Even Bollywood’s fiercest critics will admit that some of its filmmakers are trying their darnedest to reflect changing times and tastes. Yes, we’ve still got those tent-pole, one-size-fits-all entertainers, but we are also more willing now to tackle different subjects and genres – everything from sports biopics (our current obsession) to thrillers; from an attempt at a Hollywood-style musical (Disney’s Jagga Jaasoos) to legit horror (Phantom Films’ upcoming Ghoul).
Moreover, recent films like Queen, Udta Punjab, Neerja, Kapoor & Sons, and Dangal have successfully made our commercial films look a lot more progressive in several ways.
However, the industry continues to suffer from a crisis of quality. There’s plenty our commercial films — even the ones mentioned above — could do better. After all, why shouldn’t they? I find that refrain “What else do you expect from a Bollywood movie?” strangely cynical and defeatist.
Sure, some of Bollywood’s more institutional problems – the dominance of the star system, for example – are unlikely to go away in a hurry. But other recurring (and problematic) patterns are quite fixable.
So here are a few pointers to help Bollywood in 2017 and beyond: