Hindi movies: ignorance of a chinar tree or graveness of a barren desert?

28 Nov

“I hate Hindi movies. They don’t make any sense to me”, said the average Indian youth.

“I cannot watch anything else except Hollywood movies. Hindi movies are so lame”, said the girl with the Louis Vuitton bag resting in the crook of her arm, flicking her poker straight hair haughtily over her shoulder.

“Hindi movies are so clichéd. Melodramatic dialogues, poor quality action sequences and effects, slapstick comedy and toilet humour and song lyrics that are absurd to the point of being intolerable”, said the intellectual literature student with a face contorted with blatantly unveiled disgust.

Every time I hear such statements, I find myself invariably rising up to defend the honour of Hindi cinema. Being a fan and supporter of Hindi movies, I try to vehemently oppose these opinions of people of different backgrounds and interests, which ultimately lead to a unanimous loathing and contempt for Hindi films. However, I find myself at a loss for words when I try to oppose them, I clamour for appropriate retorts which would defy their accusations completely. My conscience pulls at the hem of my pants and draws my attention to my own affirmation with these very criticisms. Many a times have I returned from a movie theater complaining about having spent almost 3 hours and 300 rupees in vain just to stare at some unprofessional acting by a very beautiful and well endowed actress and humour that made me cringe in my seat and regret having come with my parents, only to be rendered stupefied the next day when I read the newspaper reporting that very movie having made the highest collections at the box office that year.

Having said this, I would like to applaud for the groundbreaking filmmakers and actors who have made successful attempts in trying to change the shape of the curve of Bollywood movies. Ranging into varying genres, some of which did not even make it the multiplexes in big cities, let alone the theaters in small towns, a list of my personal favourites would include, Escape from Taliban, Dor, Well done Abba, Teen Deewarein, Sikandar, Parzania, Stanley ka dabba, Blue Umbrella, to the more recent and celebrated, Taare Zameen Par, Iqbal, Barfi, English Vinglish, Kahaani etc. There are other remarkable pieces of work that sometimes never even make it to the release because of lack of funds(not many are brave enough to risk their capital into something that is not mainstream). Some of these movies have indeed been huge hits, whether it be due to the glamorous star cast or vigorously carried out promotions. However, it also suggests that there is a certain group of people who do appreciate such cinema, however small it may be.

It then makes me wonder what exactly appeals to the masses to catapult the brainless movies to such high peaks, in just one day.

An assumption that I can safely make is based on the “beautiful is good” phenomena. It states that physically attractive people are assumed to be superior to others on many other traits, thereby overshadowing the (lack of) other important qualities. This may explain why a movie starring a fair complexioned actress (a very important characteristic in Indian culture) with a well maintained figure, and a tall actor with rippling muscles but a cute boyish smile tends to do amazingly at the box office, even when it lacks a good story line.

Another possible explanation is what I have heard from many of my own acquaintances who admit that after a hard day’s work, they are not tempted to watch thought provoking movies but rather want to leave their brains at home and cool their eyes on exotic foreign locations, expensive fashion ensemble and men and women gyrating on the celluloid. “Paisa vasool”.

Being a psychology student, a personal assumption I would attempt to make is that as human beings, our psyche is highly complex and there resides a huge mass of unspoken and un-encountered thoughts, wishes and fantasies which try to manifest themselves through media such as art, literature and of course, the cinemas. Most of us being ‘escapists’ by nature, try to escape and lose ourselves, if only for a short period of time into the beautiful Swiss mountains and chiffon sarees blowing in the wind and perfect relationships; to name a few colours in the entire spectrum of rainbow as presented by these movies. Now who would like to escape into a world of doom? A world of mental and physical deformities, abject poverty, sex trafficking and other such unspoken social evils which reside in every part of the country as stubborn as an oil stain on a white piece of cloth.

All these arguments stand justified at their position, since cinema is widely considered as the most attractive form of recreation, and a light movie is always welcome in times when life is so fast paced and complicated. But let us not forget that cinema is also the biggest mass reaching  media which holds the power to depict important issues and create the much needed awareness among people in an engaging manner.

Thus, I would like to urge people to support the novel attempts made by bold film makers which bring important issues to the forefront than just sit through 90 minutes of mind numbing blabber with an item song thrown in about a certain munni or jalebi bai.

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5 Responses to “Hindi movies: ignorance of a chinar tree or graveness of a barren desert?”

  1. nikku December 1, 2012 at 8:14 am #

    cant fail 2 disagreee madam gud analysis…

  2. Mayur December 1, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Alright, at first it looked like it was gonna be an input on english vs hindi cinema but later it turned out to be a mainstream hindi vs the outta the box hindi.. however, ur so right abt the exausted brain being biased towards a nonsense comedy evn though it knws its a copy of a movie already made in south..m a call center guy, for me a weekend is a huge festival that comes after 5 days of sheer slogging trying to achieve targets that r just a lil over impossible. I too dnt wanna watch a movie on my weekend tats starin at the backrooms of a brothel or talking abt the 7% raise in poverty or 700% raise in curruption.. But ya it is important to support the unorthodox nd i’ll try. lets jst hope my fridays at wrk r bettr thn the recent ones.. great wrk 🙂

  3. Shruti December 1, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    Very good piece! Keep writing!

  4. Nicholas Legends January 13, 2013 at 8:00 am #

    well said … it’s true that many movies these days r absolute crap and a waste of hours of ur life which you will never get bak … 😛 … but tht doesn’t mean ppl shud put dwn bollywood on a whole … as u said English Vinglish was definitely a gud movie even if others tht came out arnd the same tim was mindless dribble … 😛
    as fr certain ppl who assume tht they r too gud for the movie … for starters im pretty sure they dnt understand Hindi enough to get jokes apart frm slapstick humor … but no1’s forcin thm to watch … nd they shud b proud tht apparently they hav better taste than, oh i dont knw … a few million ppl or so ! 🙂 (yes, heavy on the sarcasm ! ;D)
    well written ! mor mor mor ! ;D

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