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Mustard fields and Bollywood love

Mustard fields and Bollywood love
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The release of Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge in 1995 reflected the changing Indian economic scenario. With its laboriously decked up stars, beautiful foreign locales and huge expensive sets, it shifted the cinema’s attention to celebration of love instead of the the wrath of thakurs, the separation of judwa bhais, and the shifting chaarpais.

After 1990’s, no longer was Bollywood just the Hindi film industry - instead, it became a symbol of the times, and the corresponding rise of the new middle class.

Picture Abhi Baaki Hai, a book launched on Tuesday at India Habitat Centre is written by Rachel Dwyer, Hindi film scholar, who explores Bollywood films after 1991 and explains how the films have mirrored and in certain cases, birthed India’s dynamic aspirations and dreams, fears and anxieties.

A discussion with Dwyer after the launch brought up topics like the Hindi musical scenario and certain familial and religious values. While the musical scenario has reformed tremendously and has since been punjabified from the sentimental tunes of lost love and sorrow of yore to Amitabh’s Mahiya Ve Shava Shava and increasingly being replaced by a more recent and a happy-go-lucky Honey Singh who only grooves to the lyric of booze, girls and partying. Certain religious and familial values have still stuck-on albeit the modern exterior of the new maa or saasu maa, they still want their betis and bahus to be sanskaari.

From DDLJ to Dabangg and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to Kahaani, Rachel shows how escapism and entertainment function in Bollywood, revealing the ways in which Hindi films have imagined and portrayed modern India what its people believe and feel; their views on religion, caste and politics; and theirs aspirations and hopes and will continue to do so.
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