The success of ‘Pushpa: The Rise’, ‘RRR’ and ‘KGF2’ in 2022 brought about a paradigm shift in the Bharat film industry
The democratization of the cinematic space is one of the most refreshing changes of recent times. Bollywood’s monopolization of cinematic space, mostly in the Hindi core, has been broken for good. The mundane world of Bollywood finally sees the end of the day. The overdose of appeasement, movie remakes, body shaming, flimsy storytelling, abysmal direction, lack of creativity, and superficial fame were finally violated.
In 2022, the mediocrity of Bollywood is on full display against the brilliance of Bharatiya cinema. The film industry called Bollywood, which has been infested with nepotism and mediocre talent, is suddenly facing an existential crisis due to the growth of Bharatiya cinemas. The three biggest blockbusters of the year all came from Bharatiya cinemas
The success of Pushpa: the ascent, RRR and KGF2 in 2022 brought about a paradigm shift in the Bharat film industry. Bollywood, which used to monopolize the cinematic space in the heart of Hindi, currently seems to be playing second fiddle to the Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil film industry. The ramifications of such a colossal shift will likely affect how the film industry evolves over the next decade. This in turn will affect how impressionable minds of the future will think and believe. It will also create a more competitive environment where content is king.
The junk the Bollywood monopoly fed the masses will no longer have a chance of commercial success. These are positive signs for the times to come. However, what you need to know is what caused this paradigm shift. Also, another question that needs to be answered is how Bharatiya cinema is getting so much traction across the country. Let’s understand these two problems one by one.
Currently, Bollywood has reduced itself to almost a remake industry. There is hardly any original content available. Featured content is rarely appealing to the masses. What little original content the industry releases once in a blue moon is largely driven by woke agendas. There is hardly any reflection of Bharatiya Samskriti in Bollywood content. There is a major disconnect between what people want and what Bollywood produces. If we analyze Bollywood content, we find that the majority of content is either inspired or copied. When more and more remakes of regional Bharatiya cinema began to achieve commercial success over the past decade, the originality of Bollywood content took a turn.
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Originality, however, has never been a forte of Bollywood and many pirated versions of foreign music, action sequences and dramatic scenes have been available under the guise of “drawing inspiration” from Bollywood films for decades. time immemorial. This copycat trend was mostly limited to foreign content, but in the first two decades of the 21st century, more Bharatiya film content began to be produced like in Bollywood films. This created a major gap between demand and supply when it came to Bollywood-produced content and what audiences wanted in terms of content. This void has started to fill with more consumption of Bharatiya cinema on different cinema channels on television. Soon Bharatiya movie stars also became a household name in the Hindi belt. The rise of Bharatiya cinema is the result of this vacuum of demand and supply. Its rise is the re-establishment of Bharatiyata in cinema.
The year 2022 has seen three major Bharatiya cinema blockbusters. It is a breath of fresh air for all movie consumers, especially in the heart of Hindi. The latest blockbuster KGF: Chapter 2 received an excellent response from the public. This is largely due to the exceptional performance that the director puts forward in the film. Each sequence is a visual delight. The film is miles ahead of any contemporary Bollywood release, both in scale and execution. The film also attempts to present a story that resonates with the masses across geography.
Some Bollywood stars add more appeal to the film, but the film’s heart and soul lies in its honest storytelling. KGF: Chapter 2 brings us a story of struggle, courage, determination and focus. The story of the purity of love between a mother and her son. The story of Bharatiya Samskriti where all religions are respected and have their own space and time for ‘Samanvaya’. The story of female bows in the form of the deity ‘Kaali’, who is worshiped regardless of caste, creed and religion. The story of courage and conviction. It is the story of Bharat’s youth, which is ambitious and full of worth.
The film’s success lies in its connection to what Bharat is and aspires to be. The film’s dialogue received thunderous applause in theaters. One of these dialogues worshiping the deity ‘Kaali’, showing respect for women in Bharatiya society went like this: “Itihaas aur purane kahte hai. Stree krodhit ho to haath nhi uthate hai.Sringaar karke, Tilak lagake, puja karke, Haath jodte hai”. Another dialogue that dealt a mortal blow to nepotism went like “kya hua hai hamaare desh ko, recommendation jahaan dekho, gift, domination, influence, baap ka naam. ab gareeb ka bachcha kya kare, mehanat kar ke pharst raink laane vaala kya kare, bina ghoos lie kaam karane vaala aphasar kya kare, hal chalane vaala kya kare, akela ghus ke sar kaatane vaala kya kare.”
Such dialogues resonated with the masses. The film’s content fills the void created by the lack of quality content in Bollywood. The film will go down as one of the main catalysts that changed the landscape of Bharatiya cinema.
It’s high time Bollywood rolled up its sleeves. Bollywood needs to wake up from its slumber. Bollywood and its stars are facing an existential crisis. The main reasons for this are poor quality content, subtle propaganda and poor understanding of consumer demand. It is high time Bollywood realized that the majority of consumers of Bollywood content do not want to see their stereotypical content being manufactured. People now value truth more than propaganda.
The Kashmir Files is a clear example. Bollywood is likely to face more challenges in the future as Bharatiya cinema starts earning more money and producing films with more finesse. Already, the euphoria created in theaters for non-Bollywood movies parallels what Khans films and the likes of Hrithik Roshan used to create. The same euphoria is now visible for stars like Yash from the Kannada film industry or Jr NTR or Ram Charan Teja from the Telugu industry. Bharatiya movie superstars no longer need to admire Bollywood for pan Bharat stardom. They create their own space. They create their own paradigms for Bollywood to follow. This signals a shift in polarity in the Bharat Cinematic Universe.
Bollywood must redefine itself to feed itself. He must begin by fleeing the name itself. “Bollywood” was a pejorative term used to mock Bharatiya cinema by Western media. We have to get rid of it. This is all the more true from the point of view of the pan-Bharat industry and the globalized perspectives of cinema today. A resurgence of Hindi cinema may help accelerate the growth of Bharatiya cinema globally. But, for that, the storytelling of Hindi cinema has to completely change. We are the original storytellers of this world, we have endless stories to tell that the world can tell and celebrate, why only Iranian cinema is global, why a Parasite from South Korea has won so many Oscars (although Oscar is not the mark of the best) why the cinema of the most film-producing country is limited to the box office, released Friday, Monday Superhit and everyone forgets , is a cinema just a box office collection for hindi filmmakers?
It needs to focus more on actual stories of contemporary and ancient Bharat. He must come out of his quarters in Bandra and discover Bharat for what it is. He has lived for a long time in his bubble which is about to burst. Bollywood has only told the stories of the urban elite in recent years, perhaps because the creators never saw the world beyond Bandra, for them there was no world, no fuss outside of their centralized AC Ivory offices. They have traveled across the world but never beyond Bandra here in Mumbai alone. With the rise of OTT and studio models, all wealthy business school MBAs have become content curators who quit Hindi or any Bharatiya language literature, they haven’t even read English literature written in this country. How can their stories be expected to relate to someone in this country whose soul is in the villages? I’m tempted to quote a small incident here: A small-town screenwriter submitted his story to one of these so-called Content Creation Companies; it was a story based on the literature of Munshi Premchand. The American Accent content curator at this so-called Creative Company didn’t understand a few nuances of the story. so she confidently told the writer to bring Premchand tomorrow with him for discussion. No, this is not a joke to be laughed at, it really is a serious thing that we all need to think critically about.
How aware these Bollywood writers who claim to represent Bharat are is a big question. It’s not about IQ but about sensitivity and common sense. For so many years, Bollywood has forced ITS to copy third-rate stories in small towns and tier 2 cities? Hindi Cinema has a lot of catching up to do. The Bharatiya film industry of the future will consist of equal respect for content across languages and geography. It will contain stories from the common man, from our rich heritage, global samskriti, our pride. Bharat is changing and the Hindi industry needs to change too.
The author is Executive CCO, VSK Mumbai, and Advisor, VESIM Literati Festival, Prabuddha Bharat Belagavi, Khajuraho Literature Festival. He tweets from @MODified_SKP. The opinions expressed are personal.
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