Archive for the ‘politics of bollywood’ Category

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. Unlike rest of India Kashmir is not privileged with cinemas which after 1989 were burnt due to the rise of major strife in the valley. As the movement itself was directly or indirectly involved in Islamizing the valley, the religious cream of the crop looked at cinemas as a stigma in such a society and mere tools of moral degradation. At present rarely any cinema halls are running in valley, put out of your mind the concept of modern multiplexes. New born if has eager to know practically how theatres look like she/he must has to come out of the valley to fulfill that craving. Frankly speaking it was in the 19th year of my age when I had for the first time glimpse of how cinema theatres look like. If in this time we even assume of theatres in valley it necessary to take care of assumption. First it is threat from the militant groups, religious leaders then personal security that has to be taken care of. It should not be like any mine being planted in theatre you are watching the movie. But despite all this there is Bollywood wave circulating in the valley.                                            

                           From last one decade it is Bollywood music and Bollywood films have brought the major cultural change in the valley. I will not be exaggerating while saying that the day of Bollywoodized Kashmiri youth start with Bollywood melody 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 mechanics, garages. Bollywood films have entered into dialogic construction of Kashmir popular culture by offering youth alternative world.                   

                    The main sources from where Bollywood enters valley are cable TV, music tapes, audio cassettes, pirated compact discs etc. All sources themselves are questionable that is overall different issue.  What is needed here is to question the relation between Bollywood and Kashmir.  How Bollywood and Kashmir look upon each other. How do the people relate these movies, how they reconcile their antagonistic feelings towards the Indian state and nationalism. If we look at the number of films that has been made of Kashmir it comes more or less 10. These films are fine manifestations of representation of Kashmir by Bollywood. Starting from the image of Kashmir as a paradise as evoked in the films of the 60s (Kashmir ki kali), has in some ways carried over into recent films dealing with the Kashmir issue (e.g. Roja, fanaa). Recent trend by looking at films like Roja, fanaa is caricaturing Kashmiri’s as terrorists, un-national, perfidious. But fat reception of Bollywood films by youth of Kashmir raises the question arises how far Hindi films have been successful in soothing their antagonistic feelings towards the Indian state and nationalism with their love of Bollywood.                  

                    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 make constant reference to classical Indian mythology, folk, drama and literature and Hindu religious practice. Bollywood has now become largely primary part of Kashmiri youth thus proving religious leaders erroneous in their assessment of smoldering theatres in valley so that it can thwart Bollywood from inflowing valley. While on the other side watching Bollywood cinema has made people to compromise their age old customs and traditions of valley. Modernity has made effortless itinerary to Kashmir from last one decade which has made people to satisfy their false needs.