No matter how much we try to deny it and say it’s about the entertainment value, we know that, ultmately, mainstream Bollywood movies are about making money. Money drives the whole industry. Money remains the investment and the goal of the movie industry. The words ‘industry’ and film ‘business’ being key.
Let’s make it clear that making money out of your creative work isn’t a bad thing (we’re not from that school of art). But when money dictates your ‘creative’ work is when the problem arises.
Out of the hundreds of movies that Bollywood churns out every year, most of them have the same storyline (more or less) and the same elements that sell- a physically well-endowed hero, a fair-skinned lean ‘beautiful’ heroine, an item song, unrealistic action sequences in slow motion and miraculous resolutions. There’s usually a yawning gap between Bollywood and reality. Anurag Kashyap says “Indian films have this obsession with hygienic clean spaces, even though the country’s not so clean. They’re either shot in the studios or shot in London, in America, in Switzerland – clean places. Everywhere except India.”
So why is that? Because that’s what sells. Is it possible that there is a dearth of innovative scripts in a country of 1.3 billion people? But to get them made, you need producers who have the MONEY and who want it back. Movies with heavy budgets, 100 crores and above, are a craze now. It took 145 crores to make Sultan. And for a movie pretty far from reality, it grossed 550 crores at the box office.
Since a certain kind of movie made money once, they stick to these mainstream scripts and their tries and tested methods. That leaves no room for innovation. The creative and imaginative scripts don’t get the money to be made or even if they are made, aren’t visible enough.
Money insists on only one kind of movies being made and the people’s tastes become limited to those. It’s all one vicious cycle.