The Business of Emotions!

When Zoya, played by Parineeti Chopra, suddenly went mellow from being a fighter it baffled the audience whose expectations had gone soaring high in the first few minutes of Ishaqzaade. Many critics went hyper criticising the writer-director Habib Faizal for letting them down.

Funnily this came from the same audience which has been so bred on highly melodramatic Bollywood fare. Now do you call them emotional fools or give Zoya the tag is a matter that would need some serious discussion. But what this did outline is the fact that Bollywood films have been riding rather high on emotions fools… people who just did not have a mind of their own! And it is not necessarily a character like Zoya. The heroes have never been any lesser. Why go further than our very own ‘Badshah’ of Bollywood Shah Rukh Khan. He almost made it to superstardom with melodrama… half of it bordered or was completely in the fool’s territory!

Shah Rukh Khan… sometimes played the fool brilliantly, at other times played the emotional fool equally disarmingly. Be it Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi or Devdas. But then why tag SRK alone in a game which has been played so often by stars right since the prehistoric age in the world of Indian filmdom. So we have a Rajendra Kumar letting his friend date his love in Sangam; breaking his own heart because he could not let his friend’s heart break…

Just browsing through the biggest hits of Bollywood, a list consisting of some worthy films, you would easily discover how right my claim is about the generosity of writers in loading our film world with such characters. And almost every superstar worth his salt dabbling in them! Take a look at Akshay Kumar’s Happy in Singh is Kinng, Hrithik Roshan’s Krrish, Salman’s Prem in Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!, or Sunny Deol’s Gadar: Ek Prem Katha! Well many of you would probably argue with me on Sunny’s Tara Singh being an emotional fool. Without a doubt, characters rarely get as macho… but then when did being an emotional fool play hindrance to being macho!

The list of female characters of course outdoes heroes by margins incomparable. From Madhubala to Sridevi, from Madhuri Dixit to Priyanka Chopra! The dismay over Zoya turning out to be one among them hence was probably way too much for the viewers. An audience who was hoping for something different…

Leaving the viewer’s perspective and treading to the filmmaker’s, it must be quite baffling to get to know the audience’s frustration. For a director to make a profitable film is not an option but a necessity. A flop only means that finding producers for the next film would be as tough as finding one for his first film! He finds the pit of convenience very much at hand, climbing down which has so often got other filmmakers superhits. So all the examples – Singh is Kinng, Krrish, Hum Aapke Hain Koun…!, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha were hits whose records people still talk about. Needless to say emotions or emotional foolery is no fool’s business when it comes to the box office. Do I need to add Ishaqzaade’s success to that!

Melodrama, despite all the changes in attitude and also filmmaking style… will probably last longer than other trends in filmmaking. And I would not say it upsets me. Why should I? I too have shed my tears or laughed aloud watching these fares!

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