Bollywoodization in kashmir

Posted: December 3, 2007 in Uncategorized

Cinema is a fascinating subject but Indian cinema popularly known as Bollywood is more so because of the peculiar traits of the people who watch it. Bollywood goes deeply into the psyche of the younger generation of Kashmiri youth. From last one decade it is Bollywood music and Bollywood films that have brought the major cultural change in the valley. I will not be exaggerating if I say that life of Bollywoodized Kashmiri youth starts with Bollywood music and ends with the same. From portable cassette player to cable TV, the dissemination and consumption of Bollywood culture has caused a major transformation in popular culture in Kashmir. The inexpensive sources accessible to common man to get exposed to Bollywood world like music tapes, audio cassettes, pirated compact discs etc. have revitalized local subcultures and community values throughout the valley. Stickers of Bollywood films and stars decorate the autos and buses, posters of film stars adorn the walls of tailors, shops and films mechanics, garages. Bollywood films have entered into dialogic construction of Kashmir popular culture by offering youth alternative world.

Bollywood films are made for a pan Indian audience and the makers of the films are aware of the necessity of constructing a filmic style that crosses both linguistic and cultural boundaries. More specifically these films carry largely message of oneness and strong sense of Indian nationalism. These films also make constant reference to classical Indian mythology, folk, drama and literature and Hindu religious practice. Now the question that arises is how these films penetrate into the minds of Kashmiri Muslim youth and how they identify with Hindu Indian audience despite the cultural gap.Psychoanalysts discuss this phenomenon by arguing that Hindi films are successful because they engage every day fantasy. As Suddir Kakkar a psychoanalyst puts it ‘fantasy is that world of imagination which is fuelled by desire and which provides us with an alternative world where we can continue with our long standing quarrel with reality”. The problems of contemporary Kashmiri youth are evidenced in different realms from the perceived rise in violence to theft, disrespect for elders and materialism. From parents to religious leaders all are anxious of the changing attitudes and behaviors of the youth.In reality it is only 10 bad films that Bollywood throughout its history has able to produce on Kashmir. If we analyze these films it makes one clear about how the mainstream media represents Kashmir and Kashmiri people. Almost in all these films Kashmiri’s are either labeled as terrorists or fundamental Muslim’s whose morals and ethics are pre-modern and doesn’t fit in this western democratic liberal society. On one hand it is Indian Bollywood cinema which our youth adore, while on the other hand it is the same youth who have lost their self under militancy fighting with the same country that produces these movies. As Chakravarty argues that Indian films have created mode of address, a we-ness of common cultural and national concerns that accounts for the appeal but which is largely a fiction in a country as large as diverse as India. By accepting Bollywood as very palatable commodity it is important for the youth to question their ‘self’ before complaining the ‘other’. It is only one way of giving legitimacy to Indian state to rule Kashmir by acknowledging notion of one ness that is strongly carried by these movies. 

  1. praveen says:

    the “10 bad films” that you mention, i s is true how the image of Kashmir as a paradise
    as evoked in the films of the 60s, has in some ways carried over
    into recent films dealing with the Kashmir issue mission kashmir. so its progression from paradize to terrorist place..

  2. sweta says:

    dear author
    if you are talking of impact of bollywood on youth it implies itself that they embrace indian culture…what is the problem in that

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