Sunday, January 23, 2011

5 cruddy statements I've heard about Bollywood

As a fan of Indian cinema, particularly Bollywood, I'm a lonesome soul in this town... All I ever hear about Bollywood ("Bollywood is the Indian film industry, right?"... Yeah, right, never heard of Tamil or Telugu films, have you? I won't even try with Marathi or Bengali), was R-U-B-B-I-S-H... Well, except for my sister and my best friend... They watch the movies sometimes, but that means like... not even once a month.
Actually, I've tried to talk another friend of mine into Bollywood - and I did succeed in some way, at least by convincing her that the Indian film industry is big and there's no universal thing you can say about it (or about Bollywood). I managed this by introducing her to "Luck By Chance", a film she loved, but it's not like she knows anything about Bollywood now. However, I don't hear any cruddy statements from her any longer. (If you want to know, what she said before, read statement nr. 3).

Have I mentioned I'm a big fan of lists? I think so...
Here's the list of the most cruddy statements I've heard about Bollywood, in no particular order:

1) "Are you sure that this is a Bollywood film? I've just been to India and whenever I turned on the TV or in the busses and stuff, they showed all that Bollywood and it was such junk!"
Where? At the (indie kind of) cinema in Flensburg (where I live), just before watching "Peepli Live".
Who? An (female) acquaintance of my mother, that we met in the cinema. She'd just been to India.
Why is this wrong? What do you see, when you turn on your TV at noon? Cinematic masterpieces, classics, milestones and artful or experimental films - or junk, that's not even worth being called a "film". And what do you see on a bus trip? Answer this question and you know, what I'm talking about.
Besides, what's Bollywood? I'd say, a film in Hindi language and/or produced in Mumbai.

2) "I'v seen every Bollywood film, because I had a friend from Malaysia, who was crazy about them - and I didn't like a single one."
Where? At school.
Who? A (female) friend of mine, who I really like, but she doesn't change her mind very often.
Why is this wrong? If there really is someone, who has seen every film of an industry (and I doubt there is), it's definitely not her. She's probably seen all those films that have been dubbed into German - and yes, they're not for everyone (it's mostly films like "K3G", "Mujhse Dosti Karoge", "Saathiya", "Main Hoon Na" etc - often good, but well, all quite similar, with many dance sequences and stuff). By the way, she watched "Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna" a few months later and had to admit, that she thought it was a very good and interesting movie. Despite the songs.

3) "I don't like Bollywood because of the singing and dancing."
Who? So many people, I've stopped counting them.
Why is this wrong? Go and watch "Black", "Kites" (ok, is this a BW... good question!), "My Name Is Khan", "99" and many others that I don't remember right now. After that, watch "West Side Story", "Moulin Rouge" and many others that I don't remember right now. You'll get the point.

4) "Bollywood is unrealistic."
Who? Even more people than at nr. 3.
Why is this wrong? Do you seriously want to know the answer? Really? Do you mean it? Sure? DUDE! Watch "Black Swan", "Lord of the Rings", "Star Trek", "Independence Day", "Shopaholic", "Slumdog Millionaire", "Sweeney Todd" and countless others and then tell me: Are some of the best movies not often unrealistic? Not that I'm generalizing anything. What I'm trying to say is just this: It doesn't matter, whether a film is more or less unrealistic or not. It has to catch you, entertain you, make you laugh or cry, make you think in new ways or make you forget everything... It has to be good, that's all.

5) "Bollywood is for poor, uneducated people in India"
Where/ Who? Posted by Anonymous on this blog post.
Why is this wrong? Would they earn enough money just by selling cinema tickets to poor people in India? Are all Indians poor and uneducated? Do the poor, uneducated people have DVD players, so that they can buy DVDs? Then why do they sell the DVDs?
Long pause, no answer.

Thanks for reading,
Angry Young Me


  1. Ugh, I hear the same sort of stuff all the time! It's crazy how many assumptions people make about Bollywood and Indian movies in general.

    My favorite comment, though, was from a girl who came up to me and asked, "So, have you seen all the movies in the Bollywood series?" She seriously thought Bollywood was just three or four movies!

    Thanks for commenting on my blog. Yours looks good; I'll have to add you to my list of blogs to read!

  2. @ mainhoonemily: Oh, that's so kind of you! And what a great comment - I must admit though, that I at the very beginning of my Bollywood journey also thought, that it was a kind of series. Well, I was 10 or something.


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