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Could these Bollywood movies have been made today?

by Stewart Cole
“They don’t do it like they used to.” It is the kind of thing we often say about all kinds of things, in a combination of nostalgia for the solid certainty of things of the past. Speaking of cinema, for example, we remain hopeful of the big stars shining majestically in black and white over our current self-promoted batch, even though the films themselves have become technically capable and our narrative tighter.

The big question is whether the cinema in Hindi is really moving forward. Much older films seem more progressive, more politically provocative, more progressive, more feminist than most we see today. These movies were braver. Again, we have also grown up in Hindi films so racist, so sexist, so catastrophically backward and that set such a bad example for the public that we can not imagine that they will be released today. These movies were more stupid.

These days, there are calls to boycott movies and actors, vote against movie trailers and create derogatory hashtags – all of this is a form of self-deceptive art at a time when theaters and ticket sales can’t talk. The rationale varies, from a total (and recently provoked) aversion to nepotism to, say, the politics of a cricketer turning his biography. The mobs have never been louder.

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