There is No Fate But What We Make: Complete degeneration of Indian films

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Complete degeneration of Indian films

Did this surprise you ? After all, aren't we making it to the
Oscars and Cannes of the world ? Doesn't that mean we are making
better films nowadays ?

No. We are making terrible films. A large majority of the films made
in Bombay are so bad that the producers should be jailed.

Time was when the films used to have a distinct storyline,
a good script and memorable songs that you could hum.
These days, films don't have even a semblance of a storyline.
Wafer thin plots masqueraded with titillating visuals are being
released, friday after friday. Even those which have some storyline
tend to be jingoistic fluff created to pander to the public just like our
politicians do to hide their ineptness ("Lagaan").

How come the central characters of most films are punjabi, upper
caste hindus (look for the surnames in the films: khanna,karan,
chaddha, chowdhri....) ? I bet the stock of people this represents is a
tiny part of the country. Yet, film after film,we go through the heroes'
love for "sadda punjab" or the heroines go through "karwa chouth".
Do you know what percentage of married women in India perform
karwa chouth ? You will be surprised.
I have nothing against any community but it's about time we saw a
malayalior a kashmiri or a manipuri character in the lead role.
Aren't they Indians ? Whatever happened to films like
"Amar Akbar Anthony" ?
Though sometimes reduced to stereotypes, you could find characters
from minority communities in mainstream films (not just in
"alternative" films like those by Nagesh Kukuanoor). I bet you will not
find any film today with a song like "Kancha re kancha re". Why ?

Talking about minority communities, have you noticed how we no
longer write the name of the film in Urdu on posters or on screen.
Why ? There was a time when Urdu words sprinkled dialogues and
film names -Muqaddar ja Sikandar, Namakharam, Noorie. And now ?
Unnoticed by the common man, Indian films have undergone a clear
de-Urdufication, much in thesame way German films purged out
everything semitic in the 1930s.

Yes, we made one film with a sikh protagonist recently. But how did
we portray him ? As a brainless policeman who cavorts with scantily
clad women !

Ah women ! they have received the worst treatment. We protest
about the daily soaps on TV and how they portray women as
weaklings. But what about films ? Do they portray women as
people or as objects ? Women are portrayed either as always
"sacrificing" for others sake (ala "karwa chouth") or as a brainless
seductress doling out item numbers.
What about the generation of children growing up on these signals ?
Girls who constantly watch this will growup with low self-esteem.
And the boys growing up watching this, will have an unbalanced
view towards women ?
Scarier !

Even though the society was no more enlightened back then,
at least the heroines would take charge of her life and take
people head on ("Seeta aur Geeta").

Call them simplistic. Call them unreal. The films earlier had a clear
message - you do good, you get good. You do bad, you get bad.
Black and white. But now, our misplaced sense of realism condones
today's genre of films where bad is cool and good is passe'.
Anything goes and is accepted in the name of realism. So women
are either shown as "all sacrificing" for others (how regressive!)
or breaking societal rules completely and indulging in the forbidden
or the unnatural.

Can there be a balance ?


At Thursday, September 22, 2005 2:39:00 AM, Blogger Anu said...

Nice article to begin with. I hate those bada baap, two sons, the heroine in skimpy clothes when she is a lover and wrapping herself in a saree, performing karva chouth kinda movies.

At Friday, September 23, 2005 4:19:00 AM, Blogger Lalitha said...

Oh well, it depends which way you look at it. It is the case of chicken and egg story, do films depict the current state of society or does society try and emulate the protagonists in the movies ?

Like Ekta Kappor's serials and her stand on them that the TRP rating reflects how much the common folk want to see her soaps never mind whether they make sense or not. That is the sad reality. Tackle the roots and not the symptoms.

At Friday, September 23, 2005 4:22:00 AM, Blogger Charu Majumdar said...

yes but people look for
leadership. We could argue that
Hitler was merely pandering to
the masses. But would that
be fair ?

At Tuesday, December 06, 2005 3:50:00 AM, Blogger Shankari said...

Aah! Charu, as a WOMAN, I am amaaaazed at the no. of women who actually DO 'perform' karva chauth, apply copius amounts of sindoor and sport other extremely visible signs of being branded by marriage! But theres always hope that even 1 woman can and does make a diff. Anyways, how many Charus & Ches are there among the males who also resort to and find comfort in their own stereotypes?!


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