Pressure tactics do work, it seems. Well, the present state of Bollywood is proof.
What started as an adaptation of Hollywood in Bombay, turned out to be a rich and ripe commercial industry several decades later.
Bollywood’s journey feels nothing short of time travel – from the first stage show at a film presentation in Calcutta in 1897 to the first feature film ‘Raja Harishchandra’ by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1931 through to the era of pomp and show in Mughal-e-Azam towards the phenomenal period of Dev Anand’s finesse.
Bollywood has seen and been through as much as India and Indians. It has seen recessions, the impact of wars, invention and rediscovery of art forms, the era of colonialism, Sufism, etc and whatnot. Power and status have also affected Bollywood from time to time. The monopoly of the Kapoors to the glam of the Khans- we have witnessed it all.
Nepotism – The Start Of The End
The term ‘Nepotism’ has been made a synonym for a blanket ban now. It started off as a cynical criticism of the malpractices and favouritism in the industry. However, later the fight for a fair playing field turned into fuel for cancel culture and ignition for pointless Twitter wars.
It led Bollywood to a steep slope, where almost everyone took a few steps back for their safety and existence in the Film industry. The lesson that was to be learnt from the debate of Nepotism converted into a marathon of burning the whole book down.
Power Play and Influence
Politics too has had a massive impact on this film industry. From parents and acquaintances of several actors seeking their Bollywood debuts from powerful politicians to stars dancing in the weddings of the children of Capitalists and business moguls, Bollywood has engaged in powerplay at all times.
While common people fancy just the big stars and their luxurious lives, there is a lot of detailing in the bigger picture. There are technicians, musicians, writers, stylists, support crew, medical staff and an army behind the completion of a single project.
Undeclared War Against Bollywood
The recent years have made Bollywood a scapegoat and almost a punching bag for power-hungry and attention-deficit people. From paid Twitter hashtag trends to petty boycott culture, the industry is truly in shambles. IT raids, NCB Office visits, distasteful media reportage, all seem to be pushing the film industry to death.
Bollywood Breaking Apart Out Of Fear
No one admits, but it seems people have chosen sides. It is just the powerful side that they stand by or else there is pin-drop silence about the affairs that don’t concern them.
It is clearly easy for those whole are vocal supporters of the central government with enough freedom and security to speak their hearts out. All others are soft targets – some today, others tomorrow.
This dismantling industry needs to stand by each other in these testing times for the sake of cinema, art, freedom and India. We need meaningful cinema as much as the capitalists need poverty in the country. There is no doing without it.
I think it might be the right time to leave stars and star kids alone and focus on bigger issues such as the ever-growing wealth of India’s Richie Riches and the endless suffering of a common Indian.