Name: Rishika Lekhadia
Hometown: Surat, Gujarat, India
Currently freshman at West Bengal University of Judicial Science, Kolkata doing BA. LLB (Hons.)
If it’s Friday night, you flip to page 3 for the latest releases. If it’s an auspicious day, you might be lucky enough have a choice of 4 to 5 new movies.Welcome to Bollywood – land of music, dance, colours, and drama!
Most of you might be wondering why it is called ‘Bollywood.’ My best guess is that its name derives from Bombay, the heart of Bollywood! Out of numerous regional Indian film industries, Bollywood manages to score because Hindi is understood by a majority of Indians and is representative our entire nation. We have actors from various walks of life and cultures coming together to make wonderful, entertaining movies! The movies are averagely three hours in length with a 10 minute ‘intermission’ usually placed at the climax, which keeps you guessing on what’s coming up next!
Let me just replay the stereotypical image of a Bollywood masala flick for you: It starts with a boy liking a girl, the boy meeting the girl’s family, the girl impressing the boy’s parents, and all along the way a villain plans to disrupt this happy journey. Next comes the climax, when the boy uses his macho skills to beat down the bad guy and win over the girl. With this, the curtain falls – a HAPPY END.
Well, gone are the days of Bolly flicks being characterised by a girl singing and dancing around a tree. Today, we do have a lot of thematic movies showing practices prevalent in certain parts of the country and its grassroots reality. However, such films attempting to raise public awareness with a social message only show a miniscule portion of my huge, diverse country. They should not be misconstrued as being representative of what India as a WHOLE actually IS!
Films try and encompass diverse cultures, values, moral codes and festivities of India. At times, these representations risk creating an overly generalised and stereotypical image of certain communities. Up until recently, kissing was confined to cheeks and wearing a bikini wasn’t commonplace. As society’s acceptance and positive reception increases, they are mirrored in the films.
On the other hand, movies also help widen public opinion. Extra-marital affairs, homosexuality, etc. have gained public sympathy (if not exactly approval) through movies in which the favourite star is shown doing things that societal norms wouldn’t normally allow. At times, they also take a strong stand on ongoing debates like those of euthanasia, political corruption, and the like.
Critics’ reviews and box-office collections hardly go hand in hand. Well-promoted films usually do the best. Actors often go overboard by making political statements or performing bizarre acts – anything that will make their movie sell!! Beautiful song and dance numbers totally unrelated to the movie script [are] made public way before the release of the movie [and] do their bit to attract the movie goers. Additionally, each movie has its own song album that releases usually few months before the actual movie release date and by the time the song peaks onto people’s memory, the movie releases. This is the perfect recipe for a successful movie!
The Salemite asks its readers: What is your favorite Bollywood film?