Not too long back, we were used to see long queues outside Ticket Counters of movie theatres just before the release of any major Bollywood films. Fans used to shout, whistle and dance in those first day first shows, express themselves uninhibitedly when they saw their favorite heroes on big screen. Although time and again, Bollywood movies landed up in controversies regarding showing Hindu religion in bad light, however the sheer momentum of Bollywood charm, years of Star power and large fanbases used to ride over these controversies and kept Bollywood going. People could easily see that the so-called Heroes of Bollywood are not heroes in real life, can be seen promoting alcohol, Cigarettes, Sweetened Soda Water, Gutkas and self-indulging in rave parties, Drugs, womanizing. These are not work of a hero or heroines. Many may defend these acts by stating that, does this not happen in Hollywood or any other film industry? – Well. It does but I would still say that it’s a big problem for Bollywood and maybe not for other industries. The Reason is our country India, it’s culture and its people. People of other countries are followers of Monotheistic religions but Indians who are majorly Hindu are followers of a Polytheistic religion and Hindu believes that you can find God within every living being. So, in Hindu culture you will find multiple godmen, people worship a good doctor or a good individual or a good sportsman or a good actor as a god. So, if you become a Hero in India in any fields of work, you got a higher moral responsibility to be careful in your choice of words or your act, since in India you will get love and affection of your fans like nowhere else. So, if your god takes drugs, you will also follow that way or at least get drawn to those stuff. In any other culture they are called Movie Stars, In India they are called Hero or Heroines.
But something changed on June 20th, 2020. Bollywood actor and an upcoming star Sushant Singh Rajput was found dead, hanging from the ceiling fan at his home in Bandra, Mumbai. The cause of death was ruled to have been suicide. While Mumbai police was at his home to collect samples and his dead body, someone took a video of Sushant’s dead body lying on bed and it went viral on social media. The marks on his necks were clearly visible and many forensic experts opined that those marks meant that someone strangled him to death. Young actors suddenly committing suicide, is not new in Bollywood. There were many cases like these before, likes of Parveen Babi, Jiah Khan, Sridevi, Kunal Singh, Kuljeet Randhawa, Nafisa Joseph, Divya Bharti, Viveka Babaji, Sameer Sharma and the list goes on and on. All these cases mysteriously were closed under the category of suicide. The culture of Hero worshiping puts a blind fold on our eyes and to make matter worse, people have short memories. But Sushant’s death was different due to 3 factors, it happened during social media age where instant fact checking takes place, in the age of a fearless journalist Arnab Goswami and in the age when Hindus of India were getting sick of Bollywood hypocrisy and had enough of being shown in bad light. For example, Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra urges Indians not to light firecrackers on Diwali as it contributes to air pollution and also causes suffering to asthma patients and that she also being one, understands their suffering. Any sensible man would applaud this statement. However, the same Priyanka Chopra is seen lighting up firecrackers in her own marriage and smoking cigarettes on a Holiday with her husband Nick Jonas. Another famous actor Deepika Padukone is seen standing with people who shouted slogans of dividing India. Bollywood is filled with lies, paid propaganda and hypocrisies. Sushant’s death opened up serious investigations, speculations which led to arrest of people who voiced against Bollywood Mafia, including a dramatized arrest of India’s No.1 journalist Arnab Goswami. The whole country was outraged and people saw through the lies and deceit of the police investigation. That incident proved to be a turning point for Bollywood. The “Enough is enough” button was pressed by people. This rage and anger of people was followed by Covid, for more than a year movie industry suffered as people could not go to theatres. Although during this time, OTT platform gave some relief to the industry but the double impact of people’s wrath on the kingdom of Bollywood and Covid was too much to absorb. People started boycott trend and it worked, since boycotting a good product is difficult but boycotting a bad product is not, on top of that people are well connected over internet these days to make any movement successful. Covid 19 changed our lifestyle, our habits. People started looking for alternative ways to get entertained. People started watching non-Bollywood content from Hollywood and from South India which off course were better products. One’s loss is other’s gain, southern cinemas started writing their glorious script, their movies started penetrating Hindi belts as well, as people realized that unlike Bollywood, the southern cinemas were rooted in tradition and Indian culture and it offered better opportunities to talented writers, directors and actors ( Even though we cannot rule out Nepotism completely from South Film Industries). Post Covid 19 it was a matter of dragging people from comfort of their homes to theatres, it was a matter of undoing a habit. It needed a tremendous force of creativity to compel people to return to theatres to watch Bollywood movies again. This is where I think Bollywood lost, let me now explain to you why.
One of the best Film directors of the world and off course India is Satyajit Ray. He won 35 National awards, the sole Oscar winner Director of India till date and one of the very few people in the world who got awarded Honorary Doctorate from Oxford University. None of these were paid awards though which is a very common phenomenon in Bollywood. In India, there was and is no match to Satyajit Ray who did not have big budgets but created magic on screen. But Why I am suddenly talking about Satyajit Ray? Well, not because he is one of my favorite directors but to let you guys know what he thought about Bollywood during 1970s and 80s when Bollywood was creating good cinemas. According to Satyajit Ray, Bollywood was more about commerce and less about creativity. He did not like the song and dance format which used to be forcefully injected in all genre of movies. I can understand a song and dance in a romantic movie but How come the same format helps a thriller or horror movie? Although I am not an advocate of his elitist mindset and terming Indian audience as unsophisticated but there is no doubt that he was a very credible and progressive director to rate any film industry. Bengal at that time not only had Satyajit Ray but also a director like Hrishikesh Mukherjee who made very classy commercial Hindi movies, Bengal has kept rolling out great directors like Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Kaushik Ganguly, Ajoy Kar and many more. In a movie industry, everything starts with a good script and director, and then comes actors, producers, Cameramen, musicians, Editors, Cinematographers etc. An industry where balance is shifted towards good writers and directors will always keep flourishing and will see through any bad times. A healthy film industry is that place where actors and producers run behind good directors and writers. The moment Bengal’s film industry shifted its balance towards producers and actors, the industry started going downhill in 21st century. It’s the same exact cultural problem that has drowned Bollywood.
An industry which runs on star power and not on content. Bollywood has now become incapable of writing good original scripts since they never promoted and took care of their good writers & directors, rather promoted those who were undeserving, just because they were part of their inner circle and ready to compromise on their vision, scripts and storytelling. The Lion’s share of films budget goes to the actor leaving nothing to encourage writers and directors. Bollywood directors and writers are willing to sacrifice their story to make a Hero win and look larger than life all the time. So, incapable of creating new things, they remake other’s cinema.
Another big issue with Bollywood is being funded at times by Communist and Jihadi forces to make content which are anti-Hindu, contents which are very alien to our traditional Indian culture in order to influence the youth to move away from Indian culture. History tells us that any civilization which stays away from their culture for 3 generations actually perishes. The Dawood Ibrahim – Pakistan- Bollywood – China connection is now well known and people have started to see through this undercover agenda of Bollywood to transform Indian culture, which has been ongoing for many decades. Bollywood lacks intention to create good movies for Indians and their culture. It is Bollywood which is now trapped in it’s own created image. And so we have now trends like Boycott Bollywood movies, Boycott Bollywood twitter, boycott Bollywood and so on.
Recently the kind of projects Bollywood is working on seems to me as if they are doing Praayashchit (atonement), but it seems they keep forgetting the balance of the movie industry. In order to do atonement, they still need good creators. And so we see inspite of big budgets and big actors like Ranbir Kapoor and Aliya Bhatt and mega promotions, Brahmastra flopped. Audience hated the teaser of upcoming “Adipurush“, inspite of big actors like Akshay Kumar and even getting backed by the very popular central government, Prithiviraj Chauhan did not work, Amir Khan’s Lal Singh Chaddha did not work. But in same industry, a low budget Kashmir Files worked, Bhul Bhulaiya worked. I leave you with some questions and answers below, if Bollywood has to come back up, they need to convert all the “No” to an “Yes”.
Does Bollywood has the budget of RRR? Yes.
Does Bollywood has actors like that of RRR? Yes.
Does Bollywood has script writers like RRR? No.
Does Bollywood has a director like Rajamouli? No.
Above all, Does Bollywood has intention to make a movie like RRR? No.