Some days of de-stressing and unwinding aren’t only necessary but also very valid, not to mention completely desirable.
It was on such a day of de-stressing that I put all my assignments aside, along with other obligations I had, and decided to lay back and enjoy a back-to-back Bollywood movie night and devour on all things unhealthy to go with my theme for the night.
The movies that struck my interest were typically released around the 1990s, and in all the movies that I managed to watch that night, there seemed to be an underlining pattern.
It was as follows: the guy meets the girl, falls in love with her within five seconds and then asks her to marry him which ultimately leads to the clichéd Bollywood happy ending.
Surprisingly, the girls would accept the marriage proposal just as quickly as the guy would ask. (Surprising, among other reasons, because in some of the movies I was watching, the director had added his “Bollywood touch” and made the lead male character some kind of a don and in spite of that, the girl would agree to marry him. Let’s just say that I saw a lot of flaws with the logic.)
Perhaps because I belong to a different generation, all of this was a little too much to digest for me. I mean, how can the guy and the girl have met each other for the shortest time imaginable, and the guy approaches the girl with a marriage proposal?
Surely, marriage can’t be the ultimate objective because the entire movie seemed to be based on the guy and the girl trying to get married, and as soon as this purpose was met, there you had your happy ending. And I guess this sentiment might be something I share with most people from my generation.
I feel I’m speaking for most of my “modernity”-stricken peers when I try to promote the thinking, career-driven, ambitious person in us, contrary to the love-struck generation prior to us.
But what I failed to recognize is that although I saw whatever was being reflected in those movies as something alien, the other generation viewed our ways and our practices as equally alien to them. For example, a lot of seemingly normal things to our age group seemed to escape their understanding.
It was when my aunt observed how our generation’s music and movies and other social media-related activities seemed to be so centered on immediate gratification and how we took to the “now and here philosophy,” it hit me that the things that seem so habitual to our age group may not necessarily be a familiar and preferred option to many of the older generations.
“It’s like,” she explained to me, “your generation is so caught up with yourselves and the present that you all seem to do things without a care in the world and ignore to think for the long-term.”
To explain this sense of immediateness our generation craves, let’s just look at the kind of music that’s coming out today. The Black Eyed Peas’ “Now Generation” is what captures the spirit of our generation for me.
From our Wikipedia craze to our Facebook obsession to our lack of patience, the song epitomizes what I perceive our generation is characterized by. If you haven’t already heard the song, then listen to it. For if nothing else, you might just enjoy the melody.
To us, be it romance or be it any other thing, we seem to be focused on short-term, noncommittal approaches. And I hadn’t noticed how this characteristic was so true of our generation that it was a sheer moment of epiphany when my aunt pointed out further, “Hamro belama ta sadhainko saathka geetharu hunthe, ajkalkaa geet ta ke hun, ke hun!” while speaking of the kind of romantic songs that were taking the markets by storm these days.
Call it ironic, but the song that was playing in the background, as we discussed this, blared out “Baahonmein aa soniye, bas aaj raatke liye,”
promoting the underlying romantic relationship patterns, if it can be called so. The entire focus seems to be on “one night” and not at all “saat janam,” if I’m to quote my aunt.
Kudos to her for making such a realization and leaving me deep in thought. Was she right? Are the songs and movies characterizing our generation solely degrading such a thing as romance and instead recreating cheap meanings behind it?
Now I realize that a few songs – that too, specific to Bollywood – can hardly be taken as solid evidence to answer the question. But is romance indeed becoming demystified and instead other values that would at best be better left neglected are being promoted today?
However, the fact of the matter is that Bollywood is also a medium for the media to advocate what they deem will sell. And if they are betting on “baadnam Munnis” and guys who have “bangaya kutta” to make them money, then we must question what kind of a culture we’re welcoming here.
Ayushma Basnyat is a student of Political Science at Thammasat University who enjoys exploring life and all that it has to offer.