Unusual Inspirations: West Side Story and Okkadu

The musical ‘West Side Story’, I just learn, premiered on this day 53 years ago. It won 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.To this movie, the idea of the neighbourhood, the West Side in Manhattan, and the idea of the rival gangs are most central. And these ideas, along with the fact that the movie is a musical are presented in this nearly nine minutes long opening sequence. We see boys from one gang snapping fingers at members of the other gang, and then chasing each other across the neighbourhood, in highly choreographed dance moves.

What we get here, is an introduction both to the neighbourhood, and the two gangs. We get a good look around the neighbourhood, and we also understand the rivalry between the gangs. Also, we see that when these gangs come across a common enemy, they’d unite to thwart this common threat.

Now, to the 2003 Telugu movie, ‘Okkadu’, these same ideas, that of the neighbourhood, and the idea of rival gangs are central. The neighbourhood here, is the Paatha Basti of Hyderabad, where the famous Charminar, is located. Again, we see these rival gangs snapping fingers at each other, and chasing each other through the Basti. And, again, when they see a common enemy, they both unite together to ward this threat off.

This idea is again carried forward into the Tamil remake ‘Ghilli’ of the Telugu movie ‘Okkadu’. Look into the video from 2:40 minutes.



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