Here at POPxo, we are self-professed, proud, unabashed fans of Bollywood. Much in the way parents love their kids, or children love their stuffed animals, our love for Bollywood runs deep. It can be flawed. It can have its ugly moments. It can frustrate, enrage, and confuse us. We adore it anyway. Call it lunacy or loyalty, our attachment to desi movies is unconditional. That being said, there are some things about our favourite film industry that we really wish would change, for its own good. Some gripes are our own, others offered up by the Twitterverse, but all of them are cinematic crimes we’ve all put up with for long enough. Read on for the things we wish Bollywood would stop doing!
Remember when Salman Khan accused Aishwarya Rai of thinking she was Miss World in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam? Or in the more recent Salman-starrer Kick, when he emerges in one particular scene dressed as his iconic Chulbul Pandey avatar from Dabangg? Ever since we can remember, Bollywood has had no qualms about inserting jokes, characters, and dialogues from external sources into their stories. Sure, you can argue that in our film-obsessed society, references like that are rarely lost on the audience. They can even be a plus if a film truly depends on it - Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and the iconic Andaz Apna Apna mention other Bollywood movies with success, as they are highly aware that such references function to shape the direction and tone of their plots. But for the most part, when trying to construct a credible narrative, a single out-of-place allusion can cause a fictitious world to crumble. Writers seeking to write believable scripts, take note: spare your screenplay the industry “inside jokes”, and save them instead for your next "Koffee" date with Karan.
Gif source: thestylecompile.blogspot.inStereotypes stem from some seeds of truth, but Bollywood has an aggravating way of excessively watering them to grow into inaccurate, often offensive caricatures. Sticking glasses on a girl automatically makes her a nerd, but the second she takes them off she’s a knockout who makes men sit up and pay attention. And a girl who enjoys a drink and a night out in party clothes is immediately an immoral vamp with no hope for a husband. We’ve seen it in Cocktail, where Deepika isn’t considered a suitable prospect for wifehood until she ditches her short skirts and martinis for salwars and biryanis. In portraying gay characters, Bollywood prides itself on no longer “shying away” from a once-taboo subject, but it doesn’t exactly challenge that taboo either. From Abhishek Bachchan’s overly effeminate dance instructor in Bol Bachchan and his floppy hand gestures in Dostana to Rishi Kapoor’s pink-clad, parasol-toting principal in Student of the Year, films beat clichés of homosexuality to a pulp. In fact, they may suggest that those exaggerations are actually acceptable. Even regional stereotypes aren’t spared - just look at the Deepika’s Southern accent in Chennai Express, heavily embellished for maximum comic effect, or Amrita Singh in 2 States, dutifully hamming it up as the “loud Punjabi mom”.
All those who still think that female actors have an expiry date, whereas male ones inexplicably stay 20 years old forever, desperately need to leave whatever archaic la-la land they currently reside in. Unfortunately, that’s a lot of people in the film industry. A habit that actually seems to have gotten worse over time, it’s uncomfortably common these days to see heroes who are pushing 50 canoodling with girls pretty much half their age. Take the 49 year-old Salman Khan charming Jacqueline Fernandez, age 29, in Kick, or the 18 years separating Ajay Devgan and Sonakshi Sinha in Action Jackson. Consider the 22-year gaps between Akshay Kumar and Tamannaah Bhatia in Entertainment, and Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma in Jab Tak Hai Jaan. Eesh.
We’re familiar with that trademark Bollywood tendency to pay absolutely no heed to temperatures when it comes to determining their characters’ wardrobes. Most apparent in songs, we’ve become quite immune to heroines shivering away in their chiffon saris while perched atop Swiss peaks. Can we agree that it’s really unfair for the women to be subject to gossamer-thin garb while the guys get to cozy up in woollen sweaters? You'd think that’s outdated by now, but you’d be surprised—as recently as 2012’s “Ishq Wala Love” in Student of the Year, Alia Bhatt traipses through the snow in heels and a short dress while costar Sidharth Malhotra is snug as a bug in a turtleneck. In Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Deepika Padukone is spared from wearing revealing attire while climbing her way through snowy Manali mountains, but we’re not convinced that skirts with leggings make for appropriate (or comfortable) trekking attire, either. Let’s please start using corresponding clothing for corresponding climates!
Gif source: Tumblr.comIt’s no surprise that this common gripe makes it on the list. Ludicrous wordings steadily surpass sensible ones and seem to be the norm. Whether it's the godawful “Pappi Song” or the utterly befuddling logic of "Saree Ke Fall Se," poeticism has clearly been replaced with what can only be described as poppycock. The only thing more offensive than the nonsensical phrases are the unoriginal tunes they’re being stuffed into. Just to scratch the surface of evidence: Pritam’s soundtrack for Barfi is well-documented as being lifted from multiple sources, whereas his “Subha Hone Na De” from Desi Boyz should be credited to Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything”. And “Hookah Bar” was born out of Chris Brown’s “Turn Up the Music” . We can tolerate the Bollywood quirk of songs appearing randomly within the narrative, adding little to no value to the actual story, but we draw the line when the musical offerings are blatantly ripped off and senseless. Our ears have had enough!
Gif source: Ek Villain Fan Club
While we’re on the subject of plagiarism, let’s take a moment to address the irrational obsession Bollywood appears to have with recreating anything Hollywood does. On the one hand, industry insiders grumble about always taking a backseat to the movies, music and pop culture of the west. On the other, they proceed to then imitate everything from its plotlines to its awards show formats. The frequency of Bollywood churning out “remakes” of Hollywood originals has become a longstanding joke, and recent examples like Jai Ho (a desi version of My Cousin Vinny) and Ek Villain (inspired by I Saw the Devil) do nothing to alleviate matters. The latter’s promotional materials even bear an uncanny resemblance to the posters for the 1997 Nicholas Cage/John Travolta starrer Face Off. They say imitation is the best form of flattery. But to us it looks like Bollywood’s taken that concept a bit too far. Enough is enough, guys - time to whip those creative muscles back into shape!
Gifs source: Giphy.com