Author – Shabia Fazal

The question is – to watch or not to watch?

Just as our beloved Hamlet was drowning in an ocean of confusion, we the audience of the hyped Bollywood drama are also facing the same position. This opinion arises from witnessing the current plight of Bollywood movies. Not naming any one movie in particular,  the astonishing fact is that every movie in the circle has the same plot, music, story (sometimes) and yes, of course, the loved and in-demand  ‘Item’ numbers.

Why is it that movies these days fetch box office numbers rather than focus on problems in the society? The popular movies support objectification and corrupt the mind and body, no matter whether it is of a man or a woman.

Gangs-Of-Wasseypur-Manoj-Bajpai,-Reema-Sen
Still from Gangs Of Wasseypur

There was a time when movies were a success not only due to an increase in box office collection, but because the actors refused to perform an intimate scene that they believed was against their culture. Yes, that was a time when one enjoyed real cinema.

A 90’s kid is surely in a state of dilemma, sitting right next to Hamlet. What makes these ‘masala’ movies a success? Is it the absurd comic timing or the continuous use of female leads as sex objects? No, I’m not resorting to feminism, but merely taking a look at their assumed triumph over the public viewpoint. Not to comment over the changing movie styles, but my query is whether- Bollywood reflects the Indian society.

Gangs-Of-Wasseypur-Manoj-Bajpai,-Reema-Sen
Still from Gangs Of Wasseypur

As a college student, I have never seen my Dupatta fly right onto the face of an extremely handsome guy, followed by an eye lock and subsequent ‘love forever’. Even in school, I never saw a Beyonce performing with a bunch of perfect dancers behind. So what is it that we see in the movies? According to the makers’ viewpoint, they are showcasing the society, but then, is this our society?

Anurag Kashyap yearns for production houses, but ‘The Happy New Year’ outdid every box office collection. This clearly shows the future; a time will come when we will question our own existence and culture!

Too serious? But the irony is that we still are not taking it seriously!

Bajrangi Bhyjan
Still from Bajrangi Bhyjan

Movies are not just for entertainment; today they represent western society, and regretfully things are not pointing the right way. The path chosen by movie makers may include passion not for society but to enter the 100 crore club.  Two recent movies that explored different concepts though, were Bajrangi Bhyjan and Baahubali. Where one has the power of Khan, the other one has the plot of an epic historical fiction. Both were favoured by the public due to its  different dimensions.

Bajrangi-Bhyjan
Still from Bajrangi Bhyjan

Bajrangi Bhyjan was initially considered to be a typical Salman khan ‘masala’ movie; no doubt it was, but eventually the message behind the movie was seen. In typical Salman Khan style, the message of friendship was shown in a dramatic manner. If we ignore the added drama, the message goes well with the situation we all are living in. It fits in perfectly to make the public understand the importance of love and friendship among two neighbouring countries. The social message was presented in a beautiful manner; the fame of Khan was finally used for a good cause.

Baahubali-Prabhas
Still from Baahubali

The next is Baahubali. Being a Telugu-based movie, it earned immense popularity among the Hindi-speaking masses. The story was simple but a beautiful experience was evoked in the mind of the audience. Unlike other digitalised movies, Baahubali made us proud about its creation. Being compared to Gladiator and Troy for its action sequences, Baahubali surely was a treat. The movie saw a great collection at the box office, but for the hard work and creativity, it deserved more.

Baahubali-Tamanna
Still from Baahubali

There are few movies that deserve box office money, awards, appreciation and all. Their success makes the public happier as we feel they do remember society while writing a story.

The movie ‘Queen’ by Kangana Ranaut was also an exception.  A low budget movie, it was well-received by the audience. What made it so popular, was its relation to the common people. The issue was not just about women’s rights, but it also made the people understand the need for individuality. To stand up for one’s self is something we all need to follow and believe.

Queen-Kangana
Still from Queen

These movies inspire and lead us to a future which talks less of corruption and has more of individuality. Apart from these high scale Bollywood works, a more inspiring form we cherish is the Short film production. They are like those soft-skill classes which teach you a lot in only a few attempts. Where a highly anticipated movie takes 2-3 hours to make a clear point, these short works of art take only a few minutes to  present a  point, that too with fantastic use of creativity. The sad part is the lack of funds for the producers to showcase issues which the society needs to focus on.

Bajrangi-Bhyjan
Still from Bajrangi Bhyjan

Neither kind of movie-making is new to us, nor the changes that are now taking place. Every art form demands change, but only those changes which help in raising social issues, not ignoring them further. It is the duty of every artist to present issues along with a solution, so that the people will cherish its making for a lifetime. An art form is memorised for its creativity, not for imitation.

The youth of today needs to distinguish between entertainment and cinema. The more we lean towards the idea of entertainment, the more senseless art will be offered. A demand for good cinema should be raised by every movie (art) lover, as they surely deserve more than just Sajid Khan and Honey Singh creations.

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Shabia Fazal
Born in Kashmir, brought up in Delhi and currently residing in Chennai. My journey from north to south is not less exciting than a book. An encounter with new cultures had a major influence in shaping my personality. I’m doing my Masters (English) from University of Madras. My interest in different cultures has helped me in gaining friendships of every possible individual around.