Bollywood Industry - The Desi Big Brother House

March 13, 2007
Sakshi Juneja

You don't need to be Einstein's long lost cousin to know the fact that no matter how forward or open minded we appear to be getting in relation to "cinema" or more correctly "Hindi Film Industry" - we still end up at point zero.

Last year when I met up with Anurag Kashyap, he didn't leave any stone unturned in explaining the Big Brother role played by a handful of individuals. His very words were:

"You look at it from any which way, you have these few families in this industry who run the show. They are actually like a mafia and they are the bullies and they play like bullies and that's the sad part. There is so much talent but it gets lost in these fringes. We have more hypocrisy and bifurcation and that's the main worry for people like me."

So while on the outside we witness an increase in small budget films, fresh faces, scriptwriters, directors and producers but on the inside it's these "families" who will decide their Bollywood shelf life.

My first few thoughts on the conversation I had with Anurag were not that favorable. To me they appeared to have been generated out of bitterness and lack of success - I mean come on, two films fully completed but no ata-pata of their release. Plus its human nature to blame your faults or lack of luck onto others. But frankly speaking, now when I think about the very same conversation I can't help but nod my head in approval.

Last week's on Koffee with Karan, Kareena Kapoor was asked to choose between Yash Chopra and Vishal Bhardawaj by our tacky host Karan Johar, in the rapid-fire round. Pretending that it's a difficult to pick either of the two, Ms. Kapoor chose (as expected) Yash Raj Banner. This to me is a perfect example of Anurag's thoughts on Bollywood industry. Kareena Kapoor decided against Vishal Bhardwaj even though he gave her an opportunity to set-off on a different creative tangent with a film like Omkara. With Vishal she stood out as an "actress" and not a "glamorized commodity". To her Yash Chopra or Aditya Chopra is most definitely a safer option; after all they churn out films with the sole purpose of raking in the moolah and have all the means to back their intentions. And then who gives a fuck about creativity.

But this is not just the case with commercial chickens like Kareena Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan, Rani Mukherjee, etc. Sadly the main-stream bug has bitten even those whom one would least expect.

Mid-Day reports:

Talking about the reason why Konkona had to opt out of The Japanese Film, Aparana Sen says, "When Konkona did my last film 15 Park Avenue, she had to give up Mira Nair's The Namesake, which she happily did.

This time around, I did not want her to give up two wonderful Yash Raj films, Laga Chunri Mein Daag and Aaja Nachle. Even though Konkona would have happily agreed to opt out of those films, I was adamant that she take them up."

Now what load bull-shit is Mrs. Sen dhaping on us. The calculation here is easy; Mrs. Sen and Miss. Sen very well understand that a film with Yash Raj means finally a breakthrough for Konkona in main-stream films. Agreed she is a fine actress but her film choices haven't brought her anything in terms of mass-popularity, fame and money. Working under a well-known masala banner, Konkona now gets a chance to get what many Bollywood aspirants can only dream off.

The bottom line is - in order to survive in Bollywood one has to either be blessed by one of these industry families or else have bucket loads of patience, determination and "never say die" attitude. If either of the two is missing then you better have an alternate profession as backup.

As mentioned earlier terms like talent, creativity, meaningful cinema and originality can all go for a toss - it's fame and money which rules the roost.

Saakshi O. Juneja is an active blogger, feminist and overboard dog lover. Currently working as a Business Development Manager for a sportswear manufacturing company in Mumbai, India. Did graduation in Marketing & Advertising from Sydney, Australia. As far as blogging is concerned...is a complete Blog-a-holic.
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March 13, 2007
05:53 AM

Could not agree more! I happened to watch KBC-III Holi episode -- thankfully, the only one I've. The chemistry of [quote: Sakshi Juneja]commercial chickens[/quote] SRK, PZ and RM was striking. Sometimes it felt like the girls were greasing the host. :-)

March 13, 2007
10:53 AM

As a famuse proverb it say....."All play and watching movie/TV make Jack a lazy boy". Time to stop making & watching so many of the movies and clean up the Bombay, home of the mighty boollywood and only city in world which has more shantytown than good house in world !

March 14, 2007
03:02 AM

This isn't just something that happens in B*Wood, this happens all the time in Hollywood as well. Most actors and actresses want films that make them famous and earns them loads of money, hardely do any of them, in either industries want to partake in a film destined to open at a few film festivals and exicte a few people.

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