Three Things a Foreign Reviewer Should Know About Bollywood

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The world is getting smaller and smaller everyday, and with the world getting smaller, products and services are seeing a wider base and greater markets than ever before. And these products come from a wide range of niches, electronics, technologies and of course, entertainment. Gone are the days when a movie from Hollywood took 12 years to come to India, and gone are the days when Indian movies were a sideshow in foreign countries. Today, movies from both schools of film making are almost simultaneous, which leads to a very confusing situation, where one read glowing tributes about Indian movies by foreign critics and the same movie is widely panned by the local critics. Of course, there are several factors at play here – and not all are incidental. This article tries to clear out some of the misconceptions that foreign reviewers have about Bollywood movies, and more specifically the kind of movies that work in Bollywood.

  • Bollywood is not Broadway:

Ok, you have your Broadway, we have our Prithvi Theater, named after the legendary Prithivraj Kapoor, father of the multitalented Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor. So, not all movies are art house cinemas, in fact, very few movies that are released commercially in theaters and multiplexes even aim at catering to the art house market. So please, the next time you find a Bollywood movie a yawn, say so. Bollywood can sometimes really make some boring movies – movies that make the two hour movie seems like ten. So if you find yourself yawning in the middle of the movie, it isn’t that you didn’t get the movie, it’s just that the movie didn’t get the audience.

  • Bollywood Has it’s Cliches (and they are really bad):

Comedies, Actioners, Drama, Real Life Stories – you name it, we have everything that Hollywood has – and we have all the cliches that Hollywood has too – the token, the cliffhanger, the lone ranger, everything – and that has sometimes been good and sometimes it has been bad. So, the next time you see a romantic comedy film with one too many cliches, please do not write it to be ‘cutely reminiscent of classics’, just write that the movie had nothing original.

  • Bollywood is not Young:

I think this one comes in the same range of people still riding cows in the middle of the road in India. Bollywood is one of the, if not the oldest movie film industry in the world, and has every resource and financial backing to make everything possible. A Star Wars can be made, an Avatar can be made, everything can be done. So the next time you come across some pathetic special effects or makeup, don’t think that the make up artist did some real life adventure to get even that kind of makeup – those are bad production values and you have every right to call them out to it. Basically, stop treating the Bollywood Industry with kid mittens.

  • Every Bollywood movie is a Genius Story:

There is very, very little that you will learn about Indian culture from Bollywood, just like how we’d learn very little about actual American culture from a Hollywood movie, unless we are watching documentaries on the respective countries. So, if you find a Bollywood movie with a story that is going nowhere, don’t think that you don’t ‘get’ the movie because you are not ‘connected’ with the Indian culture – the storyline may be a faltering mess of drooling scriptwriters for all you know.


Source by Roy S

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