Bollywood Songs – An Effective Narrative Device


In Hollywood movies, Musicals are one genre that is exclusively based on songs and lyrics. With few exceptions songs are not a common narrative expression for other Genres. Though it has been observed that its musical score increases a movie’s popularity. Celine Dion’s “My heart will go on” for Titanic stayed on in public memory long after the movie left the cinema halls. The soundtrack of Love Story is one of the most enduring ever, and who doesn’t download music from Sound of Music and Mary Poppins. Many a times, blockbusters become classics because of their excellent scores. Hence, composers and songwriters are in great demand in Hollywood and thus the producers are encouraged to use songs occasionally in Hollywood films.

The origin of songs in Bollywood movies can be attributed to the “Parsi Theatre” – the popular musical plays in the early 19th Century that influenced themes and styles of the early film productions. From thereon even though the film style and content diversified, the popularity of songs remained. In the contemporary Bollywood cinema, the craft of song imaging improved with technology and its relevance and contribution enhanced the art of populous Indian storytelling techniques. The mere means of entertainment emerged as a potent narrative device.

Most of the Bollywood films are essentially consumed by audiences of Indian origin across the globe thus they are dually influenced by the Indian ethos and the western lifestyle. Former assisting the mass acceptance and the latter satisfying the mass fantasy. These movies primarily express the importance Indians as a race give to human emotions and relationships. Bollywood songs contribute effectively to this expression. They movies range from emotional sagas to patriotic legends, romantic comedies to heart stopping thrillers. Irrespective of the genre, songs find an important role to play in the narrative structure of the story. There is something for all kinds of audiences. There is entertainment packed for everyone in one movie.

In the Indian popular culture there are songs for every occasion happy or sad. People sing songs to celebrate, to mourn or to rejuvenate, whatever may be the reason it is a popular expression of human emotions and way of life. Since the Bollywood movies are so deeply rooted in the culture and traditions of its societies, songs too become a potent device of expression in any dramatic situation of a film story. They have remained and shall remain one of the most popular genres of music in the Indian peninsula.

Bollywood films continue to be renowned for the excessive song and dance sequences that also play a pivotal role in making Indian cinema both unique and popular across the globe. Songs are used in Indian movies mainly to entertain but they also prove to be an effective device in rendering otherwise mundane but essential information without compromising the emotional quotient of the story. An appropriate love song enhances a romantic setting. Similarly songs have been used to make audiences laugh and cry with the characters. In fact the story itself can be narrated through cleverly inserted songs. Moreover, song montages replace elaborate scenes enhancing emotions and providing more significance to the narrative expression by eliminating conversations. Thus the overall dramatic impact of the story is heightened.

Source by Umesh G

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