Indo-Pak Cinema - Herd Mentality?

Two weeks after Eid, the situation seems to be clear. Saat Din Mohabbat In (SDMI) has collected over 10 crores already, and shows are being booked with great enthusiasm. Other films, with vital flaws in film-making, have been alarmingly depleted by the day, in the context of an all-Pakistan picture emerging. Major analysis by the cine enthusiasts brings forth the feeling that Salman Khan’s Race 3 captured the advance-booking window.

But, a world preview says Race 3 is crass, and Salman’s work is panned by critics? Then, why this bhagam bhag race for it?

It’s basically the same senseless phenomenon that has prevailed through Amitabh’s time, then Shahrukh’s peak days, and now Salman’s personality cult. It seems audiences get this weird idea that every superstar has the knack of giving hits one after the other. Nobody understands that it’s the director, who makes a good or bad film, not the actor. Amitabh had such foolish films at the top of his game as Kalia, Shahenshah, Ganga Jamna Saraswati, Mahaan, Lawaris etc. Yet, the personality cult remained. Shahrukh has only now been having low scores. Salman, too, has given duds for years, but people jam pack the ticket window like anything. Khacha Khach te daza duz, as Rangila used to say!

The herd mentality has been the bane of our cinemas. It’s not just here: It’s Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burma, Philippines et al. But, India takes the cake. I mean, idiotic films from Rajnikant and Sultan Rahi still made billions. But, sadly, it’s not just the audiences. It’s also the film-makers. We are still copying the Indians like anything. The current song from Teefa in Trouble titled Main item number naheen karoongee tells us that there have been 4.2 million hits on it, already. Is there any logic to it? The song is below average, the voice of the female is hardly bearable, and the situation is typically Bollywood item song! So, what drives our herd mentality?

During the show, of Azaadi, one heard a few voices urging each other to leave due to atrocious action shots. Obviously, they want reality in the shots, so they could be entertained. On our part, we want easy work, instead of bringing authenticity to our screens. Hence, we lose eventually. When we make a film, we think in terms of Bollywood. When Indians make a film, in majority of cases, their makers are influenced by (read: copy!) Hollywood. That’s why people like Bhansali and Rajkumar Heerani stand out for their original yet rare vision.