realism in bollywood

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Ayushmaan Khuranna started his career with MTV Roadies and ushered realism art movement in Bollywood and how. Breaking all the conventions, and the myth of having a ‘formula script,’ and item numbers, Ayushmaan Khurrana and Vicky Kaushal waltz through Bollywood and create a mass appeal choosing scripts that Bollywood could never have imagined making with the King Khans and other superstars. Could you ever imagine the Dabaang Khan doing a Vicky Donor or Badhai Ho with the same finesse and natural performance like the actor? I don’t think so. The era of superstars is passe because taste and perception of the masses has evolved. With free and easy access to internet, I do not think the aam jaanta is looking for cheap entertainment which has been the crux of most of the masala and formula movies.

Realism has been portrayed as harsh reality of social evil. The movies in this genre had scathing and soul-churning plot.  The Bandit Queen, Border, Mirch Masala, and many other with a backdrop of socio-politic theme. Now that is narrowing down this genre to just one specific category. Over many decades, Bollywood has experimented with realism choosing only darker themes. We had the best movies in the realism genre with No One Killed Jessica, Black Friday, Sarbjit, and many more. But there is more to realism than the darker shades of social evil.

Ayushmaan Khurrana ushered a new and fun movement of realism in cinema and opened up horizons of Bollywood to newer levels crossing the 100 crore milestone without star-studded cast, item numbers, and formula movies. Ayushmaan Khuraana and Vicky Kaushal with this art movement have changed the perception of movie making all together. Who thought middle class lives would be so celebrated like Ayushman’s movies do.

For decades darker themes have been used to depict realism in Bollywood. The actors movies have been refreshing and a diverse depiction of realism in cinema. Though there have been series of realism movies such as Masaan, Udta Punjab, Dev D, Lunchbox and many more marvels which have entertained us over years.

Badhai Ho talks about the shame, bravity, and the struggle for making individualistic decisions at an age where love making and childbearing is a social sham. Bala talks about the self-esteem issues, hurt of rejection, and the difficulties of finding true love for a bald man. Most of these movies have a social template falling in the backdrop and how the protagonist overcomes them. They might not be as harsh as the yesteryears movies, but are the challenges a common man faces in everyday life swimming through various societal challenges.

For those who look for realism and chuckle at the typical Bollywood masala, star-studded hyperbole, movies of this genre bring a sense of relief and real essence of entertainment. Audience has tired itself of the Dabaang Khan, SRK, and stereotypical avalanche of Bollywood movies which kept blocking the intelligence of the aam janta. Not denying the tested formula movies still find an audience, but they are a dying genre.

Looking back, you wouldn’t stay watching most of the masala movies even for a length of 5 minutes except when you want to make them GIF worthy. In times bygone directors picked inspiration from dark themes and subjects which seem like a hackneyed treatment of this genre of movie which has found newer avenues and plots.

Ayushman Khuranna is pretty much the King of Realism in Bollywood whose movies ring a bell and strike a chord with the hoi polloi and cross the milestone of 100 crore too. Pyassa and Mother India remain the untouched classics in this genre, something which probably cannot be imbibed or regenerated to a Pyassa version 1.0. There are no upgrades to classics, because they are sacred, made in the golden era, meant to be celebrated and not remade.

We still cannot stop celebrating the nostalgia that yesteryear Bollywood movies are contained with. But for the coming years, and for the internet-savvy audience, formula movies do not work anymore. Drama of real life is sewn beautifully in these movies which we all relate to, laugh and cry about. Vernacular insights and emotions that we have forgotten to pay attention to, are what these movies showcase. A side of life, thoughts and emotions we never spoke about but felt them deeply through various situations.