From Raj Kapoor to Amitabh Bachchan to Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood has been India’s best cultural ambassador all over the world. In her remarkable new book – Bollywood Boom – Roopa Swaminathan shows how Bollywood has the power to mould India’s fortunes by winning the hearts of people across continents.
Amidst its rising power to influence the world, Bollywood has both debunked and upheld few myths that surround India and Indians. Here’s a look at six of those popular myths!
When lead characters in mainstream Bollywood films were supposed to have sex onscreen, the scenes showed the rubbing together of two flowers or cutaway shots of birds chirping. But Bollywood has come a long way since! It’s a case of building up an already popular myth – that Indians don’t do sex, or they do it mysteriously – and then busting it some decades down the line.
That’s one of the myths that Bollywood has busted in recent times. Indian girls do choose how their lives play out and that is well-represented by a plethora of modern characters in Hindi cinema. The female protagonist in Love Aaj Kal makes a mistake, gets married to the wrong guy but has the guts to break it off and walk into the sunset with the right guy at the end.
When it comes to sex, Indians have increasingly started to explore and choose. The sentiment is reflected in this new era of Bollywood. In Ek Main aur Ek Tu, the female protagonist openly claimed to have slept with more than a few guys.
Either your parents’ house or your home after marriage – apparently, those are the only options that two consenting adults in a romantic relationship can manage. That myth has been debunked! Salaam Namaste deals with the pros and cons of ‘living together’ before getting married
Gone are the days when the international community viewed India only as this mystical land, full of old-world charms. New Bollywood movies show India in its full range now. Much of the diaspora who travel to India do so after being fascinated by an India that they’ve seen in Bollywood films.
Not every Bollywood film is laden with songs and dances. And certainly, not every aspect of Indian life is a high-volume drama. Increasingly, the new wave of Bollywood has brought to the fore other sensibilities of the Indian culture.
Do you, too, have a myth in mind that you think Bollywood has busted or upheld? We would love to know!