Bollywood, as the Oxford Dictionary describes it, “is a name for the Indian popular film industry, based in Mumbai (Bombay)”, but we all know that it’s much more than that. The glitz, glamour and flamboyance of Bollywood cannot be overruled. From small budget unconventional movies to those oozing with extravagance, we have a film that fits in each end of the spectrum. Be it aspirations of a middle class family, lost lovers separated by disease or family feuds, or a superhero in the making- Bollywood has a movie on everything. With over 200 films being released per annum, we are surely doing something right.
An ideal Bollywood film would be a careful amalgamation of publically loved actors, ornate dialogues, selfless soliloquies, songs that scream meaning and grandeur and a simple yet enticing story that lets all of the above coexist. Even though many parts of this entertainment industry are hit and miss, one cannot deny that Bollywood has definitely become a way of life. Those 3 hours in the movie theatre give us a chance to envisage our dreams by living vicariously through the characters of our beloved actors. A “good” movie continues to grow on us even after having watched it many moons ago.
The unrealistic expectations and the predictability of these movies has been debatable for years, but how many of us are willing to pay money to watch lives falling apart because of “real-life” problems? Don’t we see plenty of that already? Cinema is a kind of escape, and a getaway from our sad, mundane lives and it should be treated that way. Salman Rushdie, a British Indian novelist has aptly described Bollywood movies as “Epico-Mythico-Tragico-Comico-Super-Sexy-High-Masala-Art.”
There is a multitude of movies that are based on Indian history and culture. They’re educating, self-acquainting, eye-opening and classic examples of India’s ethics and ethos. The beaus and debutantes of Bollywood are gaining recognition all over the world for their work in the film fraternity, with many of them already venturing in Hollywood. Not only does this bring them in the limelight, but it also opens various doors for India, as a country, to present itself in its entire valour.
In a country like ours where a significant part of our population cannot read or write- the lyrics, monologues and dialogues of Bollywood films is their only access to prose and poetry. And even though tripping on a banana peel and landing into the arms of our lovers is a moment that most of us might not experience, it’s safe to say that romance, courage and devotion, in all its fluidity, is best transferred through Bollywood.