A Tale of Two Boll-warts (derived from Bollywood Stalwarts)

Amar (1954 film)Image via Wikipedia
Dilip Kumar
Unlike Hollywood, which seems to be forever looking around for new genres, technology and actors who have what it takes to capture the imagination of the audience, Bollywood (whose name parodies Hollywood in a somewhat unflattering way) seems to revel in keeping it all orderly, within narrowly defined limits and within the extended family (or 'khandaan' as has been depicted in numerous Bollywood potboilers). This desire for conformity and homogeneity is amply evident in scripts, actors who enter the 'industry' regularly (usually they happen to be sons , daughters, nephews or nieces of yesteryear actors, directors and producers), the kind of films made in large numbers every year and even in the dramatic styles of the 'industry's' superstars.
Lets take the case of the 2 biggest superstars Bollywood has churned out in the last four dec-
ades. Both of them keep playing their popular screen persona time and time again and are actually encouraged to do this because their fans apparently love it all and can't have enough of it. So they just go through the same set of expressions, speech delivery styles and other mannerisms whatever the role may be. 
Amitabh Bachchan keeps playing 'A Bachchan' (or the Big B as sections of the Indian media love to call him) in every role that he does. He truly climaxed in a movie called 'Black' where he went into overdrive like a puppet on a string, and for the first 20 minutes I thought he was trying to play the angry blind man who has both a muscular disorder and something rather disagreeable tickling his windpipe, till I realized that he was trying to play a blind angry middle-aged man and be 'realistic'. Frankly if I ever come across a blind teacher thrashing about like that and speaking the way he does, I would be mighty worried.

Devdas (2002 film)
The 21st century version of Devdas in which Shah
Rukh Khan set the screen on fire

Uttam KumarImage via Wikipedia
Uttam Kumar
The other guy who plays Shah Rukh Khan in every movie is Shah Rukh himself, or SRK as he is often popularly referred to (when he is not being called King Khan by his legions of fans that is). Irrespective of the role, he will bleat, jerk spasmodically at times and then break into a dance which always reminds me of sharecroppers standing in the middle of their cultivable land spreading seeds all around and sowing them. He reached the zenith of his non-acting in the movie ' Devdas' which I happened to see some years ago (ever since I have regretted the crazy impulse which induced me to undergo  such self-inflicted torture). I had, many years back, watched Dilip Kumar playing Devdas in the Hindi version and then Uttam Kumar playing Chunilal, Devdas' friend, in the Bengali screen version of the same novel.Though Devdas is a highly theatrical and melodramatic novel (some folks may not quite like that observation), both Dilip Kumar and Uttam Kumar enacted their roles with a fair amount of flair and a reasonable degree of realism and restraint. SRK's was the ultimate 21st century Devdas though, frenetic, out-of-control and generally giving a clear message to flocks of sheep in any neighbourhood that 'mine is bigger than yours'. It was such a head-turning experience that I felt rather traumatized and bewildered when I stepped out of the cineplex and had to pull myself together afterwards to prevent possible recurrent nightmares of SRK warbling close to my ears while I am resting and then getting into his patented hop, skip and jump routine on his rather short and out-of-proportion pins.

Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan with family at pre...Image via Wikipedia
Shah Rukh Khan, SRK or King Khan - take your pick
Characteristics and occurrences of these kinds beg the question whether Bollywood will ever even remotely measure up to Hollywood at least in some aspects, in the foreseeable future.Given characteristics and attributes of the kinds mentioned earlier, do you feel there is even the ghost of a chance of anything like that happening any time in the foreseeable future? I leave it to you to arrive at your own conclusions.











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