Now and Then.

Who the...?

Harendra Kapur.
Kyra Mathews.
Tejas Menon.

Ello All,
I just read a post by our very dear friend Anish . He watched New York and, very clearly did not like it. He's never been a Bollywood fan and you know what, it's hard to blame him. But, there's a trend I've found, usually in Indians living abroad (who have to sort of shoulder any labels attached to Bollywood and indeed ANYTHING Indian) wherein it's not that they don't like Bollywood but it's almost like it's offensive to them. Before I go any further I want to establish that to Anish and any other haters of Bollywood, I completely respect your opinions and am not in any way judging your arguments.
The trend I just mentioned, is the analysis of Hindi movies, with the expectations of English movies.
Here's the deal. We got the camera at the same time, if not before the likes of America. But we got it in very different situations. America was in the middle of a cultural boom (which is natural when you're making one from scratch) and we were in a sort of cultural rape, as I like to call it.
Satyajit Ray was just as boring and intense as say, Citizen Kane. Some of our actors and actresses were just as stunning and moving as some of theirs. But the movement was never on the same track. Not to say that either track was better, just that they were parallel and never intertwining.
Cut to today, while our drama flick of the month is New York, America's undoubtedly got a whole bunch of equally dramatic films coming out. For me, as a movie goer, sure, New York probably won't be without disclaimer, but the point is, as I've said time and time again, I AM NOT THE TARGET AUDIENCE.
The quote when you scroll down and look left will certainly seem hypocritical now, but the truth is, it's taken me almost two and half years of living in this country (and significantly- this city, Mumbai) for me to finally appreciate the intricate difference between film making in the Indian subcontinent and film making abroad.
In Tunisia, there is a film maker who makes films with his buddies and has his entire town in splits. Think Sweding but with slightly more original scripts. India's kind of like that. Our threshold for 'anything on film' has certainly decreased over the years but ultimately, our culture of watching films is nothing like the culture of watching English films.
You watch something like Star Trek for the story, the references, the ideas, the metaphors and the acting.
We watch Singh is Kinng for the dialogues, for the plot twists and the songs.
For God's sake we refuse to watch movies that are anything less than 2 hours long. Why? 'Because, dude, if I'm going to pay hundred rupees, atleast two hours ka film should be there na?'
There's a reason Indians get upset when people mock Indian movies. It's not for any reason. It's because if you insult an Indian film you're insulting our entire culture. You're insulting the way we laugh and eat a meal with our hands. You're insulting the way we'll watch serials with loud 'DHA DHA DHUMS!' just so that while we're getting food ready for the family, we don't miss too much because it's in slow motion anyway.
If Anish says New York is crap, I'll almost certainly agree when I DO see it. I'll concede that there is an air of stagnation in the industry. I'll concede that the way films are made here is often despicable. And I'll even concede that all you need is a pair of giant knockers (male or female) to earn in the industry.
But you cannot judge an Indian film with a normal eye. You HAVE to empathise and you HAVE to see it as though you're an Indian yourself. The same way we'll excuse random camera shifts and random cinematics in an uber deep french movie, we have to excuse the seemingly 'lesser' cinematics in our movies because, as I said earlier, they aren't made for us.
Basically, any Indian growing up with an international outlook is either completely isolated in that there's rarely any movies targetting us.
We're essentially smarter than everyone else because we can love ANYTHING.
The second option appeals to me a bit more. What about you?

3 responses to "In Bollywood's defence..."

  1. dude thats not true... its just an excuse to produce bad movies...
    there are awesoem hindi movies in the past and there are awesome movie today too... script, acting or even direction. As long as the story of the movie is original... the indian Hindi movies tend to well... teh minute they try and copy western movies... its always shit!
    Singh is king... even though is full of slapstic stupid humor, its an original plot and script, thats why it worked!
    All the movies anish spoke abt had original script and thats why they worked with people like us and the mass indian audience.
    i dunno abt New York, but thats the trend i have noticed in indian cinema, original script always works like Dhoom, Munna bhai, Dil chahta hai, rang de, Karan johar and ashotosh G and mehra movies... it works... they just fuking need to be more original man... i think making stupid movies in the name of stupid mass audience is Bullshit my nigga!


  2. wow i didnt really hope to get this sorta response. in my defence, without sounding too arrogant or ignorant or anything - the bottom line is i went to enjoy the movie and i didnt enjoy it in the way i wanted to. it might be a good film for the correct target audience and all that but to me it just didnt hit the right spot. it might have been a completely different experience for some other people and that makes sense. glad at least someone enjoyed it.

    this whole target audience kinda makes sense but is more of an over analysis in my opinion. a good movie is good - no questions asked.


  3. Dicy topic eh?
    I'm not endorsing unoriginality or anything like that. As I said, some of the things that happen are despicable.
    My only point is, that a film being 'good' and a film being 'enjoyed' are VERY different things.
    I watched Transformers 2 today. Rarely any significant plot, rarely anything worth remembering other than the action, and I LOVED it.
    Seeing what I saw was just so thrilling the other annoying stuff didn;t matter. The impact of the music and the shots and the robots was enough to excuse all other shortcomings. Enjoyment scale 9 on 10. Good movie scale, probably not a notch over 6.
    I can't say anything about New York because I haven't seen it yet, but it just strikes me that when viewing a movie out of context, it's likely to seem sucky. The context for most Hindi movies needs to be respected first.


The All of us.

The All of us.