30 April 2015

Bollywood/India's Movies: Logic and Realism

Logic and realism are industrial values. That is, they are the values of an industrial society (in-soc). They do not exist in an agricultural society (ag-soc). What does this mean for art – especially motion picture?

Movies in industrial societies (US & Europe) are logical and realistic. Movies in an agricultural society (like India) are not logical and realistic. How are they then? They are just the modern (technologically, not culturally) version of the village play. In fact, it can be argued that village plays are more logical and realistic than ag-soc movies – the former are stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata. For the real inspiration of the ag-soc movie, we must look elsewhere.

In the old days, a "picture man" travelled from village to village with his "picture box". If you looked into the window of the picture-box, you could see a picture. The picture-man would turn a lever, and you could see different pictures one after another. The pictures were sights from the big cities: Bangalore (Vidhan Soudha), Bombay (Gateway of India), Delhi (Red Fort), etc. You would pay the picture-man a coin for this pleasure. The ag-soc movie is nothing but the hi-tech version of the village picture-box.

The ag-soc movie is not what a movie should be: a logical and realistic story told using moving images. Instead it is just a visual spectacle: handsome hero, beautiful heroine, nice houses, nice clothes, songs and dances, some romance, ugly villain, some violence, uglier comedian, some humour, saintly mother, some melodrama, hero and heroine marry, then they live happily ever after. This is the typical ag-soc movie. (And Bangalore/Bombay/Delhi are out of the question; we are shown New York/London/Paris instead)

This is why Indian movies are illogical and unrealistic. As India becomes an industrial society, hopefully it will make logical and realistic movies.

This analysis applies to all Indian cinema: Kannada, Hindi (Bollywood), Telugu, Tamil, etc.