The word ‘Bollywood’ is defined as “a name for the Indian popular film industry, based in Bombay” in the Oxford dictionary. Since the initial beginning of Indian cinema across the globe there has been a huge reception of audience, including many non Indian speaking cultures.
In many of the Bollywood films that have watched throughout this semester there have been arguments about the amount of tragedies that Bollywood cinema use’s within their context of film. For example the use of so many different emotions and genre’s in one. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai the audience experiences several changes in mood and emotion toward the characters and the film itself, they call this ‘rasa’ meaning ‘essence’ or ‘juice’ of the film, ‘rasa’ is a term used to describe all the emotions used in Bollywood and that there are 9 emotions that equal up to the viewing pleasure of Hindi cinema.
Early hindi cinema in the 1920’s was founded on the mythalogical film, meaning most of the basic storylines and themes were taken from Indian mythology. A leading chereographer Farah Khan believes that the song and dance that Hindi films produce is what is holding them from being engulfed by Hollywood cinema as they can not imitate this, therefore keeping Hindi cinema as orinial and fun.
Therefor ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ with its pretty places, prettier faces and no poverty, dirt or villains became the perfect fairytale of the nineties. For the Indian middle class, here finally was cinema that reflected their aspirations if not their reality.
Critics argue that Karan Johar’s debut “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” was not much more than the formulaic Bollywood blockbuster format seen many times before. But what worked for it was its packaging. Its setting seemed perfectly matched to the mood of the country at large.
Even though others would believe that Kuch Kuch has all the elements of ‘rasa’ and portrays them well through the film, personally I think that Kuch Kuch had so much within the storyline that a member of audience can not look away (in my opinion would not want to) for a second as you feel as though your going to miss an important clue or moment between the characters. This is way having a diversity of emotions in 3hours of film is important to Hindi cinema, they have 3 hours to make the audience feel how much pain, joy, fear, love etc that the people of Indian culture have felt for years that they bring it to life in films and begin to get this message across by selling their films to other countries.
The use of camera, lighting, costume and acting all emphasis how much drama there is in ‘Bollywood’ films, sometime they can be perceived as ‘over the top’ and ‘too much’, the use of camera is always ‘in your face’ and there is no logic of hidden camera. This is because another Hindi cinema sees no use in trying to make an audience believe that what they are watching is in fact real, when its simply not.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai begins with a tragedy, with a pretty young mother, Tina (Rani Mukerji), suffering fatal difficulties after giving birth to her baby daughter. As her life is taken away, she writes eight letters and asks that a letter be given out for each of her daughter’s first eight birthdays. Her last request is for her husband, Rahul (Shahrukh Khan), to name their baby Anjali.
Eight years later now. Rahul is a thriving businessman and a devoted father. His daughter, Anjali, has just turned eight years old. Anjali dreams of becoming a famous presenter like Neelam, although she wants to be like her mother more. However because this is her eighth birthday, she receives the last of her mother’s letters. In this final one, Tina at last tells her daughter the bittersweet story of her father and of Anjali’s namesake, Anjali Sharma (Kajol). At this point the film starts to unravel through scenese form the past and present which is why the audience have to stay on track if they want to be able to understand what is going on.
Tina, in these letters reveals that, back in college, Rahul and Anjali were best friends. But that the dynamics had changed forever when Tina came to their college. Rahul began to passionately pursue Tina, whilst Anjali suddenly realized that she was in love with Rahul. When Anjali tried to tell her feelings to Rahul it was too late and she decided to take that chance and leave college to start life somewhere else. Although Tina had come to realise these feelings before she left.
The love story unfolds so beautifully – the unrequited stuff, the anguished longing, the miracle of a second chance – leaving the audience wondering where three hours of film went so quick.
Another film that had many tragedies in it was Amar, Akbar, Anthony.
Amar Akbar Anthony became a legend and by far the most successful entertainer of its time. Released in 1977, it was a super hit and is considered the best film made by Manmohan Desai, A typical Manmohan Desai “dish” it had the suitable quantity of the necessary ingredients like action, emotion, drama, comedy and tragedy.
For me what made this film different from the rest was that it had a heart wrenching beginning, watching the three boys being separated due to unforgiving and typically ignorant ‘rich people’ dragged me in and I wanted to watch the film to see how they find each other, as you no there has to be some sort of happy ending otherwise it would not be Bollywood. The way that the director chose to separate them by who found them was a way to show how different cultures live together in India and I thought that was a very smart decision by the director; they are adopted by a Hindu policeman (Amar), a Muslim tailor (Akbar), and a Catholic priest (Anthony). The Hindu raised son becomes a policeman in his turn; his Muslim-raised brother becomes a singer; and the last brother becomes a happy-go-lucky Catholic who lives on the edge of law.
The three a braought together by incredible twists and very unlikely coisidences which eventually result in the whole family once again being a family. These types of coinsidences not being unfamilair within Bollywood film culture, meaning that they always have some sort of way of using not only ‘unrealistic’ but also completely ludacris ways to bring lovers, family etc together again for a big over the top conclusion.
Overall I find that bollywood uses whatever is going on in the past, present time of India and what issues are at the top at that point to their advantage and make a big movie out of it byt using song, dance and passionate performances by their actors. This makes Bollywood similar to Hollywood I think as a lot of films these days are based on whats actually going on in the real world as apose to imaginary and fantasy land, but the fact that bollywood was doing this before its time makes them ahead of the game with hollywood and that means that many stories told through music, dance, and colours which tells us of love, tragedy and guilt will always remain a Bollywood tradition.