If I think of Bollywood, Dharma Productions, and the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai inspired introduction is the first thing that pops in my head. And why wouldn’t that be? These days, every other Hindi film is produced by Dharma. And well, good for them.
But, if we really think about it, we’re watching the same plot with only some tweaks. It’s like that one kid in class who does the same assignment for different people – the only difference is, the kid is usually bullied into doing that. Which is definitely not the case here (ahem, ‘movie mafia’, ahem).
I know we love the millennial lingo infused with sanskar, and a lot of people wouldn’t agree. But, think about it – we’re being served the same storyline over and over again. It’s usually a love-story about a guy and a girl, because that’s how we sell romance in our society. Usually, the guy has issues with commitment, and suddenly moves on from them by the climax of the film.
The films feature at least one huge property and if they really want the audience to connect, we get a protagonist with a smaller house. Of course, we’re expected to relate with a ‘charming’ house, because our protagonist doesn’t have a lifestyle that we could relate to. So, the major conflict revolves around not having ‘enough money’, but they somehow manage to sport the most expensive brands.
Films need to highlight conflict and emotion. And, to make it obvious most Dharma movies have a character who has deep rooted issues with a parent. I’m not saying that’s unrealistic, it’s probably the one thing that everyone connects to. But, these films have an in-the-face story arc, with a compassionless father and kids who always seem to have their bags packed.
Even if they don’t leave the house, they’re usually not in talking terms with their parents. Again, this is realistic, but it cannot be a recurring conflict.
Since pyaar is the major theme in all the films, we keep getting that one character who’s usually toxic. They keep lecturing people about love, while also keeping multiple options on the hook. It’s more like pyaar dosti hai, but iss dost se pyaar nahi hai.
And should we even start about appropriation? Most actors do not even belong in the films and characters that they’re offered. Even when they change the setting from a big city to a small town, their actors can hardly fit in. Honestly, my parents have fooled me into believing that it’s aloo when it was actually shalgam. And here, we’ve actors who can’t even fool us into believing that they belong.
To add on, all these films constantly feed unconventional ‘body standards’. And, maybe they’re not saying it out loud, but they do affect the audience indirectly. All Dharma films have a fixed notion of a ‘body type’ and it doesn’t change with the change in film.
It is understandable that the responsibility of the story and direction fall on the writer and director. But choosing the right films or trying to show something different also depends on the production house. Then again, it’s more of a ‘launch pad’ for star kids, and not a quality film production house. It’s not like they promised us anything.
It was fun and nice, to grow up watching films produced by Dharma. The Kuch Kuch Hota Hai themed introduction would get me teary eyed. But, seeing the same actors, doing the same stories is not that fun, not anymore.