By Sreyashi Mazumdar
Trailing on the pages of Indian cinema, one might get an inkling of the epiphanic changes the industry has gone through over a period of time; starting from cheesy and cocky songs to that of movies essaying buffoonery and irrationality, the industry has belittled art per se.
In an attempt at garnering accolades and attention- in cash or kind- Bollywood glitterati have ended up laying off their creative and personal integrity. Movies like Happy New Year, Dabang, R Rajkumar, Phata Poster Nikla Hero, Dhoom 3, Ra One etc exemplify the plummeting standards of the fraternity. Despite parallel cinema gradually creating its niche amid the hovering cliché, commercial movies seem to refute every possible odd, thus fleshing out a potpourri of hamminess, crassitude and mockery.
“There was a time when I used to make sure that I don’t miss night shows on Fridays, but now I don’t feel like spending even a penny on movies. I used to be a Bollywood buff. Though movies like Deewar or Sholay might seem irrelevant to some, but the seething tension brewing owing to Nehruvian socialism during 80s and their subsequent portrayal through movies rendered some meaning to the art of film making. Mr. Bacchhan’s angry man disposition reflects upon the kind of reveries one used to bear during that particular period of time owing to the closed economy our nation was endorsing. Now a days, filmmakers are coming up with mindless movies like Happy New year and what not…I mean who would have ever thought that an actor like Shah Rukh Khan would be a party to such a plot,” lamented 50-year-old Sayan Adhikari, a film studies professor.
There was an era when singers like Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam or our beloved Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar mesmerized millions through their melodic voices; however, now a days the songs that seem to reverberate discs and pubs are the ones illustrating aftermaths of binge drinking, overt and overhauled definitions of human body parts- both male and female- like Tandoori murgi hoon yaar, Pink Lips, Jalebi Bai, Kaddu Katega Toh Sab Main Batega. Though titillating and grooving, the aforementioned songs hint at the denigrated form of lyricism.
Stalwarts like Ajay Devgan, Shah Rukh Khan, Shahid Kapoor, or other sought after actors of the fraternity, despite having done wonders in movies like Omkara, Chakh De India, Haider, respectively, have been testified taking up inane projects. Limning the pervading trend, film critic Rajeev Masand once put forth a relevant point during a tete-e-tete with fourthreefilm.com, “I think the stars are excited by the fact that they are getting opportunities to stretch themselves. They protect themselves by also having a lot of blockbusters – because that is what gives you longevity and the ‘big bucks, let’s be honest. But they are definitely taking more chances and taking advantage of these new opportunities.”
The present status quo permeating Indian cinema reflects upon directors’ and actors’ desperation to helm the stage and mint money. It seems that the creative minds have given up on their penchant for quality and acumen, and have taken to an easier and degraded path to entertain the masses. The fraternity needs to fend off its Jo Dikhta Hai Woh Bikhta Hai policy to let loose the magic of art and creation.