It is the beginning of a new year and a new decade. There is palpable excitement in the air for the roarin’ twenties might make a comeback and bring an air of change. However, certain ideas have stood the test of time. One of them is that cricket and
Bollywood are the lifelines of Indians, however cliché it may sound.
The most famous faces of cinema are treated as demigods and their ‘star power’, no matter how vague that idea is, holds the tangible value of millions. Or it did. If 2019 has shown one thing to the industry, its that a string of celebrated faces, surreal graphics and an extravagant setting alone cannot salvage a film. The audience has woken up to a cinema that depicts complex characters in realistic settings. Filmmakers have given us some of the best movies of all time this year. The reasons for this could range from the competition with over-the-top (OTT) video streaming platforms to the audience no longer viewing the movie as just an unrealistic escape from their quotidian struggles.
Indeed, films like ‘Bala’ and ‘Article 15’, both of which lack the escapism and magic associated with movies, showing ground realities instead, have performed better than movies like
‘Kalank’, a film that had nearly a dozen ‘big stars’. Perhaps bigwigs need come to an understanding that audiences need more than just ‘star power’.
While 2019 was certainly a good year for Bollywood cinema, it needs to evolve more to be on par with content offered on streaming services. While Bollywood may not be in a battle for survival, it certainly needs to up its offerings. In 2020, Actors who can truly act should be given an opportunity. Actors should not just be part of a film for the sake of generating buzz but should actually do their jobs, which is to act. Actors like Ayushmann Khurana, Kalki Koechlin, and Vicky Kaushal have acted in commercially successful movies where their strong acting prowess was put to good use.
Further, filmmakers should no longer underestimate the intelligence of the audience and promote experimental, unique stories. These stories may include behaviors that may be socially unacceptable or just plain wrong. However, the onus is on the filmmaker to decide how the matter is dealt with. Whether it is shown in a glorifying light or it is shown for what it is. An example of this could be ‘Kabir Singh’, which showed the toxic, violent behavior of the male protagonist and on one occasion, the female protagonist as normal or even aspirational in a relationship.
To conclude, my recommendations for Bollywood would be to promote quirky scripts and cast actors who can really act. The discerning, intelligent audience of today has shown that it will no longer settle for mediocre movies with mundane scripts and unconvincing acting will no longer be accepted or even tolerated. Let’s hope Bollywood learns this lesson quickly