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The return of realistic, desi, middle class urban families in our Hindi films. (Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing)

05 Apr, 2018 | Articles on Cinema

The late-90s brought a major change or a decisive shift in Hindi Cinema. With the arrival of a new generation of directors, their upbeat urban films and the introduction of a highly potential market abroad, the whole outlook towards making cinema went through a substantial change and so did the portrayal of Indian families in it (targeting both the domestic and the foreign market together).
As a result, for a long time, realistic, middle class families almost vanished from our films and it was all about either the upper-middle class or upper class sections of the society in most of the major projects. No doubt a few films did feature the middle income groups or families in a certain manner. But it never seemed to be a portrayal with an instant personal connect, where the viewer could easily feel related to the character emoting on screen presenting all familiar things of his or her actual life.
It continued till many years in the new millennium till KHOSLA KA GHOSLA unintentionally and unexpectedly broke the monotony winning over the masses in the year 2006. The film focusing on a middle class Delhi family, re-established that instant connect with the viewers and one could easily relate with its each and every character on screen, their situations, the language and the overall truthful feel quite effortlessly.
However it still couldn’t set any major trend as many considered it to be a fluke. At the same time, its characterization got duly noticed, particularly its realistically emotional feel, a lovable Punjabi connect with Delhi and its typical local lingo reaching out to the audience in a fabulous manner. In the later years, a similar feel of middle class families could be seen in films like Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye (2008), Rocket Singh and Delhi-6 (2009). But the theme again registered its strong presence with another major hit Band Baaja Baaraat, followed by worth appreciating films as Love Sex Aur Dhoka and the admirable Do Dooni Chaar in 2010.
By this time, projects based on such real characters and families had duly found their space, which got further strengthened by the success of Pyar Ka Punchnaama and Tanu Weds Manu in 2011 along with the likable Chillar Party, Dhobi Ghaat, Chalo Delhi, Stanley Ka Dabba and Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl.
In the next couple of years, everyone had to accept it as one of the most appealing genres of Hindi Cinema with unexpected big successes of Paan Singh Tomar, Vicky Donor, Oh My God in 2012 and Jolly LLB, Lunchbox, Fukrey in 2013, along with many worth noticing films as Ferrari Ki Savaari, Bittoo Boss, Luv Shuv Te Chicken Khurana, Mere Dad Ki Maruti, Chashme Buddoor, Bajate Raho, Mickey Virus, Shudh Desi Romance and more.
Going with the flow, in 2014 we witnessed Hasee Toh Phasee and Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania, besides Ankhon Dekhi, Daawat-e-Ishq, Ekkees Topon Ki Salaami, Sonali Cable and Zed Plus. Plus in 2015 we again had some surprising hits as Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Piku and Tanu Weds Manu Returns apart from the effective Pyar Ka Punchnama 2, NH-8, Gour Hari Dastaan, Titli and more.
Interestingly in 2016 even the two Khans had their mega films focusing on the middle class families of small towns as Sultan and Dangal, besides a good number of appreciable films made in this particular genre as Kapoor & Sons, Nil Batte Sannata, Chalk & Duster, Jugni, Happy Bhag Jayegi, Madari, Budhia Singh, Pink, Laal Rang, Saat Uchhakkey and more.
Stating a known truth, Hindi Cinema is widely known for blindly following a hit genre contributing in the in-demand trend. In fact that is the reason why we suddenly witnessed so many bio-pics being made left and right, sill continuing in the present. And that is exactly the reason why we had maximum number of films revolving around middle class families and their daily life stories releasing in the last year (2017) including Running Shaadi.com, Anarkali of Aarah, Haraamkhor, Mukti Bhawan, Gurgaon, Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya, Meri Pyari Bindu, Hindi Medium, Behen Hogi Teri, Lipstick Under My Burkha, Toilet Ek Prem Katha, Poster Boys, Bareilly Ki Barfi, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Secret Superstar, Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana, Tumhari Sullu, Fukrey Returns, Ribbon and more.
The trend is continuing in the current year with Mukkabaaz, Padman, Veerey Ki Wedding, Dil Junglee, Hichki and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety (with the male elders remembering their past) releasing in the first quarter itself and the latter even becoming a major blockbuster crossing the benchmark of 100 crores surprising both the makers and the industry together.
So no doubt the audience is very much interested in watching such realistic, engaging films relating to their own small town lives and there must be many more coming ahead focusing on the writing, local feel, enjoyable language and the typical characterization.
But at the same time, the genre is also on the verge of becoming routine losing its unique, relatable appeal impressing the target audience. Hence, while we should go on making such films bringing forward real life, entertaining stories of the middle class families, we also need to see that we don’t make too many films saying the same things, getting repetitive and predictable losing their potential USP.
Let’s hope they do maintain the balance and keep on delivering the hits.

(Note: The article was first published on UC-News Mobile App in April 2018)

Tags : The return of realistic middle class families in Hindi films - by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing
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