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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Real vs reel

Hindi movies are no longer just escapist. Often they seem to mirror the dark underbelly of the Indian polity. Preeti K Sharma tells more.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2007 19:35 IST
Preeti K Sharma
Preeti K Sharma

Movies reflect life. But Hindi movies have always been different: escapist and melodramatic at best. Yet, news in recent weeks has been similar to some popular Hindi movie plots. For example in Kolkata, true lovers were torn apart by a rich and powerful family. Can anyone count the number of Bollywood movies with a similar storyline? Just like in the movies, Rizwan-ur-Rehman and his wife Priyanka were harassed by the police. But sadly unlike in Hindi movies, there was no happy ending to this love affair.

In a Hindi movie, it is almost mandatory for a hero to beat up goons, often in the defence of damsels in distress. So it made news when a boy tried to save girls from eve-teasers. Unfortunately, the boy a real-life hero was outnumbered and badly beaten up. He ended up in a hospital.

And now over to the real villains. The commonest villains in the last ten years have been politicians who misuse policemen as their personal assistants.

Recently, a Punjab Deputy General of Police was arrested for aiding a former Chief Minister in some dubious deals.

One particularly vile form of the villainous politician has been the man who gets some upright inspector or official killed. For the first time, an ex-MP was recently held guilty of leading and inciting a mob to kill an honest district magistrate.

Hindi movies are no longer just escapist. Often they seem to mirror the dark underbelly of the Indian polity. Yet, sometimes they can be inspiring like Lajja that prompted many brides to send back barats. And nobody thinks it is a coincidence when common people protested against the acquittals in the Jessica Lall murder case. They met at India Gate, just like the protagonists of Rang de Basanti.

In the 1950s and 1960s, movies played a huge role in altering moth-eaten customs and the status of women. One can hope that there will be more movies with activist themes that will seep into the public consciousness just like Lajja and Rang De Basanti. And that our news will no longer sound like the plots of Hindi movies.

First Published: Oct 14, 2007 19:22 IST

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