By Sunil Noronha
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Movies like Lagaan and Paheli have excited the spirits of Bollywood making them believe that Indian Cinema or Bollywood indeed has reached the international stage. their excitement though expected makes me want to think deeper. Is the international stage what Bollywood is aiming at? Or better phrased-is it aiming to promote the international stage and eventually promote Bollywood bringing the worlds attention to its intricacies or is reaching the international stage a goal to reach by whatever means possible- Just get Indian Cinema on the map. Appreciation is always a part of movies. It is any films makers/producers/actors/scriptwriters joy to touch one more person or many more at that by their work. And Bollywood has every right to justify itself in that race. But of late Bollywood has been going through certain phenomena namely skin show, skin flicks and the latest-super hero phases.
To start of with the line was drawn at intimacy. What Hollywood would do is jump straight into bed on the first date while in Bollywood dating is not how it all starts. There are the cultural differences which is why this is the case but what seems to be happening is that it's a extra point for the movie if there is a smooch, more "boob display" which the movie makers have recognized and have capitalized on...the fact that sex sells. Mix it with anything and it will be a big hit. If sex sells anyway and they mixed it in between the covers and there it does not count to a big compromise on their part but when you claim that Bollywood reflects India and nobody in India does half the stuff that you see in those movies including wearing almost nothing.
Then came skin show. It one thing to just wear "less" clothes because you wear "less" clothes but to walk, talk and be provocative about it shows that you had in mind nothing less than the motive to make something that would make the audience ogle. That was your intention and that's what you wanted to achieve. That makes Bollywood no less than a pornographic movie industry. Is that what they are eventually aiming at? Even the music turns westward with such ease. You'll find rapping and classic rock riffs falling into place with such ease in the nowadays music. Of course music grows and you should grow with it but is this indeed what the music of the great India that we speak about is? The number of times there's be a movie song on and it would remind me vaguely of a Backstreet Boys song and then when I play that Backstreet Boys tape, I stop wondering because it's a rip off- a clean rip off. No two ways about it.
What about the recent superhero phase? Krrish certainly been "inspired" by Hollywood superheroes. The flying, the mask, the cape...Rakesh Roshan says that he had Lord of the Rings in mind but the connection is clear. Taking a bite off Hollywood every now and then was allright until Krrish came along. After Krrish, I believe that Bollywood ripping off habit has rendered it shameless. I think it was a quote of Karan Johars that I read once-"Inspiration has to start somewhere"(Don't take me court on this one). I think I am right but the gist of what he implied was that you have to be inspired by something to be inspired at all. Even the greatest of greats was inspired by something but there is a big line between the inspiration and being inspired. Inspiration makes you want to do who or what inspired you did or achieved. Its no sin being a ditto copy of your inspiration but denying that you are, if you are, is absolutely wrong.
Are we willing to sell-out for more recognition because Indian filmmaking in its essence not at all relatable to the international scene? Maybe we shouldn't be even reaching out because they may never understand India the way it is. It is like that part of Bride and Prejudice where Martin Henderson who plays William Darcy tells Aishwarya Rai of the price of the rooms in his family hotel saying that the idea was to show the guests India without showing them the real India on the streets. Is India as callous as Bollywood claims it to be? Is the mentality as one might see in a Bollywood film? Is Bollywood void of creativity? Should it just quit? Is it trying so hard to replicate the glory of the past decades that it brings it all down to a formula? Do they fail to realise that it is no formula but plain genius that comes up with genius? Now there are good Bollywood films but as things seem to be Bollywood has not learnt from its lessons. It is yet to register that good filmmaking does sell despite movies like Black, Rang De Basanti, Fanaa and the likes have really set standards and raked in the moolah as well if that's a concern when they go about film making. Bollywood is capable of good filmmaking. It only needs to just be itself.
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