Tanzim Ahmmed Siam
From romantic, drama, action to sci-fi and more, the new Bollywood industry has covered a huge range of movie genres from the 90s and counting. However, amidst all the flirting, in-law conspiracies, gravity defying kicks and punches, a blue alien in a basketball court, a nude alien by a railway track and other uncountable iconic moments, Bollywood has never failed to give its fans a “musical” vibe in almost all of them. Music, and dances along with it, has been considered a strong asset for these Hindi movies for a long time especially due to the demand in the market. For many reasons now-a-days, with the growing taste of the newest generations, the songs are being criticised more and more.
If anything, a newbie can confuse almost all Bollywood films with musicals for all its catchy song-and-dance numbers woven into the script. A film’s song and dance portions are usually produced first and are often released before the film itself, to cater the audience or gain their interest. From around 1990 to 2010, a film’s success often used to depend on the quality of such musical numbers. Familiar movies, such as Delhi 6, Race, Rehnaa Hai Tere Dil Mein, and most importantly Kuch Kuch Hota Hai which had a terrible movie plot, got famous for the song-baiting by the producers. Unsurprisingly, this phenomenon is now fading. The main reason is, these irrelevant-to-the-movie songs sound appetising as separate individual pieces with or without a complete plot or context and relevant or irrelevant dances included only in that particular piece; and since the rapid flourishing of YouTube has made these songs conveniently available to everyone, the huge audience baited with the songs, who could not help but watch the movies are easing off. Having said that, movies like Dilwale, SOTY, Bodyguard get to reign the box office from time to time, and there is no notable change whatsoever.
Another badbuzz that most Bollywood songs inflict upon the movies is the lack of realism. You cannot but wonder why almost half of the songs in mainstream Bollywood are either random people from the street or neighbourhood all at once dancing in perfect sync, or the lead characters trying to be intimate in the middle of a series of almost-failing dance moves wearing considerably revealing clothes. Wait, where is the music coming from on the top of a mountain in the Glaciers? Why is Katrina Kaif wearing only a Georgette-gown in a negative degree temperature in Tu Jaane Na? Is Ranbir Kapoor too hot for her? Even when students wear moderate clothes in moderate temperature in a school campus where music can be pretty logical, you can find random groups of people dancing to Hrithik Roshan playing an electric guitar without electricity in the song Deewana Hai Dekho. In Gori Gori, the same group of people who were surprised by Shahrukh Khan pulling a move on his teacher, suddenly start dancing with perfect harmony.
An old-timer, in such cases, may try to validate that the illogical parts in the songs were rather stylistic choices and intentionally lacked realism. The goal of stylistic devices are to create imagery, emphasis, or clarity within a movie in hopes of clarifying the viewer. Why would people prefer an actor being intimate in Pehli Nazar Mein portraying romance in the middle of an action thriller and not aiding the plot? Groups of people dancing in the middle of a romantic drama aids less to the increasing romance and more to the boredom of the moviegoers. Relatable music pieces added to the flow of the plot helps define a situation more than a number of people dancing to unnecessary songs. In fact, an hour of just cliche songs-and-dances in a three hour movie does nothing more than dilute the plot and bore the audience. Not to mention, these are NOT “musical” films.
To add to all of these, what are item songs other than a failed attempt to gather viewers and instead objectifying women? The term ‘item song’ itself is an objectification, let alone the lyrics of the songs and the contents of the videos. The songs in question get famous for having an upbeat to dance to and has no relation with the plot of any movie whatsoever. Instead, Munni Badnam Hui, Sheila ki Jawani, Dilbar, and most other item songs portray women objectification to a broader extent. These songs hardly impact the success rate of movies in this era. Let’s look at the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time, a list entirely populated by the biggest blockbusters from the past few years. Did the biggest hit of all time, Rajkumar Hirani’s PK (2014), have an item number? No. Did Hirani’s other mega-hit, 3 Idiots (2009), have one? In fact, this list includes Bajrangi Bhaijaan(2015) and Tanu Weds Manu Returns(2011). So far, these four films have earned a grand total of Rs 1800 crore between them worldwide. Somehow, miraculously, these films managed to get audiences that probably included young men to theatres without having to cater to their libidos.
No one really knows why the movie makers are still opting for cliche songs to fill their movies. Noticeable movies like Pink, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Dear Zindagi, Life in a Metro, Kapoor & Sons, Highway, etc. have succeeded in creating landmark for songs relatable to the movie plots and and their amazing concepts as a whole creating an overall treat for a human soul. Producers should really look forward to such charisma for most of their movies to ensure a sustainable future for the Bollywood Film industry.
Tanzim has probably fallen asleep losing all hopes of convincing his parents that gaming didnt cause his food poisoning. Send him ways to convince them at [email protected]