By Jayasmita Ray:
In the last scenes of Agneepath, Hrithik Roshan gets stabbed many times. Nonetheless, he conquers these rather minor details and finally dies conveniently. Does this sound clichÃ© to you somehow? Well go back a few more decades in Bollywood and you will be greeted by the classic scenes — the police arriving after the crime, old lady getting hit by a truck and losing her vision etc., the list is endless. After one week of indulging in a long list of “mainstream cinema”, I came to some soul-shattering conclusions.
Movies are ultimately created for its viewers and their whims. During the usual course of our lives, we are all mostly very busy or very bored. I have been amazed by the ability of some people to work more than 8 hours a day and still watch some dreary news channel with its predictable doomsday report. The best thing about a bad movie is that you can always leave early or catch up on some sleep without guilt. Content and depth is too much stimulation for the stressed out brain!
There is also something endearing about the possibility to bond generated by these movies for the chatterboxes who love condemning things. This can consist of protesting in a cafÃ© outside the hall or updating their status on Facebook. I also realized we all love to hoot and boo sometimes. True unity is obtained at the height of booing. We end up enjoying the hall experience where people compete to make the most sarcastic statements. And of course, you have the wannabe cool and soulful movies, except that the main attraction is still a peek-a-boo dance sequence. It goes on to prove that you can’t get in on too deep with the viewer without stripping a bit in the process.
But what about the content-rich movies that Bollywood has created? Ok, don’t fall asleep on me yet! There are some rare movies that have managed to create something called “flow” within the viewer — a state where they are neither too bored nor too excited but adequately stimulated. These timeless pieces are out there but they don’t really receive much publicity. This is because of the “serious” label they often get from their unusually boring, next-century view-able cousins. As a result, these end up tanking at the box office.
However, it would be delusional to suggest that bad movies always do well at the box office. In retrospect, the cost and risks involved in movie making has gone up. Flops are more prevalent than hits throughout the year. In such a case, why should someone put so much money into an experimental movie and run at a loss? Obviously, they would like to play it safe and stick to the formula. This is why these low-quality movies will continue. It’s really a demand and supply thing.
No matter how mindless or clichÃ©, it is easier to stick to a “stylish version” of the same idea instead of creating a product that pushes people out of their comfort zones. The average Indian viewer is watching these movies and no one is forcing them to turn into art-house critics. It’s all about getting entertained at the end of the day. As Silk in The Dirty PictureÂ said: “Filmein sirf teen cheezo ke wajah se chalti hain…entertainment, entertainment, entertainment..aur main entertainment hunn”