Baahubali made it pretty clear that the films made down south can not only take on anything made it Bollywood, but also surpass it easily. But whenever it comes to Indian films being discussed/showcased on an international platform, it is Bollywood that takes the limelight. Lately, barring a Dangal or a Lipstick Under My Burkha, Bollywood films seems to be all about flashy sets, elaborate wardrobes and a skeleton storyline.
So the internet – a rather magical place – decided to look at all the things that have been going wrong for big shot filmmakers like Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra who are selling a world that has a far-fetched idea of a high-school that no in India has ever visited (Hint: Student of The Year) or sells us people daring each other to do ludicrous things on the streets of Paris. (Hint: Befikre).
Not enough originality way too much investment of resources in making the film, ‘commercial’ – is the general consensus. This Quora post pits Bollywood against its Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam counterparts and guess who won?
Bollywood you say? Nope. With about 20 votes for regional cinema and just two (!!) for Bollywood, let’s just the say polling section isn’t something those from the Hindi film industry would like to take a peek at.
But let’s break down why a majority of these Quora members down-voted Bollywood.
1) Kahani, or the lack of it
One user questioned: What is the best thing about Baahubali? The story, screenplay, casting, or music or the film’s direction? Answer: All of it. They had a vision for the film, an insane one to begin with, but they managed to pull it off and become the highest grossing blockbuster.
2) Get over the stars, experiment a little
Whether it is the range of movies that they are churning out, or the extra screen time for their female characters, films from down south are winning at experimentation and people are noticing.
3) Talent trumps personality/looks (and perhaps parentage?)
One Quora user has the most appropriate reply:
We are happy with the boy/girl next door appearances. We don’t mind pimples.
4) Female leads cannot be the actor’s supporting cast only
In Sultan, Anushka Sharma’s character – a legit wrestler – almost disappeared to the background when Salman Khan became one too. Rustom is about the infidelity of a navy wife and the murder committed by her husband. Despite the fact that the role called for a better scripted character, Ileana D’Cruz was merely an afterthought in this Akshay Kumar venture. Mahira Khan came all the way from Pakistan for Raees just to sing and dance for very little screen-time apparently. See a pattern here?
In conclusion: Why is good cinema a rarity?
Rang De Basanti, Taare Zameen Par, and of late we saw Airlift, Piku, Queen, Dangal, Lipstick Under My Burkha. But why can’t we see more of actors like Irrfan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan and Kangana Ranaut taking up movies like these more frequently? Because there are no directors to make such films, or they don’t get enough producers or the right kind of distributors, case in point: Masaan.
Baahubali seems to have set the bar quite high up, now that Tubelight and Jab Harry Met Sejal has flopped, the directors need to take a hint and realise that their audience is actually looking for better content and will no longer be sufficed with good-looking actors frolicking in foreign locations.
You have your work cut out for you Bollywood. Do better.
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