It's All About Loving Your Loveys

Veer Zara” the latest epic love story from the Yash Chopra house of saccharine marketable emotions (yeah aren’t they all) was released last week (or was it the week before last?). I haven’t seen the movie but I have a fairly good idea about what it will be–after all how different will it be from the millions of Hindi movies churned out year after year every Friday with the inexorableness of an Indian batting collapse.

It’s all about loving. One word symbolizes the Hindi movie industry–love. Now lest this seem like a rant against love, let me stress that I am no mean-minded ogre who is anti-love, I do sincerely believe it is the noblest of all human emotions. What I do not appreciate is that almost all Hindi movies have to be about it–without fail.

And even this is not the entire problem. The problem is that what passes for love in Bollywood products is of an extremely immature variety, usually indulged in by school kids. And this juvenility is pushed down our throats for years on end till people actually start believing in all that eternal, endless crap thing. I have no problem with Yash Chopra, Karan Johar and their ilk marketing love as a “product” through Rose Day, Friendship Day and any other day Hallmark/Archies want to do business on—after all they know that money is more important than love even if we do not. What however is a concern is that otherwise sensible people take these movies to heart and start believing that “someone somewhere is made for me” or that when you meet the person of your dreams, Lata Mangeskar will warble in the background “La la la la la la” or that shooting star will streak across the sky !

Of course its not all sugar and spice. Besides this kind of “so-sweet” puppy love there is that other kind of love which is even more infantile —the “obsessive” kind. Here love is all about never having to take no for an answer and the amount of destructive wackiness and garbled stammering you can engage in is directly proportional to the fire in your heart. Again a horrible role model which unfortunately many take to heart.

But hey aren’t we making different kinds of Hindi movies these days? Aren’t we bolder in showing sexual desire? Actually no. If you look at these supposedly “bold” movies , besides offering some very watered down juvenile titillation they follow the Hindi movie stereotype to the “T”.

In kinder though less gentler times, sexual desire was the prerogative of the lascivious “Lolitaaaa” Shakti Kapoor kinda crowd (the underlying assumption is that physical desire is an emotion felt only by rapists )— the hero would be this virginal guy who would run around trees and have sex with the heroine only if her life was threatened by falling into ice-cold water and it was needed for her to survive (Aa Gale Lag Ja, Ganga Jamuna Saraswati)–definitely the most noble reason ever conceived for indulging your hormones. Those who had consensual pre-marital sex (Aradhana) based on pure physical desire usually met with tragic consequences (should teach you better than to be in a room with Sharmila Tagore in a towel).

Even worse than a “lusty” guy was a sexually liberated lady. They were usually the villain’s molls–Mona and Sona or the dusky cabaret dancer on whom the dejected hero wastes away his savings and his youth. The 90s brought about a change in that clothes and dance routines hitherto engaged in by vamps were now done by the mainstream heroines—but the moral code remained intact. Such sensual behavior was usually engaged in dream sequences , bumping and grinding was ok but sex was not, and it was exclusively the hero she was jiggying with–the only man who would ever occupy her heart and sarkailo khatiya.

Older men and younger women–a no no. Yes there was Lamhe but the love story between Anil Kapoor and Sridevi was extremely juvenile and improbable (it was a Yash Chopra movie) and lacked any kind of emotional depth. Even worse is the coupling between the older woman and the younger man—the older woman is invariably an unhappy alcoholic and must be mandatorily dead by the 15th reel ( Dil Chahta Hain). Extramarital affairs (with the exception of Shyam Benegal movies) are also looked upon as a fault of the scheming other woman (Biwi No 1) , a mistake (Silsila) or just plain prostitution(Aastha)—- it is never about guilt, loneliness, incompatibility or desire. (Noone would dare make “Bridges of Madison County” in Hindi–no sir !)

Alternate forms of sexuality are an object of gross comedy and/or downright hatred. Ever since Anupam Kher painted his hair green for the homosexual villain in “Mast Kalandar”, gay people have been portrayed as effeminate, neutered or plain vicious –marginal, damaged, visually distinctive people unable of having a relationship. The supposedly bold “Girlfriend” pandered to the worst stereotypes of lesbians (the lesbian angle was totally a titillation device) and had the patented Bush-approved message that love is only possible between a man and a woman.

Whether we like it or not, movies influence us more than we think they do. Hindi movies portray an unreal idealized rose-tinted view of life and love. I understand that Hindi movies are escapist song fests where people can get away from the horrible world raging outside the air-conditioned confines of the theatre. But with its monochromous harping on only one color in the whole spectrum of inter-personal relationships (loosely called “love”) Hindi movies close our eyes to alternative definitions and make us judgmental and intolerant of any kind of relationship that does not meet the norms the movie moguls set for us.

4 thoughts on “It's All About Loving Your Loveys

  1. Honored to be the first one to comment on this post

  2. Know I am three yers late, but this is the best analysis I have read on the dangerous effects of Bollywood juvenalia on the Indian psyche.

    Worse, even your elders are not spared. Even my mother can’t avoid giving in to the “Ma ke seene ke dard” variety of loud melodrama sometimes.

  3. Great! what a superb analysis of the filmi sansar which shapes the ideals of society and the aam-aadm. great bong, if this post is put now, it will generate helluva lot of comments. 🙂

  4. “Emotinal Atyachar” in bollywoods’ phrase itself with bhavna of bechari innocent indian audience.

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