LIGHTS, CAMERA & ACTION is an essay written by Shuchismita Ghoshal and shared with The Ugly Writers under the theme The Games We Play.
LIGHTS, CAMERA & ACTION
The Hindi film industry of Mumbai, popularly renowned as ‘Bollywood’ has fascinated Indian society for decades now. Since childhood, we are even influenced by Hindi films more than anything. Being a Bengali brat, I had no scarcity of good entertainment as our Tollywood industry creates some voluptuous number of elegant movies but still can’t deny the fact that SRK opening his arms for ‘Tujhe Dekha To Ye Jana Sanam’ song has blown our hearts away in the blink of an eye every time we experience it in the big screen. Movies and the gossip of movies have turned into another religion in India, undoubtedly.
Bollywood has been a part of our daily life. From being happy to turning sad, excelling in exams, celebrating any occasion like marriage ceremonies, birthday parties, engagement parties, and other Bollywood and its songs have been playing a pivotal role. If you are a foreigner, it is highly suggestible to attend a Indian wedding where you can find ladies attired in the ethnic garments modeled after any Bollywood song featured them in a ‘baraat’ song. For another example, we fantasize our mood with the romantic song of Bollywood when we just lose our hearts to someone and when it breaks into pieces, our tears find their home in a Bollywood heartbreaking song. Everything finds shelter under the umbrella of our silver screen.
Bollywood leaves a deep impact on our fashion industry too. Any outfit adorned by any Indian actor or actress in a massive hit movie immediately gets into the latest trend among the masses. Tailors find their new inspiration. We have seen a lot of Anarkali suits and jewelry sets inspired by the movie “Jodha-Akbar” (2008), the ‘masakali’ suit from the movie “Masakali”(2009), the mastani salwar from the movie “Bajirao Mastani” (2015) and so on. One of the earliest movie influences on Indian fashion was Madhubala’s anarkali suit from the movie “Mughal-e-Azam”(1960) made up of long flowing churidars and kurtas. This Anarkali Kameez is still popular today, around 60 year after the movie was released.
While talking about the effect of Bollywood, how can we forget the very famous dance steps? Our youngsters copy them day and night and this ever-increasing craze will never fade away. I still remember how Hrithik Roshan’s steps in the song ” Ek Pal Ka Jeena” have been copied for a million times by our maddening youth. The movie “Kaho Na Pyaar Hai” itself set a milestone in the industry. We can not simply disagree that we love to groove our waists with the superhit dance numbers of Bollywood. Be it a picnic or a party, these songs will never lose their charm.
Bollywood has easily beaten Hollywood in terms of the number of tickets sold annually. But Indian cinema being the male-dominated one, portrays the role of women as per a man’s viewpoint. And this brings a lot of negative effects in our society too. The overrated item numbers which Bollywood produces repeatedly for business purposes directly encounter women in an abusive way. Songs like “Chammak Challo”, “Munni Badnam Hui” , “Fevicol Se” etc undoubtedly objectify women. There is no way to omit the difficulties and harassment faced by the middle-class women in public vehicles and day-to-day life for the wrong impression of these Bollywood songs. It is highly condemnable that we live in a society where women are judged on the basis of so-called spicy songs.
Films like “Kavir Singh”(2019), “Uri- The Surgical Strike”(2019), “Thappad” (2020), “Shubh Mangal Savdhan”(2017), “Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhan”(2020), “Article-14” (2019) etc have undoubtedly weaved magic in our society for the societal and patriotic message they have spread through their contents. We are so into the movies that we start glorifying characters in our lives too.
There are many movies that literally change our lives, our vision, our perspective, our thinking, and our intuition. Bollywood movies are the ones that change our way of life. It would be apt to conclude with Benedict Anderson’s argument. Anderson writes, “Nationality, or as one might prefer to put it in view of that word’s multiple significations, nation-ness, as well as nationalism are cultural artifacts of a particular kind.
To understand them properly, we need to consider carefully how they have come into historical being, in what ways their meanings have changed over time and why, today, they command such profound emotional legitimacy.”
Please support Shuchismita Ghoshal by reading her previous entry at The Ugly Writers: