Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hindi movies - why do they suck so much?

Update: If you read this article, you may be interested in my latest take on Bollywood -

After watching biological weapons stored in what looked like a janitor's closet in the Hindi movie "Qayamat", I decided I would wait for judgement day before I watch Hindi movies again.
I have made such resolutions before and broken them when I read the exciting promos for Hindi movies.
Nowadays every Hindi movie has a English tag name. Sometimes, these tags are just translations such as "Baaz - The Bird" or "Khel - The Game". Then they innovate. Here is one - "Fareb - Twisted Love". I don't know why they come up with these tag names. They are so cheesy.
Then there are interviews by "script" writers. For the movie "Khakee" (tag name- The Khakee) Sridhar Raghavan, who co-wrote the "script" gave an interview in rediff. I read the interview and was overwhelmed by Sridhar's words. Sridhar talked about the "premise" and other knowlegeable sounding words. Then I watch the movie - God, what a piece of crap. I renewed my vow.
Hindi movie "industry" is all about making someone watch the movies. Nobody in the industry is worried about providing good movies. I was convinced that the problem was with North Indians and NRIs - until "MunnaBhai" was released. This movie did NOT have a tag. Nobody knew about this movie until it hit the theaters and then what a huge hit it turned out to be! I would watch MunnaBhai (and Gracy Singh) over and over.
Then all the Bollywood fraternity turned out and pretended that it was their victory.
Here are a few things Bollywood needs to STOP doing now:
1. Stop talking about the "script". Stop saying how "taut" the script is and how it was a "bound script" and how good the script writer was. When I was growing up there were very good movies in Hindi (including Sholay, Arth and Mirch Masala) and nobody talked about the script so much. Stop pretending your movies are script-based. Munna Bhai was, Dil Chahta Hai was, Lagaan was - not any of these John Abraham, Dino Morea, Bipasha Basu starrers.
2. Stop having premieres. I mean, is it not enough for you to copy Hollywood "scripts"? Where did you come up with premieres and red carpets? The media dutifully covers these, and reports "world premieres" for what are basically soft-porn movies.
3. Stop pretending you are an "industry". If you are, you are in worse shape than government run industries. 9 out of 10 Hindi movies flop - in spite of premieres and bound scripts. Stop calling yourselves Dream Factory.
4. Stop starring star children. Amitabh Bachan says Abhishek has "succeeded" without his influence. Amitabh Saab, how many new comers to Bollywood can star in 6 consecutive flop movies - and still get acting offers? Stop the dynasty. Actors in your idolized Hollywood go to acting school. In Hindi India if you are a model or you are a star-child - you got yourselves a career. While there are hundreds of poor theater actors trying to get a break.
5. Stop showing an India and Indians that do not exist. Palatial buildings in which party-goers land on helicopters do not exist for ANY Indians - not even for the taxi drivers in NYC. The Indians we see in daily life are not people to be ashamed of. The India we live in can be shown in movies - as regional language movies so successfully do. Nothing wrong in showing a normal sized home or a poor person.
6. Stop talking about International attention. Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Subhash Ghai are big culprits in this. Bhansali's Black is full of cheesy, corny English dialogues that are plainly there so that Bhansali can "move on to the International stage". Where did realism go? What about an artist's honesty? Bhansali's Black is set amidst colonial mansions and snowfalls - so it would appeal to white people. Subash Ghai even said he is targeting his movies solely towards NRIs and foreign audiences. For that, his movies repeatedly flop.
7.Stop taking credit for the achievements of other Indians - Night Shyamalan in American. Gurinder Chadha is British. They are not part of Bollywood.
8. Stop making movies with New York City and stop talking about the "spirit" of NYC. You spent 2 hours in the airport - that does not make you an expert in the "spirit". There are other spirits in India to worry about.
9. Stop making movies about "relationships". These movies look like "Seventh Heaven" reruns.There are plenty of social messages to deliver.
10. Stop copying scenes from other movies and calling it a "a nod". You are not nodding - you are stealing.
Now, I don't think there is anybody really listening; the current situation is advantageous to talentless people and the star dynasties. It is an aristocracy in Bollywood. I am personally happy with Tamil movies - inspite of the fat actresses.


Sailesh Ganesh said...

Shankar, you check out this blog here.

B-Factor said...

yep... very much...and u know, they won even stop wit dis.. they go very further killin our culture...
most of da hit film wil hav one item number, and one Himesh Reshmeyia song(dat will be very similar to his previous ones)...the most mind blowing thing is the logic, don know how these pppl alone get these kind of ideas.. hope it changes soon...

anyways nice post...

Ari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ari said...

At the risk of supporting any "*Woods" , Tamil films are as bad as Hindi ones.

Just that we don't use floppy disks or copy every scene of the latest English movie the director has watched.

Hollywood is no better, if you'd ever watched Mi-3 , it looked like they really knew North Indian's were going to watch this..

I love movies, all languages, good , bad & terrible ones too.

In case you want to catch 3 good movies: Omkaara, Veyil & Little Miss Sunshine

Anirdesh said...

I definitely agree with all the points made...

I actually reached your page by googling for 'Hindi movies Suck' :D

India I feel is currently in the dark ages of Arts and Science...although having the best of talents...
May there be a dawn soon..

SONALI said...

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Anonymous said...

I must confess that after watching hindi, tamil, malayalam and telugu movies...i really think that malayalam movies definitely beat the rest just because they are realistic and we can empathize with the characters since they could be one of us. But I must say tha now even that film industry is moving towards commercialism.

Akash said...

you are right man these movies are really moving towards commercialism
malayalam was one exception but its going to commercialism too like the above person said^^
sadly malayalam's first "international" movie is a fine example
infact i blame the stupid audience who go to the theatres and watching these terrible movies

Anonymous said...

To counter your question, what exactly is the definition of 'sucking'? Most Indians live difficult lives and aren't necessarily members of the educated, English-speaking Indian elite (not to generalize or make assumptions - it just seems that most critiques of the Indian film industry come from people of this particular class.)

Although movies like "Dil Chahta Hai" and "Rang de Basanti" were excellent, they focused on a relatively small subset of the population that didn't necessarily represent what most Indians live each day (i.e. rich and well-educated, English-speaking). In fact, many of the so-called "bad movies" you pan in your critique try to paint their characters as either a member of this subset or aspiring to become one.

Many tend to ignore the class element of the discussion regarding the quality of Indian movies, since they are marketed and appeal to the "masses."

Ramiah Ariya said...

I am not sure about the thrust of what you are saying. As far as commercial movies go, I do not like Dil Chatha Hai, Range De Basanti, Devdas, Saawariya, Veer Zaara or any of the hundred other movies promoted by corporations. I don't like the so-called wanna-be-ccol "off-beat" movies such as "Jhankar Beats", "Jogger's Park" or "Life in a Metro" and so on.
The ONLY couple of movies I liked were "Munnabhai" and "Jab We Met". You can excuse the class of people shown in "Jab We Met" because they are rich but not pretentious. As a romatic comedy, the movie just deals with the romance and is internally consistent.

The class element, of course, exists throughout this country in media - but I have rarely seen Hindi movies directly or indirectly make an effort to fight the class war with lower classes. Hindi movies rarely make any points about society - for example, in television news channels, you see the following ideas
- corporations are good
- businessmen are noble
- communists are bad
- reservations are bad
- urban woes matter, while rural areas don't
- India should be a super power
- The rich are merit-driven and India has a meritocratic society
- there is only one path to development and that path is decided by the media.
In fact, anything that favors an exclusive Ayn Randian world view is pushed by the news media.
I do NOT see any such effort, honestly, by Bollywood. Other than the dumb Mani Ratnam movie "Guru", Bollywood almost entirely stays out of this class war - they base their stories in the USA or UK and do not seem to (even subtly) get into social or political commentary.
I think they are incompetent because of their nepotism and they are an embarassment to the nation - but they do not play an obvious role in the class war.

Mine was not so much a "critique" as a rant. I think most South Indians have stopped watching Hindi movies because of their extreme pretentiousness. You say that the movies are meant to appeal to upper-class English speaking audience. I don't think these movies even show THEIR lives. Hindi movies seem to be showing a complete parallel universe of extraordinarily Whitish and Western people - who live and work abroad all their lives.
This is not escapism - this is Second Hand Living - a complete substitution of our own selves for a foreign culture and aesthetics.

In fact I wrote about some of this in another post - that Bollywood has come to believe that style wins over substance. It is a group of in-bred nepotistic upper class idiots believing that they represent Indian cinema. Bollywood, in fact, is a cheap imitation, just like its name, of Hollywood. They are a clique of people who claim to inherit the mantle of Raj Kapoor or Guru Dutt - but they don't. I have more respect for a movie like "Dombivli Fast" (Marathi) or "Subramaniapuram" (Tamil) than the stupidities turned out by wanna-be-white clowns cheered on by their idiot reviewers.
They don't even show a ordinary Indian city street in Hindi movies. They don't show anyone going hungry. On top of this, they make movies like "Life in a Metro" - whose lives are shown by these movies? For anyone viewing these movies, sex and relationships seem to be the biggest problem facing Indians. All of the men are investment banker types; all of the women are in fashion industry.
I refuse to believe that Bollywood is Hindi cinema. A narrow in-bred crowd has taken over this once proud industry and brought it to this state. Every movie showcases the extreme efforts of this crowd to look and sound "cool". An overwhelming desire for coolness suffocates the industry.
Meanwhile the regional industry is a lot better off because they (till now) keep getting acting, technical and directorial talents from the small towns and villages of their states. They atleast make movies that are down-to-earth and humble.
I don't know if I answered your question, but that rant felt good.

Neal Bainz said...

u know what i think.....u people are just jealous of bollywood coz now days even hollywood is dying to make movies with bollywood...

Anonymous said...

bollywood movies does suck
in one movie starring Dutt, one scene is a 100% rip off of Braveheart.

Now, some tamil movies are good. Good natural acting, not pretentious like bollywood

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

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interracial sex

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Anonymous said...

@Neal Bainz: Why would anyone be jealous of the festering pile of crap that is Bollywood nowadays...also, if you learned to type properly (i.e 'you' in place of 'u'), perhaps an intelligent conversation could take place.

Naresh Kumar said...

Movies are like democracy.
If in a democracy 51% fools vote for a corrupt individual / party 49% sane people can't stop that guy from winning.
(and for rest of 5 years we sit in front of t.v. And blame that guy/party how corrupt they are, sane and insane together works then like cohesive unit.)
Same is with movies, any bad movie comes out people jump on it.
They watch and lament that and then rant for a week that what a crap that was, by the time everyone realize that movie is waste of time its a hit already.
Otherwise how you can explain every single Salmaan movie doing 100+ crore rupees bussiness inspite of being a joke on the name of any type of movie. :)

bishnu gaire said...

They suck cause they dont care about the movie. I think when they make a movie they think like lets have 3 songs,1 item songs, 4 romantic scenes, couple fight scene(too fake they dony even try to make it real) ,5-6 comedy scene(which r actually lame)
Done movie made
Who gives a fuck about the story,scope of the movie ,acting.
The sad things is people seem to like those movie and get hit. And i go watch that movie ,i m like wtf....