Gone are the days when films like Mother India, Mughal-e-Azam, Kismet, Shri 420, considered classics till date, made big moolah at the box-office. A wave of new-age brainless masala entertainers are dominating the BO and how. Forget about the social message, the films at times do not have a clear storyline.
Ek Tha Tiger, Ye Jawaani Hai Deewani, Bodyguard, Son of Sardaar, Housefull, Rowdy Rathore, Ready are some of the movies that have reigned the top grossers chart in the recent times.
Classics vs grossers
Chennai Express is the latest example of the kind of cinema viewers are savouring at the moment. But is it good news for Indian cinema? "It's a great time for Indian cinema," assures film critic Mayank Shekhar. "There are still movies like Paan Singh Tomer and 3 Idiots being made which will be considered classics even after decades and they have done well commercially."
"Brainless movies like Bodyguard and Chennai Express are like chewing gum. They are not going to last in the long run. Gangs of Wasseypur and Udaan are among the movies that are being watched widely and would be counted among the classics," adds Shekhar.
It's all about entertainment
Unlike Shekhar, trade analyst Komal Nahta feels that the essence of cinema is entertainment and social message is only a by-product.
"The primary aim of Indian cinema is to entertain. At times we don't want to strain our brains on a movie, such masala films entertain us. I don't think there is anything wrong with brainless cinema wave," affirms Nahta.
Brainless cinema always existed
Trade expert Taran Adarsh seems to concur with Nahta as he feels brainless cinema has been the part and parcel of Indian films since time immemorial. Be it Amar Akbar Anthony, Sholay or Hum Aapke Hain Koun, viewers have always relished the movie genre and continue to do the same.
"Sholay was called Chholay and Hum Aapke Koun was considered to be a wedding album. If you ask me it's up to me if I want an Indian thaali, Chinese cuisine or Italian dish. I'm sure masala movies are doing well because there's a demand for it."
Shekhar also feels that the shelf life of a movie has come down 2001 onwards. "People may not like to buy DVD's of many of these 100-200 cr movies. The brainless movies will not survive in the public memory for long."
The critic also reminisces the time when Blackiya also played a role in film's success. "Now the number of screens have increased and movie tickets are no longer sold through black. Earlier a movie was considered to be a super-success, if the tickets were sold via black for long."
To sum up, it's really up to the viewer if he wants roti-daal or chowmein.