Garish makeup, loud costumes (which you wouldn’t even wear for the friendly neighborhood fancy dress competition), cheesy dialogues, even sleazier dance moves and plot lines which were busy waging a war against logic. If you are a 90s kid you would know what I am talking about; yes I am talking about the, they-are-so-bad-that-they-are-good, Hindi movies from the 90s.
And even before you throw DDLJ at me…(despite the fact that I have seen it enough times to rattle off the dialogues in my sleep) I must remind you of the iconic train scene where hanging out from the train to catch hold of the heroine was more logical than pulling the damn chain…yes…the chain!…remember? (My not-better-than-me half though believes the intent of the hero was to run away…who would think an overweight heroine with a lehenga double her weight would achieve this feat, but she did and hence there is no sequel!)
But yes, coming back, I (and I am sure a lot of you) grew up on these films. And ofcourse there were the serious films…the arty types…though I wonder why they were called arty, because besides great plots and wonderful performances, they weren’t very artistic or pleasing to the eye. So you were left with either movies wherein the film makers proudly asked you to leave your brains behind or movies which were so depressing to watch that you’d rather not.
The ‘main dil main aata hoon dimaag mein nahin’ brand of movies had infact made me quite not the movie buff. I remember not going to the cinema hall for a Hindi movie for about 4-5 years (the only exception being Jungle Book)…and guess what I did not think I missed anything.
It was last year that I went for a Hindi movie in years…the movie in question – Lipstick Under my Burqa. My reasons for going were defiance more than anything. I expected it to be the arty types, dull, boring, slogging on for ages…so much so that you are no longer interested in the message. But to my surprise, here was an extremely well written, rightly paced, well-made movie. No NanaPatekarisue lengthy monologues and no melodrama. In fact despite a complicated and often misunderstood subject on women emancipation, the movie was vibrant, witty and funny, while very aptly conveying the message. It left one with a thought, a sense of power, a sense of hope. I was impressed, this was a new Bollywood.
Close on the heels came Bariely ki Barfi – An out and out commercial film, the masala types, but once again well written, humorous, witty, very intelligently and subtly challenging stereotypes.
Subh mangal Savdhan (minus the whats-going-on climax) came right after, a film on erectile dysfunction without a grim, gloomy storyline a-la arty films of the 90s.
And now as I end up watching Stree twice within a span of a week and with Race 3 memes still fresh in my memory, I wonder what has changed?
I would say the hero! Looks like we are finally waking up to the fact that it’s the story telling and the writing which are the real heroes. It’s heartening when the writers are generously mentioned in movie reviews and conversations. Because what are films if not another far reaching medium to tell stories.
Tell me which are your favourite well written Bollywood movies in recent times? To more great stories!!
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