1. The hero’s / heroine’s parents always die when he/she is around ten years old, in a car accident. (The more elite ones get the luxury of a plane crash.) That’s how we get the parents out of the way and invoke sentiments all at one shot. They don’t die of any other reason, unless it is crucial to the story. You never hear of anyone dying of malaria or dengue fever.

2. Hollywood hunks like quiet, mature, brainy girls who have unbearably bubbly and hysterical friends. Desi heroes like unbelievably bubbly and talkative and gorgeous girls. Brains aren’t a necessity. Foolishness and arrogance are pre-requisites.

3. Desi characters see ghosts of their dead parents/siblings/spouse, and they are startled when the ghosts vanish, because they think the vision is real. Hollywood folk shake their heads at the ghosts, smile and walk away, because they are clever enough to know it is only their own memory playing tricks.

4. Hollywood brides and grooms get cold feet before their wedding and threaten to call it off, at the last moment. In about fifty percent of the cases, the bride / groom changes her/his mind right before the ceremony (because, as we know so well, it’s the wrong guy/girl). In Bollywood and surrounding regions, no one walks away right before a wedding (though they could be abducted from or forced into one). Desis aren’t afraid of a mere wedding or the divorce rate in the country. They firmly believe in Happily Every After.

5. The heroine catches the bouquet. ‘Nuff said.
(Luckily in India we do not have that delightful custom, else imagine what that would have added to Bollywood.)

6. The hero (who doesn’t know yet that he is the hero, though the rest of us does) runs to confess his love to the girl, only to find her embracing her fiancรฉ, and walks away, dejected. Little does he know that the girl’s mind is not in it and she has been waiting for him to turn up. Earth has to revolve a little more before everything clears up.

7. This affliction is particularly common in Hollywood: the career-centric woman does not believe in true love, she is convinced it is some story cooked up by greeting card companies. Then this ruggedly handsome dude pops up in her radar, infuriating her, thwarting her peace of mind, plunging her deep into the chaos called… love. What can the distressed damsel do other than admit defeat?

8. The protagonist, who is suffering from an incurable disease, has to die. There is no treatment that saves his/her life at the end. (Imagine what a mess it would be if they are cured, when everyone else has prepared for their death?)

9. I watch too many movies on TV.

Who said movies aren’t educational?