There was a time, not long ago, when Bollywood was synonymous to romantic movies where protagonists danced around trees and ran towards each other in slow-mo, while the wind blew their hair dramatically. You know the drill. We’re not saying Bollywood didn’t have any other genre, we sure did. But somehow the base theme of action, comedy, thriller, or even sci-fi(Mr.India, Robot, Krish) film was always a mushy love story.
Cut to Bollywood today, there’s classy – Raazi, Andhadhun, Stree, Badhaai Ho; there’s massy – Sanju, Padmaavat, Simmba; and everything in between. Romance may not be completely out of the window just yet, but it has surely gone from being the base theme to a supporting sidekick, where the ending is not always a happy one. Progress!
Realism is a concept that is taken far more seriously in this new age cinema than ever before. Real-life stories and historical events are being transferred beautifully onto the silver screen. Bollywood is also experimenting with different genres, trying to test the waters, and the audience is definitely adapting and growing to love it. For instance, in the past year, we saw two films from the Horror genre – Pari and Stree – which starred big-time artists like Anushka Sharma in the former and Rajkumar Rao in the latter. Both of them did well, and no, the actors did not get typecast either.
We also saw movies like Raazi, Sanju and Padmaavat, that were based on true events, and all of them did far better than any of its counterparts. It’s safe to say that this genre is gaining more and more popularity by the day. 2019 already has a long list of such movies – Uri: The Surgical Strike, The Accidental Prime Minister, Gully Boy, Manikarnika, Kesari, The Sky Is Pink, Super30 and Panipat, and these are just a few that have been announced so far. We know there will be biopics on Kishore Kumar and Narendra Modi we’ll be hearing of soon. Sense a pattern? We sure do.
Crowd-pullers like Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety and Simmba stayed true to the typical masala that appeals to the masses, but even these couldn’t stand up to the fresh stories of Andhadhun, Manmarziyan and Badhaai Ho, starred by the likes of Ayushmann Khurrana and Vicky Kaushal. Meanwhile, big-budget films – Race 3, Thugs of Hindostan and Zero – starring the Khans of Bollywood saw an all-time low, proving that the audience prefers the quality of story over anything else. What a time to be alive!
Though the coolest thing we noticed in 2018 was an unconventional blend of genres. Stree was a Horror+Comedy, Andhadhun was a Thriller+Mystery+Comedy(in an offbeat manner) and Badhaai Ho was a Comedy+Social message kinda movie. While the latter is a genre that has been picking up in the recent years with movies like Vicky Donor and Shubh Mangal Saavdhaan, the former are genres Bollywood has never experienced before, proving to be a welcome surprise for movie-goers!
To sum it up, Bollywood is evolving and that’s great, but as much as we love unabashed thrillers, realistic cinema and blend of genres, we miss the magic that a quintessential Yash Raj or Dharma movie brought to the big screens, and gave us a break from the daily grind. Because at the end of the day, we as Bollywood-lovers are big dreamers and we’d like to see a glimpse of the dreamy too! Think Ayan Mukherjee’s Brahmastra – the fantasy superhero film starring Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt will do that for us in 2019? We sure hope it does.