Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 12pm

Bollywood at 100: It's time to grow up!

Bollywood's turning 100 years old, but that's hard to believe if you look at some of the biggest hits of 2012.

In fact, instead of maturing, one could argue that Indian cinema's aging backwards, Benjamin Button-style, to its infancy.

Women continue to be slightly better than props (if the furniture could do item numbers, actresses would definitely be out of work), men continue to emote through their sick-packs, songs continue to be ripped off... and scripts, well, what's a script?

To better understand just how much cinema needs to grow up, we spoke to the people who've made a career out of spoofing Bollywood and rewarding it for all its follies.

Jatin Verma and Anant Singh of The Golden Kela Awards, and Karan Talwar of the Bollywood Ghanta Awards rip into Indian cinema, which they unanimously like to refer to as 'crap', and tell us which are the areas where Bollywood really needs to grow up.

Get a script
Karan says, "Unfortunately in Indian cinema, the script is the last piece of the puzzle for the filmmaker. First, you get the stars, you get the songs, then the promotion and the posters, start a tour of the country and then you see what the script is. So, in the movie, the first half and the second half will be totally different things. The first half is like drinking and the second half is like smoking pot, when you totally forgot what happened in the first half."

Treat women better
The misogyny is palpable in most Indian films," say Jatin and Anant, adding, "A typical heroine in a typical film is usually there to serve three purposes - as an object of affection for the hero, as an object of lust/rape fodder/bargaining chip for the villain, and as eye candy for the audience. Our films routinely show us that the only way to make a woman fall in love with you is to pester her constantly until she gives in."

According to Karan, "We have only two kinds of women in Indian cinema, one is the girl who smokes cigarettes and dances with every guy in the room, the other's the Sati-Savitri, who thinks that sex is an aberration. I've not a seen a 'normal' person yet. Like that movie with Aishwarya and Rajinikanth - Robot - when the robot tells her he can't have sex, and she's like "Sex? Cheeee" like - what kind of people have sex? They are so weird! We're Indian, we don't do these kind of things! What they are doing is, they are taking all the stereotypes in the society and putting them in the films - and taking them further and that's making people dumber."

Stop being insensitive
Jatin and Anant say, "We are amazingly insensitive towards all kinds of groups. Muslims, Christians and Sikhs are usually seen in extremely stereotypical roles (unless the movie is specifically about that community); Parsis and South Indians have always been fodder for humour because they speak in 'funny' accents; I can't remember any film where the main protagonist is a Dalit (unless, of course, that is the whole issue the film tries to deal with). When it comes to different races we are crazy on a whole different level...Black people are always either drug peddlers or some kind of rapists or something; Chinese people have funny names and are mostly indistinguishable from North-Eastern Indians; and even someone like Tom Alter (who speaks better Urdu and Hindi than about 86.3% of our so-called 'heroes') had to spend his entire acting career talking in a stupid English-accented Hindostani just because he is white. One more group that we don't really care about is gay people...they're mostly just 'funny' because of their effeminate gestures and talking style. And then we have the wonderful portrayals of fat people, short people and people suffering from mental illness or physical handicap/deformity which we'd rather not get into."

The 'family business' mentality
Another area where some growing up is required is the 'family business' mentality...I'd like to see at least one film per month without an actor, director or producer who's not related to some other actor, director or producer," says Jatin.

And Karan has a bone to pick with the Khans and the Kapoors. "I have a lot of friends in the industry and because their father is not a Kapoor, or a Kumar or a Khan, they play second fiddle characters. If you don't have a Bollywood dad, forget it. If you look like an Indian, forget it. You need to not look like an Indian to be in an Indian movie."

Think out of the box
See, the storylines... they are not going to change," adds Karan. "It's that mindset, like Shah Rukh Khan, he knows what he does is crap.

He knows very well, that what he does is absolute garbage. He does it because he knows that he has to, it's a business.

And even Salman Khan, let's be honest, anybody can make the movies he makes. So we are not breaking any barriers here. So, every week, a movie releases, it makes 100 crore and one week later, finish it off.

And as for direction... there's no direction. There aren't really any 'filmmakers'. I think Anurag Kashyap is one of those few guys taking a risk, and he's got some success from it, but that's not to say Gangs Of Wasseypur was outstanding. I thought it was a painful movie to watch."

Stop taking the audience for granted
Karan continues, "The moviemakers have to stop taking the audience for granted. Right now the focus of the moviemaker is for the guy to buy the ticket. So, you and I got to buy a ticket, whether we enjoy the movie, whether we want to commit suicide after watching the movie - that's not their problem. So, that's why they focus on the numbers, everything's about the 100 crore."

Anant has a different point of view, "More than Indian cinema, I believe the Indian audience needs to grow up... if we continue spending our hard-earned money on films which don't even make an effort, then we're going to be stuck with films like that. I think something of that sort is starting to happen now, with films like Paan Singh Tomar, Kahaani, Vicky Donor, Gangs of Wasseypur and OMG Oh My God! doing good business.

But on the other hand, we still have extremely bad, unoriginal, crass films earning loads of money at the box office...so there's not much hope, as of now."

Get over the 100-crore club
Whenever a new film joins the 100-crore club we feel that we have one more nominee for our awards...," says Jatin. "We then see the movie. Sometimes we're surprised, but that happens about as often as Karan Johar shooting a realistic scene. So yes, we love the 100 crore club - it makes our job of choosing the worst films of the year much easier."

People who need to grow up this year
There are many contenders for the Golden Kela awards this year, say Jatin and Anant, "Joker is one film we can say will be nominated for the Worst Film for sure. There are many contenders for the other spots like Bol Bachchan, Rowdy Rathore, Son Of Sardaar, among others.

We also have really high hopes from Khiladi 786, considering that the film is produced by, written by and also stars Himesh Reshammiya.

For the acting dishonours, Sonakshi Sinha is a frontrunner, but newcomer Alia Bhatt might stage an upset; while among the men Imran Khan is a favourite (like every year when he does a movie), but Sanjay Dutt is not far behind with his all-style-no-substance 'performance' in Agneepath.

Some of the latest winners...

The 'Aaja Nachle' award
Esha Deol tried sexy dancing, and even roped in Salman Khan to whisper Esha Esha in a song, but she still won a Golden Kela in the category - "Aaja Nachle" award for worst attempt at a comeback, for her film Tell Me O Khuda.

'Anything but sexy' award

Kangna Ranaut won the Bollywood Ghanta award in 2012 in this category. According to the jury, "anything involving Kangna Ranaut in Rascals was anything but sexy".

'WTF was that' award

"How Sonam Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor don't manage to exchange a measly phone number over 10 years in Mausam" is the question that troubled the Bollywood Ghanta jury, and hence the film was awarded with the 'WTF was that' award. Sonam Kapoor even attended the function to accept the award.

The 'Lajja' award

Prakash Jha's Aarakshan got a Golden Kela in the category of Lajja Award for worst treatment of a serious issue. Prateik also got a Golden Kela and a Bollywood Ghanta for the worst supporting actor in the film.

- Kritika Kapoor: Times News Network



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