Hindi Language Blog

The Transformation of Hindi Films Posted by on Jul 23, 2021 in Culture, Film & Theater

Image by James Love from Pixabay

While growing up in Bollywood, literally सचमुच, I did not watch Bollywood movies. That’s because theaters were usually packed with men, yelling चिल्ला, whistling, and catcalling at the screen. For my safety’s sake, I refrained परहेज from going to movie theaters that showed Hindi movies. However, I did watch the occasional प्रासंगिक movie that was scheduled on the one channel our Indian television station had besides अलावा the news.

The melodrama नाटक that ensued was enough काफी to take care of a year’s worth of dramatics. However, in 2004 after my child was born I had a craving for nostalgia अतीत के लिए विषाद and started to watch Bollywood movies. Now, mind you, I grew up on a steady diet of Hollywood movies. That’s where my taste lay.  I watched Clint Eastwood westerns with my dad, and other classics and blockbusters as time went by.

In 2004 we were still watching movies on VHS which of course quickly evolved विकसित into the DVD sphere. So, I would dutifully rent Hindi DVDs, or buy them from the lone Indian store in Seattle.

However, when data emerged उभरा as the leading conduit for movies, there was a radical transformation आमूल परिवर्तन in the typical Bollywood movie. The difference can be seen especially in the last few years since Netflix and Amazon Prime came into play.

The content was predictable उम्मीद के मुताबिक but the music started to get better. I had a particular distaste for the high-pitched voices I heard on the radio as a child. But now voices such as Suzanne Demello and Atif Aslam were huskier and modern jazzy sounding. Also,  A. R. Rahman transformed तब्दील music scores with films like Taal and Swades.

The outfits too got better. Not many changes between scenes and even during a scene. The storylines were still the same. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Parents of one usually, against the relationship. Conflict, breakup, and then makeup. Romantic scenes were chaste पवित्र and modest for the most part, thanks to the Indian Censor Board.

Also, it was usually the men who transformed typically for their roles. But nowadays, younger Bollywood actresses are working on one project परियोजना at a time and actually getting into the details of the role. Weight वजन  transformation for one is becoming a trend. The women put on or drop their weight to perform more realistically in character.

Another thing I observed देखे गए was that the women did not get dressed to the hilt in each scene but actually वास्तव मेंwore casual clothing with no makeup (or barely-there makeup) in many scenes. What a relief!

My favorite kind of Bollywood movies are those based on true stories सत्य कहानियां, such as Mary Kom and  Dangal. Of course, the occasional comedy set in my hometown of Mumbai such as Munnabhai M.B.B.S. are also a favorite पसंदीदा. The Tapori language brings back great memories and is a delight to hear.

However, recently I have ventured into the world of Independent Bollywood films on Amazon Prime and Netflix. There is a plethora of choices. I am of course, much older now, and quite easily shocked हैरान at some of the films that sneaked past the Indian Censor Board. They are accepted here. But banned there.

I still cannot get used to the Indian television serials. They are stereotypical टकसाली stories of mother and daughter-in-law relationships. Instead, my weeks are spent waiting in anticipation for the next best Netflix or Prime movie recommendation from my friends to watch on the weekend.





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About the Author: Nicole Herbert Dean

Language, Region and Culture Consultant to the Department of Defense and United States Military.