‘Bollywood: India’s most moronic cultural export’

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Besides software, Bollywood has emerged post-1990s India’s most recognisable signature. The movies open to full houses; the trade papers quote the oodles of dollars made by them; its stars are the toast of the town from Cannes to Macau; the big studios are opening shop and making films, etc.

For many, this is a source of pride: an indicator that rising, shining, growing India has attained cross-continental cultural clout, a little like Hollywood uses its movies to flex its muscle.

Not for Sathnam Sanghera. He writes in The Times, London, that he finds it depressing that a country that has produced so much important music, literature and philosophy has become synonymous with its most moronic cultural phenomenon.

“In what ways are Bollywood movies moronic? Well, leaving aside the lipsynching (the actors rarely do their own singing), the plagiarism (writers habitually copy tunes and plots from other films), the nepotism (relatives of Bollywood stars often get given choice roles), the crap sound (it is rarely recorded on location), the crap writing (dialogue and lyric) and that Bollywood movies are as predictable as a can of Coke, with their mindless use of love triangles, moustachioed villains and star-crossed lovers dancing around trees, I have two main problems, the first of which is the ceaselessly melodramatic plotting…. My second issue with Bollywood: the ridiculous length of the films.

“Bollywood fans, including members of my family, are constantly telling me that the films have improved, but I can see no sign of this. I watched Border, a blockbuster based on the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, when I was in India a few years ago and have had more enjoyable operations. A few years later I bought a DVD of Lagaan, encouraged by rave reviews, and found it about as engaging as a set of washing instructions on a cardigan.”

Read the full article: There’s nothing good about Bollywood

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