Answer by Raakhee V. Menon:
Bollywood cinema has certain base concepts that they package in new bottles and serve generously to generations after generations of movie-goers…
Stories based on ‘Romeo & Juliet’ and ‘Cinderella’
Any movie based on these two base concepts work like a charm!
Right from ‘Ek Duje Ke Liye’ and ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak’ to ‘Ishaqzaade’ and ‘Ram Leela’, I have lost count of how many movies have been churned out in the same format as Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’. The male and female protagonists will be from two warring families, they run away, and finally die in each others arms at the end! *yawn*
And then you have the rich hero/heroine falling for the poor heroine/hero story. I’m not even going to start with that formula. A moment of silence for all the Cinderellas and the Cinderfellas.
Of course they do add in some spices here and there to make different stories, but basically it’s all about how love conquers all!
The Mafia Melodrama
Another genre of films that Bollywood excels in making are those based on gangsters. Many of these were based on real life incidents that made it to the headlines of newspapers not so long ago. So people are familiar with the subtle references that the makers make to certain infamous gangsters.
Most gangster movies do well in Bollywood. ‘Satya’, ‘Don’, ‘Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai’, ‘Sarkar’, etc.
When all else fails, go for biopics.
I believe the reason why biopics work fantastically well in Bollywood is because Indians generally dig some good gossip every now and then. When a movie is made on the life of a celebrity, it’s like a consolidated audio-visual report of all those articles that came in glossy gossip magazines over the years. There are only a handful of biopics that did not do well in Bollywood. All other biopics have been massive hits – M.S.Dhoni, Mary Kom, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Dangal, The Dirty Picture, Paan Singh Tomar, Neerja, etc.
The chest-thumpers – Patriotism & The Armed forces
Everyone living today knows about the level of difficulty with which India gained its independence. This year marks the 70th year of our Independence and people still make movies on patriotism, about the freedom struggle, about the various sacrifices our ancestors had to make to secure this wonderful free land for us. So every time a patriotic movie comes out, it is bound to be a hit. No questions. Everyone watches it, puffs up their chests in pride and by the time the movie is finished, they walk out of the movie hall feeling a little more Indian than what they were when they entered the cinema hall 😀
This also applies for all those movies based on the Indian Armed Forces that come out every now and then – Border, LOC Kargil, Baby, Ghazi Attack, etc.
A dollop of Sanskaar for dessert
I’m referring to clichéd family dramas. We all know what is going to happen. And yet, we go like the rats behind the Pied Piper of Hamlin to the cinema halls to watch how the unity of an Indian family always wins in the end! It gives us a weird high and our belief in ‘the system’ is refreshed and renewed after each one of these crowded movies. I don’t even remember when this started but I can assure you that if somebody makes yet another one of these tried and tested movies, it will be a hit all over again!
Last, but not the least, the Trysts with the Triangles
I don’t think any other movie industry can handle love triangles the way Bollywood can. If two is company, three is certainly not a crowd as far as Bollywood is concerned. There are numerous movies that have come out with two heroes and one heroine, or two heroines and one hero, and they all crazily click! Just rummage through your mental database. Think of the insane number of movies that had love triangles in them…brrr!
And then, once in a blue moon, Bollywood churns out something unexpectedly brilliant! Movies that deserve a mention – ‘Taare Zameen Par’, ‘The Lunchbox’, ‘Stanley Ka Dabba’ and ‘Piku’.
Love it or hate it, Bollywood is something that you can never ignore, no matter which part of the world you are in! ^_^