Interesting patterns in the top grossing movies of Bollywood/Hollywood

 
1. The protagonist is a little different from everybody around him/her or he/she does something that is unusual/out of the ordinary. But But But…he/she cannot be TOO different. If you make the audiences TOO uncomfortable then it’s parallel cinema. For example: Harry Potter or Bajrangi are different from the rest of the crowd but they are limits to how much risk you can take in mainstream cinema. So Bajrangi is not an atheist, he is a Hanuman bhakt. Harry Potter is a misfit but he can do cool stuff like magic. Kanji Lal Ji is an atheist and is different from everybody else but at the end of the movie, he starts believing in God.
2. Odds are stacked against him/her. He/She finally overcomes these odds at the end of the movie/series. The ending has to be happy.
3. Most of the top-grossing movies contain ideas that were introduced by alternative cinema, long ago.The ones who respect new ideas are the ones who succeed in the long run. For example, Yash Raj Films quickly changed its gears and started backing off-beat content like ‘Mahi Way’ or ‘Powder’.
But a lot of alternative filmmakers made content-driven cinema much before YRF.
P.S. This is not to say that mainstream cinema is ‘shitty’. Both mainstream and alternative cinema are important in a society.
P.P.S. To those who mock alternative cinema for lack of popularity: Watch out! Today’s alternative can be tomorrow’s mainstream!
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Language

Telugu-speaking people often use the words ‘Amma’ (which means Mother) and ‘Nanna’ (which means father) in daily conversations, even when parents are not involved (Like you may say to your friend, “What happened to you, amma?”).  In Hindi, we often use the word ‘yaar’ in daily conversations. I’m wondering if the way we use these words describe the kind of culture we live in.

Parents are considered ‘Gods’ in our country and questioning them is almost a sin. The use of ‘amma’ and ‘nanna’ could be a result of a culture which is dominated by the older generation. The use of the word ‘yaar’ could be a result of a culture that is slowly seeing rebellion/a culture that changes with time. Parents are people whom we don’t get to choose. Friends are people we choose. Am I reading too much into this?
If you look at the mainstream Telugu films, they are still pretty conventional. The Hindi film industry, on the other hand, is offering different kind of mainstream content (there is still a place for conventional content, though). In the last few years, the Hindi film industry has offered mainstream content that deals with issues like mental health, homosexuality, dysfunctional families and live-in relationships. I’m not sure if Telugu films have done the same (Dear Telugu friends, do correct me if I’m wrong).

Vulnerability

We are taught so many things at school but I wish we are taught the ways to handle vulnerability. Human beings, especially men, don’t want to be vulnerable because

 a. It is seen as weakness 

 b. We are not equipped with skills to handle vulnerable situations.

 So what happens when a Guru you revere turns out to be a rapist? Your entire world falls apart. Since you are not encouraged to cry, you resort to violence. There is also a blow to your ego: Since you followed someone who is actually a rapist, your choice is all wrong! This injury of ego and soul makes you extremely vulnerable

How you treat children defines you

We can learn a lot about a society by observing the way it treats children (after all, these children will be the future). A society which treats children as inferior beings who must obey adults and have to be “taught stuff” might have a lot of abusive families and corruption. A society that sees children as “investments” might have a lot of stress due to expectations from children. A society that doesn’t care about children’s books and films might become less imaginative and less empathetic.  A society which treats children as equals, might see a lot more gender equality, peace and happiness. Parents who believe that they have a lot to learn from their children, parents who respect their children’s opinions/intuition might live a more meaningful life. Ultimately, it all comes down to how you treat someone who is less powerful than you.

P.S. Maybe this is the reason why Finland is one of the most happiest countries in the world. It has an education system that respects children.

Why I don’t listen to Michael Jackson and Why Johnny Depp is not my favorite actor anymore

There was a time when I used to force myself to keep the artist and the art separate. My heart always felt that it was wrong but somehow, I used rationality to convince myself to listen and watch artists who have been accused of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc. But now when I listen to the English retro station and hear Michael Jackson, I immediately close the tab or my ears. Whenever I hear praises about Johnny Depp (Who was my favorite actor at one point of time) or Woody Allen, I cringe. It’s true that the art is always greater than the artist but it is kind of impossible to separate the two. Art is not rational and human beings are emotional beings.

You might ask, “where is the proof? How do you know that the accusations are not false?”. My answer is that it’s okay if I miss out on one of the greatest pieces of art because of the accusations. Humanity is more important than art. A piece of art that has been created by a man/woman who has done some inhumane things is anyway not worth my time.

Parents are not Gods

“Worshiping your parents” is dangerous because it discourages us from questioning our parents (which is REALLY important). It is dangerous because the kids grow up and expect their kids to worship them. It is dangerous because it enables many parents to abuse their children. It is dangerous because many parents manipulate and emotionally blackmail their children. It is dangerous because many parents bully their children. It is dangerous because it turns parents into narcissists. Our parents are not Gods. They are human beings with flaws and limitations. Respect and love your parents but don’t be fanatical about them!

We are in an abusive relationship with society

Society gaslights us into believing that we are worthless. It tells us that the only way to get love is by changing our mind, body and soul. It swings between rewards and punishment, between love and abuse, and leaves us forever confused. We start believing that there’s something wrong with us, when in reality, it’s the culture which has unrealistic expectations from us. We are forever walking on eggshells, trying not to disappoint the society. No matter how much we achieve, it is never enough.
The only way to get out of this abusive relationship is to realize that the problem doesn’t lie within us. Abusers are never satisfied and nothing that we do can be good enough for them. The day we realize that we don’t have to prove our worth to anybody, we will be free from the abuse.

The problem with using ‘uneducated’ as an insult

I often hear people using the word ‘uneducated’ as an insult during debates.  First of all, not everyone can afford to get quality education, so it’s not someone’s fault if he/she is not educated. Secondly, education cannot really stop anybody from becoming an asshole (Many highly educated men have been accused of rape). Sure, it can impart the right values but I’m skeptical about our education system doing this job. Our education system is mainly designed around obedience, conformity and jobs, so teaching the important things definitely take a back seat. And even if the education system is doing a fabulous job, using the word ‘uneducated’ as an insult is like mocking someone for not knowing English. 

Why society is afraid of solitude

Society is afraid of solitude. A solitary individual might find truth, beauty and happiness and he/she might come to a conclusion that most of the things/activities in the society are not necessary. He/She might start questions like “what is the meaning of life” or “why am I here?”. Society is made up of people who have second-hand answers to these questions and it is afraid of being challenged by individuals who are not satisfied with these answers. So society designs a strategy: it shames loners and thinkers. It fills up people’s time with endless activities so that they have no time to think.

Expecting others to change…

Until the last few months, I believed in changing myself ​instead of trying to change others. It is a nice philosophy but I now realize that it has a lot of limitations. This philosophy makes you responsible but you end up blaming yourself for something you are not responsible for. I now realize that the problem is much more complex and that the philosophy is pretty dangerous. If you were raped or sexually abused, you will end up blaming your clothing or your behavior! If you face sexism at your workplace, you will end up doubting your talent.This attitude will also affect your mental health. Hence, it is important to question others’ behavior when it is necessary. There’s nothing wrong in expecting others to change (at least when it comes to social issues). As long as this expectation doesn’t harm us (and as long as the expectation is not unfair), we should push for change.