The Bollywood film industry has been the largest producer of drama, action,comedy and romance for over a century now. Owing to its growing popularity, there’s hardly someone who hasn’t watched a Bollywood flick in all its “masala” glory at least once in their life. Creating its own genre, our country’s film industry has served masala in all its possible mix that has been received “with love” by the audience.
The genre, which is like an overdone assortment of all the four major genres, whilst sewing the fabric of the main plot of the film, serves to the Indian audience a fool-proof entertainment formula. A “macho” do-it-all hero, a pretty sidekick whose role is to display her beauty and incompetence to the hero, a villain in a constant tussle with the invincible “Bhai”, these masala flicks never fail to take home bags full of earnings and applause from the audiences. With the increased love for this genre, Bollywood’s filmmakers and audience have found their comfort zone here and do not seem too inclined to be taking a turn from serving the cinemas with this overused yet lucrative recipe.
It would, however, be unfair to not acknowledge the emergence of a more meaningful and content based cinema in the recent times. It is in fact, heartening to know that a certain section of the audience regards and immensely appreciates the presence of such cinema. This paradigm shift has been visible only in the past few years, beginning with box office success of movies like Rang de basanti, Lage Raho Munna Bhai and Taare Zameen Par to name a few.
Although, the demand for “masala” still fares high due to the diversity of interests and expectations of the audiences. People from all backgrounds look up to cinema with their own expectations of it. Interestingly, a large chunk looks up to it as a respite from their daily struggles where Shahrukh Khan’s romance or Salman “Bhai”’s effortless action pulls them away from the stresses they’ve burdening themselves with, albeit temporarily, thus creating a constant demand for masala. Despite this, there has been a remarkable shift in the audience’s choice of cinema. This shift can be observed from their increased inclination to Hollywood in the recent times. Primarily observed among the youth, viewers may not always be as excited to watch the latest SRK or Salman Bhai release, but they might be inclined towards picking the latest Hollywood flick. Moreover, the very rise in the supply of content based movies like Udta Punjab, Masaan or Dangal proves the changing demand of the Indian audiences.
This shift, must make us Indians proud of our evolution from an escapist towards an enlightened audience.