>Frankly,I do not understand the term.There is no known meaning for the word “Bollywood”.As if this wasn’t enough,we have many more woods.We have the Malayalam film industry called Kollywood,Tamil and Telugu movie industries called Tollywood and a Gujarati film industry called Gollywood.For that matter,what does Hollywood mean?Somebody please enlighten me.I think I agree with what Amitabh Bacchhan said about all these woods,specifically our Bollywood.He condemned the usage of the word,terming it derogatory and copied from the West.I do not have his exact words but yes,the above line sure captures the effect.He has emphasized on calling it the “Indian film fraternity or industry” which I find to be very dignified and agreeable.
Why do we have this innate urge to copy the Western ways,mannerisms and movies?Why can’t we give our rusting brains a much needed exercise instead of spending valuable manpower and resources on diligently copying a movie reel by reel?There are umpteen examples,a few being:
Kyunki Main Jhoot Nahi Bolta copied from Liar Liar.
God Tussi Great Ho from Bruce Almighty
Raaz from What Lies Beneath
Tarzan-the wonder car from Christine
Kuchh To Hai from I Know What You Did Last Summer
Partner from Hitch
Mr. Ya Miss from Its A Boy Girl Thing/The Hot Chick
(refer http://www.bwtorrents.com/showthread.php?t=182059 for the entire list.You might also want to check out http://sxg.in/board/showthread.php/list-of-bollywood-movies-copied-from-hollywood-movies-52172.html)
When asked,the directors and producers of the movies will always tell you that the original was a source of “inspiration” for the current movie.Inspiration,really?Desperation,more like.If you check out the movies made during the 1940s and 50s,the meaning of inspiration becomes clear.No doubt,some movies of those eras were also imitations of old Western classics(sorry,couldn’t get the names),but they were certainly not so blatantly copied and renamed and released.The screenplay writers did permutate and infuse their own essence to the original storyline which made all the difference.
The modern films,with their super luscious locales,glossy looking lead actors and a bunch of song-and-dance sequences thrown in,are a poor poor adaptation of the original one.The percentage of realistic cinema,as far as “Bollywood” is concerned is quite negligable.
Our country produces the most number of movies in the world,according to the Guinness Book of World Records.Doesn’t that count for something?We have incredible talent in every nook and corner of this country.Regional films,made in states like West Bengal,Karnataka,rural Rajasthan etc are worth a watch.And yet we fawn over Sylvester Stallone,Denise Richards and a certain Barbara Mori.The actors are,undeniably,very good at their craft,but why do we need to worship them like demigods?I haven’t had the heart to watch Slumdog Millionnaire after watching the Oscars.I felt so downright ashamed of my country when I saw Rahman perform the much acclaimed Jai Ho with a host of dancers.Why haven’t we been able to get the fact straight that it was a foreign film,made entirely by foreigners.Only the location and the actors were of Indian origin.When Shilpa Shetty won the Bigg Brother,nothing else was discussed and printed in the tabloids for a month.Why all this hoopla?Just coz’ she won a reality show?Or was it because it was a UK based reality show.Would we have cared that much if she had won the Big Boss here in India?When an Indian American wins the spelling bee contest in the US,its great news back here.When one of our actors collaborates with the Western people,we are on cloud nine.A reality check.What happened to the much publicized and much talked about Ash’s role in Pink Panther?Similarly,Sushmita’s Karma confessions and Holi,a project with Robert deNiro’s daughter Drena was a dud.
In spite of all the rejections,we still harbour positive feelings for the Western industry and still hope to become an integral part of it.My question is,why?For God’s sake,why?Don’t we have any sort of self respect left anymore?All our movies which are sent to the Oscar committee with a lot of smugness on the part of the producers and a lot of aplomb on the part of the Indian people,not one has ever made it to the top five.Reason?None of them are original in thought nor they have a solid storyline.Because we lack a strong script,we attempt to fill the void with meaningless dances,weird sounding dialogues and a general poor finish to the already dwindling story.No wonder our movies are never considered for their top five.
Another question.Why do we standardize the Oscar as the most important and most valued award in the world?What is wrong with our own National Awards?Why is it that only if you wear an Armani suit or a Versache gown and splatter yourself with Swarovski crystals and walk on the red carpet with your arm candy are you considered successful in the movie business?Is there a heavenly order which says,”Thy shall consider the Oscar to be the ultimate award?”.No.The Oscar is just another award,which is given to the best in the Western film industry.Just like the Filmfare awards are given over here.I suspect that all the awards are rigged,but that is another topic.If an actor gets a National Award,he must consider himself lucky to get a paragraph’s worth of attention in the papers the next day.National award winners are,for some unfathomable reason,considered to be serious,nonsmiling actors and also given roles which reinforces the absurd notion.Have you seen Seema Biswas dancing around an oak?Have you ever seen Om Puri or a Sanjeev Kapoor doing anything but the so called “character actor” roles?We all have a PhD in stereotyping people and actors are no exception.If a mainstream actor does an “offbeat” role,he or she is showered with accolades and the Critics’ awards.Nowhere else do we have categories like “art film” and “mainstream” and “masala film”.Masala film?What did you put in it,ground cardamom and fenugreek?Are you making a movie or an eatable?
What was my point anyway?Oh,Bollywood.All I am saying is,instead of having the Mumbai film industry dominate the rest of the country,the other states should actively promote their own kind of films.India is not made up of Mumbai alone,there are a lot many states with a whole lot of talent which are yet to be tapped.If we start looking inwards instead of outwards,there will be no more reason to ape the West and get “inspired”.The West will look towards us.