When saas-bahu serials on television were in their prime, critics didn’t hesitate before pointing a finger at the regressive picture of the big fat Indian family that these shows allegedly painted. But at the same time, the big screen too has dished out several films our way that have somehow been perpetrators of blind faith.
So much so that the late social activist Dr Narendra Dabholkar had to take a bullet to point the masses towards the right direction. As Hindi cinema gets more and more realistic by the day, we take a look at some recent films that had all the ingredients to spread superstitions and false beliefs under the garb of entertainment.
Ek Thi Daayan (2013)
Director: Kannan Iyer
Blind side: With a story steeped in supernatural events, this film follows a rather churlish tale involving a witch - not to mention, several spooky moments. As soon as the film released, it started receiving accusations of unabashedly promoting superstition. If that wasn’t enough, even Wicca followers took up protests against it. The makers however vehemently denied any such connection.
Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012)
Director: Yash Chopra
Blind side: In an otherwise romantic movie with melodramatic twists, Katrina Kaif plays an incredibly pious character. In fact, her religious inclinations border on superstition. In act of irrationality, she turns so superstitious that she offers a bargain to God while praying! If it weren’t for divine compromises, the movie would have ended then and there.
Raaz 3 (2012)
Director: Vikram Bhatt
Blind side: In this horror thriller, Bipasha Basu plays the role of a successful actress. That’s before her competitor (Esha Gupta) enters the scene. Unable to see her career fading away and her envy inching towards craziness, Bips’ character resorts to black magic and makes it her goal in life to destroy her peer’s career. The way the whole practice is portrayed called for some restrain. Nonetheless, the film did really well at BO despite being a pain in the eyes.
What's Your Raashee (2009)
Director: Ashutosh Gowariker
Blind side: Though astrology remains a debatale area, cinema makes the most of it. Based on the novel Kimball Ravenswood by Madhu Rye, this box-office flop follows a NRI in search of his soul mate from 12 girls, in a nod to zodiac signs. Though the climax was fittingly appropriate, it made you wonder whether there’s any hope for locals when even a US-based guy would blindly go around checking out girls each belonging to different sun signs.
Director: Vikram Bhatt
Blind side: One of the few successful horror films from Bollywood, the real hero (or villain, if you may) of this Rajneesh Duggal-Adah Sharma starrer was the haveli in question. It proved to be a metaphor for a lot of things that stands still wrong with our perception - irrespective of the era we’re living in. Supernatural elements apart, there are several instances in the film where sheer logic behind a given character’s behaviour take off on an unending vacation.
Very few films walk along and highlight how serious the situation can be when superstition is taken for granted.
OMG: Oh My God! (2012) was one of those few attempts. Under the disguise of a satirical comedy, the film questioned several aspects and practices that are seldom taken to task. Through constructive dialogues and arguments conducted ina courtroom, superstition was subtly attacked.
Small screen, tall disorders
All one has to do is zap through Indian television channels and one soap will outdo another at promoting superstition. No wonder dialogues like “Bahu, yeh toh apshagun ho gaya!” is a staple diet on a daily basis. And nobody seems to mind either. For what it’s worth, the rationality behind writing such shows is as low as the temperature in Antarctica.
Reincarnation is as much a Hindu as well as Buddhist trait as it belongs to Bollywood. There have been many films with rebirth playing a role in itself. The most recent addition to the list being the SRK-Deepika Padukone starrer Om Shanti Om (2007).
Prem Shakti (1994): A couple is in love and want to get married but the girl’s dad, being an astrologer, predicts that they will never get married. And then by a series of bizarre incidents - involving a snake and a snake charmer - which ends up with the girl turning into a stone and guy getting killed. 25 years later, they are reborn and the love story enters second innings.
Karan Arjun (1995): Raakhee’s unforgettable “Mere Karan Arjun aayenge” might have given birth to countless Internet memes over years, the fact remains that SRK and Salman not only teamed up but also reincarnated together in the Rakesh Roshan action thriller. One can call it cinematic license but rebirths have always been in vogue in Bollywood.