Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How I Got My Soul Back From Bollywood

I used to watch a lot of Bollywood movies and then write elaborate reviews about them (which were well-received at the time and which I still get lots of praise for). I genuinely loved the films, for reasons which I described (sort of flippantly) in an L.A. Weekly article. My most likely route to long-shot recognition and fame was probably through Bollywood fandom, if anything.

Why did I stop enjoying the movies? Here's a list!
  1. The novelty wore off. What at first seemed to be revolutionary and unconventional turned out to be only "different from Hollywood." I had to eventually admit that I loved most of the plot twists only because I hadn't seen the films they were duplicated from, and not because the writers were geniuses.
  2. The medium was changing. New Bollywood films were looking more and more "MTV," and were moving away from those novel elements that I loved so much to begin with. This sullied my idea of Bollywood as a whole.
  3. It sank in that I could never really be "part" of the Bollywood machine, except as a curious outsider who would always remain awkward and comparatively clueless.
  4. The appreciative emails and "write reviews for our website" offers were not, ultimately, worth any money.
  5. The very small romanticized ideas I had about India were gradually eroded by Jai Maharaj and his ilk.
  6. I gained prestige for being critical, so I also gained criticism of my own critiques.
  7. Us cozy members of "Bollybob" became too busy to regularly meet, and our semi-annual get-togethers were no longer cozy.
  8. I increasingly felt like I was focusing only on the "kitsch" value of the films, mainly because a kitschy review is more fun than a serious one.
  9. Bollywood was becoming "hip," thus removing the joy of appreciating a gem that your peers are unaware of. And all because of "Ghost World."
  10. I could no longer enjoy the movies since I had to watch them with a notebook in hand, jotting down plot points and ideas for the inevitable review. I felt I NEEDED to review the movies.
  11. Writing the reviews (and taking the screen shots) took an awful long time, and that is the most significant point of all: when a non-paying hobby becomes a gruelling chore, JUST STOP IT.
I still love ELEMENTS of Bollywood, and someday I'll be able to go back and love the movies again (see below for ruminations about "going off" the things you cherish). But until then, the thought of yet another predictable 3 1/2 hour comedy/melodrama featuring an abused mother, a boys vs. girls dance, an over-complicated plot shot over several years, a snake, and a scene in a tacky nightclub makes me feel tired.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you must mention me in your blog, at least have the decency to link my name to my web site, not some net terrorist who posts nothing but lies about me.

Jai Maharaj
http://www.mantra.com/jai
http://www.mantra.com/jyotish
Om Shanti

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Ha! Oh, some things never change.

Anonymous said...

You seem to love cats. All is forgiven. Meow.

Jai Maharaj
http://www.mantra.com/jai
http://www.mantra.com/jyotish
Om Shanti

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I always knew you loved me deep down, Jai.

Jai Maharaj said...

You say that you are loved, but don't drag me into it.

Jai Maharaj
http://www.mantra.com/jai
http://www.mantra.com/jyotish
Om Shanti

Muffy St. Bernard said...

You're right...that would be insane!