Bollywood movies are very conventional but fun to watch. This is what most viewers have been thinking for the past few decades, especially people who take an interest in the movies despite the way that the stories turn out. The guy gets the girl, the family is reunited, the poor male lead who was previously rejected is now a rich businessman and in a happy relationship, the mother-in-law finally reconciles with her beloved son’s wife, et cetera, et cetera. More worn-out movie elements to follow in this article. But here, the focus is on how the industry is changing its mindset and slowly, but steadily, movies are turning out to be slightly more bearable. Homosexual men aren’t caricatures, which they were portrayed as in movies that needed comic reliefs. Females roles are being given the treatment they deserve, which is, that’s right, it’s equal to what the men of today’s society deserve! Men can cook and women can work jobs. Times. Are. Changing.
A stunning woman dancing in slow motion with a good-looking heartthrob with a ripped physique, in the middle of the mountains (Switzerland maybe?). Bollywood is the one word that comes to mind. Did I forget to add that while the guy’s clad in the most expensive and luxurious winter wear, our female lead is prancing around in a flimsy piece of embroidered clothing? Moving away from such pretentious scenes, our society’s members, especially the Indian ones, mostly fail to recognize that there are other issues surrounding the movie leads. Blinded by the glamour, viewers don’t find it weird that the women in your typical Bollywood movie have a set of roles fixed for them: the forgiving mother, the devoted or simpering wife, the sacrificing sister, and the jealous mother/sister-in-law, the DID (damsel in distress), or the sensual party girl who makes heads turn. A huge amount of Bollywood movies take these characters into their story line and creatively overuse them. Whether it is conscious or unconscious, viewers of Bollywood believe that it reflects our society to a certain extent. But the past decade has seen progressive movies, and some really good ones have been explained below.
Typically, Bollywood doesn’t make movies that challenge cliché or gender stereotyped roles. The surprising aspect of these star-studded movies is the non-existent concept of consent, where a man literally preys on the female he takes a liking to, and stalking does not even begin to cover it. Many might be amused from the antics of the male lead, but movies like Pink focus on how this can create some conflicts, which can later lead to problematic situations such as harassment and sexual assault. This movie focuses on how females have a say in what they want to do with their body and how they wish to carry out their lifestyle, and just because they stay out late at night and party with male friends, it does not, in any way, give a man the permission to approach a girl or touch her, especially when she says ‘no’ (which is an oft-ignored word when it comes to what the men in the movies want, but not anymore!). This movie has a group of harassed females fighting the law for being judged and wrongly accused by stereotypes that fit a single woman living in an urban setting, which made watching this movie this movie a truly eye-opening experience.
When it comes to males, there are movies which portray them as people who do not necessarily fit the hegemonic category. Movies like Ki & Ka and Kapoor and Sons show men just like they are in real life. In the former, we have a male lead (known as Kabir) who is perfect, except that he wishes to perform the duties of a housewife, while his wife does the job and is the breadwinner. Ki & Ka created a paradox of a type, first, by breaking the stereotype that ‘the genders have specific roles set for them’, and secondly, it is seen in the movie that Kabir performs the ‘duties’ of a housewife (read ‘defining characteristics’), such as cooking, shopping, or going to kitty parties. Leaving this movie aside, there is Kapoor and Sons, in which we see a male lead who is homosexual (as Rahul). Even though this movie’s plot focuses upon a dysfunctional upper-class family, there are scenes which reveal that the elder son of the family has a relationship with another man, which his mother does not accept initially, but during the end, everybody reconciles. This acceptance of homosexuality proves that members of the Indian society (especially those who watch Bollywood) are more open to the fact that all individuals have a right to be what they want, without unnecessary judgments.
In conclusion, there have been more movies than the ones above, which really break the conventional moulds that Bollywood has set with its typical films. As such movies are released, the society’s mindset develops into a more open and accepting one. This is because, as mentioned before, our society seems to think that Bollywood movies reflect a lot of what the norms are, and how people should act and think. Such movies have a positive effect on the audience and help them realize certain truths of a human’s existence.