Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Rise of the Bollywood Movie Industry

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Bollywood movie industry is the second largest in the world, second only to Hollywood. It is based at India’s financial centre, Mumbai. Each year, hundreds of movies are produced under the linage of Bollywood, and the movies are in turn viewed by tens of millions of people.

In recent months, I have witnessed an amazing seismic change in the trend of Bollywood movies – the movies are now of much a more greater quality and are distinct in style as well as substance.

I remember that as recent as 2007/2008, Bollywood movies used to be centred on two main elements – romance and comedy whilst to a lesser extent, there used to be action films too and also the occasional movie depicting social struggles.

Firstly, the romance and love themed movies lacked contrasting variations and gripping emotional storylines. Films such as Kal Ho Na Ho, Devdas and Om Shanti Om were good to watch, but not entirely great!

Besides that, the sense of humour in comedy-genred films seemed to be clichéd and abhorrent to say the least, though I did have a good laugh at times. The similarity of plots is very evident in movies of this genre such as Gol Maal, Phir Hera Pheri and The Maal.

Speaking of action films, the likes of Dhoom and Krrish were short on explosive and dynamic features that usually define an action film. Needless to say, this only confirmed the inferiority of Bollywood compared to Hollywood in making appealing action flicks.

The one element that was least exploited by the movie makers and producers were films based on moral virtues, social hardships and our day-to-day practical lives. However, that fact has been rectified, and that too with a rousing success as directors have started to convey these messages with efficiency.

To start with, I watched 3 Idiots. Truth be told, the movie is anything but about 3 idiots. Instead, it is on the sheer intelligence of Rancho, who prefers practicality to theory. The movie has a glaring stroke of originality, and touched on the many social defuncts that envelope our community today.

Next, there was Paa. Though this movie did not get much reception, but it is another meaningful and touching movie that is centred on a 12 year old boy suffering from Progeria, an age-accelerating disease. The movie also had elements on how to win politics using a non-dirty path.

Presently, I hear from my friends that My Name Is Khan is another must-watch movie as it portrays the racial inequality that had to be endured by Muslims in the West post-9/11. And the lead character in this movie also has some sort of disorder.

So, why the sudden shift? Is it a coincidence or a gradual increase in the intellectual ability of the Bollywood filmmakers? My two-cents is that the Bollywood landscape has undergone a positive makeover, for it has matured, therefore delivering excellent quality films for viewers.

For instance, the movies are closer to the hearts of the people as they see it to be related to their everyday lives, and the growing number of disabilities, diseases and disorders that are being portrayed in Bollywood films give more awareness to the public and at the same time hope to those afflicted with these defects.

If this trend continues, then there is a good chance that Bollywood films would be able to successfully penetrate the Western markets, as the way in which these films are represented is far better than how Hollywood would produce a similar movie.

More importantly, the jokes and slapstick comedy that make up this new generation movies are fresh, and they have a more cerebral value to it, not at all like the lame old comedy-genred Bollywood films.

No doubt Bollywood is far away as compared to Hollywood in producing seat-edging action films, but by focusing more of its energy on creating even better new-generation films that touch the hearts of the masses would consolidate the rise of the Bollywood filmmaking industry.


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