My generation likes practicality. We relate to realistic cinema. We applaud the Ranbir Kapoor of Wake Up Sid with his simplistic dialogues and relatable lifestyle. Alia Bhatt of Highway is lovable because she just makes so much sense! We feel we are better off without the bombastic mix of drama and emotionalism that determined the tenor of films that were made prior to the 21st century. We cosy up to our subtle and ‘real-life’ cinema which is basically an enactment of the lives of the urban young with perhaps a saucy song or two to justify its existence in Bollywood. On the other hand, Gabar or Mogambo or even Devdas solicit an eye-brow raise of amusement at best, because they just cannot be real.
Lofty dialogues complemented by the same kind of fantastical props and costumes make for an all too good to be true image that we in 2015 find hard to believe. But, here is what I think. Why do many of us increasingly expect filmmakers to work within the realm of realism and not explore the romantic concepts of existence that our lives so obviously lack? Do we pay two hundred bucks and further more for popcorn to see ourselves in the skin of celebrities on-screen? I believe that exaggeration and glorification can awaken our otherwise routinely conditioned mind. I am a big fan of larger than life Salman Khan movies because they take me on a ride. When Dharmendra screams to Basanti,”In kutohn ke samne mat nachna,” I get overcome by the robustness of their simple yet brilliantly hued love story. Amitabh Bachan’s sensational ‘gyarah mulkon ki police’ dialogue made him the superhero of the underworld fantasy. Shashi Kapoor’s’mere paas maa hai…’ surely struck the hearts of millions of Indians that watched his film.
These films with their titles screaming of their eclectic mix of emotions and dialogues, song sequences and fights provide a complete and ridiculously exhilarating getaway from our all too real lives into a world we can only live through if we leave behind our notion of ‘sensible’ cinema. The way I see it, cinema does not have to be sensible or mature or even socially impactful (although these things are very welcome). Cinema is that phenomena which, although briefly, can lift us from our predictable and obviously structured orbit into the orbit of the flamboyant, the electric and even the unreasonable. The best kind of movies for me are those leave me somewhat buoyed in a secret acknowledgment of unlikely possibilities. This is not to say that I do not appreciate serious or issue-based cinema. I just have a deep reverence for that loud category of cinema which many rubbish as being cheesy or even kitsch.
So whether ‘thapad se dar lagta ho ya pyar se’, as long as there are over-emphasised Ray-Bans and an excessively ‘rangeela’ police officer, it works!