I love watching good films in the company of friends and family. By good films I mean the ones which have a strong story to tell or those that have soulful melodious songs. Having seen a good film, I inform all my remotely located relatives and friends about it. As they say, joy doubles when you share it. Try watching a good film alone and you will know what I am talking about.
Well, coming back to the topic, Bollywood film characters leave indelible marks on the impressionable psyches of teens. They are lapped up as role models almost instantly. Hair styles change, speaking styles change, wardrobes change, mannerisms change.
So, coming to these all-important Bollywood films, I have seen umpteen numbers of films with the same stereotypical story line. Boy sees girl and falls head over heels in love with her at first sight. Girl ignores this unwanted attention. The boy finds odd ways of attracting her. He sings, dances, fights, drinks, smokes etc. etc. and etc. to grab her attention. While doing this, he chases the poor unwilling girl around like a rooster on heat. While he prances around her while she royally ignores his efforts. Either she gives up in desperation or, much as Bollywood would like you to believe, the magic moment arrives and Cupid shoots his arrow right through the poor girl’s heart. Then of course the same predictable things happen.
Why does it happen so? Well, we Indians like happy endings. Even our religion is instructive. Lord Krishna was the God of romance who used his murali to woo girls by the dozens.
Today’s Romeo has his role models firmly set is his mind. To him romance is akin to hunting. The poor girl is his trophy. The girl’s willingness is immaterial. Her consent for the romance is not required. She is the object to be pursued and her opinion is unnecessary. So, the hero of the film makes her life perfectly miserable by chasing her incessantly, calling her up at midnight, annoying her constantly. In short, behaving like a lecher and making an ass out of himself in public.
We laugh at his antics and even empathize/sympathize with him. Deep in our hearts we want the girl to relent. We feel sorry for the boy. Poor fellow!!! He is trying so hard. Why does not the girl relent? What does she think of herself?
Well now, for a moment lets place our own daughter in place of that poor girl of the Bollywood film. She, much against her wishes, has developed a Romeo who like a satellite orbits around her all the time. He makes her life perfectly miserable.
Would we still have empathy/sympathy for the Romeo? Would we encourage him? Would we chastise our daughter for not relenting to his relentless onslaughts? Were we not the one who clapped in the film? Are such useless films in overwhelming numbers not made because we like to watch them? Are we not responsible for giving today’s generation bad role models to emulate by promoting poor quality films and their creators?
We cheer when the Romeo chases the hapless girl in the film. We also cheer when Yogi Adityanath’s team catches and thrashes Romeos. Man!!! on whose side are we?
Such bad films also send the message to our teen girls to wear skimpy dresses to look like hot trophies to encourage such pathetic, undignified Romeos. Some smart ones learn to use the Romeos to their advantage. The Romeos end up meeting all their expenses, from mobile top ups to restaurant bills only to be ditched later. The society is full of such 'use and throw' Romeos today. Some are submissive and drown their sorrow in alcohol. Some resort to heinous crimes against their ex-heart throbs. So, either we have a drunk, or a criminal, or both. As more and more girls get into jobs and stay away from their families in the company of male peers, this problem seems to be spiraling out of hand. It manifests itself in a hate crime when suddenly some boy kills a girl in the most brutal way imaginable. We are left wondering what went wrong?
We encourage Bollywood to make bad, story-less films based on the age-old formulae, setting up wrong role models. When unwitting boys and girls in their teens adopt these role models we start complaining. We want them thrashed in public.
Is it not high time we did some introspection and boycotted silly films? Let us create heroes who our sons can emulate. Let us not just sit there cursing the new generation and accept some responsibility. Let us boycott bad cinema making space for good, creative cinema.