Yesterday, I attended an amazing literary session in Kolkata Literary Meet at the Victoria Memorial. In the session, two filmmakers, Imtiaz Ali and Aditya Vikram Sengupta discussed why the Hindi film hero of today talks more and fights less. It was an extensive discussion on the impact that today’s Hindi film heroes make on the audience.
In the earlier days, the Bollywood hero always had a larger than life character, which the audience aspired to become, but could hardly relate to. On the other hand, now with movies such as Wake up Sid and Tamasha, the audience connects to the hero on an emotional level because the things that are shown in the movies happen in our lives too.
Therefore, when we see Hindi film heroes on the big screen today, it is more like seeing ourselves. We see the hero fighting demons that we also fight on a regular basis. Earlier, when we used to see a hero beating up ten goons alone to save his lady love, it was something that we loved watching, but could never connect to. On the other hand, now when we watch our heroes fighting their inner demons and turmoil, we can relate to them instantly.
Now about the question why the heroes of today fight less and talk more, Imtiaz Ali asks the host, Devapriya Roy when was the last time she had hit someone out of rage. He states that in any crisis or in any turmoil, we try to speak out, instead of hitting someone. Therefore, the heroes of today talk more to make sense out of a situation.
Moreover, in today’s day, when we are always busy, a long, meaningful conversation with someone helps us to sort our conflicts and issues in a systematic manner. Unlike the earlier days, when the hero had to fight with the world in large, nowadays the fight is often within.
Therefore, the impact that today’s Hindi film heroes have on the audience is large. It is not confined to the three hours of watching the movie, but the impact lingers long after the movie has ended. The Hindi film hero is much more human today, with his vulnerabilities and weakness.
It was a sheer treat to hear Imtiaz Ali speak and answer the questions asked by the audience with patience. He is not only eloquent and intelligent with a charismatic personality, but is also very humble. His humility and amiability makes him so charming. When asked by someone from the audience how he writes and directs his movies that they always manage to have the Sufi touch, he smiles and says “I honestly don’t know.”
I feel privileged to have attended this session and see the impact that today’s Hindi film heroes make on the audience in a new light. And yes, I feel super lucky that I could take a selfie with my favorite director, Imtiaz Ali.