Bollywood seems to be getting it’s head out of the vivid blue clouds and closer and closer to a rich but truer Indian story
The recent change of pace for storylines in Bollywood films seem like a breath of fresh air. Earlier on there use to be too much of melodrama for comfort: there is always a little bit of a hypocrisy at play there because why not always make a film that you know sells. Why not always play it safe? Arguably, the films are worth the investment of a cinema ticket for the audience because people do like to see movies which are entertaining. I think when you see a masala film built of the same mould over and over again it earns criticism from film critics, and I do somehwat like to agree with the criticism there.
I think there is a fine balance between ‘doing too much of the same kind of films’ sometimes even by one director alone, and ‘never revisiting the same kind of masala environment’ and that balance should be maintained. I feel that it would be a good idea if a director visited their body of work, occasionally. If a film loses it’s flavour because it is overdone then it’s a film that’s gone to waste and who likes to see that? I mean, nobody likes to see that.
A film released earlier this year, Ki & Ka, which was directed, produced and written by R. Balki, is a good example of a movie which showcases a change in narration for Hindi cinema. In the film, Arjun Kapoor portrays a househusband Ka – not a pretty sight, and Arjun emotes the look for the character so flawlessly it almost becomes something like second skin for the young actor. Kareena Kapoor, interestingly, plays a female protagonist, Kia, who is a stark contrast to Ka – she loathes having to only be there for her husband following a marriage, and Kia also likes to have a job.
In the film, the character Kia very nicely cuts through the typical Indian mentality often exhibited on-screen of only existing to dust after a husband in her tiny home filled with love. It is a very primitive way to look at a marriage because a marriage is supposed to be a give-and-take sort of a relationship. A woman isn’t meant to slave for her husband, isn’t supposed to exist only to run her home because there are a lot of things that a woman can do with her time that are far more important to invest in.
In the film, Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan also make special appearances and it is implied that Jaya grows fond of the gender-bender speeches that Ka is becoming well-known for. Jaya even goes so far as to meet Ka for it – the meeting is arranged by her husband, Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya also gives Ka a present to take to his wife. I have to remark, Jaya is not a very common sight in films and her film career is littered with very long absences.
It’s good when she goes by only one year without any film project (2010) but Jaya actually previously wasn’t there on-screen for three long years (2004-2006). In retrospect, I have to say that it has been great to see Jaya Bachchan out and about because like the past, she again hasn’t been on-screen for the last two years. I think even when a film soaks for star-value these days, like for special appearances in Ki & Ka it is demonstrating a greater sense of depth than totally unnecessary over-the-top gloss.