Suspecting readers would have guessed by now that I am going to write something about Bollywood after posting two superb music video recently, one from FANAA and the other from DIL SE. Well, yes, I am getting more and more back into movies nowadays and lesser on Go because the fact that I still suck at Go despite many efforts to improve makes me quite depressed. Anyways, as always, I found refuge in movies.
The title of this post, i.e. BOLLY BOLLY BOLLYWOOD is a term coined by my superb ex-colleague and good friend Abid when we were thinking of the names for a movie slot for Bollywood movies. As creative as he is and multiple award winning at that, this name stuck as it is at the same time catchy and sticky.
When I started to work at the movie channel, I realised that with its vast library from movies from all over the world, there is a need to create platforms to showcase the movie so that there is a structured way to schedule the movies according to themes and it will be much easier to sell to both the viewers as well as sponsors. Scheduling is a very interesting area in television and is both science and art, although I would say perhaps 90% science and 10% art.
The key to good scheduling lies with good and reliable information. By studying the demographic and more importantly the psychographic attributes of the viewers, together with months of viewership data, and with a good knowledge of the movies in the library, one can create a really good schedule and attract as many of the targeted viewers as possible, especially so with a package of good promos and marketing support.
Talking about scheduling, there are many more little tricks to it rather than just the formal study of the data (of course, without studying the data, there is no need to proceed). Some of the tricks like tent-pole scheduling and step-scheduling is common but by far, my favourite scheduling trick is what I call predatory/pre-emptive scheduling. This is achieved, broadly speaking, by studying the schedule of your competitor that is competing for the same audience and you schedule your way and promote your program in a way that takes viewership away from them or prevent them from taking away your audience. This is actually quite tricky and it is beyond this post to discuss more of the details.
Okay, I think I got carried away. This post is about Bollywood movies. I realised that I have not updated my Notes section of this blog, where I may file this, for a very long time and looking at the statistics provided by this blog, there is still a significant number of reader that reads those notes and a lot of them landed on the notes via a search engine. One of the most often read notes is the one on the Malaysian New Wave and is also much quoted in this post on Gubra in the Asian Film History wiki site. However, I wrote that note back in May 2008 and a lot have changed since then and an update is due. But I am now out of that industry and my knowledge is that much more limited, compared to that time where I have unblocked access to the movies as well as their makers.
Bollywood, as most people know, comes from the word Bombay/Hollywood. Often, Bollywood movies is mentioned synonymously with Hindi movies. Since the Indian economic reform in the early 1990s, there has been a boom in the Indian film industry and big producers such as Yash Copra who founded the Yash Raj Films took advantage of that boom. In fact, Indian cinema goes way back to directors such as Guru Dutt and Raj Kapoor and also includes an alternative cinema with such directors as the great Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak up to NRI directors such as Mira Nair and Deepa Mehta. However, for this post, let’s talk about popular Bollywood cinema from 1995 onwards.
The first movie one may want to watch is DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE (1995) starring the then still relatively young Sharukh Khan and Kajol and directed by Aditya Chopra (son of Yash Chopra). This movie made the earth (or Indian cinema) shake for a while and some swear by it as still the best of Sharukh Khan ever. This movie is also the longest running movie in India and even today, it is still playing in Mumbai. Believe it or not. So if you can get your hands on this movie, please jump on it if you are interested.
When Bollywood movies are mentioned, one will always think of dance and songs, and of course that 3 hour time commitment. However, there is of course a lot more to just dance and songs which I enjoy a lot but one has to look at the social aspect of it. In many ways, it is a way for the mass to escape to another world. With movie tickets very much affordable, India has one of the lowest ticket prices in the world, the common people who have worked so hard can find a means to escape to another world, a dream world which they will never be capable of living.
While I was staying in India for some time, I went to watch movies in the cinema too, although without subtitles. I remember watching KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA (KANK) there and lining up in queue for the ticket. It was an almost full house show and one can feel the atmosphere inside the theatre hall. Imagine a movie like KANK which is a very modern movie set in New York getting that kind of response, just imagine other movies that speaks closer to their hearts. It is a rather enjoyable experience watching a Bollywood movie in an Indian cinema. One almost wants to stand up and dance in tune with the music.
Okay, so, other good Bollywood movies that I can recommend are as follows (in no particular order, just from memory):
1. LAGAAN (2001)
2. KAL HO NA HO (2003)
3. KABHI KHUSHI KABHIE GHAM (2001)
4. RANG DE BASANTI (2006)
5. DIL SE (1998)
6. FANAA (2006)
8. DEVDAS (2002)
9. LAGE RAHO MUNNA BHAI (2006)
10. HUM AAPKE HAIN KOUN..! (1994)
11. KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI (1998)
12. MOHABBATIEN (2000)
And of course, DILWALE DULHANIA LE JAYENGE (1995).