Why Bollywood movies have no quality?

Some of my friends just hate Bollywood. They typically think Bollywood movies to be those which are high on melodrama, heroines sing songs while running around a tree with hero following her, hero is inexplicably able to save heroine from 10-20 goons, and more importantly, always have a happy-ending. After the success of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, my friends have started saying that Bollywood should learn one or two things about making movies from Hollywood. Moreover, recent movies like Ra.One, Wanted, Dabangg and Singham don’t help the case of Bollywood either.

So, the million-dollar question is why Bollywood movies seems to have no quality. This question can be answered easily by you and me. But before that we need to ponder over another thing.

This tendency is just a small part of one of the characteristics of human beings. It is to generalize. Just see one Bollywood movie and generalize it to say all Bollywood movies are like this. Just get to know or hear about one person from a particular region and generalize it to all persons belonging to that region. I think it is very much human to generalize.

Why do we generalize so much?

This is an attempt to satisfy our innate curiosity about the world. Life becomes so much easy if we can understand a puzzling wide range of phenomena by putting in very less effort. This wonderful method is called generalization. The process is very simple and efficient. We divide phenomena, people and things around us into various categories. Then study one category one by one. For understanding one category, we just need to understand one specimen of that category, then we just need to generalize. And lo, behold! we know about anything/anybody belonging to the whole category.

Generalization is not wrong. In fact, science very much dwells on it. For example, we know water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen in 1:8 ratio by weight. This is true for water obtained from any process or source. If it’s not, then surely the thing is not water. Haven’t we generalized the properties of water obtained from so many diverse sources-rain, pond, underground water, river?

The problem comes when we are not careful with this method (In science, that’s why we meticulously verify each generalization a lot of times. If even one time it is shown that it is not true, it is discarded without any remorse). As a result, it’s commonplace to hear following statements:

  1. Hollywood produces brilliant movies. Bollywood movies are just crap.
  2. All old Hindi songs are superb and new ones have no quality.
  3. See foreign TV serials like Vampire Diaries, Friends, The Big Bang Theory. They are so good. What we have here in India? Only serials like Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi.
  4. All Sardars/girls/boys/South Indians(the list can go on) are like this only.

Almost all prejudices can be included in the above list.

The last statement is so meek it doesn’t warrant any explanation here but the above three do need one.

All of the above three cases talk about a larger set which also includes stuffs that we haven’t seen or heard of. It’s certain that we haven’t seen or heard all Hollywood movies, old Hindi songs or foreign serials. We only get to know about those which are superb and therefore, popular. While in the case of Bollywood movies,new Hindi songs and Indian TV serials, we get to know almost all things belonging to these categories. Thus, there is more chance of seeing /hearing about a bad one.

At the end, there is one important question. Would anyone(either my friends or other people) would change their prejudices? Would they suddenly start applying the process of generalization more appropriately?Then what’s the use of writing a blog over it?

My answer is -it helped me understand one aspect of complex human behaviour.

Leave a comment

2 Comments

  1. I won’t comment n the merits of Hollywood and the Short-comings of Bollywood since, as you pointed out, there is no point in doing so. What i do wish to comment on is that I feel you are wrong to equate generalization in everyday life to the generalization employed and even sought out in science. Scientists generalize in the hope for finding symmetry in a system. They find comfort in the fact that things fall in a pattern. Yet their primary aim is to find the truth and hence, as you mention, they need to keep testing their generalizations.

    A common man on the other hand generalizes to save himself labor, time, money and other resources. I watch one movie of Vivek Oberoi and decide he is not worth my time. If I were to watch every movie by him just to ascetain if I am right, it would defeat the whole purpose, wouldn’t it?

    Reply
    • I don’t find any problem in equating the generalization done in science to that done in day-to-day life. Both serve the same purpose of understanding the world. It saves labor, time, money and other resources is a bonus!
      The problem with generalization occurs when you won’t accept that Vivek Oberoi can act good just because he acted badly in one of his movies which you saw.
      This results in what we call prejudice.

      Reply

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