7 successful habits of Bollywood & its groupies

What began as a comment on Mutiny on a debate regarding Ghajini's effective market penetration in respect to its quality and content, has tempted me to make public my observations on Bollywood and its die-hard, ardent, baying-for-Bollywood-dissenters'-blood fans.

1) The majority of Bollywood is a fool's paradise
No Bollywood fan will admit this simply because Bollywood movies are way too convenient for the common man. Effortless 3-hour packages that give the brain a rest, Ah! Who wouldn't want that? Bollywood is a self-created, self-endorsed world of illusions, where talent eventually matters little(although there are exceptions of course) because the rust in most of our brains tells us that "My son/daughter has to be the next film star, SO let me promote him/her". Nepotism hence rules and although Bollywood families do have sons and daughters passing out of western universities, the majority of those with "acting in their blood" eventually end up with the duty of attending to the "legacy" of their father/mother/both. Few have succeeded successfully, nevertheless ALL co-exist in peace and harmony.

2) Bollywood has infested our minds. C'mon, admit it.
Scampering to download the latest mp3? Adrenaline rushing to watch a must-watch? Fear of ticketlessness haunting you and causing nightmares? Congratulations. You are officially diagnosed with Bollywoodosysis. Common symptoms of this disease include an irresistible urge to talk/gossip/glorify Bollywood during the majority of your day, discussions over latest movie releases, a craving "Why Friday isn't here yet?" whimper, calling Bollywood stars as bringers of change to society and not thinking twice before splashing Rs.250 out in a multiplex stuffed with make-up boxes imitating what they then go on to see on the silver screen. Fashion above common sense? Good Lord, save the world.

3) Bollywood wants peace with Pakistan
Read this piece [Link], of five years ago but relevant today, and you will find a Suniel Shetty giving you How can you not like Pakistan? look. Bollywood finds Pakistan to be a huge market and hence would relish peace, even if they are extremely parochial to ignore the fact that the cause of the turmoil between the two countries is not the Indian state, but the same market where Shah Rukh Khan photos from his Medusa-like hair days sell like hot cakes.

Bollywood celebrities have used WE in conjunction with "want peace" as if cross-border terrorism is a direct by-product of the Indian state's agenda. Bollywood and it's naive celebrities are irritatingly insensitive and I would appreciate their use of "I" before "We" when they want to make personal statements.

4) Bollywood is so smart, that even a flop has enough "fans" behind it to defend its idiocy and term itself a stroke of genius
Bollywood movies sell so brilliantly that even a flop concept finds backers simply because it convinces its viewers of the genius gone unnoticed by the majority. Flops also re-collect whatever was invested and in fact earn more than the capital initially financed.

If you dare to complain as to why such a movie was ever made, the horde of fans jumps on you calling you cynical and obnoxious and insensitive and you become an object of hate. Your senses are automatically termed dumb and lacking choice as you "dared" to complain against a movie and its honorable stars. How dare you!

5) Movie dekhi kya?
Such is the deep impact and penetration of Bollywood, that you are dubbed disinterested and lifeless simply because you do not have a knack for "hanging out at a cinema hall". Bollywood has taken cinema's priorities to embarrassingly low levels and created a masala mountain of a sada molehill. It is so deep in our fans that I can already sense the outrage at this piece. If you do not find it one bit sensible, kindly meet me at a multiplex. We'll "catch" the latest movie in town.

Bollywood groupies also try to promote films themselves so wonderfully. "You are missing something, you know" is what I've heard a zillion times from some of the most ardent Bollywood fans I know. Yes, like I missed brushing my teeth or taking a bath. Both of which leave me not worse than stinking filth.

6) Inflated prices, not just of tickets but even food items
Ever bought a popcorn for Rs. 5 at a cinema hall, ever drank an MRP-priced Pepsi at a multiplex? I don't think so. If you did, then you are extremely lucky that your friendly neighbourhood Multiplexman does not know his salesmanship too well. Prices of tickets and food items have not just touched the sky, but have blown well past it as if they were launched on a GSLV.

And boyfriends making up to girlfriends for having looked at a sexier girl, parents cajoling their children with weekly entertainment circuses(when museums and planetariums are such a wise option) or husbands making up to their wives for a lack of motivated life between the couple at sensitive places within their house are only going to fall for these prices. And fall flat, with a thud.

7) Yes, there is some hope
My larger opinion on Bollywood is what I've stated above. But I never see any fault in movies like Taare Zameen Par and Chak De India simply because of the natural spirit and the essence of cinema that they carry. The kind of cinema for which I would maybe not jump on tree tops like a monkey or practice dance steps of aggressively-promoted songs of that movie but earnestly look forward to watching. Unfortunately, these are few and far between. My other personal motivation is the distraction offered to me naturally at my age. Priyanka Chopra, Mallika Sherawat - darlings.

Bollywood, you are certainly not God. But you are as much a source of worship. If nothing else, at least to keep us perennially amused and entertained.

Even at the cost of our minds.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009 at 12:56:00 PM PST

Bravo! Bollywood bashing well done.

I agree with the points you raise. However one aspect i would like to add is that Bollywood has traditionally provided a relief from life to our poor stressed out people. Maybe that is why the movies are always so larger than life and have the dreamy song and dance sequences.

Life in India has traditionally been so hard that if cinema were also to reflect reality, people would not want to watch it. We still see senseless crappy movies, but we do get some innovative movies once in a while.

Talking of undeserving sources of worship, a similar post on cricket is in order!


Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 4:34:00 AM PST

You have raised some very relevant points.. Agree with all of it - esp the hero worship part. I can hardly sit through a 3 hr movie, but I do believe that some few good movies(esp low budget) are being made.. Guess we still have hope :)


Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 5:31:00 AM PST

I beg to differ on a few points -

1) The majority of Bollywood is a fool's paradise - I would word it as - Some of Bollywood is a fool's paradise. Hasn't this been the norm in India where generations of people have become weavers / potters / kings etc? Even today, a doctor would want his / her son/daughter to become a doc; Families with defence forces send their children to the army etc. And success / failure is never pre-determined as in real life as well.

2) Bollywood has infested our minds. C'mon, admit it. - No one forces you to go to a movie. You can choose to remain blissfully unaware of all he gossip and new releases of Bollywood's glitz.

3) Bollywood wants peace with Pakistan - Indo-Pak issues are largely political and I don't think there is any reason to hate bollywood if they want peace with Pak as opposed to loving it if they sided with war as one would, if our next-door neighbours harboured such sentiments. Bollywood's profession is not politics so I don;t think this point is relevant.

4) Bollywood is so smart, that even a flop has enough "fans" behind it to defend its idiocy and term itself a stroke of genius - A hit / flop at boxoffice is decided my majority of its viewers. You or me individualy may find the movie a flop but, as blogged, if Bollywood is able to convince its viewers that the movie is a hit then it is one. After all, its a democracy!

5) Movie dekhi kya? & 6) Inflated prices, not just of tickets but even food items - Agreed. There is a hype and a certain lifestyle associated with movie-watching on first-day-first-show which can cause peer-pressure etc. And most definitely, multiplexes are prohibitively expensive.

7) Yes, there is some hope - I think there is plenty of hope. We have graduated from stereotypical mushy movies and angry-young men to a plethora of good cinema. TZP, Chak De, Lajja, Damini, Kosla Ka Ghosla, Hazaron Kwahishein Aisi, Hera Pheri, DCH are a class apart.


Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 5:56:00 AM PST

Hey come on, you cannot just run it down like that.. Agree that few points you raised are valid but like a 2 side to everything (or may be just a coin) Bollywood too at times churn out some of the classiest stuff.


Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 6:52:00 AM PST

Bravo ! Kudos ! Brilliant ! Awesome ! KICK ASS ! And having said that :) , let me just add . I feel what you feel . I just could never express it with your elegance . I pride myself on not associating with the multitude , the multitude here being the average movie-goer , willing to sacrifice money,time and grey cells for cheap,un-wholesome,mundane,stereotypical entertainment . But yes, Indian Cinema does throw up a few exceptions every year . Thank God for that . Have you seen Mumbai Meri Jaan or Welcome to Sajjanpur . And have you seen Dharma (starring Pankaj Kapoor), which is the kind of movie nobody ever even hears about .


Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 7:12:00 AM PST

It was high time, I read something I wish I had written.

Bollywood has talent. Is an oxymoron. Nepotism is the way of life. Mr Bachaan is severely overrated, to me he's noting but a politician's friend, with access to some huge moola. Fortunately I never got affected with Bollywoodosysis, got cured long back with Martin Scorsese and Akira Kurosawa.
Mr Khan was an actor, now he's just another showroom dummy.
Ash - Bachan Son wedding was the biggest business mergers of last year.
Ahh, fuck it. They are morons.
People think Black was a great movies, Mr. Bansali didn't even bother to mention Hollywood had made a same movie 50 years ago.
Are we so dumb or creativity is way to expensive.

Can they use India and make a movie. Any ways a great post, dude.


Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 9:35:00 AM PST

1) If SOME of Bollywood was a fool's paradise, then we should be overflowing with the same Chak Des, Lagaans, Lajjas and TZPs you mention. But that is not happening and a good movie only comes once in a while.

If you forgot, during that time movies keep on releasing. So is SOME of Bollywood a fool's paradise? I dont think so.

2)Exactly the answer I expected for this point. This is what I've been told over and over again "Dont watch it you dont want to". And mind you, that is what I do. But I was only giving the symptoms of what i've seen around me in plentiful. And what you see around you affects you directly.

3) Please read the link I gave. And please study Bollywood's romanticism with Pakistan, PURELY because it is a huge market.

In fact since you choose to believe that this point is not relevant, in itself shows why you would forgive Bollywood for it's affections and association with Pakistan. Because Bollywood represents India to a larger extent. And when they use words like "WE WANT PEACE", you should realize that India is not the cause of the sub-continent being a cauldron of hate.

I have never said Bollywood should go and say that they want war. I said they can do something like what Feroze Khan once did - "Your government has invited me to Pakistan. I have not come on my own." - in front of a Pakistani audience.

Uphold pride and respect. Don't be an apologist for "peace". Bollywood should learn this. The fact that you are willing to forgive Bollywood for this probably convinces me that you use similar terms like "We want peace".

4) Exactly, a hit/flop is decided by the majority. And even if a movie escapes all common sense, it does become a hit on many occasions. And Bollywood has mastered that. Even if a normal(logic kept aside) analysis is made of a movie that was a hit, Bollywood scores in convincing a majority.

Please dont believe that truth is the weapon of the majority. The majority can convert a lie into the truth.

5) & 6) No differences here between our points.

7) There is some hope as this point is on the other side of the equation of the first point.


Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 9:51:00 AM PST

If you feel I've run it down, please engage in a debate. :-)

In fact, I just focussed on the words At Times from your comment and made a post out of it. :-)


Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 8:00:00 PM PST

I completely agree with all your points....

I have said it times & again that the way we Indians worship stars & are ready to spend any amount on tickets the least we expect is not being taken for granted. But if you see all our recent movies it is clear that he movie makers think that we Indians will go & watch whatever is being showed to us....


Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 9:28:00 PM PST

nice post :) ...shud put sharing widget like Tell-a-Friend


Friday, January 9, 2009 at 12:13:00 AM PST

Kindly use the link from the Address tab directly. For now, at least. :-)

  Sourabh Rath

Friday, January 9, 2009 at 4:28:00 AM PST

A brilliant post. I agree with your views on bollywood. Ghajini as a movie had a lot of potential, but it was just well.. ruined.
Btw found your blog through Ritu's


Friday, January 9, 2009 at 6:44:00 AM PST

Oh absolutely, why not?

As I start I would like to also bring in what Chirag mentioned abt Big B, Ash, SRK and SLB. I agree to him as whomever he mentioned as whatever is just apt.

But, is this Bollywood all about? Does these people represent this whole industry? Does being tortured by their acting, their off-screen histrionics make one suffer from Bollywoodosysis? Might be for many but not me. I get peeved when these Khans, Kumars, Kapoors n Bachchans stuff us with their over-presence but at the same time I find solace in watching movies directed by Rajat Kapoor, Sriram Raghavan, Navdeep n Anurag to name a few. Vinay Pathak and Abhay Deol balance the scenario with their subtle presence. Amit Trivedi and Sneha Khanwalkar blessed me with their awesome compositions. I do not want to ignore them just because they do not get enough footage by media. When Jaideep made 'Hulla' I watched it first day first show because I had loved his book Local and I did not come out disappointed. Dasvidaniya (although copied) made me appreciate Vinay all over again, Oh My God gave me enough laughs to forget the Singh is King and Dostana.

This might sound like a pseudo-intellect stuff but trust me I do not look for pleasure only in off-beat stuff as I immensly loved Jodhaa Akbar and Rock On (commercial stuff there).


Friday, January 9, 2009 at 6:58:00 AM PST

I too look for solace out of Bollywood at times and Fellini, Kurosawa, Polanski have done some real good job. When I watched Fellini's 8-1/2 it gave me a whole new perspective to the film-making. When I watched the movies recommended by Anurag like 400 Blows, 13 Tzameti and 3-Iron it gave me goosebumps. I have done all the Hollywood movies of 50s, 60s n 70s of Peck, Newman, Clift, Hepburn, Taylor, Brando, Bergman and despite loving them hugely I do not say I favor them above Bollywood or Kollywood. There are many Korean, Iranian, Arabic movies which even pseudo-best Hollywood cannot make. The point I am driving here is for me cinema is beyond Holly, Bolly et al. For me it's either good or bad; doesn't know any other boundary and that's why I said do not run down any particular sect/genre.


Friday, January 9, 2009 at 7:08:00 AM PST

First of all sir, I would like to clearly state that I am not a movie buff and the intentions of this post were not meant to offend people like you who watch what you watch.

Because what you feel about mainstream Bollywood is exactly what I feel. And I never said a word against the likes of Rajat Kapoor.

You have wisely chosen to ignore them because the media doesn't mention them. But that is exactly what I'm trying to state that the masses are oblivious to these kind of films. Like Dasvidiniya.

If you want me to sum up in one sentence, then I must tell you that my post has been taken out of context because I was talking about Bollywood and not the Indian film industry. :-)


Friday, January 9, 2009 at 7:53:00 PM PST

Sir??? ah, that sounds so so I don know what.,.. call me Oxy or Vee.

Anyways I got your point and apologies if I offended you any which ways by my comment, I just got carried way and wrote what I feel about Cinema.

Yes, ur post was on Bolly and not the whole industry and I kept that in mind whilst commenting. But I still would not agree to few references made by you up there. Each to his own and you said it and I reciprocated. That's the beauty of freedom of speech as they say. Isn't it? :):)

Peace Buddy!!!

  Indian Home Maker

Saturday, January 10, 2009 at 12:04:00 PM PST

Trail Blazer I do agree that Indians are obsessed with Cricket and Bollywood Stars, they are given too much media coverage, even the News channels show which new movies are coming!


Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 1:29:00 AM PST

As you say. :-)


Sunday, January 11, 2009 at 8:34:00 AM PST

Every year there are atleast 6-7 good movies which give a ray of hope to Bollywood. Somehow I believe that we deserve the kind of movies we get. Masala Movies still work!! Can't believe that!!

  Mama - Mia

Friday, January 16, 2009 at 4:11:00 AM PST

me like Bollywood! period! lot of ot is crap, some of it just about passable entertainment and some awesome!

and i hate the mentality where we expect every movie to be a classic! if there are people who like kitschy romance, the movie will get made! its business, aint it?!




Friday, January 16, 2009 at 5:43:00 AM PST


You are free to like Bollywood, of course. I was just pointing out a few truths that exist, but that seem to be ignored. That's all.