The Fault in Our Bollywood Stars

Bollywood films are known and loved all over the world, but while the industry is adored by many, there are still many flaws within the industry which need to be addressed and improved on. Here are a few:

Nepotism –

There has recently been a lot of light shed on the issue of nepotism within the Bollywood film industry. It’s no secret that almost everyone in the industry is somehow related to one another. Rather than being cast for talent, many people are simply cast due to their connections and family name. This also means that pretty much the same people are cast over and over again. The Bollywood film industry is the largest in the world, and yet we have only a handful of celebrities who we see time and time again. The industry is rarely known to hold auditions or cast people based on talent. Nepotism is a huge problem in Bollywood and it’s very unfortunate that there are thousands of talented aspiring actors and actresses in India who are not being given a chance.

Unoriginality –

There are dozens of Bollywood films with basically identical story-lines. Just think about it – boy meets girl, boy and girl face an obstacle, boy and girl overcome the obstacle and get together. This is basically the premise to every Bollywood movie!

Besides remaking the same Bollywood story-line repeatedly, the film industry is also known for remaking films from other industries – even from South India! The Bollywood film industry is too afraid to try something new, and feels more comfortable making films that they know will work well. There is so much original content that could be explored within films, and so many local issues that could be discussed, but unfortunately, they aren’t given a chance.

Politics and Drama –

B-town is known for its drama and politics, which isn’t all that different to any other film industry, I’ll admit. But what makes Bollywood stand out is the extent to which the politics go. The recent controversy surrounding Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein, wouldn’t even be imaginable in Bollywood. While numerous Bollywood celebrities have admitted to the existence of a casting couch and have, on the rare occasion, shared their own experiences with sleazy casting agents, directors, and producers – nobody has yet put a name to their story. In fact, Ranveer Kapoor broke down in tears on the interview couch during Kimmy Grewal’s interview show early in his career, when speaking about his own experience with the casting couch. If the experience moved a grown man to tears, one can only imagine the effect it must’ve had on the young girls hoping to join the industry. And yet, it’s something we never hear about. The people from Bollywood who abuse their power are protected as people are too afraid to speak out against them.

Just look at what happened to Vivek Oberoi’s career when he spoke out against Salman Khan. I don’t think calling people out will be something anyone else will be doing anytime soon. Bollywood stars are very quick to follow the crowd and do what is expected of them. And those that don’t, like Amir Khan or Kangana Ranaut, are lumped into their own category and made the butt of many jokes. In a way, they’re ostracised from everyone else.

And the politics aren’t just reserved for behind-the-scenes. Even film content goes through a screening process and only approved content is allowed to be used within films, thanks to the very particular censor board. There’s no mistaking the very cemented role of politics and drama within the Bollywood industry!

Stereotypes

There are many stereotypes depicted within films, whether it be about North Indians vs South Indians, about Muslims, NRIs, Westerners, or any other group. Bollywood movies are often filled with stereotypes, and there is often a lack of understanding when it comes to diverse characters. These stereotypes extend even further and apply also to gender roles. While the film industry has come a very long way and attempts to present women as equals, they often do damage subconsciously. The inclusion of item songs, gender stereotypes, and the portrayal of that same ghissi phitti story about a boy liking a girl who doesn’t like him, but eventually gives in after he refuses to take no for an answer, is a constant in so many films and in all honesty, encourages a stalking culture along with harassment by making it look like a sign of ‘love’.

There’s many flaws within the Bollywood Industry, and just like with anything else, it’s important that we be aware of its shortcomings and think about how we can push it in a better direction. But with all that said and done, I’ve got to admit, I can’t resist a good Bollywood film. There has been a lot of improvement over the years, and while the industry still has a long way to go, it will get there.

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