Planet Bollywood
Real Versus "Reel"
- Shruti Bhasin           Let us know what you think about this feature article

Reel Life vs. Real Life (aka "The Downfall of Bollywood")

Over the last few weeks, Bollywood fans have had to endure much commercial hype of several big films. Some based on circumstances, other on coincidences, and some depictions of actual events.

I have been watching Indian films for so long, I know that if I attempted to write a script, I would succeed in showing real life drama into reel life drama.

I think many films that are made nowadays are for one of 3 reasons: 1) to make money; 2) to get a message across; and 3) to entertain. I believe most filmmakers tend to focus on factor number 1 and sometimes 2 that they forget number 3. The audience watches films to be entertained, forget their sorrows, see a real message. Sometimes, we have to sit over 2 hours just to see what will happen, only to realize that we already knew the ending.

There are so many examples of movies not really showing reality and it does bother me at times because the stories we see are not based on the average person (mind you, it depends on who is making the film – I mean, its obvious when you watch a David Dhawan film, you’ll shut off your brain).

So, here are some things that are ridiculously portrayed on the reel screen:

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

Pehli nazar mein mujhe pyar ho gaya (yaar)”! We have heard this line many times, but does love at first sight exist? We’ve seen guys falling for girls and girls falling for guys, but for what reason? Beauty? Let’s take the example of the film 2004’s movie Run. Abhishek Bachchan’s character is on a bus and falls for Bhumika Chawla in 5 seconds. She gives him one look and he is GHAYAL. Ok, so if this happened in reality, maybe the girl has a boyfriend, or a fiancee, or a husband, but in the reel case an over protective psychotic brother. It is funny how in films 99% of the time the person who falls in love at first sight, ends up with their love. Sure, when you feel a physical attraction to someone, you feel this surge of energy, but it is only when you get to know the person that you will you determine if it is love or plain infatuation. What if the person is a snob, shallow, superficial, and has deep dark secrets? In real life, will you say I LOVE YOU after meeting once, maybe even twice, like we see in movies? Personally, I think not!

MARRIAGE (People who are couples)

Here’s something that is sort of related to the first point. Now that people have fallen in love in a matter of days, it is time to meet the parents and talk marriage. I know people who have been dating for over 10 years, and they still did not tie the knot. When I see some films talking about a guy and a girl falling in love and talking marriage in a couple of weeks, I find it impossible to believe.

Furthermore, we see people prepare for weddings in a matter of days. Example: in many films, a family pandit says that a good time to be married is (let’s say) 2 days. The parents of both sides say: “Koi baat nahin” and they have everything set for the BIG DAY. In the real world, wedding cards go out well in advance, and since life is so fast paced, I would be surprised to see 100% of the guests show up on short notice.

COINCIDENCES

Don’t get me wrong! I love when coincidences occur to me, but sometimes in movies, they are so far fetched, you cannot help but laugh. In a previous article I wrote, I spoke candidly on how Nagesh Kukunoor’s film 3 Deewarein, which made me believe in coincidences. Why? Because the story made sense and in the end all the pieces fell into place perfectly. In real life, when coincidences occur, we tend to take them seriously because the probability of something like it happening is slim. In 2004’s MAIN HOON NAA, we saw Shah Rukh’s character going to Darjeling to protect Kabir Bedi’s daughter. Just by chance, his long-lost half brother also studies with the daughter and to top it off, they are the best of friends. What are the chances that you track your long lost family? I know people try detective agencies and all types of services to find someone, but all Shah Rukh had to do was be in the right place at the right time.

THE SLEAZE

2004 began with films based on affairs. We were flooded with films such as: Tum, Murder, Hawas, Masti . . . only to realize that the each film was missing the real story; in 2005, we saw the sleazier films like LAILA, MASHOOKA, DOUBLE CROSS, SHEESHA, etc. At least when Hollywood film show sex in movies, they have class, the herd of producers running to make sex comedies is definitely a negative impact on the industry. I know quite a few people, who are not Indian, yet they enjoy Bollywood films. The image of trashy films brings down the image of Hindi films and is not what is garnering their attention.

So, the list is endless . . . quality is missing from many films that are released because people are trying to make a quick buck. Look at KYA KOOL HAIN HUM, it remains the biggest earner of the year and it had nothing special about it. Moving, thought-provoking films get ignored by the public because they don’t want to watch some real issues on the big screen. Sure, there is nothing wrong with just being entertained, but sometimes, it is important to give dramatic films a chance.

I find it impressive when stars like Shah Rukh Khan (Swades), Rani Mukherji (Black), Amitabh Bachchan (Viruddh), Tulip Joshi (Matribhoomi), Saif Ali Khan (Parineeta), Sanjay Suri (My Brother Nikhil), Kareena Kapoor (Chameli), Salman Khan etc. portray roles which catch us off-guard and make us think. There are many more stars who’ve chosen unconventional roles; it is important that film makers continue to portray some real-life issues on the screen so viewers can relate to them and enjoy the cinematic experience more.

Finally, it is important to understand that decades ago, almost all films, big or small, carried a message. Whether it starred big stars like Dilip Kumar or under-rated ones like Rajinder Kumar, films had a meaning. Distributors and producers are obviously losing money. Bollywood continues to go through turmoil because people either await for big commercial films to release, ignore smaller quality films, or already know that nowadays movies have become boring. With hundreds of films releasing in the year, we can only count a select few that stand out and succeed. When will Bollywood get back to the normal days of successful films releasing? We’ll have to wait and see!


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