By Melissa Fernandes,
The 21st century has witnessed a radical change in filmmaking in Bollywood. When Bollywood cinema commenced in the early 20th century, movies were based on idealistic themes where heroes and heroines were emblematic of specific values such as honour, nationalism, honesty and chastity. By the 50s, it had metamorphosed to represent Nehru’s India: progressive, agrarian, socialist and patriotic. The 60s saw a surge in family dramas with a focus on domestic relationships, where the family served as a microcosm for the larger community. However, the 70s brought the persona of the ‘angry young man’ to the fore, and also produced a tradition of parallel cinema which bred artistes like Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah and others. Movies like Sholay, Haathi Mere Saathi, Julie, Don and several other formula films gained popularity. And we cannot forget the memorable slew of dialogues initiated from most of the films that continue to be a part of our everyday lexicon. The 80s and 90s saw a few more developments like big budget movies and marked the beginning of the Khans (SRK, Aamir, Salman). Govinda, Sanjay Dutt and Anil Kapoor made entry into Bollywood giving it a different edge. Even today, Bollywood is way different from what it was a few decades ago as advancements in technology and the need for contemporary concepts came into being. Dil Chahta Hai, Love Story 2050, Fashion, Black Friday, Peepli Live, Taare Zameen Par, 3 Idiots, Ishqiya, Love Sex aur Dhoka, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna and Dostana are some of the movies that show a change in perspective and the breach of earlier stereotypical thoughts and perception. It can be argued that these new films bring with them a host of new stereotypical images, but that’s for another time.
Bollywood has definitely made the shift from modestly funded formula films to a big budget commercialized arena where new concepts are being accepted and explored. In post-Liberalisation, it has witnessed the evolution of new directors and actors and writers influenced by an amalgamation of Western and East Asian sensibilities. It has changed the earlier trend of cinema which related only to the Indian audience and now is visibly inclined towards a larger, more global audience. Cinema in India has thus taken a turn from its origin but still maintains its entertainment value.