India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Has Bollywood run out of heroes?

March 18, 2010

Javed AkhtarAt the ongoing FICCI Frames conference, during a very engaging debate on scripts in Indian cinema, writer Javed Akhtar came up with an interesting observation.

He said Bollywood had run out of heroes and therefore run out of villains as well, because contemporary Indian society had run out of morality.

“You cannot have great stories without great characters and you cannot have great characters without clear-cut morality and aspiration,” Akhtar who has co-written some of Hindi cinema’s classics, said at the debate.

He also recounted the villains down the years in Hindi cinema. In the 50s, it was the landowner, in the 60s the factory owner, the 70s saw the underworld gangster as the villain and later as the hero while the policeman became the villain.

“Now we have run out of heroes and therefore villains as well,” Akhtar said.

Do you agree? Can you think of a ‘hero’ in recent times?

Comments

I think Akhtar may be referring more to his style of writing scripts — the argument about disappearance of heroes appears to be self-serving.

“Clear-cut morality” is so boring and predictable like Salim-Javed’s Amitabh Bacchan.

Thank god we are free (though not entirely) of the 50s, 60s and 70s cliches of the rich being always bad and the middle class being always (frustrated? and) holier-than-thou.

Some of the greatest characters/heroes — on screen and in real life are appealing because of the morally ambiguous universe they operate in.

DevDas in DevD is a hero, thought not in the way Akhtar would like him to be…FORMULAIC.

The epics, the old testament are full of such “heroic” characters — think Hector and Patroclus or David and Baathsheba or the characters from the hindu epics or Macbeth or Hamlet….

Of course, Javed Akhtar knows a lot more about that than any layperson.

Then why does he offer such mindless remarks?

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