Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
‘Archie proposes to Veronica!’
That headline sent shockwaves and started heated debates in many parts of the world this week, with most fans of one of the longest-running love triangles despairing that Archie Andrews has chosen the rich and glamorous Ronnie over the sweet and simple Betty.
But is it really that different a story from those dished out by Bollywood or the many TV serials? Perhaps the guy is rich. Perhaps the girl is wealthy and doesn’t tell the guy. Perhaps the guy has a wealthy father and doesn’t know it. But the end result is always the same. The guy/girl with the rich dad gets the girl/guy. Every time.
Of course we have our great love stories that romanticise the poor lover: rich girl meets poor boy, they fall in love, she defies her stern dad, they run away and live in penury but happily, dad finally forgives her and they all live happily ever after in daddy’s big mansion.
Or, rich boy meets poor girl, they fall in love, he defies his authoritarian dad, they run away and live in penury…it still ends the same way.
When designers Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna were asked why they didn’t use any celebrity on the catwalk at the India Fashion Week, a nonchalant Khanna replied: “Our clothes are our showstoppers. It’s a business event, let’s keep it that!”
But in a world of glamour where media visibility is almost a prerequisite and most of ‘what’s hot’ and ‘what’s not’ is measured by the number of shutterbugs and roving video cameras present, does having a movie star or two sashay in front of a celebrity-hungry media really make bad business sense?