Bolly-Would I LOVE?

It’s been a while since I wrote about “love”. Perhaps it was the exhaustion from multiple assignments at University, or just a search – a deep dive into books, society, and history to understand this aspect of love and how it can make or break a person. But I’m back. Keeping recent events in account – today I’ll talk about the subtle art of mixing politics into Bollywood and steering aficionados. It is always hard to say what came first, the chicken or the egg. But the fact remains – what we see on silver-screen is what we adapt into our lives without conscious effort (semantics of seeing), and what we adapt into our lives construe social structures and in-turn structures the society, and is often structuring (in a full circle) what we see on silver-screen; thus the chicken and the egg allegory.

As Modi took his place on the PM throne of India once again, and Bollywood celebrities poured in their gratitude with “Congratulations Narendra Modi, Sir <3” and others (quite meaningfully tweeting) “Celebrating the biggest celebration of Indian democracy”[1]– I sat there thinking “why”. Why can’t these men see that India is no more a fast growing economy? Why can’t the commoners understand that the country is truly in the hands of thieves and liars? Why can’t people see that India is less of a democracy today than it was five years ago? And that’s when it hit me. Modi controls Bollywood with the promise of Gujarati investors[2](mostly his newly made inner circle of super-rich friends) into production industry and many films that will keep the multi-billion dollar industry blooming. What does the Hinduist Modi get out of it? Control. Social control.

For what better way to structure a society made-up of a huge market for Bollywood films, than to structure the Bollywood film storyline in a way that the gullible Indian public will adopt it into their daily societal practices?

To quench boredom, Indian public is given easily available entertainment in the form of cinema. This love for entertainment, especially for the proletariat, has been a matter of many questionable film storylines, which were enacted in reality; i.e. the glamorous image of (post-colonial) “Indian morals” is often embodied by actors enacting problematic storylines that often pass for public life, associated communication, and culture manufacturing in a global media setting: the cultural problematic of “what’s next” in a post-colonial era is answered by an extremely male-dominant Bollywood film industry. Thus, to the Indian proletariat, Bollywood stars are the image of God. One of the main reasons why (unlike the west where musicians, designers and artists can equally gain fame and a right to channel thoughts), in India the discourses put forward by a Bollywood actor is supported by aficionados willing to sacrifice all morals to blindly perform and follow what their silver-screen “love” has proposed. 

This is the power of love and the power of holding Bollywood actors in a tight promise of many films that entail job-security[3]when the rest of India is suffering from unemployment. A very close Bollywood-affiliated friend of mine, with whom I have severed all ties due to my low tolerance for hypocrisy, (she) once told me – “this is all we have. Our image. We sell this image. Without this image we have no love from the commoners. Without this image there is no magic. Without this image there is no money for us.


[1] “India Inc, Bollywood cheer as Modi sworn-in at glittering ceremony” in The Economic Times. (2019, May 31). Retrieved from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/ambanis-tata-rajini-at-modis-swearing-in-ceremony/articleshow/69583365.cms

[2]Pathak, A., & Pathak, A. “The Real Story Behind Modi’s Blooming Romance With Bollywood” in Huffpost. (2019, May 08). Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/narendra-modi-ranveer-singh-bollywood-bjp-selfie-ranbir-kapoor-alia-bhatt-vicky-kaushal_in_5cd0211de4b0548b735d1615

[3] “India no longer world’s fastest-growing economy” in BBC web. (2019, May 31). Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-48460232

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