Biopics, Coming-Of-Age Sagas, And More: The Many Phases Of Bollywood
Have you ever noticed how Indian cinema has always been formula oriented? Well, we’re talking about the times when as soon as a film does good business at the box office, a number of filmmakers jump into the bandwagon and try to replicate the success by making use of similar themes.
Like recently, Haryana was the flavour of Bollywood which seemed to have caught every filmmaker’s fancy. The Haryana trend highlighted the local flavour and regional peculiarities of the state and a lot of films such as Sultan, Dangal, Tanu Weds Manu Returns, Laal Rang, NH10 did good business. But it didn’t stop at that. Every theme that results in box-office success is then picked up by other filmmakers which results in an overdose (that sometimes becomes unbearable for the audiences).
So on that note, here’s taking a look at similar Bollywood trends (the recent ones) that seem to have dominated Indian cinema and have been done to death (if you ask us).
The history genre
There was a time when history became the talking point among all filmmakers to the point that freedom fighter Bhagat Singh had more than three different versions releasing the very same month (in 2002). We also have directors such as Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Ashutosh Gowariker who have, over the years, become poster boys for the history genre.
Biopics (especially for sportstars)
The new flavour of the season, biopics seem to bring in good business for filmmakers. Sometimes it seems as if filmmakers have run out of ideas because there are biopics on former captain Mohammed Azharuddin, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Sachin already. In no time, we might just have a biopic each for all the men in blue (and we aren’t kidding).
We were elated when a lot of filmmakers chose feminism as their film’s theme. Finally we had women, who were portrayed as strong and self-dependent, without the usual we-need-knight-in-shining-armour syndrome (when the heroine required some form of rescuing from the hero’s end and they eventually fall in love). Films such as Pink, Piku and the like did great business at the box-office and they definitely deserved all the accolades that came their way. But then, what was annoying is that a lot of filmmakers thought they’ve found their new success formula (like in a lab experiment). Everyone, without the remotest idea about female empowerment, jumped into the bandwagon and thought that this was the best idea to hit the jackpot at the box office.
Films such as Naam Shabana and Akira seemed to got feminism all wrong with some directors presuming that if they want to depict strong women, all they need to do is let her beat up the bad guys. Sadly, it didn’t work for the audiences.
The coming-of-age sagas
Ranbir Kapoor from the actors’ lot while Imtiaz Ali among the directors are definitely the poster boys for this genre. Now there’s a whole bunch of directors who add in the confused-girl-meets-confused-boy-they-fall-in-love-they’re-still-confused (they’re freedom loving, unattached, travel the world, etc) elements in their films. Dil Chahta Hai definitely brought the existential crisis to the fore and it was refreshing change from the usual cinema we were served, but now the whole idea of it has become boring and mundane.
The success of the Baahubali series
With Baahubali crossing the 1000 crore mark, Bollywood seems to have found a new fomula. YRF’s period drama Thugs of Hindostan featuring Aamir Khan seems to have halted the filmmaking process because apparently, the massive box-office success of Baahubali seems to have forced the film creators to rethink their budget, scale and visual impact for a more effective storytelling technique. Not that this is bad idea, but this is just an example of how films and success cause a ripple effect among other filmmakers.