If you have read my ‘Happy Immigration Day’ post you’ve established I’m from India. It also implies I’m Indian. By default it means I’ve been exposed to Bollywood. Bollywood is the movie industry, based in my hometown of Bombay (Sorry, I will never come to terms with the shitty name of Mumbai). I grew up watching Bollywood movies, the same way most of the North American’s grew up watching Hollywood movies, it’s unanimously the default option. What is Bollywood you ask? Lets start with the history of the industry. The name is derived from Bombay and Hollywood = Bollywood. Now that was a simple derivation. But here’s the kicker – Bollywood was NOT the first movie industry in India. It was ‘Tollywood’, the other movie industry that started around 1930’s and derived its name from Hollywood. However, around the 1970’s, Bollywood became the largest producer of movies and gained international recognition for doing so. I mean, c’mon – beating American’s in the industry that was popularized by them? Apparently a big deal.
The movie industry truly took off after the Indian independence and produced some classic movies which I have never seen, but my grand parents and every one in that age group seem to think so, and I’m certain they are correct given the current state of the industry, which is the entire point of this post. But before I dwelve into it, let’s move to the 70’s-80s. Films such as Sholay, and Deewar came into existence, and one of the major actor’s of that generation was discovered – Amitabh Bachchan. Then came the 90’s, the time frame I was part of and can remember fairly well and movies like Andaz Apna Apna, Qayamat se Qayamat Tak, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge came into existence giving a rise to the three Khan’s – Salman, Shah Rukh and Aamir. Actresses Kajol, Karishma Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit lit up the screens for the next few years. It was also during this time, comedies started gaining popularity and movies starring Govinda became huge hits.
Every one loved this genre of movies because Indian’s treat movies as a form of escapism. For the most part, a love story with the most typical plot and some songs will be a guaranteed hit provided the cast is of the peoples choice. During this time action films gained popularity as well and gave rise to Akshay Kumar, who became synonymous with any action movie to come into existence during that period. Let’s move to the 21st century. This is when Bollywood gained massive international recognition for it’s work, and due to that the movies became more elaborate, expensive – which translated to much better editing in movies, better story lines, exciting plot’s and intense action and emotion on screen. This continued on till the ending of the last decade – which is where we are pretty much at now.
I just re-lived my movie buff years as a Bollywood fan while writing the post, and realized the last good movie I saw and can recommend to anyone is 3 Idiots. That movie was made in 2009. TWO YEARS AGO. I’ve also realized I’ve reduced watching movies from Bollywood because they’ve started churning out absolutely garbage now in the name of “making a movie”. Movies such as Dabaang and Dum Maaro Dum are gaining popularity, and the once action star Akshay Kumar has been part of a disaster since his last movie, Singh is King. Everything has been downhill for him since then – yet he continues to be part of absolutely trashy plots.
Another issue I have is – in Bollywood, having no story, but throwing in some sex and make-out sessions sells. WTF PEOPLE? Watch Porn instead, instead of continuing to support this kind of nonsense instead.
Please for gods sake stop doing re-makes. The movies that are remakes seem watered down, and tasteless. If you want to see how truly bad a remake can get, watch the Sholay remake, who’s name should not been mentioned because it was THAT BAD.
And my final pet peeve with Bollywood in general – STOP COPYING MOVIES FROM HOLLYWOOD. This truly enrages me. I mean, get inspired by an idea and derive your own – don’t be fucking Anu Malik (he’s blatantly copied music from other western artists in the past and made a song which has gone on to sell millions of copies).
At this point in time, there is ONLY one actor who has produced mega hits consistently, and always picks challenging roles and interesting ideas and concepts. You should already be able to guess – it’s none another than Aamir Khan. Every other male and female actor has come and gone (Dharmendra, Rishi Kapoor), tried to come back and failed miserably (Govinda) or just pain suck (pretty much the entire new generation of movie actors, including the Ranbir Kapoor).
Bollywood – you guys need to revive yourself. You’ve lost the status of making meaningful movies. Nobody can take you or your movies seriously if you keep producing garbage. Why do these project’s even see the light of the day is beyond me. It tells me two things, either the Indian crowd really just wants to watch absolute garbage (I truly hope that isn’t the case) or you guys simply just have way too much money and have NOTHING better to do. I hope in this decade, the table’s will turn, and it isn’t just going to be Aamir Khan or Hritik Roshan standing out (which he probably will), and more logical, cleaner, meaningful movies are produced. I want to align with my movies, feel the stress and emotion like I did in Sholay, Black, 3 Idiots, Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar ke, Dil Chahta Hai, Satya, Corporate, Page 3, Andaz Apna Apna, Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander etc. Please, do it for humanity!
A once loyal Bollywood movie buff from Bombay.
PS: I’ve still not seen Ghurazish, but I hear that’s the only ‘good’ movie to have come out in recent times by another promising actor Hritik Roshan, so I apologize for not including it in this post. And thank you for reading my rant.
Source: I google'd for Bollywood history, I didn't actually know that much of the 30's-80's era in Bollywood. But primary source: Rediff/ Times of India and Wikipedia.