Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Mass Vs Class : The Bollywood Story

            I read a catchphrase on a T-shirt ‘There are 10 types of people, people who understand Binary and others who don’t’. We all love to classify things and people- the most important classification in Arts/Entertainment, per me, is the Mass and the Class. Most of what is done is for one of these two types. Be it books or movies. Chetan Bhagat for example, is a writer for the masses whereas Kiran Desai's works are for, the class. No, I do not intend to look down upon people who read the books written by Chetan Bhagat but let’s face it, he writes movie scripts and not books. Anyway, this article is not a description about books or writers. but about my favorite subject ‘ BOLLYWOOD’. I love Bollywood so much that If I was paid to write about it, then I would choose to rent a room in the ‘Antilla’ (The mansion of the Business Tycoon Ambani)!

           Bollywood movies that are generally filmed for the masses have a few exceptions these days that cater to a certain class of people. Here, I would be talking about two movies - Race2 and Bombay Talkies -. The former being a recent release and the latter which is relatively new. And no, I did not watch them just now. But since the article might have a few spoilers that leaks the stories of the movies, I preferred to wait a few weeks

              For the uninitiated, ‘Bombay Talkies’ is a movie with 4 stories from 4 different Directors (Karan Johar, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar and Anurag Kashyap). Each Director was given a budget of Rs. 1.5 crore and was asked to direct a 25-minute short film. The movie was made to celebrate 100 years of Indian Cinema. This movie was one of the classics that I recently watched. It not only focuses on the Indian Society, but also due to budgetary restraints, relies on the 'goodwill' of big stars and the acting caliber of the theater artists.

              The movie also goes on to show why Anurag Kashyap is the best among the four and that Karan Johar would never actually make a movie that is close to reality. It also portrays Zoya Akhtar's apparent inefficiency to direct without her brother Farhan Akhtar and that Dibakar Banerjee has a lot to learn about film making. It’s one of the 'must-watch' movies released of late. , Since the movie is for the class audience and has no 'item songs' or larger-than-life characters, it did not make as much money as those movies that had an item number performed by Sunny Leone. But for anybody, who loves to get a pinch of salt with the food, please hurry yourselves up and rush to the cine to watch this movie.

               Race2, on the other hand, made a lot of money. It's a movie made for the masses in which the hero excels at almost everything, including a few Olympic sports. Only if such people would have been real, we would have got more medals in Olympics! The movie also has stunts akin to the ones performed in the Hollywood movies. A few scenes have been ‘inspired’ from the movies of the West and the characters, seemingly, had unlimited amount of money and brains that work faster and better than the beloved Indian comic character Chacha CHoudhary. And of course, there is no mention of any kind of department that is made for maintaining law and order in the society. I did have this feeling ( of where are the cops?) after watching ‘Rajneeti too’, but after the recently conducted polls in one of our neighboring countries, I was convinced that this is plausible.

               The movie has heroines, who are dressed in skimpy skin clutching clothes and they dance in a way that would embarrass even a few bar girls of Mumbai. It has something for everybody. There is a fight scene between two brawny and well-oiled hunks to woo the women in the audience. The song ‘Mujhe toh teri Lat Lag gayi’ (translates to I am Addicted to You) in the film has the new entrant heroine dancing with a step that perhaps will not be replicated on the floor cause of its cheapness, and if some still want to, may not cause it will spoil the lip-gloss or lip liner ;). Still the lyrics fascinated some women so much that they decided to dedicate the song on their Facebook pages for their husbands. Really? As If you had a choice.

                To summarize, I do not have anything against this kind of cinema. But the problem lies among the masses who love such films, thereby, forcing the film makers to make such movies rather than classics. It is almost like we start believing in such lifestyles which may prove to be detrimental to society. It is OK if Bollywood wants to walk down the Hollywood way, but then the latter also comes up with movies like ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Argo’ that bags all the Academy awards. We just have Aamir Khan and Kamala Hassan to pin our hopes on when it comes to classy cinema.

               A lot can be said about the Indian Cinema, just like Kashyap’s story in ‘Bombay Talkies’. But I would like to stop myself from going beyond these 2 movies. Woh Kya hai na..I don’t really get paid. ;-)