The changing trends of Bollywood...

Hum TumThe film industry has transformed tremendously as far as the trend in the movies is concerned. The films this year have a different line of stories than they have had in the past.

One of the main changes is that the flicks this year have, in some way or another, seemed to target the urban population rather than the rural population. In other words, the storyline, direction and even cinematography, to some extent, are being amended in ways to
appeal to the foreign audience. The reason to this can be the profits that the producers and directors look forward to. They are assured that majority of audience in the US, UK and other foreign countries will not mind spending their money on watching a movie as the craze for bollywood movies is more over there. They don’t get to see a lot of bollywood in foreign countries; hence, they are bound to go to theatres for some entertainment.

On the other hand, it is very difficult to attract audience in India as they have a variety of other bollywood movies (or even ads for that matter) that they can easily get access to. Even the settings in films like Kal Ho Na Ho and Hum Tum are in New York and Amsterdam respectively. The film industry is growing and reaching out to attract the foreign audience. The films even help the audience relate themselves to the characters in the movies because of the locations used.

Bollywood has been known for the fictional scenes and dialogues in many of the movies. One for example is when a mother awaits her sons for years and one day they land on earth to look after her from those evil villains who have obviously been torturing her ever since her sons died and never killed her. What happens after that? The sons (heroes) fight the evil villains and everybody lives happily ever after. There have been a number of movies in bollywood in the past years that either have a totally fictional or an absolutely predictable story.

These kinds of stories were all right when the audience enjoyed them but in today’s world, the audience demands a newness and variation in the movies. Hence, the emergence of some brilliant directors like Ram Gopal Varma and Mani Ratnam to name a few. Their effort to bring forward a series of totally different movies can be called an experiment. Films like Road, Darna Mana Hai, Bhoot, Ek Hasina Thi, Dil Se and Yuva are some out of ordinary films. They were not accepted in bollywood at first. People gave them the tag of “bizarre” and “strange” movies. But certain kinds of people seemed to have no problem but were rather happy with the direction and story as they got to experience something original and never seen before (at least in bollywood.)

The foreign audience is accepting these films readily. We can also say that these movies have a Hollywood touch to them, to a certain degree. It is rather unusual how these movies didn’t do so well in India but worked well in UK and US. The explanation to that, at times, is given to be that the Indian audience fails to understand the plot of the story and hence, the films flop. Whereas in the overseas market, people are more accustomed to watching Hollywood movies therefore, they are known to these kinds of plots and that's why it is easier for them to watch and understand the concept of Varma or Ratnam films. On the other hand, the other line of directors is of Sooraj barjatya [Maine Pyaar Kiya (1989), Hum Aapke Hain Kaun (1994), Hum Saath Saath Hain (1999)], Karan Johar [Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (2001)], Aditya Chopra [Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995), Mohabbatein (2000)], Rakesh Roshan [Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai (2000)], David Dhawan [Gharwali Baharwali (1998), Jodi No.1 (2001)], Subhash Ghai [Pardes (1997), Yaddein (2001)] and Sanjay Leela Bhansali [Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)]. They can more or less be put in a bracket of the “family films” or “love story” directors.

The trend in these movies is very clear; they all involve a family or love theme in them. Although some directors specialize in directing movies with more humor and others add drama to their films but the main theme still stays the same. Some of the movies from recent years like Saathiya, Hum Tum, Lakshya, Khakee, Yuva, Swades have proved to be more realistic than the movies that were made three to five years ago. These movies are made to be more believable so the audience can (again) relate to the characters in the movie. Unpredictable stories are another new technique that’s used to deliver something that’s fresh and attracts audience to go see the film. Realism and unpredictability in the flicks these days have contributed a lot to the changing bollywood.

Either films are made to be totally realistic or absolutely imaginable in a form of a comedy. These movies are “time pass” movies. Some of the comedies that stood out to the audiences were Andaz Apna Apna (1994), Hera Pheri (2000), Dil Chahta Hai (2001), Masti (2004), MunnaBhai MBBS (2004). Light-hearted comedies have also become an essential component to balanced entertainment in bollywood. Another key to presenting comedies nowadays is that the protagonist (main character) of the movie himself plays the comedian like in the movies mentioned above.

Directors don’t feel it’s necessary to bound the film with one (or a group of) villain(s), one hero, one heroine, one comedian and one mother. They have found a way to eliminate some roles and use the lead actor to do the role of a comedian or even a villain at times.

An initiative of making movies with cartoon characters was taken by Yash Raj Films with Hum Tum, where the two cartoon characters were based on the whole idea of Hum (guys) and Tum (girls). Will the Indian directors consider making similar kinds of films in the future? Let’s wait and watch closely, we just might find another trend changing in the Indian Film Industry.