Shifting Terrains of Bollywood

It is very difficult to write about bollywood because it started when my grandfather was born, developed during my father's generation and evolving in my generation and this will go on. I can talk about my generation because I was not there at the time Mughal-e-Azam was released or at the time when Kagaz ke Phool was released. For me, cinema was started with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kabhi Khushie Kabhi Gham, Race or Anaconda. I have definitely watched many movies which were released way back to 50s or 60s but it is a real struggle to know the society of that time because society is a dynamic term and it is ever-evolving. So it is (for me) not less than a time-travel from 2019 to way back in 1948 or 1998.

I was planning to write something on Bollywood for a very long time but I was never able to put forth my emotions in words but I thought I must give it a try. Like any other Indian, I am also a movie buff. I was non-existing before 2000, and since then I have been watching films. I remember, I started my journey with a hindi-dubbed hollywood movie Anaconda at a cinema hall in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh which I think made a difference for me as an individual, it is always fascinating to watch and even talk about indian cinema with anyone.

Cinema is a representation of society and it must showcase the problems of the society. My grandfather was from a generation when India gained independence and as far as I remember he told me that in 1947 he watched a movie called 'Jugnu' which starred Dilip Kumar and Noor Jehan which was a way that it was completely different from patriotic movies which were made at that point of time, it was redefining in many ways, it really shifted the terrain from nationalism to some way romance and tragedy. If we talk about 1913 to 1947, we did see some wonderful movies which were hits in those days, during the Independence struggle movie were also packed and filled with patriotism and nationalism.

A movie named 'Pather Panchali' though it came a long back is still being watched and to break the conservative thinking of the society, it was somehow, very different from other movies, it was released in 1955 and was directed by Satyajit Ray. It was the first film made in Independent India to receive major critical attention internationally, placing India on the world cinema map. It was one of the first examples of parallel cinema, a new tradition of Indian film making in which authenticity and social realism were key themes. Pather Panchali was described as a turning point in Indian cinema, some commentators preferred the view that it redefined a "realist textual priciple" that was already there in Bollywood, no trend is permanent, it keels evolving, once this industry was ruled by Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, then came the Amitabh Yuga and after a few years it was the Khans but this year 2018, we saw a great difference than any other year, none of the Khans was a hit, it was rather actors like Ayushmann Khurana who were ruling this year.Gone are the days of Awara Hoon, Reshmi Salwar kurta jaali ka, nowadays good cinema is evolving again.

These days I try to watch movies which were not shown in cinema halls like Masaan, Ankhon Dekhi, Rajma Chawal, Adalat Jaari Hai. These films are really redefining the Hindi cinema, which is very good and hopeful for the future. A cinema is a result of deliberate efforts of actors, directors, producers, cinematographers and others and the success and acceptance of a cinema depends on the audience. As far as I believe, a cinema must try to break the stereotype of society and must try to address the issues prevailing in the society.

One movie which was released recently which was not a commercial success but honestly tried to address the issue of corruption. Newton which starred stalwarts like Rajkumar Rao, Sanjay Mishra and Pankaj Tripathi. Today, if we see from the revenue potential point of view then it seems impossible to even think and imagine about such change-making movies. When I talk this thing, I get a reply that we watch movies for entertainment and not for 'gyaan', they are not wrong but if a filmmaker think just to entertain they will bring two stars of 90s but there is no guarantee of them being equally famous today, that is something happened with Dilwale.

So, Bollywood is dynamic and it will continue  to change with every movie and it will never stop engaging the society. I think much has been said about Bollywood by experts, and I do not consider myself an expert but I can certainly stress upon watching movies to analyse the transition in bollywood from fiction to more realistic cinema.

Thank you!
Eshan Sharma