliant. In fact, one hero, as we speak, has delayed his comeback project because he is waiting for his heroine to be born. I think they are going in for a C-section because the teasers are out.”
“Hmmmm,” said God.
“Have you ever seen the bad guys that attack a South Hero in a fight sequence?” I said.
“I’ve seen a couple. My wi-fi has been down. The Dhritarashtra-Sanjaya Network is up for sale, as you know.”
“They always come in a queue, Swami.” I said. “The South movie henchman, to my knowledge, is the only man in India who follows the queue system. The first guy comes, the hero dispatches him, then the second, repeat, then the third ... I tell you, it’s awesome.”
“You make a good case,” said the Omnipotent. “But hurry up, Amish just texted me.”
“Okay,” I said. “Then, the chief adversary. In my current life as writer, do you know how diabolical and ruthless my chief adversaries, my editor and my publisher, are? They make Goebbels look like Pandari Bai.”
“So what are you saying?”
“The main villain in every south film is a moron. He is completely clueless. A langur on downers could outwit the guy. The best part is, the idiot doesn’t even know Telugu or Tamil because he’s from Bombay. So the happy ending is a foregone conclusion for the South Hero.”
“True,” said God. “I do feel sorry for Kelly Dorji, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Jackie Shroff.”
“Well, here are three reasons in one shot,” I said. “When the going gets tough, South Heroes get to deliver alliterative ‘punch’ dialogues that make no sense at all. They say things like ‘I have great taste-u. You are bloody waste-u. If I hit you, you are paste-u’. Also, they sport cool prefixes like ‘Thunder & Lightning Hero’ or ‘Young Rootless Intergalactic Star’ before their names. And, finally, when they are arthritic and toothless, they get a shot at being CM ... where are you going, God?”
“My Uber has arrived, son,” said God.
“So are we on?” I said.
“Yes,” said God, waving. “But let me give it a try first.”
Krishna Shastri Devulapalli is a humour writer, novelist, columnist and screenwriter...