The cultural background in India
India has a superfluous cultural background that reflects in her colors, attire, food, literature, songs and off course our very own Bollywood movies. Because Hindi is our Rajya Bhasha, the most popular form of entertainment stands to be Hindi Movies, or what we popularly know as Bollywood. The command that Bollywood has over our lives is amazing. From regular lifestyles to dressing sense, politics to religion and even thought processes, Bollywood dominates every Indian’s school days, love life and relationships, camaraderie, conjugal life and even death and mourning to an extent.
Growth of the industry
However, the initial growth of the industry must be known, for a better understanding of the “hangover” effect that this industry has on us. The journey began as early as 1920, with movies like Raja Harishchandra and Alam Ara, the former being a silent film and the latter, a talkie. Raja Harishchandra movie was based on the popular Ramayana and Mahabharata character, a righteous king, who sacrificed all his worldly possessions and his family, only to pay his debt to Vishvamitra, the sage. This movie probably portrays the Indian culture of Guru Dakshina and Guru Bhakti, values that have been taught in our religious epics, which is a positive message to the audience.
Alam Ara on the other hand reflects a royal love story, which is almost an old tradition in India, princes in love with gypy girls is a common tale that allures all teenagers. The Bollywood tales in those days were more realistic, with a blemish of fantasy and values from our epics. They hardly had a negative impact on the audience, and rather reflected a clear account of the history of India, which is a positive aspect.
Revolution in Indian movies
The 1947 wave of independence gave Indian Cinema its revolution, and movies became more socially aware on issues like polygamy, dowry, prostitution, and this brought in the enlightenment of Indian Cinema. The historical flowery details began to be overtaken by activist movies that sought the attention of the masses, called in everyone for igniting the change in India, and this was the break through that Indian Cinema needed. We were blessed to have great film makers like Satyajit Ray and Bimal Roy, who changed the concept of cinematography. Rwitwik Ghatak, another marvelous director continued the legacy of movies made on strong social issues.
On a much later time scale, Bollywood movies turned to the Masala genre, the genre made for the common masses who seek entertainment after a tiring day. This created a frivolous light mood for audiences of all shades. On one hand, the movies fed their viewers with a light hearted mood, on the other, they ate into the thought process of the people. There were stereotypic discriminations of the Indian women, the Aadarsh Bharatiya Nari was portrayed in saree, with a low cut blouse while the Whore was depicted in fully covered jeans. The irony was, the woman in Saree had more exposed skin, than the one in jeans, and the overall scenario was that women were objectified on the basis of the clothes they wear. It would not be a surprise that Indians still reflect this exact mentality that Bollywood infused into their minds. So many conservative people speak lowly of the women who chooses Western Clothes over the Indian attire. Whats worse, they judge character, and it’s not a surprise if a politician here in India comments that a lady clad in Western Clothes could be raped, because she provoked male attention.
Woman in Indian movies
Women in movies these days, are made to wear scanty clothes in Item Numbers, a recent trend is that every movie must give space to a vulgar song, with cheap lowly words, and the scene must be shot around in some wild location with only one lady and several men surrounding her, as she dances to the tune of this vulgarity. Lyrics like “I am a piece of meat, gulp me down with a bottle of hooch” not only objectify women, but also make the male viewers think lowly of all the women around him. Under privileged and illiterate men begin to think of women as entertainers, and hence become more fascinated with the idea of rape and brutality and crimes against women. It naturally becomes the responsibility of the director to refine the standards of Indian Bollywood cinemas, since it caters to such a massive audience. They can’t necessarily dominate thought processes and turn harmless ignorant viewers into rapists and criminals.
Modern issues in Indian cinema
But off course, we can’t deny that certain great film makers are coming up with some modern films which concern the society, abstract thoughts, homosexuality, sexuality, fashion, fetishes, etc. We also have some strong women centric movies which have stolen our hearts. Brilliant movies like Talvar, Masan, Qissa, Margarita with a Straw, Majhi the mountain Man, Drishyam, have definitely stolen the hearts of all the people who watched them. But the audience who watch these unconventional movies is rare and hence the spectrum being poor. What we need now is a set of great directors, who will condemn the orthodox Bollywood movies and will move the industry into a new wave and a fresh breath of more structured and matured movies, and who will recognize women in their true spirit and celebrate the existence of both man and woman with equal joy. Only then can we imagine India in a new Avatar where the females and males are respected equally, which will resolve the gender discrimination issues in our country. The intellectual thinkers and ardent lovers of Movies are looking forward to a plethora of thought provoking, brilliant dazzling movies from Bollywood that would probably change the outlook of India, bring in more voluminous content and meaning to this age old industry, our very own Bollywood.
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