Give me Bollywood straight up!

With the latest movie Rocket Singh, I think Bollywood has finally come of age with its screenplay and story line. It was simple, realistic, entertaining, believable and powerful giving a message of hope and change. It further fortifies its genre in Bollywood and such films are on a rise and also are successful. In just 2 years, we have seen similar movies like A Wednesday, Welcome to Sajjanpur, Dor, Wake up Sid and Mumbai Meri Jaan. Of particular point to note in the last one is that the media always portrays Mumbai and its people as resilient and strong and their life is business as usual the next day. I am sure to a certain extent they are forced to follow this perfunctory life out of sheer necessity. The movie exposed the raw pain, fear and loss that people experienced and how they cope with it. It was heart-rending.

I think Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra and the likes of them should re-think their usual larger than life, unrealistic dramas or should I say sagas that were quintessentially Bollywood for decades. It was painful for me to watch Kal Ho Na Ho and KANK and I am kind of fed up with Shahrukh Khan, Kajol and Rani Mukherjee. I call this a Bollywood cocktail, sweet and dramatic.

And now the new movie of Karan Johar, My Name is Khan! The story has too many issues. As the name suggests it deals with an innocent Muslim’s plight in today’s world if his name is Khan. This theme alone would have been a monumental movie actually. But oh no, there is a twist – a Muslim who is innocent and whose name is Rizwan Khan and he has a milder variant of autistic disorder called Aspergar’s syndrome. Okay, this condition can affect anyone so it’s still okay. But it wasn’t enough for our Karan. So, thre is another twist. Our protagonist now is a Muslim whose name is Khan and who is autistic and who wants to meet the US President and obviously does not know or ignores all the protocols. Yeah, you can say he is socially handicapped because of his condition but I say melodrama! Sorry Karan, that don’t impress me much!

Is this a desperate move of Karan Johar to win an Oscar? He tried with Kurbaan too but it did not create even a stir. The only stir was about Kareena’s bare back. 🙂 At least Shah Rukh Khan has yet again impressed the masses and I am seeing good reviews of the movie. I will definitely see it but am in no rush.

So, where does 3 Idiots fit in? Well, this is the in between genre. Rang de Basanti, Fashion, 3 Idiots etc are movies that carry a powerful message but are not very realistic. The melodrama seeps in somewhere. Rang de Basanti’s disappointing moment for me was the politician ordering the police to beat up the old woman and the crowd. That’s bizarre! Actually, any good politician will just do the opposite – befriend the downtrodden, blame it on an innocent bystander and seize the day. Right? I knew it I should have been a politician! 🙂 

Since I seem to be drawing a parallel here with alcoholic drinks, I will classify this in-between genre of films as the popular drink, rum and coke. Real deal but with a lot of fizz! God help me, I am sure everyone will think I drink a lot. Go figure!

One more example is the whole delivery scene and making of electricity in the movie, 3 Idiots. It was downright, shall we say, idiotic? I have started reading the book on which this movie is based on and Chetan Bhagat seems to have handled it much more realistically so far.

"Transition of Bollywood"

Anyway, at one time, I loved movies that had the larger than life romance, a rehash of the usual rich girl, poor boy and daddy the villain. Ah! I can never forget DDLJ. I loved the song sequences shot in exotic locales, in rain and of course the dream sequence of floating in the clouds. I sill love the songs but I can’t sit through 2 1/2 hours of melodrama anymore.

I guess a lot of us now want our Bollywood straight up, not even ice. Give us more movies that have hard- core messages in an entertaining manner keeping the melodrama to the minimum. So, producers and directors, can you handle it?

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3 Responses to “Give me Bollywood straight up!”

  1. Ranga Rao Says:

    Anjana, that was a good post on the state of affairs in Bollywood. While Karan J/Shahrukh or rather the big banners continue to make movies for the masses, there is a going trend by younger folks in making more realistic films (rather for the multiplex crowd).

    Outside the cities, folks will still look forward to the traditional song & dance movies. But with movies like Wednesday/Fashion the trend is definitely changing for the better am sure there will be more realistic films.

    P.S. I always keep wondering why Karan Johar shoots most of his films outside India. May be he is a true business man and selling dreams 🙂

  2. Rohini Says:

    Nice post ! Definitely something we all concur with..especially the melodramatic,over glam(read unnecessary foreign locales),
    overdose of SRK and Karan Johar !

    However, the very name Bollywood is still color,music,dance and drama even today ! Thats what makes it magical and unique.

    But its high time the industry started making some meaningful cinema as well. As mentioned in the post, there have been such attempts by some
    new generation filmmakers.

    Infact, this attempt has been there for a long time… yesteryear movies like Vijeta,Mirch Masala, Arth,etc did prove to be different but unfortunately were labeled “Art Movies” !

    The appealing simplicity of movies like Chupke Chupke,Mili,Padosan,etc are totally lost in today’s gaudy cinema.

    I guess its the same story with the hindi film music as well ! Except a few recent catchy tunes , we tend to just forget most of the new jazz we hear !

    • kaffeinerush Says:

      @Rohini, so true. Mirch Masala is my all-time favorite. The last scene where she runs thorugh the piles of chillies… I was at the edge of my seat biting my nails. I miss Smita Patil, she was the best actress of our times. As for music, I think I should really write a new post. I hate the songs these days with English words, it’s ridiculous. Anyway, thanks a lot Rohini.

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