Hindi cinema reflects the reality of India: retracing how the real has been translated on the reel, from independence to now
Debating whether cinema is a reflection of society or vice versa is like fighting against the old cliché: “Did the egg come first or the chicken?” In other words, society is a bigger evil here than the cinema. Look no further than Bollywood and its extraordinary evolution over the decades to find out how the society and politics of the time profoundly influenced the trends and themes of the morning. Beginning with the 1940s, Kismet from 1943 was Bollywoodfirst blockbuster as well as the first to feature an anti-hero in the form of none other than Ashok Kumar. His hit song ‘Aaj Himalay Ki Choti Se’ best expresses the anxieties of his time. India was still under British rule, of which this issue written by Kavi Pradeep serves to highlight oppression in addition, of course, to celebrate the glories of the nation with pride and passion. One story goes that the British opposed Pradeep’s anti-colonial words, but he managed to persuade them that the object of his target was not the Crown here, but in fact the Japanese – thanks to a disposable line of the song. As India gained independence in 1947, Hindi films began to capture the cheerful mood and hopes of a newly free country. The partition was a traumatic event in the history of the subcontinent, but it was a blessing in disguise for Bollywood as the action of Lahore’s thriving film industry in undivided India shifted to the era. from Bombay.
How Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand illustrated Nehru’s India
Bombay, along with Madras and Calcutta, had the distinction of having the best film studios. Founded by Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai, Bombay Talkies was a studio that beat all the studios of the 1940s studio era. It was responsible for launching the careers of at least three big post stars. independence, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor. Spotted by Ashok Kumar, Dev Anand was offered the role of a hero in Ziddi (1948). The trio would rule screens throughout the 1950s, becoming linked to the fate and expectations of a young nation. Generally speaking, critics have categorized their films as “nation building” efforts. Interestingly, Dilip Kumar was dubbed the hero of Nehruvian, and Raj Kapoor’s cinema reflected social reform (a tension that has endured since the 1940s) while Dev Anand came to be the man of the town at one time. where Bombay was becoming a major economic hub. The three heroes were products of their society, expressing in their own way the social changes sweeping the country.
The British may have packed their bags and gone, but popular nationalist sentiments stuck. Take the iconic Shree 420 song ‘Mera Joota Hai Japani’ in which Kapoor’s Tramp claims to wear Japanese shoes, Russian hat and English pants but her heart is still Hindustani. Dev Anand’s hero, or anti-hero, was blatantly Westernized / Hollywood while his friend Raj Kapoor’s onscreen bumpkins retained a sense of innocence and purity. For one, the city’s changing morals and sweet disappointments are tantalizing while for the other, all is maya (illusion) and temptations worth resisting. Never fall in love with teesri kasam (third wish), as Kapoor sadly finds out in the eponymous 1966 film.
From the greatness of Mughal-E-Azam to the cynicism of Angry Young Man
In the 1960s, hope for modern India began to slip and reality crept in. Jawaharlal Nehru died in 1964. Perhaps the hero of Nehruvian was also gone with him. The policy had changed. And the films were doomed to follow in his footsteps. Bollywood entered the sixties with the advent of Shammi Kapoor. The Yahoo star was modeled after Elvis Presley, but the truth is, the 1960s belonged firmly to the Beatles. The decade began with the greatness of Mughal-E-Azam but soon the Sino-Indian war darkened the happy horizon. Chetan Anand’s Haqeeqat (1964) lovingly captured the battle, with a strong blend of song, romance and patriotism. The following decade saw social problems like poverty and unemployment take center stage. The films of the 1970s echo this disenchantment and cynicism.
In a decade when “Garibi hatao” was a battle cry and a windmill strikes a favorite Communist sport, the appearance of Amitabh Bachchan – replacing the easy romantic domination of Rajesh Khanna from the late 1960s to the early 1980s. 70s – was a boon to the average moviegoer who was mostly poor, working-class, and probably frustrated with the system. Throughout the 1970s Bachchan was the voice of the poor, the marginalized, the unemployed and the commoner. Often times, Big B’s angry young man would flip into vigilante mode, serving the extrajudicial methods of justice and doing justice himself. When Bachchan struck down on the bad capitalist, the masses compulsively identified with him. In Yash Chopra’s Deewaar (1975), one of the most iconic films of the 1970s (beware, the decade was so much more than Sholay), Bachchan plays a criminal whose story from misery to wealth should have been inspiring. but her own mother (Nirupa Roy) refuses to sanctify her hard-earned success. She kills him in the film’s fateful climax. Good, it seems, always triumphs over evil in Bollywood, no matter what era we are in. mimicked Big B’s social themes from his previous hits although the man himself went into decline before reinventing himself with Mohabbatein and Kaun Banega Crorepati.
Enter the Khans
India was on the verge of transformation again. Come the 1990s and a consumer boom has gripped the nation. Economic liberalization has changed the face of Hindi cinema. As we have become more global, Bollywood has become smoother. It was the time of the rise of the Khans. In particular, Shah Rukh Khan who managed to create new fans abroad, mainly made up of the large Indian diaspora in Europe and America. Swiss chic was inside, Cashmere and Ooty outside. Films intended for NRIs required spoonfuls of Desi culture and Sanskar to remind NRI of its roots as DDLJ, Dil To Pagal Hai, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, etc. have succeeded in delivering to a large extent. Urbanization was complete at the turn of the millennium.
The era of uber patriotism
And now in the age of OTT the content is bolder than ever, but one thing has remained the same. Our ability to tap into the idea of India. Today, in the Modi era, nationalist fervor is strong and you just have to look around. From Uri: The Surgical Strike to Bhuj: The Pride of India, Hindi cinema is happy to forge stories out of the evils and crises plaguing the country and to extol its heroic exploits, virtues and achievements. It is said that when Hollywood went to war in World War II, Hollywood also went to war – in other words, it helped boost the morale of the nation by inventing American heroes. A similar picture is emerging in Bollywood these days, proving once again that cinema imitates life and not the other way around.