HOW HINDI CINEMA HAS HARMED ITSELF BY COMMITTING THE CAPITAL VICES
This year has been one of the worst in Bollywood history in terms of film quality, box office success, and negative attention.
That dramatic decline has been accompanied by problems like a boycott movement, lack of new talent, ageing heroes, poor music, the detrimental effect of nepotism, unoriginality and taking audiences for granted. These aspects harming Hindi cinema can be connected to the seven deadly sins.
With that in mind, Eastern Eye decided to show how Bollywood is connected to the seven deadly sins and the destructive effect they have had.
Gluttony: This sin is connected to an overconsumption of anything to the point of waste and taking it away from someone more worthy. It is perfectly illustrated by gluttonous actors like
Akshay Kumar, who starred in five film disasters in 2022. A female star, who focused on quantity than actual quality this year was Taapsee Pannu, appearing in six unnoteworthy films. This overindulgence resulted in rushed efforts, which lowers the quality of films and prevents new talent from getting big star making opportunities. This also lessens variety and pushes away audiences. The trend of signing too many projects also extends to flop stars, with inside connections.
Sloth: This deadly sin is defined by the absence of interest or habitual disinclination towards any kind of exertion. That laziness has been present in perhaps the most important aspect of filmmaking, which is the writing. There have been too many poorly written screenplays in 2022, along with sub-standard remakes like Bachchhan Paandey, Jersey, Laal Singh Chaddha, Dobaaraa and Vikram Vedha. A lack of ideas has resulted in audiences staying away from cinemas and consuming more original content elsewhere. Another area of idleness has been with the music. Despite Hindi cinema being built on the bedrock of marvellous music, the songs, including awful cover versions, have been stunningly poor.
Pride: This is widely, considered the original and worst deadly sin. The opposite of humility, it is about selfishness, and putting one’s own desires ahead of the greater good. This has
perhaps been most apparent with ageing actors in their 50s like Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Shah Rukh Khan continuing to star opposite inappropriately young leading ladies and playing characters decades below their real age. Pride can also be connected to the damaging effect of nepotism. Actors with famous connections like Arjun Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha and Aditya Roy Kapoor continue to get cast despite consistently starring in box office disasters ahead of talent who can bring something new to Indian cinema. Pride also prevents many stars from accepting their mistakes and raising their game.
Wrath: This deadly sin is driven by uncontrolled feelings of anger, rage, and hatred. The Hindi film fraternity has triggered anger in audiences for multiple reasons in recent years, but the greatest occurred after the untimely death of Sushant Singh Rajput in 2020. This led to a boycott Bollywood movement that has done huge damage to the industry. Bad quality of films, nepotism and perceived poor treatment of outsiders has also fuelled this rage further. By angering the public, those in the industry have essentially pushed away their customers.
Envy: Often described as a sad or resentful covetousness towards the traits or possessions of someone else, this deadly sin is very much rooted in jealousy. Envy has exposed the fact that Bollywood isn’t one big happy family as many have claimed. There have been multiple news stories, rumours, and documented incidents where those in the Hindi film fraternity have tried sabotaging rivals with fake news stories planted in the press. Late actor Sushant Singh Rajput had been at the receiving end of many wicked whispers. This has also led towards plum projects being snatched away from rising stars, by more established names. One notorious offender, who publicly tries to push successful stars down in a seemingly envious way, has been Kangana Ranaut.
Greed: Like lust and gluttony, this is a sin of desire, but the focus is more on a rapacious desire and pursuit of material possessions. In Bollywood this has been shown continuously by stars charging way too much money to act in films, including those who regularly appear in flops. This has led towards budgets going out of control and many movies becoming loss making propositions. Director Subhash Ghai summed it up well when he said, films don’t fail, budgets do. Greed has also led towards more established names hijacking lucrative holiday release dates, ahead of better films, and hiking up ticket prices across India on bigger blockbusters. It has also seen those lower down the ladder, like key crew members, often being underpaid.
Lust: The deadly sin of lust is an unbridled desire that leads towards a sinful act. This has manifested itself in Bollywood with the notorious casting couch. There continues to be sexual exploitation of aspiring hopefuls, and sometimes even more established names. This has applied to male and female actors. A notorious alleged offender has been director Sajid Khan – although he has denied wrongdoing. Many unconnected females have come forward with X-rated allegations. Even though bigger names like Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Ayushmann Khurrana and Radhika Apte have confirmed sexual exploitation exists in Hindi cinema, next to nothing has been done to combat it. This has led to the industry being robbed of talents and mentally scarring many, along with angering the public.