The charm and glory of Bollywood has inspired generations. Stories of Struggle, Success, and Failure of film personalities have tremendous mass appeal and followings. Some of the amazingly bright, talented and creative people have contributed to the making of this dreamy Industry. It has something to offer to everybody including a Rickshaw Puller, an IT professional, an uneducated brat, a Scholarly Gentleman, a rural, an urban, a male and female. Film personality carried a larger than life image, an iconic build up which ordinary masses enjoyed and copied.
More recently, a word “Boycott” unheard of in this Industry for ages surfaced. It is targeted, explicit and selective. Bollywood movies are getting boycotted too frequently with impunity and will, entailing huge financial and reputational loss.
Boycott is a democratic expression and individual choice and hence in a free democratic society, it should never have been debated at all. But a series of boycotts certainly warrants a closure scrutiny.
Examine the pattern of Boycott, it is directed at a tiny but popular group of Film personality not all. Boycotts are less to do with the creativity or technology of a movie but more to do with the content of the movie and associated personality.
There was and now also a perception about Film personalities. They are under scrutiny for their public statements. Their non cinematic lives are discussed for a myriad of reasons. Their opinion on Social, political and international issues are debated. Which is natural and film personality does not find it disheartening in their pursuit of stardom. Infect this kind of image building is professionally manufactured and subtly infused. Social media has allowed it to multiply exponentially.
Many film stars or their creative contents were moderated, censored or banned in 70`s and 80`s for their politically sensitive stand.
So why fuss now or why debate now?
Present pattern is potent. It is being led by leaderless masses. It is an expression of free choice. It has questioned the icons and established practice. It has challenged the mighty. It is proving too destabilizing and hence it is getting debated.
India is a land of Sanatan believers for unknown ages. It has been inclusive enough to evolve, multiply from within and assimilate others. It also allowed outsiders like Siddies from Africa, Jews and Zoroastrian from Asia with due respect to their faith and customs. It has offered Abraham religion a space of respect and recognition. In the age of Modern world, it happily included Non practicing Sanatan followers and atheists among Sanatani with equal rights and Social participation.
Given such an inclusive background, there should never have been a feeling of cultural insecurity and deprivation among the Sanatan Hindu Believers for sure. This is about identity and claim to heritage in its own land of aboriginals.
The culture of boycott to Bollywood has a rooted connection to somewhere here only. A large section of society finds depiction of Hindu culture/ Hindu tradition/ Hindu History and Hindu faith in poor taste as unacceptable. Whether it has been deliberately orchestrated or was a casualty of poetic imagination. Who knows the truth and their intention? No one`s culture should have been assaulted. Perhaps a one line statement of regret could have healed the wound. Instead there have been stupid voice and expression of insult, mockery and running banter.
A cinema reflects the thinking of Society. It was 80`s when art cinema or something called parallel cinema challenged social and political discourse and they were hugely appreciated. It was more popular among Youth. It smashed many established social norms. Little later, the successful artist evolved. Their political opinion and affiliation became explicit. They started giving voice to their political master.
The ugliest and most hated action which ashamed the Bollywood was “Returning the Award to Government”. It was deliberate political opportunism by a group of Bollywood adventurists, who crossed the line in their hate for PM Narendra Modi. In Business and Profession, professionalism and neutrality is the foremost requirement.
You broke the Lakshamn Rekha. It is irreparably damaged and now stands broken.
No remorse and No disappointment is unmasking or boycotting this political and cultural invasion, Claimed a bystander who never used to watch movies. Truly a section of Society has now revolted.
Bollywood is paying the price of its own omission. How long – Nobody knows.
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.