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How Chasing The ‘Rs 100 Crore’ Dream Has Ruined Bollywood

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By Kamalika Mukherjee:

top10-bollywood-2015-Cover-Pic“Filmein sirf teen cheezon se chalti hai – Entertainment, Entertainment, Entertainment” – The Dirty Picture.

These days, however, there is yet another aspect which has turned out to be quite central to film watching -relief. The ten-minute break that our brains are allowed during the interval, a pause from the ‘carnival of drivel’ that films have become.

There was a time when movies were an escape, but now there is no escaping the stress movies cause us. We go to malls to watch the next ‘blockbuster’, burning a hole in our pockets, knowing in our heart of hearts that nothing promising can come of this. Movies have become a sure shot way to increase our blood pressure.

When it comes to doing BIG things, Bollywood doesn’t shy away from the task per se. After all, it is the largest film industry in the world with revenues touching nearly $3.2 billion in the last year alone. But while the filmi dhanda can finally be categorised as a legit business, with stellar growth potential; somewhere, the mainstay of filmdom, the famed ‘Entertainment Quotient’ seems to have completely gone for a toss.

Some day in the early 2010s, it seems, Salman Khan and Akshay Kumar might have sat together in a private retreat somewhere in Switzerland (given the amount of money the tourism Industry of the strawberry nation has minted off B-town flicks, providing picturesque backdrops for beautiful actors to romance before), and sketched out a rough plot for the future of the film industry.

Coincidentally, the formula they arrived at was much the same as the Amitabh Bachchan-Manmohan Shetty formula of the 70’s, albeit with a much fatter budget, international stunt directors and token item numbers by talentless hacks; posing as playback singers. These films couldn’t care less about critical acclaim, but were nonetheless major commercial hits because when money piles into one’s bank account, no one cares much about the storyline.

Call me a doe-eyed Bengali, but when my elders spoke of films by auteurs like Satyajit Ray, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Mrinal Sen or Ritwik Ghatak, it didn’t sound as though they were talking about celluloid dreams, rather a mirror of reality. Today’s B-town spectacles though, couldn’t claim the same. If the plotline of Salman Khan’s ‘Wanted’ reflects reality, then by God, it must be one helluva life!

There was a time when movies were made aesthetically, and had good storylines, dedicated actors, less melodrama and a discerning audience. Today’s time stands witness to the budget of the movies, of A-grade actors (whose biceps are as large as the budget of the film), of hoots and applauds in swanky movie theatres, and flagging storylines with cheap item numbers.

This rat race of making and breaking records have led to a serious deterioration of the quality of the films our country produces. The makers are way more concerned about their net profit than what goes into the craft. All we get is hay and barley. So we are? No points for guessing. Cows. Mindless cattle consuming the fodder that flows out from a machine called Bollywood, every Friday or every month of every year.

Bollywood produces commercials projects in bulk, earning a steady place in self-made 100 crore clubs. I wouldn’t be averse to saying that producers are more interested in making money and exploiting the unthinking nouveau riche of India with ‘entertaining’ blockbusters which are of decidedly less value as compared to its poorer but more gifted counterparts with good plots.

There are of course exceptions, but the majority only care about their fat bellies and increasing bank balance. Though, what about the interest of the common man? Who cares! Leaving aside a few, the entire horde is here to make money, kyunki jo dikhta hai, wahi bikta hai!

You must be to comment.
  1. Srijani Chakraborty

    Hello! Kamalika. So weren’t you entertained after watching Yeh Jawani Hain Deewani or 2 States? You have questioned the Entertainment Quotient of the B-town. I guess you, me, we all are contributors to this ever increasing quest for monetary profits.

  2. Rajneesh Mehta

    I dont think there is anything to blame the directors, producers or even actors of these films. They are making movies because the movies make money, and we go to cinema halls to watch it, no one forces us to go there. Also, a film like ‘Neerja’ is making 75 crores and a film like Gabbar or Singh Is Bling is also making 75 crores. So whats the difference? People have options to go for ‘Airlift’ or ‘Singh Is Bling’ or ‘Kick’. And one can’t say that these commercial films are not aesthetically good. Once should understand how films are made to comment anything like this. I think the writer has a very naive understanding of cinema and trade.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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