Literary realism - Literary genre

Bollywood's elder statesman, actor Amitabh Bachchan, and his daughter-in-law, actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who has had some crossover fulfillment within the West, are the 2 Indian film stars most frequently interviewed by means of overseas media, and condescending Western journalists often ask them why Bollywood does not make "critical" or "realistic" movies, to which they tiredly respond that Bollywood is "escapist cinema." I can't blame them for giving journalists the answer they want to listen. The Bachchans are likely looking to be polite and diplomatic due to the fact they had like to benefit new fanatics inside the West. Or maybe they may be simply ill of explaining what appears to be a baffling idea to Western critics: leisure is meant to be exciting.

But Bollywood movies aren't all fun and frivolity. What might be more severe and grounded within the fact of the majority's lives than locating love and making relationships work? Or how approximately suffering to remedy home troubles and religious variations that tear families and communities apart? The clash among subculture and modernity is some other favored Bollywood subject matter, as is the revel in of Indian emigrants. Indians are fiercely pleased with their culture and that they need to protect their values-simply as American values are important to us-and movies are automobiles for putting forward the which means of these values and exploring their relevance.

So the claim that Hollywood is realistic as it specializes in the marginalized and degenerate and that Bollywood is not because it focuses on distinct social realities does not make any experience. And practical or now not, on a fundamental stage, all entertainment is escapist-otherwise, what would be the factor?

If the movie, The Wrestler, for example, is realistic, then I'll have to take Hollywood's phrase for it because I don't know any washed-up expert wrestlers, and I have no idea if Anne Hathaway's portrayal of a narcissistic drug addict in Rachel Getting Married is spot-on due to the fact I don't dangle out with all and sundry like that. And but, I watch those films and experience them-however not because of their realism. Rather, they are a departure from my ordinary, ordinary life. And likewise, the purpose I love Indian films is due to the fact they may be so exceptional from my American life.

In August 2003, Time mag reporter (and Bollywood fan) Richard Corliss wrote: "Movies deliver audiences what they don't have. In the U.S., an economically secure country, films regularly deal with life on the edge: risk and deprivation are glamorous to the ones who have the entirety. The same, the wrong way up, applies in India: it is a terrible united states, so the movie image is of the middle, top-middle and fabulously-rich training." I understand the latter-why could poor human beings need to look at films about social injustices they revel in each day? But the previous, while absolutely actual, is unsettling to me. Finding deprivation glamorous-and fancying ourselves hip and enlightened for it-says what to the disadvantaged?

Indians weren't wild about the movie Slumdog Millionaire, partly due to the fact they had been offended with the aid of the portrayal of poverty (protesters outside Mumbai theaters carried symptoms that read: "Poverty Porn" and "I am now not a slumdog"), but additionally because they discovered the tale so unrealistic-preposterous even. Perhaps Indians are extra acquainted with the reality that such memories clearly do no longer take place in actual existence. Obviously, Americans felt in any other case (myself included-I loved it) because it was a fairy tale of determination and future winning over impossible odds (America's cultural fable), set in a nightmarish world of poverty (we like cinematic grittiness)-and it made our hearts leap. Hmm, an emotional myth primarily based on cherished cultural values and informed via accepted film conventions-kind of sounds like the identical criticism leveled at Bollywood movies.

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