Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham. Tees Maar Khan. Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani. Amar Akbar Anthony. Khoon Bhari Maang. Karan Arjun. Etc. Etc. I hope you get it—these are all formula-driven, emotion-stirring, attention-holding Indian movies that I know of being criticized by many who enjoy sensible movies.
Look. I love sensible movies, period movies, artistic cinema. I can give you names—Valkyrie, Dhobi Ghat, Delhi Belly (the screenplay is lovely). But I also love Bollywood. I must confess I am a Bollywood queen who quite enjoys being melodramatic and dancing with thumkas for fun! What? Don’t judge me. I am serious.
That’s not the point anyway. It’s not about me.
You see, I have heard and I still hear many a joke with a discriminating tone about the first list of movies I gave you. Let’s put them together in a box and call it ‘Entertainment for the Needy’.
Call me naïve and ignorant about movies and the industry but believe me these movies are a great pain-reliever for the poor who spend the entire day as labourers without the luxuries of hospitality at restaurants, or sunscreens, or tea and coffee at regular intervals. They do the dirty jobs. They hardly have any fixed timings. They do more work than in their job roles. They hardly can save any money. They are worried about the marriages of their sisters and daughters and if they will make enough money for rent that month and if they will get water in the next two days and if they will have food next month. There is hardly any electricity or privacy in their houses. Life is not pretty for them. They struggle every day. Toiling hard each day only to make through it and live the next one. Always at the edge. Always at the mercy of their employers. They cannot afford tantrums. They hardly can demand. These are the people we never bother to look at the faces of or even smile and thank after they have done their job. (More about what social hypocrites we are but later)
The point is why they should want to watch movies about how many difficulties life gives and how sad people are and how bad the world is—they deserve entertainment. I agree these film makers do not think this when they are making films, they only are interested in what will sell. These sell because we need them. Sorry. Because a large chunk of our population needs these movies. They deserve all this entertainment.
“So why are you telling this to us? Let them watch if they want to. Who is stopping them?” you may ask. Well, it is a matter of respect. We discriminate. It might seem a small thing but when you think about it carefully, it is not—we are firstly not respecting the hard work and struggle of 70% of our population and based on the fact that their favourite movies (formula-driven, melodramatic, filled with silly jokes, senseless etc.) are not artistically sound, and are called mass movies, we discriminate these movies as meant for the lower castes whose problems, by doing so, we thus refuse to even imagine of. For us, poor are dirty since what they like, as it seems from how we comment what we comment, is dirty. See. We do discriminate in more ways than we realize or like to admit.
Well, just that.
And that more and more mass movies should be made and released. Entertainment is a need. It is.