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The Growing Role of Bollywood Movies

Researcher and scholar of history, philosophy and religion. She believes in universal brotherhood.

Deepika and Ranvir


Bollywood Movies: A Cultural Binder

Hindi films are not merely films that are meant for entertainment only. For the Indians this means much more than that. It is a more affluent shadow of their daily existence, their daily monotonous life, which they want to overcome, want to flee from but can not. A film is thus not merely a film for them. It is another way of life, a second life altogether. In my school days, one of our teachers used to say that in our country, that is India, there is difference in every sixteen kilometers. It is very true. Though he especially meant that difference in respect of language. Language style, its intonation, speaking habit change in every sixteen kilometers. It is true no doubt. But this is also true for other things also.

Dress code, language, food habits and even culture and mentality of the people change in India in every sixteen kilometers. The more you travel, the more you will be familiarized with this feature. The person you will meet in Kolkata or New Delhi, is not the same person you meet in Coachbehar or say Canning. They are very different, very dissimilar. In this field, Hindi movies act as a cultural co-leveler. Here we have given only one example of a Indian state, West Bengal, who speak in same language. Then it is obvious how things will be different and dissimilar when compared to other provinces, say Karnataka or Kerala.

Hindi movies thus do basically two things, first, it acts a cultural binder among the Indians, so that they can feel themselves one with their fellow countrymen. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, it relieves them from their humdrum daily existence. It is evident whenever a person visits a cinema hall, they will see that the people assembled there will get themselves mirrored in their favorite stars for those hours. They will feel sorry for the unfortunate hero, dejected at the despair of a ruined mother, angry at the crude behavior of the villain or feel betrayed at the treachery, etc. The cinema hall, for a time being will become their home for happiness and misery. They will imitate the same feelings as exhibited by the films. They will laugh and cry, feeling the same as of their admired actors.

Even Hindi movies bind together the non resident Indians and people of Indian origins, who are scattered in many countries of the world. Raj Kapur was very famous in Soviet Union and in many countries of Eastern Europe. He was known as the Indian Charlie Chaplin. People thronged together to see him, to had a glance of him. Many Indian film stars enjoy quite a great popularity in many other countries. This is not a mean achievement. From the silent era cinema to now, Indian cinema has grown in multitudes and also earned applauds from people of various countries. Shahrukh Khan is a very popular name in Pakistan. Dilip Kumar was awarded the most prestigious award from Pakistan. An ideal hero of Hindi movies would be an ideal person, having all the virtues that a man can possess. A heroine is like Devi Sita, who will wait for her husband till the last breath or embrace death rather than accept any other. Thus Bollywood movies play a great role in Indian culture and reinforces the inheritance of Indian culture in all Indian minds.

A recent report of 2020 claims that Bollywood movies had a business of more than four hundred millions outside India. So it is very indicative of growing role of Hindi movies even outside of India, which becomes a soft power for India in the world.

© 2021 Ilina Jones

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