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To be or not to be Hollywood or Bollywood

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By: Sunil Noronha
Thursday, March 09, 2006

Will Smith said when he came to India that Bollywood (he pronounced it "Indian film industry") and Hollywood should get together and make movies sometime. He said that there should be a trio merge of Hollywood's structure and Bollywood's depth'n colour and the roles that their movies entail. Well, he is not the only one pushing for a merge. Nowadays you either find Bollywood trying to be like Hollywood or Hollywood trying to be like Bollywood. Bollywood has a fanfare because of its colour in nations abroad (while I sit and laugh at the drill exercises they call dance moves). Bollywood tries to reach the level of intimacy that love and related scenes have in Hollywood movies. Funny thing, they'd touch and feel but never go the distance. Are the two industries looking at each other to complete themselves? Hollywood, I can say, is a stand-alone thing. It seems to me that they got their stuff right. They are not mixed up about their culture, they got it right. When they come to Bollywood, they are looking to purely collaborate two art forms in the right proportion. But here in Bollywood, we are not sure what statement to make in our movies. It reflects on our culture. When it comes down to what makes us Indian, we are pretty confused at what we really mean by that. Our pro-lingual'n anti-lingual disputes, dress codes and mindset speak of a culture that has a hold on us that we don't understand. There is a missing link somewhere. We know that we are Indian and want to feel proud of it but we don't understand enough to. We've got the blood but we don't have the roots set firmly in.

I was watching Garam Masala and there was this well expected dance sequence followed by scenes in the song with women and men in red shorts and swimsuits doing a "Baywatch"-running in slow motion and bending in perfect time just like in Baywatch. The fact that is called Bollywood itself is the first clue indicating that Bollywood itself is not supported artistically by principles of its own. The dress codes don't speak of Indian culture, if that is the intention. The amount of skin shown is not with the approval stamp of the Indian Culture. Times will change, so will trends but culture doesn't. To roll with the times is necessary but to lose yourself in the process is wrong. The language has enough English in it to make it a "Hinglish" industry. The remixing tactics involving rap-rock-hip hop style doesn't show the world an iota of what the culture of our great nation is all about. If anything, it gives them a wrong impression of our culture and its principles.

Now there was a time when the industry infact did produce movies that I watched but now it doesn't. If the industry is one of the carriers of India, it has done nothing to that affect. It has only marred the problem deeper changing all that is non-marketable in "Indianism" to the rest of the world in it for the rest of the world's pleasure. There is nothing to get distressed about in the fact that the rest of the world does not get the Indian Culture. Neither is there anything to celebrate about when they come to understand it .We shouldn't be compromising on that atleast in or films.

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