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Bollywood’s economic pyramid and a frivolous call for its boycott

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Many, even with their heads and hearts in the right place, but in their pursuit of boycotting the film industry of Mumbai or Bollywood as the glamorous circus is mentioned in popular literature, forget that the ecosystem is not a a single actor or individual, not two production companies, not four films, not eight web series, and certainly not a collection of a dozen clips organized to defend one’s prejudices against one community or religion.

The castle of hypocrisies, built on PR-focused attention gimmicks, social media influencer influence, and subjective artistic interpretations, is far from perfect, but is also far from the enemy. of the state or of the electorate within it, as some might want. to believe.

The convenient labels attached to the industry today distract from its scale, diversity and, most importantly, its potential.

After 1945, when Americans were working to put Europe back on its feet, a large allocation of funds was for films that conveyed Yankee supremacy while emphasizing the interconnectedness of cultures.

Thus, more than 250 films have been produced, placing American soft power on a geopolitical pedestal. Compare it with India, where many would idealize the end of Bollywood, a mere fraction of Hollywood and the Chinese film industry, just as India’s economic story takes off.

Fortunately, the Center government does not recognize this blind hatred, as evidenced by their many outreach programs. Perhaps, for ordinary citizens, it is important to take into account the economic pyramid of Bollywood.

Start with a boy on the spot, working on a daily wage, or with tailors and technicians who have families that depend on this industry. There are several advertising agencies that have skin in the game, distributors, multiplex owners, and retail stores in malls that depend on weekend footfall for their sales, and so on.

The list may be long, but there are too many invisible actors in this economic pyramid, and it would be foolish for them to be punished for a few actors and their films.

Beyond the economic aspect, there are also frivolous calls for boycotts that do not add up logically.

Farhan Akhtar, for example, comments on the Citizenship Amendment Act, but does that mean that one is supposed to boycott all projects in which the actor/director/producer has ever participated?

Should I start cursing Dil Chahta Hai, or stop listening Lakshyas title track, the one heard by millions of military aspirants across India, or stop watching Mirzapur Where Made in heaven, the web series he produced, or should I boycott Amazon Prime altogether, then Amazon, not caring too much about the promoters’ many sellers?

The question is, where do you draw the line when boycotting a celebrity, and if there is even a line?

It’s undeniable that viewers have put these celebrities on the pedestal, but to use their word as the word of God and confuse their nonsensical talk with a holy grail of the intellect is incorrect.

Naseeruddin Shah won’t be the smartest political or economic mind in any room he walks into, but that’s no reason why I don’t salute Iqbal as one of the best cricket films ever made in India or to dismiss its brilliant characterization of a maulvi in Khuda Kay Liye, a 2007 film made in Pakistan. The Shah’s monologue at the climax, where he deliberates on the teachings of Islam and Western culture and music, is one of his best performances.

There is also the subjective interpretation of art. Take Vishal Bhardwajs Haider, for example. Can we infer from a sequence that the story is about the alleged “atrocities” of the Indian army, or is the story of a man stabbing his brother in the back, or a woman cheating on her husband, or a son out to avenge his father, or the corruption within the local police, or the link between terrorists and local politicians in Kashmir?

Can we label an entire movie with multiple layers of narration in one scene? Again, the film is not the gospel of Kashmir. Manufacturers don’t make such claims, so why should the public?

The frivolous idea of ​​Boycott Bollywood justifies me hating or rejecting any film, web series or similar production that does not agree with the political beliefs I stand for.

By that logic, I’m not supposed to enjoy the brilliant production titled Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, a political satire released in 2013 in which the protagonist is also called Mao, because he fights evil capitalism and its promoters.

Before passing your credit card to the nearest multiplex, should you check the political leanings and references of each filmmaker and each human element involved in a production? And if one of the producers or assistant directors of Tanhaji secretly voted for Owaisi? Where do we draw the line?

To claim that films that cater to only one political ideology or belief system should come to market is also incorrect. To deprive cinema of its diversity would be wrong, and to expect the state to do so would be absurd.

However, in recent years the free market has taken over and as a result you have people like shamshera opening to empty theaters while Marvel releases have a show as early as 6:30 a.m. The public can no longer be taken for granted, even if the actor manages to interview the Prime Minister.

If the effort is of poor quality, the result would be proportional, as evidenced by the failure of the film Samrat Prithviraj. The free market wants good cinema, not one-colored, politically, but something worth having.

The free market is a proven formula. Take the example of the story of the exodus from Kashmir. When Vidhu Vinod Chopra produced shikara in 2020, it bombed commercially and critically, as the film did a disservice to the cause of the Kashmiri pundits, their exodus and the violence unleashed against them. The public, starting with the Pandits themselves, rejected the film.

Two years later, Vivek Agnihotri gave the world Kashmir Records. Many wouldn’t call it a masterclass in filmmaking, but it has been embraced by audiences around the world. While many dailies chose not to see it again and distributors didn’t want to bet on it, the film did wonders, but it also served an important lesson: don’t boycott the medium but own it.

However, there are unforgivable exceptions.

One can care what an actor has to say about the politician in question, but belittling a religion, real or real, is unacceptable. Wearing the mantle of pretension to sell themselves as a social intellectual, no actor has the right to selectively criticize a religion or certain rituals.

If Aamir Khan, for example, wants to challenge the country’s secularism on an open platform, demean Hinduism in his films and shows, or be seen with enemies of the state, he should be the last to stand. complain about the public who give him back.

The castle of hypocrisies no longer protects the inhabitants from the economic consequences of their actions and words. The free market has taken over.

Next weekend I’m not watching Lal Singh Chadha, because an actor, self-proclaimed perfectionist, who does not master the native language of the characters for an official scam, does not deserve my money or my time. I also don’t like spending money that could be used for several other purposes.

Nonetheless, I want the industry, imperfect as it is, to thrive and for the stories to be told without the moral or political police of actors or producers. The free market, driven by an informed public, will take care of the rest.

Read also : Song Haq Hussain’s lyrics in upcoming Bollywood film changed after protests from Muslim community

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