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Bollywood: Society, System & Self

Bollywood and Indian Society shares wonderful and mesmerizing relationship. Both are reflection of each other. Sometimes, it becomes difficult to find out, whether Bollywood reflects Indian society or Indian society is reflection of Bollywood. From Indian fashion trends to relationship trends, from routine life to romantic life Bollywood has played vital role in framing communal as well as individual experiences.
This week I came across typical commercial Bollywood movie, starring Salman Khan, named as KICK. For me, nothing was too special about the movie, except a thought, that Hero playing negative role and showing positive turnaround at climax, convincing the audiences that his steps was RIGHT for noble cause.

Villains are inseparable elements of Bollywood formula. As said above, since inception, Bollywood has reflected Indian society in very dramatic and interesting way. I attribute efforts of reflecting society in cinema to villains and not heroes. Villains are actually reflection of problems which society is facing while hero are imaginary solutions or methods of solving that problems. For instance, villains before independence were British colonizers; during 50’s were pity picketers and thugs; during 60s & 70s villains were smugglers; during 80’s villains were capitalists which gave birth to the iconic figure angry young men who was surrounded by labour class difficulties; during 90’s there appeared social villains who tried to sustain rigid marriage norms and tried to curtail romantic relationship between girl and boy from different class; the decade followed after year 2010 saw special kind of villains i.e. diseases (mental & physical) as projected by movies like Guzaris and Tare Zameen Par.

Interesting part of Contemporary Bollywood is its amalgamation of various perception and reflection of Indian society ranging from increasing stress levels in urban centres to gay & lesbian inclusiveness. Along with various sensitive issues Bollywood is also moving towards critical spiritual area of projection of reality. Movies like Bhag Milkha Bhag, Zindgi Na Milegi Doobara, Shaitan to name few are projecting urge of self-realization from commercial platform. While movies like Singham& Dabbangg, and others with similar genre has proven commercial success in projecting the urge to make ‘system’ corruption free.

Coming back to villains; since ages, Bollywood has clearly demarcated between hero(the Right) and villain(the Wrong) and this demarcation changed as society changed. The worrisome issue came up in mind is that the demarcating line between villain and hero is getting blurred in contemporary commercial Bollywood. More Bollywood stars are adopting anti-hero role or so called negative hero role. Movies like Once Upon Time In Mumbai, Dhoom, Kahani and most recently Ek Villain and Kickshowcased hero as adopting wrong means to achieve noble cause. The commercial success of these movies makes it clear assumption that Indian audiences are getting convinced with their hero about doing wrong things like a villain. Moreover, the villains are now seen as person in mob, its hard for hero to identify such villain and he challenges hero with moral/ethical questions (like joker does for Hollywood superhero).

If contemporary Bollywood is reflection of current situations in Indian society, then one has to be aware about the villains residing in our self and community in/for we live and die. These villains needs to be addressed by adopting RIGHT means. Decision of adopting RIGHT means to defend villains within us is toughest task I can foresee for Indian society with the hope that Indian society will revive its SELF HEALING attribute and will enable individual to defeat villains hidden in self  without adopting WRONG means.

This post first appeared on 4th Dimension, please read the originial post: here

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Bollywood: Society, System & Self


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