Realm Of Randomness

February 27, 2007

Bollywood – Stuck in a moment

Filed under: Opinion,Rant — Randomizer @ 6:42 pm

I read Naseerudin Shah’s criticism of Bollywood here and I must say, he is just so spot on. Quoting from the article he says that Countries are producing the most incredible movies and we (India) are still plodding on with our boy-meets-girl safe, old formula. That is the reason I think our films aren’t taken seriously’.

How ironical is it that Deepa Mehta’s ‘Water’ was a Canadian entry at the Oscars ? When she was filming in India, we actually threw her out ! She went on to make the film in Sri Lanka and then got an Oscar nomination for Best foreign film as a Canadian entry. This shows a thing or two about making films in India:

(1) Artsy movies which deal with real issues – Black friday, Parzania, Water to name a few – are either completely banned or are met with radical opposers who threaten to burn theaters that play the movies down ! To say India is not an encouraging place to make ‘real movies’ would be quite an understatement.

(2) There is no audience for these movies in India. Neither viewers of that maturity nor politicians.

(3) When it is a given that a Bollywood movie has to have 5 songs, 2 A-list stars and a happy ending – how much room for creativity IS there ? Rang De Basanti was a great movie – but it was a commercial hit, not an Oscar worthy one.

The state of Bollywood could best be described as the title of a U2 song ‘Stuck in a moment’. We have been making Boy-meets-girl formula movies since the 1950’s , and we will continue to do so. Imagine if Hollywood stuck to this mentality too – We would have had a million ‘Sounds of Music’ by now !

Whenever issues like these come up in India, there are the handful of self-righteous people who say , ‘Why are we always looking to the West for validity?’. This question has been asked at various times in the past, recently for our lack of getting nominated at the Oscars, and at Shilpa Shetty when she decided to appear on the Big Brother UK and got racially targeted. To those critics, I have only this to say to them:

If you are happy being the king of your garden, that’s fine, but there are people out there who like to test themselves on a global scale, in the international arena, up against some of the world’s best. We have already established ourselves as technical geniuses in the world. Getting recognised as a powerhouse of creative talent – is a long, long way to go – but can be acheived nevertheless, starting with a little more encouragement.

Invalidating the need for competition itself , in my opinion, serves no purpose whatsoever.



  1. I would rephrase “We have already established ourselves as technical geniuses in the world.” as

    “We have already established ourselves as technical workhorses in the world.”

    As you point out yourself, “Getting recognised as a powerhouse of creative talent – is a long, long way to go “

    Comment by sharath — March 2, 2007 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  2. Though ‘Workhorses’ would definitely be the case when speaking of outsourcing :), I’d say that in the US techie industry esp Silicon Valley, the Indians and Chinese definitely share a good amount of positive stereotyping in terms of technical superiority.

    Comment by Randomizer — March 2, 2007 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

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